What we do is the best way to show kids what we want them to do!
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I recently read a post on Zen Habits by Leo Babouta titled - How to Deal with Your Family’s Bad Habits. This is my favourite quote from the post:

"We tend to want everyone to do things the right way, which is our way. If we eat a healthy diet, we want our loved ones to do that too. But that’s not under our control, and our happiness will be severely hampered if we let ourselves focus on things out of our control."

The whole post is worth reading, particularly if you have teenagers who dislike being told what to do. It is funny sometimes when you are on a certain path, you feel reaffirmed when you read something that suggests a similar approach. I have been letting go more with the teenagers, trusting them to make their own decisions much more. As I discussed in a previous newsletter, I am not at all sure of what I am doing in the teenager territory and am very much in the testing things out phase. 

This article from Zen Habits reinforced my view that the best thing I can do is lead by example and allow them to make their own decisions. It is something touched on also by Celia Lashlie in He’ll Be Ok and she goes one step further and says:

“When he knows it’s up to him and only him whether something does or doesn’t get done, when he’s able to link action with consequences, then he’ll begin to make good decisions for himself.”

So far my testing has showed me that this approach certainly leads to greater family harmony. No one likes to be nagged or told what to do all the time and I don’t like being the bad cop all the time either. It actually allows me to enjoy the kids more. It doesn’t mean free reign of course, we still have key and firm boundaries on big issues, but I am handing over the independence they are able to handle. 

It doesn’t work perfectly. They do still make poor choices, but they learn so much more from that decision, than if I had just told them what they should have done. I try to lead by example with my behaviour and hope they notice it!

My older two boys are also at an age when they will call me out if they think I am being a hypocrite. Being a child of the 70s, I grew up with a dad who’s favourite adage was “do as I say not as I do”. This is not something I can get away with in my house, nor would I necessarily want to. 

Here are some ways I am consciously role modelling the behaviour I want to see in my kids:

Managing technology use

I limit my time on devices by setting myself boundaries. I don’t go on any device until the kids are at school and then again from after school until the younger two are in bed. I don’t use a device in bed or the toilet! Something my older kids would do if I let them (and I am sure they do when I am not around!).


A key driver for me adopting not complaining as a habit to develop this year was to show my kids that it is possible not to complain. It doesn’t mean you have to be happy about everything, but simply complaining about things only creates negative energy. If they have an issue with something, I encourage them to propose a solution or calmly explain their predicament without blame and anger. 

I am still some way from achieving my goal of 33 consecutive days without complaining, but the habit formation itself is a talking point in the house and the kids know I am working on it.

Giving back

While we are not a wealthy family, we have everything we need plus more. Our kids have a great life, attend good schools and I want them to give back to those who are less fortunate than themselves. Our eldest volunteers each week during school term on Friday afternoons, tutoring kids in the inner city. Our second son will start doing this next year as well.

Through the blog each year I have a major fundraiser to support a not for profit I believe in. I have also registered to become a volunteer this year as well and will undergo training in the next month or so. I want my kids to see that I also give back in terms of my time and skills.

But there are things I really need to work on and sometimes through the behaviour of the kids I can see exactly what it is! They can very often mirror my flaws, which can be quite confronting. Here are some behaviours I need to role model in a more positive way:
  • Moving on after an issue has been resolved - sometimes I hold on too long to emotions tied to an issue. Once it is settled I need to truly move on. I have been working on a mantra during some of my meditation sessions of “let it go”. While it is slow progress I think it is helping.
  • Saying yes more - when I have a lot on, my default position can be to say no to anything I think may require even a tiny bit of work for me, e.g. mum can we eat dinner outside? mum can we make a cake? In reality they aren’t huge things and they are reasonable requests. I am working on saying yes more to the kids' requests like this.
  • Expressing my gratitude to other members of the family - while I have been keeping a gratitude journal for over a year, much of what I have written I haven’t expressed out loud. I want to hear the kids practicing gratitude and the best way to do that is to express mine out loud too.
I would very much love to hear from you! If you could please just send me two brief lines covering the below I would really appreciate it. I think this would be so wonderful to share and learn from:
  1. What behaviour do you role model well?
  2. What behaviour do you want to role model in a more positive way?
I look forward to learning from you!

Happy Easter.


Embracing the challenge to save a life

Did you know each year 260 Australian children (aged 0-14) are killed and 58,000 hospitalised by unintentional injuries? As a parent they are scary numbers but there is something we can do to be prepared. For every minute that CPR is not administered, a child’s chance of survival decreases by 10%.  In fact the first 5 minutes hold the key to whether a child will live or die, and it is rarely possible for professional help to arrive in this time frame.

It can take as little as 15 minutes to save a child’s life, and this Good Friday thousands of people will find that time at South Bank, learning vital CPR skills while raising funds for Melbourne’s Royal Children’s Hospital as part of the annual CPR Challenge. Powered by KidzAid Paediatric First Aid Training, this six-hour event aims to teach as many people as possible the lifesaving skills of paediatric CPR.

Entry is free, with a $5 registration fee for CPR Challenge participants (register here), and all proceeds raised will go to the Royal Children’s Hospital Good Friday Appeal. The day will also feature family entertainment including an Easter egg hunt, kids’ activities, raffles and lucky door prizes such as domestic and international family holiday packages, courtesy of Jetstar.

At midday celebrities will take to the arena, challenging themselves to learn CPR in the name of a great cause. There will also be an opportunity to meet and greet the many household names taking part.

It is hoped awareness raised about the CPR Challenge will not only encourage people to attend and learn these vital skills, but also prompt others to seek training themselves.

Where: BMW Showroom, Southbank, Melbourne
When: Good Friday, March 25, 2016
Time: 10am – 4pm
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