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Blog Posts

Doing Stuff With Your Kids - And Leaving the Washing Behind

By - 02/03/2011 - 13:10

My friend, Barney, recently commented on my Facebook page, “Gee you get about!” He was commenting on a photograph of the kids on our most recent weekend away. I admit it had been a busy week. I’d done an overnighter to Sydney for an early morning meeting at the ABC’s head office in Ultimo, I had moderated a business forum thing back home in Newcastle .. and a few other odds and sods on top of doing my daily radio show. Nothing particularly unusual for a week in the life of me. Read full post

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Parent Bloggers - How Much Do You Share of Your Children's Lives?

By - 03/03/2011 - 12:44

On Channel 7's The Morning Show 3rd march 2011, Yvette Vignando shared her views on the actions of some parents who have published online video or photos of themselves disciplining their children. Some of the stories are quite disturbing. View Yvette talking about the limits of what mum bloggers and dad bloggers share online in this video post. View The Morning Show segment. Read full post

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Monday 7 March 2011 Latest Parenting and Education News

By - 07/03/2011 - 09:14

Public School Funding Australia ~ Mental Health of Students Helps Learning ~ Jamie Oliver's Dream School ~ Early Years Curriculum ~ Motherhood Can Help Depression ~ Early Blood Test Down's Syndrome Read full post

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Messages to Bullies - Forgiven not Forgotten

By - 14/03/2011 - 15:40

I’m writing a feature article about the effects of bullying. To prepare for the article I asked several adults about what they’d say now to the people that mercilessly and sometimes violently bullied them in childhood. Perhaps unsurprisingly, most of them said they had nothing they’d want to say. But their reactions to this question are still important and poignant reminders about why schools and parents need to keep talking about how to reduce the incidence of bullying. Read full post

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Parents - What to Do if Your Child is a Bully

By - 15/03/2011 - 15:55

Video interview, Yvette Vignando on The Morning Show Channel 7 with ideas for parents on what to do if your child is being a bully. Includes signs your child may be bullying, what leads a child to bully how to help your child back to a happy life at school. Read full post

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Bystanders, Bullying and Breaking Points

By - 16/03/2011 - 13:46

A video shared online this week shows a very distressing scene of a smaller Year 7 boy hitting a larger Year 10 boy in the face and body while several students stand by (including the camera person) - watching and making comments. The video footage culminates in the smaller boy being injured. A part of this video was shown to me by crew at The Morning Show on Channel 7 yesterday morning - a pure coincidence, as I was about to talk about approaches parents can take if they find out that their child is a bully Read full post

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Breaking: Oranges and Textas Save Family Dinnertime

By - 18/03/2011 - 09:35

While according to author Janette Winterson’s novel "Oranges are not the only fruit", on one recent crisis-laden evening, oranges were all that stood between my family and a complete meltdown. It was three weeks into my two-month period of experimental single parenting, undertaken while simultaneously packing up a house, getting it ready for sale and preparing to move our family overseas. To put it mildly, the stress levels were high and on that particular afternoon the temperature was rising, fast. Read full post

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Parents Helping Children Who Are Bullied - Voices of Experience

By - 20/03/2011 - 21:45

As I mentioned in this earlier post 'Messages to Bullies - Forgiven not Forgotten", on 14 March I sent out interviews to a number of adults who offered to share their stories of being bullied as children. Having still not had the time to compile their responses into a coherent article, I keep wanting to publish parts of their stories because it seems the right time for their voices to be heard. Read full post

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Victim of Bullying - What Now?

By - 21/03/2011 - 16:22

On Channel 7 The Morning Show Yvette Vignando, Brett Murray and Sally Ann McCormack spoke with the hosts about the apparent hero status given to the victim of a dreadful bullying incident in a Sydney school. What should parents do in these circumstances? Read full post

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High School Choice - It's Not Actually About You

By - 23/03/2011 - 12:30

Many of you would have recently had the completely terrifying first day at school experience, and I'm not necessarily talking about those cute little things in their oversize uniforms, skipping off without a backward glance. No, first days at school are way more terrifying for parents ... The really big decisions came with high school ... Read full post

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Playing Favourites - 1 in 6 Parents Say They Love One Child More

By - 23/03/2011 - 12:56

On 23 March 2011 Yvette Vignando appeared on The Morning Show and discussed a blogger's revelation that she loves one child a bit more. 1 in 6 parents admit to this feeling. 69% of people say they feel that there is a favourite child in their family. Read full post

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Just Like My House, I'm Perfect - Aren't You?

By - 28/03/2011 - 09:29

I spent half an hour in front of the television this morning before starting work. I should have been putting away the folded washing or wiping down the kitchen benches or picking up the shirt label that was dropped on the lounge room floor by Mr 15 when he opened his new shirt … 2 weeks ago. If I knew you were coming over for coffee this morning, I would have put away, wiped and picked up, and I would have emptied the dish drainer and swept the front hallway and maybe even vacuumed the stairs. I would have baked you a cake and I would have remembered to open the window in the dining room to let some fresh air flow through the house. Why? Read full post

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So Which Mother Are You?

By - 30/03/2011 - 08:27

Arrive at any school concert and you can pick the stereotypical Mums from the crowd. There's the heavily involved school Mum, showing people where to sit or helping out behind the scenes. There's gym Mum, dressed in lycra, ready to recite her latest half marathon stats. Working Mum arrives just in time, Blackberry in one hand, guilt in the other. Stay at home and work from home Mum are comfortably dressed, they have their own guilt, they're trying not to make eye contact with heavily involved school Mum. As different as they all appear, they all share a common goal, trying to find the balance between happy child and happy mother. Read full post

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I Have No Parenting Advice to Offer

By - 31/03/2011 - 11:54

Before you invest too much time reading this post, let me warn you: I don’t have any parenting advice to offer. I may have been a mother for nearly twelve years, but I feel as equipped to counsel you about parenting techniques as I am to reflect on quantum physics or Pythagorean theory (and as my family will confirm, my knowledge of these areas is very limited indeed). I find parenting my three children the hardest, most perplexing job in the world and I am constantly worried that I am not very good at it. Read full post

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Five Years Jail Term for Seeking a Better Education for Your Child?

By - 01/03/2012 - 13:01

I thought I’d misunderstood the headline: Homeless Mom Sentenced to 5 Years in Prison for “Stealing” Son’s Education. How do you steal someone’s education? Did this mother forge her name on to her son’s graduation certificate, or masquerade as him during his University biology class? No – U.S. mother, Tanya McDowell, simply placed her five year old son in a school district in the United States in which she did not have permanent residence. When I investigated further, I found that the headline was not entirely accurate: McDowell was actually issued with a twelve year sentence, suspended after she serves the first five years. Read full post

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Not Crushing the Dreams of My Young Video Game Creator

By - 05/03/2012 - 12:32

For a couple of months last year my then 8 year old son had an obsession with inventing a new video game. He expected to be able to dictate to me over my shoulder for a few hours on our home computer and ‘voila!’ - we would have a brand new highly-functioning, multi-level, multi-platform video game to distribute to the market at large. Then he wanted to be entered into the Guinness Book of World Records as the youngest child to create a video game. Read full post

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Starting Primary School can be an Emotional Rollercoaster

By - 06/03/2012 - 11:39

It’s several weeks into the primary school year and my five-year-old son is experiencing his share of ups and downs adjusting to life at ‘big school’. The highs (for both of us) include waving me happily off each morning, and the beautiful hug he gives his sister every afternoon on their reunion at the school gates ... But then there are the difficult moments. Such a big life change has also come with its fair share of big emotions for my sensitive boy. After trying so hard to concentrate and control his impulses all day, those emotions often came home looking for an outlet. Any small thing has the potential to set him off ... Read full post

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Finding Friends Can Sometimes Mean Losing Friends

By - 07/03/2012 - 13:20

Are there any kids at your school that you’re glad your own children aren’t friends with? Do you keep an eagle-eye on the friends your child does make and, well, judge the friend just a little bit? Carol Duncan reminds her boys how to make, keep, and sometimes let go of, friends. Read full post

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Compulsory Viewing Stop Kony - Horrific Abuse of Children

By - 07/03/2012 - 20:17

You absolutely must stop for half an hour and watch this movie - after watching, I am sure you will want to take some action. If you care for children, for humanity, please take some time this week and educate yourself about the atrocities being committed against children, formerly in Uganda, and possibly in other areas in Africa. Jason Russell, father of young son Gavin, who also stars in this video, has created an extraordinary film about a man called Joseph Kony, a criminal - the film is called: Kony 2012. It is by Invisible Children. Also read the debate about the film. Read full post

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Parenting Trap. Does Your Child's Past Behaviour Predict Future Behaviour?

By - 13/03/2012 - 12:03

You may have heard of the phrase “past behaviour predicts future behaviour” - it’s often referred to in the context of job interviews, or in guessing how customers are likely to behave in response to a marketing idea. But do we use this assumption too much when we are parenting or teaching our children? What do you think? I have no basis for asking this question other than my own experience as a parent – and I think I have made this mistake many times. You know … you assume your son or daughter or your student will like or not like something, or will behave or react in a certain way … because that’s how they reacted last time? Read full post

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Harvard Professor Talks Sleep Deficit and School Start Times

By - 15/03/2012 - 19:07

This is an excerpt from a longer public forum on sleep deficit and health. Professor of Sleep Medicine, Susan Redline M/D. discusses school start times and whether schools should start later. Do current school start times force children to go to school at times when, according to their natural, biological rhythms, they should be asleep? Dr Redline says this problem leads to mood problems and poorer academic performance. Read full post

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Quick, the Queen is Coming!

By - 16/03/2012 - 13:21

I do believe I’ve cracked the ‘kids and chores’ code. This week, we played a game that I made up (as you’d be able to tell) called ‘Quick! The Queen is coming!' Here’s how it goes ... Read full post

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Raising Boys vs Raising Girls

By - 21/03/2012 - 11:43

The segment on Mornings on Channel 9 raised the question - do we parent boys differently to the way we parent girls? Are there fundamental differences in boys and girls which mean it is easier to parent boys or girls? Do we need to be careful not to be influenced by our children's gender when we're communicating with them? Read full post

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A School Based on Kindness

By - 21/03/2012 - 13:01

In this four minute video, watch what happens everyday in a school in Seattle dubbed The Kindness School. Students start each day talking about something they appreciate. Kindness activities and community interactions are everyday business. Academic classes are not essential. Can traditional schools learn anything from this approach? Read full post

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Early Intervention Funding for Children with Autism

By - 21/03/2012 - 13:57

This segment on Mornings on Channel 9 discusses the benefits of accessing early intervention for children with autism. The recommended minimum number of hours for early intervention is 20 per week but Australian government funding does not cover these significant costs. What can families do? Read full post

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Banning the Mummy Mafia and their Squealing Children

By - 26/03/2012 - 14:25

In an article in the Sydney Morning Herald called Leave Home Without Them, Fenella Souter enters the debate on whether restaurant and café owners should be allowed to ban children from their premises. But rather than discussing the pros and cons of this emotive area, Souter employs a sarcastic and superior tone to ascribe feelings of “parental entitlement” to mothers during their so-called “mandatory public sharing” of the “difficult years of child-rearing.” The author smirks at mums who dare to enter cafes with their young children; these mothers are part of the “mummy mafia” and are living a “sophisticated” (insert sarcasm font) and “consumerist” way of life. Read full post

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One is Enough. Yes I'm Sure

By - 27/03/2012 - 10:37

I am wearing a sign. It floats above my head like a speech bubble. It reads:I have only one child, please ask me when I am having another one...I have no desire to have any more. Whether or not you believe it, that's just how it is. Read full post

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Do Children Know that Seeking Asylum in Australia is Legal?

By - 01/03/2013 - 10:20

This is a story about reading aloud to our 11 year old. I guess it's also a story reflecting my family's history; I'm acutely aware from my Nana's stories, of the terror of escaping from a country in which you are persecuted. And it's a story about helping children digest media...Last week, I was reading this beautifully illustrated book to our Mr 11 Read full post

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July Summit for Promoting Positive School Climate, New York

By - 05/03/2013 - 11:40

For parents, teachers and education policy-makers residing in the United States, the National School Climate Centre (NSCC) invites you to its 16th Annual Summer Institute, happening in July 2013 in New York. Read full post

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Breaking News - We Had Birthday Party Success

By - 07/03/2013 - 13:07

Recently the Huffington Post featured an article called The Upside of Autism by Jackie Morgan MacDougall. It opened with these lines: "People often talk about the difficulties associated with parenting a child with autism..." MacDougall’s article rang many bells with me. Once you’ve stared into the abyss - as I did once when Joe, my then 3-year-old son with autism, was assessed as having moderate-to-severe developmental delay - any achievement, any milestone, is celebrated with extra fervour. Read full post

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Hands Up for Helping Families of Premature Babies

By - 12/03/2013 - 13:49

March is always a hard month for me; I try to stay busy and keep focused so that my mind doesn’t have time to spend on my own thoughts. On the 15th of March this year, it will be nine years since I saw my precious baby, Marcus. I feel weird calling it an anniversary; this word makes it sound like a celebration. To me, it will always be another year since I got to kiss, hold, cuddle, talk to, touch, dream of his life, and so much more. Read full post

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I'm Not Sure About Testing Student Teachers for Emotional Intelligence

By - 13/03/2013 - 13:52

I'm very happy and optimistic about some of the changes the Federal government is proposing to teacher training. Teachers should, I believe, be more highly trained, paid and respected in our society - along with the medical profession, they are pretty much the linchpin of a successful society...If you know anything about me, you’ll know that I believe emotional intelligence education is important. So why would I baulk at the suggestion that new Australian teachers are to be tested for emotional intelligence? Read full post

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Working Mothers or Working Parents - Language is Powerful

By - 19/03/2013 - 12:01

A UK personality and businessperson - Hilary Devey - is quoted in the Daily Mail as saying: “I can’t get any women on my board because women generally put their partner and children first.’ and "There are lots of myths about why women are under-represented in the boardroom, but the excuse about a 'glass ceiling' is the worst. I am living proof there’s no such thing.” In my opinion, both of those latter statements are utter nonsense... Read full post

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Giving Students with Autism a Creative Chance

By - 19/03/2013 - 14:54

At the Creativity Project event in Sydney last week, Professor Sandra Jones takes the stage, followed closely by her co-presenter, author, Lincoln P. Jones. Their topic is 'How educators can help and inspire young people and develop their creativity' and they have travelled a journey to find those answers together. Read full post

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Shaming Teen Mums is a Bad Idea

By - 19/03/2013 - 15:10

What if instead of deciding to shame teenagers out of 'choosing' to become parents with a questionable 'public health' campaign, New York City instead focused their efforts on ending the 'epidemic' of advanced age motherhood? Imagine the outrage. Read full post

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In a Different World, You Wouldn't Call Your Son Retarded

By - 20/03/2013 - 09:03

by Meg Evans: I met you last weekend when I was leaving a crowded shopping centre. Your son, who might have been about ten years old, suddenly did a cartwheel in front of me while I was walking to my car. You took hold of your son’s hand and then glanced toward me and apologised by saying, “He’s retarded, sorry.” ...I have always believed in the power of stories to shape the future. In that spirit, I’ve composed a vignette describing another parking lot encounter, which takes place in the year 2025. Read full post

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Ode to Sleep Deprived Parents - Carmina Burana Music - Brilliant!

By - 20/03/2013 - 13:20

This will make you grin widely - fabulous new lyrics set to the opening chorus music of Carmina Burana and sung by the full Sydney Symphony choir - "O You terror! Get Down From there ...Mum is Getting Cranky .." and so on. For parents of toddlers who just need someone to listen! Read full post

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Toilet Training Twins – Mother of all Messes

By - 26/03/2013 - 11:33

That got your attention, didn’t it? When other mums think about my life with twins and say to me, “I can’t imagine it…”, I say, you can, just close your eyes and imagine. You have toilet trained one toddler - caught wees and rushed little bot bots to the loo with the speed of a mother possessed. Read full post

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Getting the Screen Time Balance Right for Families

By - 04/03/2014 - 11:36

Screen time is all about balance. It's more about what is being done on the screen than the amount of time spent. Too much screen time can mean that family members aren't really talking to each other or spending time in a productive way. If you're not sure if your family has got the right balance, consider these questions: Read full post

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Meat Free Week – Corn Cakes with Tomato and Avocado Salsa

By - 24/03/2014 - 09:57

This week is the 2nd annual Meat Free Week and my lovely husband – a staunch carnivore – has volunteered to take the challenge and forgo flesh for a full seven days. While I’m doubtful that he’ll decide to become a full-time vegetarian after a week without meat, I do hope he will come to realize that you can eat well and still enjoy delicious, satisfying food when consuming a plant-based diet. Read full post

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