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Blog Posts

Feral Family Weekend Away

By - 05/06/2010 - 22:25

Just returned from a very convivial weekend away with a group of school families who fortunately had similar parenting methods to us. If you’ve ever been away with people who have completely different practices you’ll know what a relief it is to kick back and know no one is judging you for letting your kids run a bit wild. Read full post

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Last Lesson from My Mum

By - 05/06/2010 - 22:32

Firstly, I'm a journalist, not a psychologist. I am, however, a mother and a daughter. My sons' introduction to grief, big earth-shattering loss, was also my own. On Boxing Day 2007, two days short of her 70th birthday, my mother suffered an enormous stroke and literally dropped dead. In my house. At the feet of my sons - then aged 4 & 6. Read full post

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Scare Tactics - When a Child Doesn't Want to Go to School

By - 07/06/2010 - 11:47

Ten minutes before we’re due to leave for school, my seven-year-old tells me, ‘I’ve got a sore tummy. I feel sick.’ Just a minute earlier she was running up and down the hallway with her little sister, giggling fit to bust. Now she’s clutching her belly and looking pale. Read full post

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Teaching Children about Lying and Trust

By - 21/06/2010 - 13:03

How do you teach a child the value of honesty? Depending on your child, their temperament, their age and the context, teaching a child about the importance of truthfulness can be challenging. But honesty is a critical lesson I think all parents need to teach. Paul Ekman, Professor of Psychology has some good ideas... Read full post

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I'm Not a Helicopter Parent

By - 29/06/2010 - 13:44

I’m not a helicopter mother. No way. I don’t trust those helicopter mothers that hover around their children getting involved in everything that they do, pretending they’re not looking and then suddenly swooping in and fussing about something or other. ...I’m more of an A380 mother. Read full post

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Hazy Baby Days

By - 01/06/2010 - 10:00

Now the kids are all at school it’s easy to forget what it was like to have 4 aged under 6. But watching a neighbour struggle with a couple of babies reminded me of those hazy times. Hazy because I can’t actually remember too much about them. I don’t think it’s early onset dementia (although I am having keys/wallet/glasses issues!). Read full post

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Experiences Matter, Not Things

By - 22/06/2010 - 10:00

A wise man I know often reminds me, "Experiences matter, not things." This is, however, a wise man who has never seen the true devastation that is often wrought in our home by The Ninja aged seven, and his brother The Bird, aged 8. Very smart and funny little boys who provide me with no end of entertainment, love, cuddles, kisses, fights and farts. Not necessarily in that order. The house is a mess, constantly, because we believe in Doing Things and Going Places. Read full post

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Best Laughter Ever - Baby Laughing Hysterically

By - 01/06/2011 - 20:57

One of the most smile-inducing videos I have seen. We all love the sound of our own baby laughing at our jokes. Someone mentioned this to me on Twitter tonight and it reminded me of this fabulous video of a Baby Laughing Hysterically at Ripping Paper. Honestly, you should bookmark this for when you need to be put in a good mood, it's wonderful. Read full post

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Remarriage with Children - Creating Good Beginnings

By - 01/06/2011 - 21:36

There are pictures of young Amy on the wall and her name is spoken of lovingly; the scene painted sounds like a beautiful family. There are also wedding photos of a couple together. None of them include Amy. The man is Amy’s dad, Daniel; the woman is her dad's fiancee. And this situation has my mind ticking. Australian statistics indicate that for every marriage recorded, 1 in 3 are re-marriages.Of these re-marriages it has been found that nearly half included children under the age of 16 from previous marriages. Read full post

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Is it Okay to Parody Celebrity Kids like Willow Smith?

By - 02/06/2011 - 11:49

The media has to be careful when it parodies celebrity children, no question. Like all kids, children in the spotlight are entitled to extra care and concern when it comes to reporting on their activities and even in comedy. Disney show So Random has attracted some criticism for a parody of Willow Smith and her "I Whip My Hair" music video. I took a different view for this one clip. Read full post

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Why Did I Worry about Sibling Rivalry?

By - 03/06/2011 - 13:41

It’s funny, but I’ve noticed that in life, the things I really worry about happening are often the things that I don’t need to worry about. (It’s the things I don’t see coming that often blindside me!) Before our second child was born, I worried a lot about sibling rivalry ... When our daughter was born, our then-two-year-old son’s first words upon visiting her in hospital were, “When is the doctor going to put her back into your tummy Mummy?” Read full post

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Facebook is Not a Safe Playground for Children

By - 06/06/2011 - 13:56

Children as young as 8 years old are seeing psychologists. Their parents say they are suffering anxiety as a result of being on Facebook; anxious about what friends are posting about them. I say parents need to remember that Facebook firstly is not allowed for children under 13, and importantly, it's not a safe place for children. Read full post

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Four Spoonfuls' of Sugar for Mary Poppins Sydney

By - 08/06/2011 - 10:14

Review Mary Poppins Musical in Sydney: I remember vividly the first musical I attended as a child. It was Annie, in 1978, and I went with my grandma. What I most remember was being in awe that a little girl like me could be on stage singing in such an amazing voice and that she could remember all the lines - I so wanted to be that girl. Fast forward to 2011, and I went to see a preview performance of Disney's Mary Poppins in Sydney, this time taking our 9 year old son Read full post

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No Time for Writer's Block, or Bench Pressing 30 Kilos

By - 13/06/2011 - 09:35

by Sophie Lee: A funny thing seems to be happening as my children grow older. Instead of becoming more productive, as I’d expected, I’ve established a pattern of getting less done than ever. I sometimes feel as though I myself have fallen down a well and am in need of a potion to restore order to the surrounding chaos. In 2006 I was handed an amazing opportunity. When I say ‘handed’ I mean, I’d fought for it to happen, but it felt like a gift nevertheless. I landed my first ever book deal, that is to say, an offer to expand a short story into a full-length novel. Read full post

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Flying Space Junk, Motherhood and Fear

By - 15/06/2011 - 12:45

When I was a child we lived in country NSW. During school holidays my older sister and I would travel to Sydney by train, unaccompanied, to be met by our grandmother at the other end. On the return journey the reverse would happen. This started when I was quite young, eight years old or so, and my sister eleven. The trip was a long one, close to eight hours, and I’d pass the time reading and daydreaming. I remember feeling terribly grown up as I made my purchases from the food trolley that trundled up and down the corridors of that train. Recently I had to dispatch my middle son on a similar journey. Read full post

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Tablet Technology and Children's Literacy - Parents' Responsibility

By - 15/06/2011 - 13:11

Yvette Vignando appeared on The Morning Show on Channel 7 with Rod from Gadget King to talk about new tablet technology for children and the views of some people who say it may have an adverse affect on children learning to read and spell. Yvette said it comes back to parental responsibility and making sure children still have time to develop in other important ways. Read full post

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Facebook and Twitter Social Skills - a Video

By - 15/06/2011 - 20:45

We post so much here about social skills and also about social networking sites like Facebook, this video just had to be shared. Watch it with your teenagers who will LOL and ROFL with you - it's actually a viral ad. campaign for an opera but trust us, it's worth a watch. Extremely funny if you have every used Facebook and Twitter. Read full post

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A Family is Where Love is Abundant

By - 20/06/2011 - 10:05

Sitting in her New York apartment being interviewed by a New York Times journalist, Gabrielle Einhorn says that for her, a family means abundance, commitment, and the intimacy that comes from a shared history. Her child, Griffin, was conceived by an IVF sperm donation from a very close friend of hers; Griffin’s biological father’s name is George Russell and he is gay. Mr Russell has his own partner, David Nimmons. On Sundays all four of them have dinner together, and Mr Russell stays over a few nights each week to spend time with Griffin. At this point, most readers will be starting to make judgements about Griffin’s family. Is this the right thing for Griffin? Is it ideal for families to be formed in this way? Read full post

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Time Affluence for Children - a Cure for Affluenza

By - 21/06/2011 - 12:26

Preparing for this segment on The Morning Show, I looked up one of my favourite researchers and writers on happiness, Tal Ben Shahar. Ben Shahar has many strings to his bow including teaching Positive Psychology at Harvard and author of best seller books "Happier" and "Being Happy"....Tal Ben Shahar and his colleagues frequently cite the single biggest predictor of happiness as 'Time Affluence' - this is really having time to do things that are important to you and meaningful for you ... Read full post

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Madison the Makeup Guru is 5 years Old

By - 24/06/2011 - 14:58

I thought this segment on The Morning Show was going to be mostly about adultification of children - five year old Madison has over a million views on YouTube for her many videos of her applying makeup and reviewing it - in a five year old kind of way: "I really love it". But in the end I thought it was about something innocent that ended up with a child becoming a PR vehicle for adult makeup products - what do you think? Read full post

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Of Course, You'll Want the Pink Party Bag, Won't You?

By - 27/06/2011 - 09:34

Not so long ago, I wrote about my six-year-old daughter’s ambition to be a builder. Cunning inventions made from sunglasses and old CDs attached with straw flow from her fingers, and nothing makes her happier than a new box of Lego. She is also uncannily gifted at Monopoly, so I look forward to enjoying old age supported by my wealthy and astute property developer of a daughter. She is not a keen clothes shopper (‘no’ is her assessment of most garments), but given the choice she would prefer to pick a Ben 10 t-shirt from the boys’ side of the store than a pink fairy dress from the girls’ aisle. Read full post

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Two Sides to Every Bully - I was Both

By - 28/06/2011 - 22:47

When I was in high school I was bullied. For about six months, a group of older girls and some guys would follow a few of my friends and I around the school grounds threatening us. They never physically hurt us, but they scared us. It got so bad that my Mum would come and meet me at the school bus stop and walk me home. On the days she couldn’t meet me I would run as fast as I could, in the hope I would outrun my bullies. I wasn’t always fast enough and they would ride their bikes beside me, taunting me as I walked home. Read full post

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How to Dress for the School Run - and the Paparazzi

By - 29/06/2011 - 23:04

by Maggie Alderson: What? It’s that time already? … I can’t be the only mother to have this daily reaction when the clock has somehow come round to school pick up time, ... It doesn’t leave much time to plan an outfit. More likely, a lightening check that there are no food stains too visible to the casual glance, before racing to the door. But every school has at least one mother for whom the school run seems to be a kind of personal fashion parade. Spray on jeans, sky high heels, a year round tan and sleek long hair, seem to be the default look. Read full post

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Principals Suggest School Run Parents Lift Their Game

By - 30/06/2011 - 19:05

A bit of fun on The Morning Show today with Suzanne Mostyn and Yvette Vignando discussing the right look for picking up and dropping children to school. Some Principals in the UK requested that parents improve their standards fo dress on the school run because many of them were turning up in their pyjamas and dressing gowns. Elle Macpherson seems to be able to throw herself together reasonably well. Read full post

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Moving Overseas with Children - the Big Adventure

By - 01/06/2012 - 14:56

In six weeks, my family and I will be moving to Toronto, Canada from Newcastle, Australia. My husband was offered the opportunity for a transfer with his job, and after much discussion, we decided to take it. The initial contract will last for two years, with the option for us to return home after that time. The two-year time frame makes it doable for me – who knows what will happen after that? We don’t have to decide right now ... I think I have some expectations to manage, as they say in corporate-speak! I know my children are resilient, but I’m also prepared for some tears as their world changes. Read full post

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Evidence that Children are Brilliant, Encouraging and Amazing

By - 04/06/2012 - 08:03

This video shows that given the opportunity, children are supportive, kind, empathetic and brilliant. It's inspiring to see this young boy with cerebral palsy complete a running race but even more inspiring and uplifting is the support he gets from his peers - watch this video, cry, be inspired to give more today. Read full post

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I Don't Have a Favourite Child - If I Did, I Wouldn't Tell You

By - 06/06/2012 - 12:41

The old chestnut - having a favourite child - was up for discussion today on Mornings on Channel 9. Journalist Paul Chai read Jeffrey Kluger's book The Sibling Bond and wrote an article admitting that while he loves both his kids, he finds one easier to relate to and easier to bond with. I had a chat about this with Paul and Mornings hosts David Campbell and Sonia Kluger. Depending on what you read, 100 %, 95%, 70%, 65% or 23% of parents admit to having a favourite child ... Read full post

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Childcare in Australia - Cost, Quality and Availability

By - 08/06/2012 - 16:10

Quality, cost and availability of childcare in Australia is in the news. Yesterday Prime Minister Julia Gillard called an urgent meeting with some of the key stakeholders and service providers of childcare in Australia to discuss what can be done to improve the situation for Australian families. In this video I offered my opinion on some of these areas but I am very interested to hear from you about what you feel should be done to improve quality and accessibility of childcare in Australia. Read full post

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Building Empathy in Medicine Using My Big Mouth

By - 12/06/2012 - 12:15

I talk for a living. I often get asked to MC events. Over the last few years, I’ve been increasingly asked to speak at conferences pertaining to neonatal surgery issues and research. Not because I know anything about neonatal surgery, but because I’m a parent of a child who has undergone major heart surgery and spent time in a neonatal intensive care unit. What I tell them, is how to do their jobs better. This story is about why I love my big mouth. Read full post

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School's Play with No Contact Policy Upsets Students and Parents

By - 15/06/2012 - 13:35

A primary school principal in Victoria, Australia has told children to "play with no contact"; the Principal explained that this direction came "directly from a safety perspective". In setting the background to this rule, Principal Ms Beckworth said the school had "a broken collarbone, broken wrist and concussion" . Children were so upset with this ban that Year 6 students are reported to have protested with some kind of 'sit in' on the oval at lunch time. It is reported that the school put a stop to the protest and that the students were called into the school hall to be spoken to about that behaviour. Parents are also reported to be upset by the ban and because the school did not consult the parent community first. Read full post

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Eating Your Placenta and other Parent Practices

By - 18/06/2012 - 12:24

I didn't know what else to call this piece. My aim in this segment was to share some serious information about a few parenting topics that have hit the news due to celebrities talking about their parenting choices. We didn't get to discuss everything because one of my lovely co-hosts Sonia Kruger got the giggles - actually it was probably ambitious in the first place! Watch the short video here for as much information as I could squeeze in between the laughter. Below, just a few short points to consider. Read full post

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How My Husband Raised a Good Man

By - 19/06/2012 - 11:13

I’m just about to reveal myself as an appalling hypocrite. I think I can justify myself, however. You may recall that in my last outing for happychild I expressed my discomfiture at the idea of parents monitoring their kids’ Facebook accounts. (Not everyone agreed with me I have to add.) Yet only the other day I found myself reading my eldest son’s private correspondence without his knowledge. Read full post

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I Love Mothering, and Other Things - My Rat Brain

By - 25/06/2012 - 15:56

I love the brain. I love reading and learning about how it operates. A lot of you might be thinking now, ‘OMG - what a nerd?!?’ But I can’t help it – it fascinates me... Of particular interest to my nerdy obsession is the parenting brain – the brain structures and chemicals that are involved in parenting ... I recently came across an article that looked at the motivation of mothers to mother, as they and their kids grew older. It was conducted on our research mammal friends – rats – but it really got me thinking about the parallels with humans. Read full post

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Baby Vervet Monkeys for your Dose of Cute

By - 24/06/2013 - 20:42

Some furry baby monkeys frolicking - waste a bit of time with your toddler or preschooler watching these cuties playing together. Remind you of anyone? Read full post

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Mindfulness - If I Could Wind Back Time for Our Children

By - 25/06/2013 - 11:58

If I could rewind time with our kids, teaching them more mindfulness-based habits is one thing I would do...This month, the British Journal of Psychiatry has published research showing that after a nine week mindfulness program at school, teens experienced fewer depressive symptoms, lower stress and greater overall wellbeing. Read full post

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Mindfulness in Schools - TedX talk - How Does it Work?

By - 25/06/2013 - 12:20

Co-creator of Mindfulness in Schools, teacher Richard Burnett talks about the project and how mindfulness is important to wellbeing and happiness. Includes a mindfulness exercise to experience Read full post

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Competition–Win Free Registration to the Infant and Early Childhood Social and Emotional Wellbeing Conference

By - 26/06/2013 - 10:25

Win free registration to the Infant and Early Childhood Social and Emotional Wellbeing Conference in Canberra in October/November. Described as a "call to action", the program promises to be participative, innovative, stimulating, thought-provoking and enriching. Posing the questions: What vision do we want for our future? and Where should we be focussing our attention and efforts?, the conference will focus on what we can do to ensure children's social and emotional wellbeing and good mental health. Read full post

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Could Music Be the Key to Improving Resilience in Kids?

By - 03/06/2014 - 09:38

Music surrounds us—in shops, at work, on television, and at the movies. We program our own personal soundtracks effortlessly via iPods and similar devices. With new technologies, listening to music has moved from being an active activity to a passive one in a generation. We all 'do music' — but to really reap the benefits we need to engage with music. Going through life with a passive backing track is not enough. Read full post

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