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Blog Posts

Happiness is Contagious in a Family

By - 05/10/2010 - 16:41

I guess we all know that if we feel happy, some of this good mood rubs off on our children. You've also probably noticed how quickly your bad mood spreads through the family home on those inevitable 'off' days. Harvard Medical School researcher, Dr Nicholas Christakis, has researched the spread of indicated a link between how we're feeling and how happy (or not) our social networks are. Read full post

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Triple P Parenting Course - Best Thing I've Done

By - 07/10/2010 - 10:56

How did it get so hard? Where did we go wrong? Did I answer my parents back at 3? Surely not. Was I negotiating each time my mother asked me to do something? ...In short, we've been taken to a place we never knew existed. Before kids, I negotiated deals with my eyes closed, confidently presented to a room full of buyers, hosted VIP international client dinners and now, here I am, debating with our daughter...Never one to ask for help, I finally surrendered after another shocking bedtime debating match and turned to my husband and said, “Enough is enough, we need help”. And there it was... Read full post

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Childrens' Health Enhanced by More than Fruit and Vegetables

By - 11/10/2010 - 10:27

In an article published in the Journal of Happiness Studies, it was concluded that happiness prolongs the life of healthy people and may even protect against us falling ill. Scientists have known for some time that stress can have a negative effect on our immune systems. Probably I am slightly more paranoid that the average parent but I often think about my kids’ health throughout the day – have they brushed their teeth, did they have enough vegetables at dinner, why aren’t they eating lunch at school, did they do enough physical exercise this week? Read full post

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Ever Carried a Sleeping Child from the Car to the House?

By - 12/10/2010 - 11:49

Driving home from a coaching appointment this morning I listened to Richard Fidler on ABC Local Radio, interviewing Paul Kelly, Australian songwriter and musician. Paul Kelly played a song I had not heard before called They Thought I Was Asleep...it brought back memories of all the times, as a child, I observed unspoken moments between my parents... Read full post

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How Not to Freak Out When Your Child is Bleeding - a Mum's Perspective

By - 13/10/2010 - 11:27

Having survived the school holidays, I thought it was time to put pen to paper before I have to make another trip to the doctor/dentist/hospital. When I finished high school last century, my very sensible parents encouraged me to do nursing. Many years and children later I am eternally grateful for that three year course in how-not-to-freak-out-when-someone is-bleeding…a lot. Read full post

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So Many Bad Mothers Out There - Join The Club

By - 14/10/2010 - 11:13

Have you noticed how many bad mothers there are in the world? There must be lots, because there are special clubs for them all over the place. Just do an internet search for ‘bad mothers club’ and you’ll see what I mean. Most of these groups and their websites are an expression of solidarity amongst mothers who feel overwhelmed by the endless criticism that they experience as they go about their parenting business. Read full post

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Who the Hell is Jimmy? Your Teenager's Friend?

By - 19/10/2010 - 12:39

Most parents manage the tween years in this wonderful haze of parenthood. Cut to the onset of adolescence, and you realise that you’ve duped yourself into a false sense of security. You’ve had all these years thinking that the child growing in your family - this happy, communicative child, the one that makes you cards for those special occasions - would grow into an insightful teenager... Read full post

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Playground Speak - It's Out of Line Sometimes

By - 21/10/2010 - 20:35

We have three boys and like many other kids, I suspect, they have had a tendency to refer to things they don't like as "gay" or even "retarded". This is playground speak and some people might advise me to just let it go. But I detest this kind of language coming from kids or anyone...language is a tool much stronger than the proverbial "sticks and stones" and I feel strongly that children need to learn about its impact and develop some empathy for people... Read full post

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My Oprah Moment - Education - It's More than the Three Rs

By - 30/10/2010 - 08:55

On 1 November 2010 near Drummoyne, Sydney, over 100 people have so far registered to attend the Oprah Show meetup on a topic of great importance - the education system. I will be talking there about the need for emotional intelligence education to be included in the Australian National Curriculum, and sharing the fascinating research into why this is so important. There are only a few tickets left. Full details are in the blogpost. Read full post

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Parents - It's Okay to Let Your Children Fail Sometimes

By - 30/10/2010 - 10:51

As Harvard’s Positive Psychology Lecturer and author of best-selling book Happier, Tal Ben Shahar has spent his life studying what makes people happy. And his mantra to his students is “learn to fail, or fail to learn.” This can be applied to parenting too. Letting our children experience minor failures, without rushing in to save them, helps them learn key skills that are essential to deal with the inevitable disappointments of everyday life. Read full post

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Who Wants to Be a Domestic Goddess?

By - 31/10/2010 - 09:25

Yes we’ve all been to another mother’s house that has looked like she’s spent the morning actually licking it clean with her own tongue as if a lifestyle magazine photo shoot were happening that very afternoon instead of your visit for tea, biscuits and gossip. That woman will soon be having a breakdown in the middle of a supermarket aisle: you do not want to be her. Read full post

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There Were 15 Nine Year Olds in My House - A Birthday Party

By - 31/10/2010 - 10:21

Just the mere mention of a child's birthday party is enough to send me into a sweat. I hate them. No, really...I simply refuse to pay an exorbitant amount of money for themed parties, clowns, face-painters, magicians, musicians, hookers and blow. Not going to happen. I will, however, spend a goodly amount of money on awesome loot bags for all attendees, great food for kids (no fairy bread here, thank you very much), and great food (and wine) for the adults. Read full post

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Sleep and Children - Tell Me It Gets Better?

By - 03/10/2011 - 14:52

I have not had a good night’s sleep for close to five years. It’s pretty easy to work out why. I have three children under the age of five. I've had to deal with many different reasons for not getting sleep. Here are just some of them ... Tell me it gets better ... Read full post

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My Daughter Learns the Difference between Happiness and Cake

By - 03/10/2011 - 15:27

"Mummy, I’m sad,’" my three-year-old said to me. "What’s making you feel sad?’" I sat down next to her and asked. ‘Ummm,’ she said, and I could see the confusion in her eyes as she tried to find the words to answer. Despite her knowledge of hundreds of words, and her almost constant state of conversation, you realise how limited a child’s speech is in moments like these ... Happiness is the current obsession with my daughter ... Read full post

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Help! I Love Books but My Child is a Reluctant Reader

By - 10/10/2011 - 15:44

I’ve been infatuated with reading ever since I can remember. Not always fine literature: I had a drawer full of Phantom comics when I was about seven, which I would pore over by torchlight after lights out ... So how is it that my kids would do pretty much anything to avoid having to read a book? Read full post

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14 Year Old Boy in Custody, Bali - Where's the Compassion?

By - 10/10/2011 - 14:09

As our family drove back from a country holiday on the weekend, we heard news on the radio that a 14 year old boy from NSW had been arrested in Bali for allegedly being in possession of a small quantity of marijuana. Our boys are aged 16, 13 and 9, so it was easy for me to make a quick mental leap to the minds of this young man’s parents ... But there was some commentary I saw online today that made me uncomfortable and angry Read full post

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Motherhood, Boys and Testosterone - I'm Happy

By - 13/10/2011 - 10:27

It’s only recently that I’ve realised how content I am just having boys. They suit me. I happily call myself a feminist but when I was pregnant with my first child I surprised myself by wanting a son. I was smug when I had him too; the first boy on either side of the family after five girls. With my second son I had an unspoken preference for a girl, but he was such a beautiful baby, a competition winner no less. With my third ... Read full post

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Are Parents to Blame for Helicopter Parenting?

By - 17/10/2011 - 09:29

According to current popular discourse, modern day parents fall into one of two distinct categories: relaxed free-ranger or over involved and controlling helicopter. And while much fun can be had satirising the extremes of either parenting style, missing from the discussion has been a deeper analysis of the larger context in which everyday parenting decisions are made ... When I examine my own parenting I find myself veering wildly between the two extremes, the parenting equivalent of the hybrid car. Read full post

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My Daughter Wants Acceptance - Please Teach Your Children Well

By - 18/10/2011 - 10:37

On the day we went to Sea World our girl Ivy was tired. We all were. As we walked into the park two girls pushed past us hurriedly and into the bathroom, which is where we were headed to. We took our place right behind them. It would have been fine except that those two little girls then turned around and made loud comments about Ivy’s "fat" face and her "fat" cheeks and her "squishy eyes" (whatever those are anyway). Then they proceeded to whisper and look back at Ivy in that hateful little girl way that makes me want to stab something ... Read full post

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Raising Twins - I Have My Training Wheels On

By - 19/10/2011 - 20:27

I kind of knew that some interesting sibling dynamics were up the sleeve of life. However intellectual I have been about it, there is always something humbling about actually living it. My 4 year old has a different relationship with each of his sisters - we have tried to encourage this ... that each kid is unique and there will be things you don't and do like about each other, and at different times. That's cool. But you see, one of the girls isn't walking yet - it fits with her personality ... So kindy boy has taken a liking to his sister - the one who is walking and running and able to follow his commands. Read full post

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Problogger Blogging Conference – Parents, Prams, Positives and Perspective

By - 24/10/2011 - 12:04

Some of you will have never heard of Problogger, nor of #pbevent (a label given to the blogging conference on Twitter) and so you may have been blissfully unaware of the gathering of some of Australia’s most enthusiastic, experienced and new bloggers in Melbourne on Friday 21st October 2011. And many of you were there with me - catching up with friends, learning and squishing into some of the floor-seating-only popular sessions. It was an energy-filled day ... Although the Problogger conference was not a gathering of parents, because I connect with so many parents online and offline, I wanted to first share with you the Twitter names of some of the beautiful parents I met before and at the event ... Read full post

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How Children Teach and Learn Compassion

By - 26/10/2011 - 16:02

The past couple of weeks have been very stressful for me. A close family member has been ill, and the whole family has been thrown into disarray. When things are hard it’s easy to become irritable due to sleep deprivation, anxiety and sadness. It can be hard to maintain good judgement and even-temperedness. I felt angry at the unfairness in the world and felt my hackles rising when I heard any-one whinge about having been stuck in traffic or unable to find a parking spot. Thankfully I was able to keep my cool with my children and actually enjoyed doing simple things with them such as reading stories as a kind of stress-release. Being with them also reminded me of the good fortune in my life. Read full post

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Children Tell Adults about What Makes Them Feel Happy

By - 28/10/2011 - 16:23

“…if I could ask any child what they would like in the world I would definitely ask it. I think it would be interesting to find out what everyone’s ideas are. What they want…” (14-year old girl). When we are asked what we want most for our children, most of us will answer “happiness”. Asking children about what contributes to their feelings of wellbeing reveals some insightful answers to how we can provide that happy life. A study, conducted by the NSW Commission for Children and Young People and published in 2007, highlighted the importance of adults using parenting and educational practices that promote children’s emotional and social well-being. Read full post

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Bed Wetting in Children - Worrying When They Spring a Leak

By - 30/10/2011 - 13:08

Mr 8 still leaks. And while I knew not to worry about it, until if and when he did for things like sleep-overs, I’ve always maintained a vigilant eye to make sure that if he was becoming concerned, I’d know and be able to act on it early ... A local behavioural paediatrician recently held an information evening on bedwetting so I thought I’d head along ... Read full post

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Parents Help Young Girls Develop a Positive Body Image

By - 31/10/2011 - 20:11

Tonight I read some extracts from a UK School Health Education Unit report called “Young People Into 2011”. The headlines about the report tell us that about one third of primary school girls are missing their meals and are unhappy with their weight. I’m only a little surprised because there’s so much media coverage of teenage girls who are unhappy with their body image. Read full post

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Don't Put Your Old Television in Your Child's Room

By - 03/10/2012 - 12:15

Research results were released this week from the University of Sydney’s School of Public Health indicating that between about 20% and 30% of five year olds in Australia have a television in their bedroom. I was surprised. Although the study was focused on obesity in younger children, it is the figure about televisions in bedrooms that really amazes me...If you were considering putting your old television in your child’s room, here are my 8 reasons for why you should instead donate it to charity: Read full post

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My Children Help Me Adjust to Expat Living

By - 04/10/2012 - 11:53

When you are new to a place, for that first little while you get to really see it, as if you are looking through the eyes of a child. Soon the sight of a squirrel pausing to nimbly pick up an acorn with its tiny squirrel paws will become something I have seen a hundred times before. But for now it is a novelty. “Squirrel!” the children squeal every time one makes a brave dash across the street or jumps from one tree branch to another. The Canadians seem bemused by our enthusiasm. Read full post

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Neuroblastoma in Children - One Family's Story

By - 05/10/2012 - 11:09

Michaela Flanagan’s daughter, Ciara, was diagnosed with a childhood cancer called neuroblastoma when she was just 12 weeks old. Ciara was immediately put on an aggressive treatment regimen and underwent two strenuous operations and eight bouts of powerful chemotherapy. Throughout her first 12 months of life, Ciara spent half of it in hospital… Read full post

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Pregnancy Rollercoaster - Will Everything be Okay?

By - 08/10/2012 - 13:18

My youngest child recently celebrated his first birthday. Being the third child he has always had to fit in with the schedule of the other two as well as us, so naturally his first birthday was shared with the big soccer presentation day. It was a very busy day, kick-started with balloons and present opening ...as I always do on my kids' birthdays reflected on his birth – the order of events, how I felt when he was born, etc. But I also found myself revisiting feelings of being very thankful that he was here with us, because my pregnancy with him hit some bumps along the way. At the beginning of it, I honestly thought he was gone. Read full post

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Two Fourteen Year Old Girls - One is Married

By - 10/10/2012 - 12:49

I travelled to India in 2010 with other volunteers working with global not-for-profit, Room to Read, in order to find out more about their programs on the ground. Room to Read helps students in Asia and Africa learn to read and write, and helps girls finish school. I don’t think I was prepared for the impact of meeting a young girl from a small village in the middle of the Rajasthan desert. Read full post

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What My Mother Whispered In My Ear

By - 11/10/2012 - 10:07

This is a conversation my mother and I had last week. What started as a conversation about the current economic climate in Greece, soon turned into reflection for my mother who was born in rural Greece in 1935. As a small child she would walk to primary school with her older brother. Read full post

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Looking at Teenage Girls Through New Lenses

By - 11/10/2012 - 11:34

As we stand up for International Day of the Girl Child, October 11, I have decided it’s time to celebrate that often dreaded period of a girl's development: her teen years. I want to inject a new word into that conversation around parenting girls. Read full post

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Losing a Parent to Cancer and Finding a Place to Heal

By - 15/10/2012 - 16:05

Maree’s husband, Allan, died earlier this year after battling brain cancer, throwing her world into turmoil and disrupting the lives of her two young daughters as they struggled to cope with the fear and devastation of losing their father, and the uncertainty this meant for their future. Read full post

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Do Your Children Play on Smartphones in Restaurants?

By - 25/10/2012 - 08:28

Late last year, I was sitting in a pizzeria in Balmain having dinner with my then 14-year-old. The restaurant was full with most of the tables taken up with families, not a great surprise on an early Saturday night. However, as I looked around the room, I noticed a pretty astounding thing. Apart from our table, every single child in the restaurant – and I mean every single child – was playing on some smartphone, tablet or games device. And these were children of all ages, from kids in prams and high chairs to older teenagers. Read full post

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He Stands Up for Girls’ Education. He’s Been to the UN. He’s 13.

By - 10/10/2013 - 11:34

October 11 is International Day of the Girl Child, declared by the United Nations as a day to recognize the challenges and power of girls. Josh Lorschy is a 13-year-old Australian boy living in Sydney. Josh was selected to be at the United Nations in New York when Malala Yousafzai delivered her petition and speech to the UN on the critical importance of educating girls. On International Day of the Girl Child, Josh shares his journey with happychild. Read full post

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Ponycorn - Five Year Old Programs a Computer Game with Dad

By - 13/10/2013 - 12:41

Should kids learn computer programming as young as kindergarten? There is a lot of fear-mongering around kids and technology. Is it a case of fearing what we don’t know? In 2012, video game developer Ryan Henson Creighton and his daughter Cassie gave a 7 minute talk at Tedx Toronto about a game they had collaborated on, called Ponycorn, which became a worldwide sensation. Read full post

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Using Science for Video Classification, instead of Guesswork

By - 18/10/2013 - 10:42

There is strong evidence that consumption of violent media risks influencing people’s thoughts, attitudes and behaviour. The evidence cannot ever be conclusive but in our society we take some pretty drastic measures based on less than ironclad proof ... Regulatory action to respond to the science on violent media would not simply be a matter of tightening up access on all fronts. A root and branch review of the classification categories and criteria is needed to shift the focus away from what is offensive to what is harmful based on the evidence. Read full post

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