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Blog Posts

Wednesday Gratitude – Summer, Sydney and Christmas Trees

By - 01/12/2010 - 08:48

This is part of our Christmas Tree. I took the photo this morning.Until about 5 years ago we (I mean my husband) used to always make the pilgrimage out to the live Christmas tree farm (somewhere west of Sydney) and choose the perfectly-shaped tree, cut it down and with some difficulty, wedge it into the car next to one or two over-excited children. Read full post

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Our Kids are Clever, or Clever Enough

By - 02/12/2010 - 08:44

We all know our kids are clever, right? We all want them to do well, to do the best that they can, to make friends and thrive and grow. I take great pleasure in watching the small (and large) achievements of my two sons, just as this morning my heart stopped a bit when they both slipped into the spray jackets I bought them in the Blue Mountains during our Christmas holiday last year. Last year, these jackets were way too big ... but this year, oh my goodness, they won't be wearing them next year! Read full post

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What Do You Most Want For Your Children?

By - 03/12/2010 - 11:49

One of the main reasons I changed careers (from lawyer to executive coaching and now parenting publishing) was because I became a parent. I loved many things about being a lawyer, but there were a few other things pressing on my mind and heart ...I read Daniel Goleman’s book Emotional Intelligence, Why It Can Matter More than IQ and felt instantly that the ideas in that book represented the path to what I wanted most for our children: happiness and fulfilment, people to love them and people for them to love. Read full post

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Sorry, Your Son Won't Be Travelling With Us Today

By - 10/12/2010 - 11:01

What follows is a lesson on adhering to the warnings found in the small print of your travel documents. We had a family holiday to Bali booked a year in advance, you see, and it was our dangling carrot, guiding us through end-of-year malaise, the mishmash of bubbling mince on the stove top, the rush to beat the traffic for music lessons, the tedium of swim squad and the daily ironing of uniforms. Ever get to that point of the school term where you feel as though you’re limping towards a finish line? Read full post

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Christmas and Families - What if You're Just Not Into It?

By - 13/12/2010 - 10:04

You might have noticed a few changes around your local area. Shopping centres draped in tinsel, supermarket aisles crammed with chocolate Santas, carols being sung in the park, the odd school concert featuring songs about reindeer … ringing any bells? ... Forget about whether your kids believe in Santa Claus. What about parents who are just not that into Christmas? Read full post

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Oprah Arrives in Sydney - A Girl's Gotta Dream ...

By - 13/12/2010 - 21:49

Anyone in Australia who is exposed to any media at the moment will know - Oprah has arrived. I heard there was an "O" on the Sydney Harbour Bridge and fireworks were being let off. More than 350 000 requests were made to receive tickets to the Oprah Show taping in the Sydney Opera House. I was one of them - but alas I was not successful ... So why am I writing about Oprah on my blog? For three reasons ... Read full post

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Our Family Christmas Traditions

By - 17/12/2010 - 15:11

It’s Christmas time again and this year it seems to have caught me by surprise. I know we have had the same number of days in the year as in all previous years, but for some reason I’m not yet in the Christmassy spirit. Putting up the tree and decorating the house would normally have put me in the mood, however this year I can’t even find the momentum to get the tree out of the cellar ... Read full post

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And So This is Christmas - Children in Detention on Christmas Island

By - 20/12/2010 - 18:56

It's so easy to get lazy about political and international issues when you (read "I") are comfortable in a middle class home with your children well-fed, safe from persecution and well-educated in an Australian school. Read on please ... this is not a political announcement. Because I am busy with bookkeeping, blogging, cooking, housework, writing, mothering and socialising I have not spent nearly enough time researching the issue of children of asylum-seekers being held in mandatory detention in Australia. Read full post

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Smacking Children - Why It is Not the Answer

By - 23/12/2010 - 10:33

On 10 December 2010 the Australian Research Alliance for Children and Youth released a statement called "Smacking is Not the Answer". The media release is supported by UNICEF, The Australian Childhood Foundation, The Benevolent Society, Good Beginnings Australia, Pinky McKay and Families Australia. It's worth a read. Read full post

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Children in Detention on Christmas Island - Christmas Update

By - 23/12/2010 - 15:23

Earlier this week I wrote a blogpost about the news that children are being held in detention on Christmas Island. There were a few questions that were unanswered so we researched the facts for you including contact with the Department of Immigration. One surprising fact stands out - as at 22 December there are more than 465 unaccompanied minors being held in immigration detention in Australia. Read full post

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Replacing a Playstation with an Electronic Drum Kit Improved Our Children's Behaviour

By - 01/12/2011 - 07:53

Not long after the release of Sony’s PlayStation 2 (PS2) in 2000, I won a copy of the newly-released PlayStation game 'This is Football', in an online competition. Around the same time I was also given a shopping voucher as a bonus from work, and I used it to buy a PS2 unit – our family’s first-ever games console, and our first-ever DVD player ... It got to the point that we would ban the PlayStation for periods ... Read full post

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Smug Alert - Are you a Smug Mum?

By - 02/12/2011 - 12:24

Smug, smug, smug – it’s one of those words that the more you say it, the stranger it sounds. What is it about human nature that means we feel better about ourselves when we hear about someone else getting it wrong? It’s why gossip magazines sell in the millions, pushing sales with pictures of celebrities getting into endless varieties of trouble. It’s why we read about mothers who drive and breastfeed at the same time and think, ‘I might not be the best parent on the block, but at least I wouldn’t do that.’ ... Read full post

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Christmas in Summer - a Perfect Time to Enjoy Doing Nothing with Your Family

By - 06/12/2011 - 13:10

In Australia, for many, December means celebrating Christmas, hot days, gifts, reconnection and relaxation, family, more hot days and approximately nine weeks of school holidays. We’re a month into summer and the heat can be oppressive. If you’re lucky and have access to a pool, beach or outback dam, the summer break invariably means much time spent cooling off in the water, perfecting the ultimate ‘bomb’ or dive, hunting for sea creatures in the sparkling depths of rockpools and seaweed forests, or catching yabbies in a muddy dam using nothing other than a bit of string and some pongy meat. Read full post

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Nothing is All Bad - and other Lessons from a Veteran School Mum

By - 13/12/2011 - 20:30

I am writing this post a day before my eldest son’s Higher School Certificate results are released. I’m still living in blissful ignorance but we’re expecting results in the disappointing to disastrous range. That’s okay. Yes really okay. My son and I sat down the other day and worked out a contingency plan in case we’re faced with the disaster scenario. He, however, is dreading telling others his results, and now wishes he’d worked harder. That’s a lesson he had to learn. What have I learned this year? Here are a few random thoughts. Read full post

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How to Recognise Two Stages to a Tantrum

By - 14/12/2011 - 13:03

New research by Professor James Green and colleagues at the University of Connecticut's Department of Psychology finds that, based on sound recordings of children's tantrums, there are two stages to a tantrum. Knowing how to react in these two stages may help parents deal effectively with a toddler's tantrum. Yvette Vignando shared the details on The Morning Show on Channel 7. Read full post

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An Immortal Hovering Television for Your Viewing Pleasure

By - 15/12/2011 - 13:02

Well, we’ve made it through 2011. Almost. Just a few days to go. We’ve made new friends, lost old ones, seen amazing things and been some wonderful places - and mostly due to good friends who share with us their time, their love, their generosity and give us the gift of experiences. The boys have come home this week, this last week of the 2011 school year, with their bags heavy with the fruit of their efforts this year. Workbooks in every possible area: maths, HSIE, literacy and so on .... and I’ve saved two of my favourites to share with you. Read full post

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The Magical World of Believing in Santa

By - 19/12/2011 - 13:49

I have just come off a phone call with a close friend who I have known since primary school – after all these years, she revealed to me today that she has a direct line to Santa. Well, her ten year old girl has apparently confirmed this, having noticed that Father Christmas never leaves her any presents under the tree that her parents don’t want her to have ... Read full post

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When Parents Disagree about How to Raise Children

By - 21/12/2011 - 15:23

It's inevitable that parents will sometimes disagree about how to raise their children - from small to large decisions, it's often necessary to compromise to come to a united decision. Avoiding disagreement in front of children is of course also very important - parents constantly clashing over parenting decisions can cause emotional harm to a child. Read full post

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Short Lesson in Positive Psychology for my Son Delivered via Telephone

By - 23/12/2011 - 11:09

Last night my oldest child had a crisis of confidence. In fact, the crisis began at pick-up and continued well into the evening. The source of his misery was an English paper that he just could not wrap his head around. A paper that was due the next day, the last day of the school term, the day we were flying home and the last thing any of us wanted to focus on was homework. Read full post

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Chrismukkah - Blending Family Celebrations during Christmas and Chanukah

By - 24/12/2011 - 11:57

Merry Chrismukkah: Jewish Christmas- kind of ... There’s a good reason Americans wish each other Happy Holidays - it’s very inclusive. In Australia, we generally wish people a Merry Christmas regardless of what it is they might or might not be celebrating. There are various cultural festivals on at this time of year, as well as hybrids. Take Chrismukkah, for example; this being the blending of Christmas and Chanukah for interfaith Christian/Jewish families. Read full post

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The Coffee Club and Peer Pressure on Teenagers

By - 24/12/2011 - 16:26

A friend recently forced herself to try coffee for the first time. A 33 year-old mother of three, she finally caved in to the social pressure to join the coffee-lovers club. Her first experience wasn’t all that enjoyable, so it will be interesting to see if she perseveres. As a non-coffee drinker, I can understand the pressure that she has faced to conform. I’ve had numerous suggestions from coffee devotees about the best way to overcome my aversion to the taste of coffee. Read full post

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Dismissing Motherhood - a Common Experience?

By - 06/12/2012 - 11:30

I am a mother; therefore I must be dumb. Well, that’s what everyone keeps trying to tell me, right? I got my first hint when I returned to work after becoming a mother. “Don’t call yourself a ‘working mum’. They won’t take you seriously. You have to be professional at work and calling yourself a ‘working mum’ isn’t very professional,” was the advice given to me by a senior female executive. Read full post

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Talking to Children about the Royal Prank

By - 10/12/2012 - 10:15

This morning, two things are on my mind: the mental health of the two young radio hosts at the centre of the prank; and how children are digesting and understanding the Royal Prank news story...how have your children reacted to the news? Has it prompted you to talk about suicide with your children? Or have you had conversations about culpability? Or the role of the international media in the Royal Prank? Or ethics? Read full post

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Bringing Literacy to Thousands More Children This Christmas

By - 11/12/2012 - 13:58

Today was Presentation Day at my children's primary school. It's the end-of-year assembly, that involves the whole school community, and awards excellence in all aspects of school life. Amidst the joy, I felt some sadness. Read full post

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Helicopter Parenting - Why Is It Still the Mother's Fault?

By - 14/12/2012 - 09:43

I live in a small town way out in the country where – it’s true – debates about helicopter parenting are pretty rare. Here packs of sunburned kids ride helmetless around our winding roads, the wind blowing through their sweaty hair, the sun reflecting off their freckled faces...When Catherine Deveny decries helicopter parents and all their associated neuroses, she avoids the very persistent reality for many mothers: that of an oppressive sense of responsibility. Read full post

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I Don't Think Children Should be Tagged

By - 20/12/2012 - 14:00

It can be scary watching your children grow up. Not needing you so much in one way but then needing you more in another. It can also be hard to get the balance right. For example your child wants to do more sleepovers or they want to have the freedom to walk to their friend’s house and then perhaps go onto another friend’s to hang out there. We want to control their movements, to be safe and more importantly, we want them to be where they say they are going to be and be home on time. And we want to drop them places and pick them up at agreed times but often it's not what they want us to do. They want to be responsible and they want to be trusted so do we let them? Read full post

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Michelle's Top Internet Finds

By - 04/12/2013 - 06:55

Here is this week's best-of-the-best child and parenting articles found on the internet, selected by happychild contributor, Michelle Higgins. This week, topics include motherhood, education, literacy, and talking to children about sex education. Read full post

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Creating an Inclusive Education System in Australia

By - 17/12/2013 - 11:10

"I was shocked when the local preschool teacher asked me when my son was coming to preschool… I had no idea he was even permitted to attend the local preschool." Those are not the words of a mother during Apartheid in South Africa or someone labelled 'untouchable' living under a caste system. They are the words of an Australian mother whose son has been labelled 'disabled'. This mother is participating in some of my current research. Read full post

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Christmas Concerns? Advice from an Expert

By - 17/12/2013 - 12:10

Gifts, Santa, and family time. While most children are thrilled by the approach of Christmas, some parents have mixed feelings. Dr Marc de Rosnay*, from the University of Sydney’s School of Psychology, talks you through some possible concerns you might have about your children: Read full post

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