How to help your children deal with disappointment, worries and stress

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 20 August 2013

No matter what, all children will encounter situations which are not to their liking. Knowing how to handle disappointments, stress, overwhelm and worry is a very big advantage when you are growing up as it can greatly assist in developing inner strength (otherwise known as resilience).

Following are some ideas to help children learn to distance themselves from the problem:

1. Stop the thoughts: Say to your child who is becoming overwhelmed by worries or a disappointment to stop thinking about it for a while. You can tell them to put them in an imaginary box for a while, let them know they can think about them again after morning tea or the next day.

2. Help them to start another activity that will distract them: go to the park, get active or read a book.

3. Take a break: If it is study, homework, an annoying sibling or anything else that they can take a break from, let them get away from the situation for a little while and then come back to it later. Help them find a special place to go for their breaks. It could be their room, sitting under a tree in the garden or a run around the yard.

4. Be on their page and be their positive side for them: Let them know that you understand they are feeling bad, and that you know they will feel better soon.
In my next few blogs I will be sharing some more ideas relating to helping children manage anxiety, worries and stress.

Posted in: dealing with disappointments worried children stressed children getting along  

Are your children STILL not listening to you?

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 15 July 2013

This week we’re going to get straight to the solution.

Think of when you are misbehaving. Are you really in the best frame of mind to listen to people telling you what you should be doing and why you should be doing it? No? Well, children are the same. To get children to change their behaviour, we have to stop telling and start acting.


  Remember: Just telling (and telling again) is no more than a wish or a nag

What you can do:

1. Tell your child what you do expect from them, when everyone is calm.
If you do this during the misbehaviour no-one will be listening. You will be wasting oxygen and words.
2. State the consequences clearly, that means: what will happen if the child does, and does not do, what you require.
Remember, having a positive consequence in place is much more motivating for a child to do what is expected. Setting the consequences during calm times will help you remember to do this.
E.g. After making yourself a snack, you need to clean up after yourself. If you do, you can have your favourite snack twice in a week. If you don’t, then you can only choose a piece of fruit from the bowl or have nothing.

Some important points:

1. Don’t expect your child to like the new expectation. They sometimes require children to make an effort in an area where they are not used to.

2. Write it down or draw it – so everyone can be reminded.
3.  Remind them, just before you expect them to follow it. This will remind them of the plan and make it easier for them to succeed.
4. If they still chose not to follow your expectation, you don’t have to lecture, just remind them of the negative consequence that you agreed upon.
5. FOLLOW THROUGH - ensure the consequence is experienced whether it is positive or negative.  This is not easy. It’s important to stay positive and not criticize or blame the child for not following the standard – just give the consequence that you have already discussed.

6. Make the consequences relate – consequences work best if they are linked to the behaviour (for example, not brushing your teeth means no sweets, as opposed to missing time on the computer).

7. Do not bluff – you must do what you say. Don’t let no mean – “not yet, pester me and I’ll say yes.”

Dealing with misbehaviour while it is happening is extremely difficult, very stressful, and often doesn't produce the results that you are hoping for. Working within a system, and knowing how to use consequences so that they actually work for you, helps you come up with solutions to reduce misbehaviour that has become stressful.

Posted in: being assertive in charge Children not listening to instructions  

Last Chance to attend Smart Parenting Classes for 2013

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 5 July 2013

Learn simple, easily applied and practical techniques that reduce behaviours causing frustration, anxiety, stress and irritation.

Making family life work can be pretty complicated these days because our lives are moving so much faster now. Every parent experiences upheavals, sleepless nights and behavioural challenges with their children. Feelings of frustration, powerlessness, stress, anxiety and guilt are common to all parents who are trying their best to raise their children.

PEPA Smart Parenting allows you to take the positive steps necessary to assist your family to grow and develop together with confidence and understanding. Children whose parents know and use the  PEPA Smart Parenting techniques, have fewer behaviour problems, are more resilient, get along better with friends, do better academically and can even have better physical health.


PEPA Smart Parenting Group Classes

Classes are structured, interactive, practical and fun. They run over 3 consecutive weeks so that you will have the opportunity to practise at home between classes. (click the heading for more info)


Essentials of Discipline - How Children are like Hair: what you can do to manage yours, yet still allow it to be healthy and bouncy
Nurture resilient, responsible and happy children



Crucial Communication for Co-operation and Calm: what is soft is strong
Build and maintain relationships that mean your children are more likely to listen to and respond to what you say


Simple Steps to Solutions to Stressful Situations
You can be effective in turning misbehaviour into positive behaviour


For more information go to or please feel free to contact me directly.

Warm Regards,



Posted in: being assertive in charge Children not listening to instructions parenting tips parenting classes getting along  

Don't touch that, it's mine! How to communicate to encourage sharing.

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 30 April 2013

Some ideas:

* The way we share our things with children is a great way to teach them. When you are sharing with a child, say things like, “I’d like to share my I pad/computer/cooking utensils/gardening tools with you. You can use it/them for 20 minutes or until I call you for afternoon tea.” Make your expectations clear about how you want the things you are sharing treated and returned.

* Teach children that sharing is not limited to material items. You can practice sharing ideas, thoughts and feelings. For some children this is easier than sharing material items at first and you can ‘honestly’ give them positive encouragement for being a good sharer. Say things such as, “You just told me a great story about kindy today, you are getting really good at sharing.”

Notice and mention when your child does share their things happily.  Say, I just saw you sharing with ....... You are getting much better at sharing.

* Have daily ‘sharing’ experiences, including the feelings associated with them, at dinner (that means you share your experiences and the children share theirs).

*  If your child likes to borrow but doesn’t look after other peoples’ things or doesn’t return them on time, and therefore finds that others are less keen to share with them,  use something of theirs as collateral. I do this with students at school and it can be quite fun. For instance if a child wants to borrow my calculator, I will ask them to give me their shoes until they return my calculator.

* And lastly, something not to say. Do not label children as ‘bad sharers’ or ‘selfish’ for not sharing.  Sharing is a learnt skill, don’t let the learning be ...... there is no hope for me and sharing. Also, children labelled as selfish can carry that into adulthood and end up sharing too much out of guilt. Say things like, ‘I know that you are finding sharing difficult AT THE MOMENT’.?

Let me know how you are going on the PEPA Smart Parenting Facebook page as you try these sharing ideas out.


Posted in: being assertive parenting tips sharing getting along  

How do I get my child to share?

Posted by Meg Parkinson on 17 April 2013

How can I get my child to share? 

I’m not Sharing!

Sharing your prized possessions happily, especially with siblings, is a skill that can take a long time to master. Following is an idea that you can use to make the process a bit easier.
One of the best ways to encourage sharing is to let children know they don’t have to. They don’t have to share EVERYTHING, that is.


Why not?
It can actually teach us to be more responsible for our possessions if we have a sense of ownership.
Having things we value that are our own can give a sense of belonging and importance.
Most adults don’t want to and are not expected to share everything. We choose what we are prepared to share.

What to do:
Get your child or children to sort their toys, pens,  games etc. into groups of things your child does not want to share at all and things he or she is happy to share. Let them put all the ‘not sharing’ toys and possessions in a special place.  Let everyone know which toys are for sharing and which ones aren’t.
Explain that this is a flexible arrangement, it does not mean that they will always have to share the toys in the sharing group or that they can never share the ‘only for me’ possessions.  At the beginning you might try re-sorting the groups each week or each fortnight. You might even notice more things turning up in the sharing group after a while.

• If you have more than one child over 3 years, it is best for everyone to sort their toys and possessions.
• If you have children under 3 years old, it is wise to continue to use distraction as well when they want to use their siblings’ or playmates’ toys  that are not for sharing.
• Make sure you do a ‘sort’ before friends come over to play, to reduce fights and to prepare your child for the ‘sharing duty’ ahead.

In my next blog, I will share another idea to help with sharing.

In the meantime, feel free to share this article!


Posted in: in charge parenting tips sharing getting along