Simple choc chip slice – ready in a jiffy

Simple choc chip slice – ready in a jiffy

This simple choc chip slice recipe is for the days when you want an afternoon snack, but you really couldn’t be bothered. That’s not to say it’s not amazingly yummy and moreish, because it is. What it mainly is, is fast.

You will memorise the recipe within about two goes of making it. Then it will just be a matter of thinking, “I really feel like a simple choc chip slice for afternoon tea” and then you’ll just make it.

Keep all of the ingredients on hand, ready to go.

You can take out the choc chips and add in pepitas or sunflower seeds to make this a healthier snack, but I think it’s just fine the way it is. It’s super-yummy with raisins instead of choc chips, too. It’s great for lunchboxes, either way.

You can make this simple choc chip slice a little less simple, but ultimately more indulgent, but substituting crumbled and smashed dark chocolate for the choc chip bits. Just put your chocolate block into a ziplock bag (or wrap in a clean tea towel for a more sustainable approach) and smash away with your meat hammer. Very therapeutic and it adds to the little-bit melty,  little-bit chunky chocolate,  lotta-bit smashingly good appeal of the slice.

Enjoy this one this afternoon with a cuppa.


Another good slice: Healthy Weetbix slice


 

Simple choc chip slice

Simple choc chip slice - easy to make, quick to bake
 
Makes 12 slices
Takes 10 minutes
Bakes 30 minutes
 
• 150 g butter, room temperature
• ½ cup brown sugar
• 2 free-range eggs
• ¾ cup wholemeal plain flour 
• ½ cup wholemeal self-raising flour
• 1 packet dark choc bits

Preheat oven to 180ºC and line a 16×16 cm slice pan with baking paper.

Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time and beat until creamy.

Sift both flours into a large bowl, add the choc bits and mix until combined. Fold this flour mix into the butter mix until just combined.

Spoon into the pan and smooth with the back of a metal spoon.

Bake for around 30 minutes, until an inserted skewer comes out clean and slice is gently golden on top.

50 cheap or free ways to have fun with friends

50 cheap or free ways to have fun with friends

We love it when our kids want to hang out and be social. We don’t love it when they have to spend ridiculous amounts of money to have fun with friends. Every now and then it’s great to go to a water park, shopping, laser tag, eating fast food or seeing a movie, but not every weekend. Not when we’re paying!

It’s also super-annoying when in response to us asking our kids to cut back on the expensive stuff, they end up hanging out texting each other. Isn’t the whole point of urging them to be social to get them off the darn screens?

Here’s a big list of things kids can do to have fun with their friends without it costing much at all and (mostly) without their phones getting involved. 

So, share this list with your kids, then don’t hesitate to say yes when they want to hang out with friends. In fact, say yes as often as you can.

50 awesome ways to have fun with friends

1. Kick a ball at the park

Let’s start with the basics. Outside ball games don’t get any less fun just because you’re older now. Kicking or throwing a ball at the park is a good excuse for a chat in the great outdoors. 

Kicking a ball is one of the ways to have fun with friends for free

2. Take a picnic somewhere

Keep the outside theme going and take lunch to a park, bush walk, the beach or even into the backyard if that’s all you can manage. Being outside in green space is actually critical for wellbeing, so it makes sense to spend as much time out there as possible. It’s also a lot of fun making a picnic with your friends – get each person to bring something to share.

3. Make something

While you’re busy making lunch, consider some other things you can make with your friends. Get together and pool your skills set (or learn new skills together). Something like:

Knit trauma teddies for the Red Cross to distribute to kids in hospital

Restore an old piece of furniture you find on the side of the road

• Make a video – write, produce and edit a video about something that matters to your group

Build a garden bed

Feed the birds

4. Have a spa day

Facials and massages are expensive, but supercheap to DIY. Fair enough, a group of girls are more likely going to give each other facials and new hairstyles. Which seems a great shame.

5. Play tennis

You might be crap at tennis, but that’s okay. You’ll get much better with practise! Tennis courts are cheap to hire as a group – and sometimes even free. Check with your local council what’s available in your area, or ask your school if the tennis courts are available out of hours. Set up a tournament

6. Go to free concerts

You might not be hanging out seeing Hilltop Hoods or Eminem live, but free concerts are definitely worth seeking out and are the best way to have fun with friends we know. For instance, the MCA in Sydney puts on the fantastic Genext every quarter, with free access to the museum, live bands, eats and workshops. All free. Or check out what’s coming up where you live (note, not all events will be specifically under 18):

Melbourne for free

Brisbane for free

Eventbite – search your area and ‘free’

7. Get into board games

There’s a reason board games still exist when video games are so awesome: they’re awesome too! There are plenty of good ones for older kids. Try one of these:

Catan – A strategy game for 3-4 players where each player has to use their resources wisely to build the most efficient and largest settlement on the island of Catan. It’s a fun, noisy game you can play in about one to two hours.

Risk – the goal is to take over the world. To achieve domination, you deploy your army, secure territory, and stop invasions. As well as your strategic thinking, you’re also relying on the luck of the dice to roll your way. This is a long and involved game, that can sometimes go on for days. Or you can play it quickly and be the ruler of the world by dinner time.

Dungeons and Dragons –  Thanks to Stranger Things, D+D is back in a big way. It’s almost hard to believe that this game has been played for more than 45 years. And that some players have literally been playing it for 35 years straight! It must be doing something right. At its heart, it’s basically a collective ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ storytelling game, but the camaraderie that develops between players is what keeps them rolling the dice for years. Warning: some people get really into it.

Cards Against Humanity – it’s rude, outrageous and downright disgusting at times, but it’s also insanely funny way to spend time with your mates. Definitely ask your parents before tackling this creative and clever game. The official recommended age is 18+.

8. Volunteer your time

Every community, everywhere, needs some older kid power to keep it going and it can be lots of fun if you volunteer with your friends. Whether it’s packing boxes for a local mission, bush regeneration, or slinging Bunnings snags for Rotary, there’s loads you can do. Check out more options for volunteers aged 14-18+ here.

Volunteer your time to have fun with friends

9. Binge-watch a new show

Sure, it’s a screen, but it’s also a scream. Watching a show you’re all into together is also a highly social way to have fun with friends. You’ll find yourself pausing regularly to rehash the plot or bitch about a character. Make it a regular get-together (say, Tuesdays after school for a couple of hours) and you’ll enjoy having scheduled time with your mates outside of school.

17+ Netflix series to binge-watch with your tween

10. Cook together

You don’t have to go all MasterChef and compete against each other – but you could. Rather, just making a batch of muffins or a slice for your school lunchboxes is a nice way to spend time together on a weekend. You could batch cook a few recipes to up the variety. Ask each of your friends to bring along their favourite. Here are some of ours:

Crispy date slice

Easy apple muffins

Blueberry and yoghurt loaf

Zucchini and carrot slice

Date loaf

Lemon and coconut muffins

11. Take a beach trip

Easier to do if you actually live near the beach, of course; but worth doing even if you don’t. A train trip to the beach might take a whole day, but you’ll never regret it. The beach is a must in any season. Take a beach umbrella or shelter, extra towels, food and plenty of water and make camp. Spend the day in the water, exploring rockpools, playing beach cricket (in the water is out) and digging in the sand. If you fall asleep on the trip home, you know you’ve done it right.

Have fun with friends at the beach

12. Hang by the fire pit

Check fire warnings before you even think about lighting a fire pit in the backyard, or anywhere. If the firies say you’re good to go, then start collecting the wood. You can even cook a sausage dinner over the coals and eat a sack of gooey toasted marshmallows for dessert. Of course, you’ll need to get your best stories ready too – the fireside chat late into the night is what it’s all about.

13. Play cards

Back in the day, cards is what people did when they wanted to have fun with friends. From Poker to Rummy to the mysteries of Bridge, cards are a skilled and absorbing way to bond with your mates. Try one of these games this weekend: 

6 card games kids love as much as screens

14. Host a dinner party

How very grown up! Why not! Show off your cooking skills (or lack thereof) and have your friends around for a proper dinner party. Ask them to dress up a little, dim the lights, set your playlist on rotation and enjoy sharing a meal. With a bit of luck, they’ll help with the clean up, too. We all know how much fun tea-towel wars can be…

15. Make Spotify play lists

This is a good one to do before your dinner party (see above). Get together and make a bunch of cool playlists with different themes. Start with ‘favourites’ – with everyone contributing their top three songs of all time (no judgement, please!) – and move onto different eras, genres and playlists made for occasions.

16. Make YouTube play lists

Ditto for YouTube. Share your faves to follow, or just quirky clips you’ve found along the way. Watch widely and challenge yourselves to find out new things, solve common problems or discover new places.

17. Play ‘would you rather’

This classic party game is a classic for a reason: it’s a wonderfully nosy way to have fun with friends. You won’t ever again know your mates like you know your school mates, so take that to the next level with this old-school game. There are some excellent ideas for questions here.

Other variations on this game are Truth or Dare and Two Truths and a Lie.

18. Ride the trains

Take a map of the train system in your area, close your eyes and point. Wherever your finger lands, that’s where you’re taking the train to. One the way to your mystery destination, Google things to do and find out as much as you can about the area’s history. When you arrive, explore, grab a meal and learn something new about your city. Then close your eyes, point, and do it all over again. Whatever you do, don’t make a nuisance of yourselves!

19. Try new hairstyles

You can learn anything from a YouTube video and how to style banging bangs is one such thing. Take turns to do each others hair into an elaborate up do. Straighten curl, curl straight and go wild with the coloured hair spray and accessories. Do some ‘serious’ hair too – stuff that looks good for school. Again, girls are more likely to spend a day doing this one, but wouldn’t it be fab for boys to have a bit of fun too?

20. Go camping

Most of us have a campground close by that we can easily escape to. Plan the weekend, set up tent and enjoy being outdoors and carefree with your faves. If you don’t have camping gear yourself, I’ll bet one or more of your friends has plenty. Make a roster for cooking and clean up, but keep things casual and easy for maximum enjoyment. If one of your mate’s plays guitar, remind them to bring it along. There’s nothing better then belting out really off-key renditions of your favourite tunes with only the stars to judge you. Depending on your age, you might need a parent along for this one.

Great ways to have fun with friends - camping

21. Go on a long bike ride

How long since you’ve ridden your bike? Bet it’s a while (though we hope it’s not!). Ask a willing parent for a lift somewhere scenic and bike-friendly and pedal away. Pack lunch and plenty of water and see where the day takes you. If you’re fit and brave, mountain biking is also a very cool way to have fun with friends. Remember, go only as fast as your slowest rider. This is not a riding competition, it’s easy time together with friends.

22. Eat brunch

It can be hard to organise a dinner that everyone can attend, but most kids are available on a Sunday for brunch. And brunch is the yummiest meal of the day. It doesn’t have to cost a lot if you make it yourselves – eggs and bacon on the barbie with some roast tomatoes and hashbrowns warmed in the oven is delicious.

23. Visit a gallery

All those museums and art galleries that your parents dragged you around when you were small are actually pretty cool. Give them a chance. Arrange a group to go together and pretend you know what you’re talking about as you visit the exhibits. Look out for activities organised especially for older kids and teens. The MCA in Sydney has a fantastic Young Creatives youth program, as will many others.

24. Interview each other

Set up the camera and pretend you’re celebrities being interviewed. You can take on a silly character, or just be yourself and answer honestly. It’s insightful and fun. Here are 21 questions to get you started:

21 interview questions for kids to ask their friends

25. Go for a run

If there’s a parkrun in your area, you really ought to give it a go with your friends. A weekly meet up, doing something for your wellbeing and having fun at the same time: where can I sign up, right? If you don’t have access to a parkrun, you can make your own version. Map out a course in your neighbourhood and agree same time each week. You can set your iPhone timer when you set off to give you a goal to beat next time. Cajole and encourage each other along to improve your fitness and better your times.

Try a parkrun with friends

26. Get into slam poetry

A little bit hip hop, a little bit literary, a whole lotta heat. Slam poetry is hot, hot, hot and a brilliant way to have fun with friends. Do a workshop together, go to a gig, enter a competition. You get to express all of life’s aggros and heartaches in a cool and clever way.  Of course, you don’t have to necessarily take part in it, you can just go along and see others in action. Check here to see how it works.

27. Join or start a book club

If you start your own book club, you get to decide which books you’re going to read. There are tons of resources online that can help you with questions and conversation starters around the books you are reading. Just google the book title plus ‘book club’ and you can’t go wrong. This is a great way to remind yourself to put down the phone and pick up a book. You could even get a small group of mates together to read and discuss your prescribed English novels. Whatever works…

28. Write a bucket list

You can create lists for things you want to achieve, do, be or see in your lifetime. Or next week. Or possible career options. Or video games you want to own. Or life goals or goals for this year. Or, or, or… lists are just so awesome because they get you thinking and dreaming and hoping. Bouncing ideas of each other just makes a list even better and is a really insightful way to have fun with friends.

29. Go bush walking

Hopefully you’ve got a parcel of bush near your place that’s good for a hike. Getting together in advance to plan your walk is part of the fun. You can even make it an overnight hike if you’re all prepared to carry your tent and other essentials. The load is no great when shared among many. Remember to check the fire warnings and the weather forecast before you set out. Always carry your phone and plenty of water with you. Go walking with at least two others and always, always tell someone where you are going, how long you plan to be and when you can be expected back. If you’re not sure what you’re doing, you can always join a National Parks Association guided walk. Check for one in your state.

Go for a bushwalk with friends

30. Learn a language

Like anything in life, learning a language is so much easier when you do it with a partner. You can practise your skills together, listening and tweaking. You can also encourage each other to keep learning when things get dull or it’s hard to find the time. The same is true of learning anything at all: an instrument, a new skill, your maths homework…

31. Explore the city

This is a bit like the train-ride idea above, but in a much more structured way. Challenge yourselves to discover as much about your nearest city as possible. You can do it in A-Z fashion by suburb. Or dedicate yourselves to visiting every park in every suburb. Or explore one area in full before moving onto another. Either way, getting out and about in areas that you wouldn’t ordinarily visit is a really rewarding way to have fun with friends.

32. Take your dogs for a walk

You bring your dog, they bring their dogs, you meet up at the dog off-leash park. The dogs have a great time together and so do you! Makes a routine chore feel fresh and new.

33. Start a lawn mowing business

Now this is a great way to hang out with your friend – making money. Mowing lawns isn’t difficult, but plenty of people don’t find the time or inclination to do it. There are plenty of landscaping companies that charge a small fortune to clip the grass and edgings, if you change a little less, the work is sure to flow. You’ll get fit, polish a skill or two and have plenty of money for good times ahead. Just make sure you’re crystal-clear about who does what and when. It helps to make an informal (or formal, if that’s your thing) contract before you get started.

34. Play Fly

Fly is pretty much the easiest game to play in the world and all you need are sticks. Any old sticks. So not only is it fun, it’s 100% free. Here’s how you do it:

35. Have a photo shoot

Get dressed up, snap some good looking shots and perfect your photography skills. Move around to a few different locations and remember the ‘costume’ changes. Instagramming your day’s work is optional.

36. Go for a night walk

Meet up after dinner and do a lazy 5k around the neighbourhood. How long has it been since you walked and talked and small cartoonish monsters weren’t involved? Walking in the late evening, or even after dark, is peaceful and calming. A really nice way to end the day, whether it’s in a big group or friends or just one or two.

37. Work out together

If you’re old enough, you can join the local gym together and get your together time that way. An all-ages, much, much cheaper way to do it is to find a park with outdoor gym equipment and ‘train’ each other. There’s a really good list of workout plans using the equipment found at most of these parks here.

38. Make an obstacle course

This is another fun one to do using the equipment at parks (either the outdoor gym or playground). Of course, you an make an obstacle course anywhere, even in the backyard. Challenge each other to go faster, higher, stronger. You can set it up like a competition, or just decide to complete the activities without timing or competing.

39. Go to a local workshop

Check your council’s calendar and see what’s on this weekend. In our area this week, we can choose from a beekeeping course, bushcare afternoon or learn macrame crafting. I’d be up for any of those things. Find out what’s on near you and get a bunch of friends together. Your local library is a great resource for activities and events as well.

40. Teach each other a skill

So, one of you can play guitar, another can juggle, still another can fish and you’re awesome at coding. Maybe it’s time you swapped some of those skills to share the love? This works best in a small group, with one person taking the lead on a skill, but everyone getting to contribute what they know. You might find that some topics are more popular than others, so agree up front that you won’t be offended if no one else is interested in your incredible crochet or genealogy skills set.

Fishing is a great way to have fun with friends

41. Organise a swap

You can swap pretty much anything among friends. It stands to reason that you’re all probably into the same things. Some good ideas for a swap party might be:

• clothes

• video games

• books

• collectibles

• jewellery

42. Start a fantasy league

If you’re all really into footy, netball or another sport, this is a fun way to enjoy it together. Instructions on how to get started are here. If this age, it’s probably best to keep your money in your pocket and make your league all about the kudos.

43. Start a blog together

If you’ve got a unique shared interest, a blog is a really fun idea. It can even be a shared online diary about your friendship, if that’s what gets you motivated to begin. It doesn’t have to be fancy to start off with. Getting together to write the content and take the pictures is just a really nice way to spend time with a friend. You can start a blog for free with wix or WordPress or elsewhere.

44. Join a sports team

Loads of kids are already in a team, but not everyone. It’s worth giving a new sport a go if you haven’t found what you enjoy just yet. You’ll make new friends, learn new skills, and get fitter as you go. If you’ve tried all the regular sports like soccer, basketball, netball and cricket, and they haven’t grabbed you, search a little deeper. You might enjoy hockey, lacrosse, OzTag, beach volleyball, golf, squash, ping pong, nippers, martial arts or even, somewhat randomly, quidditch.

45. Go geocaching

This GPS treasure hunt couldn’t be easier: you go to the online map, find a geocache in your area (a small GPS-tagged token left by someone else), note the GPS coordinates, use your phone’s GPS to find the coordinates, head out to find the treasure. You sign the logbook that’s hidden with (most) geocaches and return the treasure for the next person to find. Find out more here.

46. Talk to each other on the phone

Scary, but do-able.

Talk to a friend on the phone

47. Walk somewhere for a milkshake

An easy one, but you honestly can’t beat walking and talking. Then there’s the milkshake reward at the end. Make the walk a long one so the reward doesn’t outweigh the walking… This is a good one to do after school.

48. Go to the pool

These days, loads of people have backyard pools and it’s nice to hang out there, but you can’t beat the public pool. Don’t be squeamish – they’re generally super clean due to the high levels of chlorine involved (don’t wear your favourite togs!). When it comes to diving, back flipping and perfecting your butterfly, the Olympic-size pool is where it’s at. It’s fun to hang with a big group, but be mindful of other swimmers and especially little kids.

49. Start a band

You might have zero musical capabilities, but chances are at least one of your friends knows their way around an instrument. The rest you can learn. If you haven’t seen the ‘Four Chords’ video, you might not be a believer. So become a believer:

50. Transform the garden

Imagine how many Brownie points you’ll clock up if you go around to each other’s houses and weed and tidy the garden? Trust us, your parents are going to LOVE YOU (even more than they already do… if that’s possible…). What’s more, you’ll learn the satisfaction of a hard day’s yakka and spend some quality time together in nature. The more I think about it, the more I’m certain this is the perfect way for kids to have fun with friends. Simply perfect.

What’s your #1 favourite way to have fun with friends?

Feature image  by John Cahil Rom; sun by Aziz Acharki; geenhouse by Brooke Cagle; run  by Philipp; bushwalk by Tim Foster; beach by Tim Mossholder; camping by Thiago Palia; fishing by Fab Lentz; phone by kevin laminto

50 CHEAP OR FREE WAYS TO HAVE FUN WITH FRIENDS - hanging with friends doesn't have to cost a lot

What to do if your teen is self harming

What to do if your teen is self harming

It can be very confronting to learn that your teen is self harming – that is, they are deliberately hurting themselves. The term ‘self harm’ is now generally referred to as “non-suicidal self-injury” or NSSI. It’s a really important distinction, because it reminds us that a teen who is self harming is most likely not suicidal or really want to injure themselves.

Trigger WARNING: Detailed referencing of Self-Injury (Self-Harm) or Non-Suicidal Self-Injury (NSSI) practices.

These are excellent resources to help learn more about what NSSI is and what you can do to support your child:

Lifeline

Kids’ Helpline

Beyond Blue

If you discover your teen is self harming, either accidentally or because they have confided in you, it’s important not to panic. From the Lifeline website:

Self-harm is usually not the same as a suicide attempt. However, self-harm may sometimes lead to a serious medical emergency. Also, people who self-harm are more likely to have had suicidal thoughts or to have previously attempted suicide, and over time may be at increased risk for of dying by suicide. If life is in danger get help. Call 000 or Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Why teens self harm

Your child may be able to articulate their reasons why they self harm, or they may not know. Lifeline outlines that your teen may be using self harm as a way to:

•  Deal with or stop negative emotions or pain, such as feeling sad, angry, upset, guilty or scared.

•  Release tension or a build-up of big emotions.

•  Relieve feelings of loneliness or isolation.

•  Punish themselves for something they’ve done, or something perceived as their fault

•  Feel “alive” or “real” or combat feelings of numbness

•  Feel more in control of their life

•  Communicate to people that they need some support when they can’t express it in words.

How do teens self harm

Kids’ Helpline lists different ways that kids self harm as follows:

•  Cutting or scratching

•  Burning or picking the skin

•  Banging or punching objects or self

•  Pulling out hair

•  Intentional overdose on drugs or medications; self-poisoning

•  Deliberate risk taking with the intention of injury

Your child might be doing one or more of these self harm actions, or they may be doing something unique to them. The ways are as varied as the reasons, so it’s difficult to say exactly what self harm will look like.


One mum’s story: My daughter is self harming and I feel so guilty


How to help when your teen is self harming

How to help

There is a first-person story from a mother who discovered that her daughter was self-harming here. The guilt this mum expresses is very tough to read. It’s important to realise that it is not your fault if your teen is self harming. 

Beyond Blue acknowledges that supporting someone who self harms can be really hard. It is especially tough for a parent when they discover their teen is self harming. You can support your teen as follows:

•  Try to be calm, open and honest, not judgmental or shocked. Try not to take their behaviour personally, rather listen and try to understand. Don’t ignore their behaviour and hope it will “go away”, instead seek professional help (see below).

•  Be clear that you love and support your child and will simply listen when they want to talk.  Don’t threaten your child or punish them for self harming. This is not something they have control over and they will most likely need professional help to stop.

•  Help the your teen make a plan about what they can do if they feel like self harming. A safety plan might prompt them to answer questions like:

What warning signs can you spot that you may not be in control of your feelings?

What other ways of coping have you used in the past that could help you now? These might include things like delaying self harm; being with other people; distracting yourself with a favourite activity; practising mindfulness or meditation; pampering yourself; getting some exercise; minimise self harm damage (eg, use a red pen rather than cutting).

What would you say to a friend who was feeling this way?

What could others do to help?

Who can you call on to support you right now – friend, relative, health professional, teacher, etc 

•  Make sure first aid supplies are easily accessible and that they know how to use them.

•  Encourage your teen to get support from health professionals like their GP or psychologist. Offer to be with them during their appointments if they need you there.

They may not want to go, but don’t give up: keep mentioning it. “I care about you and want to support you, so I’m asking you again if you would like me to make an appointment with Dr X…”

•  If your child isn’t ready to see a health professional, encourage them to get in contact with a service like Kids Helpline (phone 1800 55 1800 |  email counsellor@kidshelpline.com.au | online chat) or Lifeline (phone 13 11 14 | text 0477 13 11 14) for support over the phone or via text or email.

Take care of you

Remember to look after yourself. Like most of the challenges we face as parents, looking after our child during this time can be very draining. Seek out your support network, look after your health and try to remain calm and positive.

If you, or someone you know, are in crisis and urgently need help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. If you are in immediate danger, call 000 right now.


Helpful resources for teens

Please click here for a list of organisations to contact for help in any situation.

Please always just ask for help – people are there for you!

Feature image by Annie Spratt ; hug by Anastasia Vityukova

50 gifts of parenting wisdom from our clever readers

50 gifts of parenting wisdom from our clever readers

Forget the jewels, that new book and even the Thermo mixer – we know what mums really want for Christmas this year. So, we put the call out in some of the groups we are in: if you could give another mother Christmas gifts of parenting wisdom, what would you tell her?

Mums came through with the true pearls, gold and diamonds of gifting this year. We hope you find some light for next year in their words. Share it with a friend who’s in the trenches.

50 gifts of parenting wisdom

1. Just never go in the bedrooms, ever. – Claire, kids 8 and 11

2. Have a set ‘clock off’ time each night where you can say to the kids, ‘Mum is off-duty’ and then feel free to ignore them until morning. They will be fine and you will be even finer. – Addy, kids 5, 9, 11 and 16

3. You are enough.Shirley, kids 10 and 12

4. Steal them away for an adventure day in the last week of Term. They’ll love you for it. – Terrie, kids 14 and 12

5. Trust you are their perfect parent even if you feel like all other parents are doing better than you. – Tessa, kids 11 and 12

6. When people offer to help you, take them up on it! Through accepting and then in turn offering help I’ve built myself a ‘village’. – Megan, kids 2 and 5

7. Listen! Even when it’s the most boring detailed story about a YouTuber. Because when you engage about the little things they feel safe to discuss the big things. – Lizzy, kids 15 and 10

8. Don’t give a hoot how you look in photos! Be in photos with your kids. Record those special moments. When you’re gone, photos will be precious. – Alicia, kids 14, 18 and 25

9. Hang on tight and try to enjoy the roller coaster ride…. incredible highs and scary lows. – Shani

10. Parent your kids as the adults you want them to be, not the children you are currently having to deal with. – Bron, kids 15, 14 and 11

11. You don’t have to like it, just accept it. – Ruth

12. Remember, your precious little ones are still there. They are just going through the chrysalis period, they’ll be back. – Carmen, kids 24, 18, 14, 12

13. Every now and then have a ‘yes’ day, it will make the entire family happy, including you! – Emily, kids 8, 10 and 11

Parenting wisdom - have a yes day

14. Ask yourself ‘will this matter in one week, one month, one year’. Adjust your reaction accordingly. – Anon

15. Always be reasonable- you will demonstrate the adult you want your kids to emulate. – Marlene, kids 19 and 20

16. Practice gratitude and let what you discover lead the way. – Caitlin, son 8

17. Invite your own friends into your kids’ lives. The more trusted adults who get to know and love them, the better. – Betty, ‘kids’ 48, 51 and 55


More parenting wisdom: To be a good mum, you’ve got to raise yourself first


 

18. Have firm expectations, but teach your children to negotiate (ask them why they want something, etc), and be prepared to loosen the rules when their argument is good enough. – Leah, kids 17 and 19

19. Talk to your kids. Ask for their ‘advice’ on how they should be parented or how to get out of a stalemate. Their input is often enlightening and you get their buy-in at the same time. – Bron, kids 15, 14 and 11

20. Follow through. If you have to discipline for whatever reason don’t just make idle threats. So, if you threaten to take away a device because of whatever… do it… it was one really important thing I discovered as my daughter grew up and I’ve raised a pretty decent human I think! – Jen, daughter is 22

Parenting wisdom - parent the adults you want them to be

21. Let it go.Contessa, grown kids 32, 35, 35 and 37

22. Forget about money and expensive gifts. Mostly, all kids really want is your time and your love. That counts for the big kids too, even if they don’t show it. – Bronwyn, kids 16 and 18

23. Do things together. Even if it is just a walk after dinner. Spend time with your kids. – Jodie, kids 9 and 12

24. Connection and trust are great foundations for every relationship- including that with your kids. – Shae, kids 10, 12, 14

25. Strong boundaries, respect flowing both ways, and a willingness to discuss rules and be flexible where required. – Marlene, kids 19 and 20


Some tips here: How to set boundaries on Fortnite and other video games


 

26. Say yes more often! Especially when it helps them learn social skills. Yes to sleepovers, yes to an outing with their friends, yes to inviting a friend to dinner. Welcome their friends in as part of family life! – Bron, kids 15, 14 and 11

27. Just love them through it all. That’s all they really need. – Betty, ‘kids’ 48, 51 and 55

28. Gift them an item that if they ever come and present it to you it means they need to have a conversation with you that they don’t want to do so and in presenting the item you have promised to listen until the end and not respond for 24 hours, unless they want you to do so. – Tessa, kids 11 and 12

29. Drop everything and just be with your kids sometimes. This is my best parenting wisdom because nothing is more important than giving them your full attention. They thrive on it. – Anon, kids 11, 13, 14, and 21

30. Set the standards and boundaries and stick to them! Hard to readjust course when they are older. I spent a lot of time working away in their teenage years and it’s so hard to try and stop the annoying, crappy little naughty things they do when they are young adults. – Kerri, kids 16 and 19

31. Choose your battles. Let small things go through to the keeper. – Alicia, kids 14, 18 and 25

Parenting wisdom - never stop hugging your kids

32. Never stop hugging your kids and keeping them close. Never stop telling you how much you love and adore them. They need reminding all the time. – Angel, kids 15 and 17

33. Learn when to back off and loosen the strings. You can’t always ‘fix’ everything, and they won’t want you to.As long as they know you’ll be there for them to catch them if they fall, or high-five when they have a win, you both will benefit. – Bronwyn, kids 16 and 18

34. Try not to do for your kids what they are perfectly capable of doing for themselves. – Claire, kids 8 and 11

35. Christmas is for kids. The second you give away Christmas, it changes focus and you don’t hope to have a show stopper of a day, then cop disappointment when you don’t. I enjoy Christmas so much more now because it’s just for kids! –  Lucy, kids 16, 14 and 11

36. When you’re wrong or stuff up, apologise and model good behaviour. – Angel, kids 15 and 17


Read this too: 16 powerful TED talks for raising teens


 

37. Enjoy and celebrate your kids for their unique gifts and the love they share whether they fit in a conventional box or not, have a diagnosis, or not. They are perfect as they are. – Susan – mum of profoundly disabled daughter who sadly passed away aged 13 in July 2018, daughter 12 and ‘gifted’

38. Don’t sweat the small stuff because there will be enough big stuff to worry about. – Diana, sons 37, 33, 30

39. Role model healthy relationships for them. They see everything. – Amy, kids 12 and 16

40. Do things together – sewing, binge-watching a show, cooking, walking, team sports, camping. Spend time with your kids while you still can. – Debbie, kids 6, 8 and 14

41. Try not to use words like ‘always’ or ‘never’. Let kids know that you see bad behaviour as temporary. – Angel, kids 15 and 17

42. Don’t take it too seriously!!!! – Debby, daughter 18

43. When they do something you are proud of, be the proudest mother ever. Gush, scream, shout and smother them with your proud self. It’s the best part of being a mum and the kids secretly love it. They tell you how much when they are older. – Rach, kids 8, 10, 22, 24 and 25

44. Listen to them. Even when what they’re saying doesn’t make sense.– Leah, kids 17 and 19

45. Don’t worry if you stuff up today. You get to try again tomorrow. – Mari, sons 7 and 11

46. Let your kids get to know you, the woman, not just you, the mum. Share your secrets and tell them about your own childhood. That way, you are so much more relatable and they are more likely to listen when you empathise and share. – Anon, kids 12 and 14


Sobering: 10 reasons why mums stop talking about parenting


 

47. Do not ever let your kids disrespect you. Stand strong and tell them it’s not acceptable, every time. If they can’t respect their mother, you can bet they are on a slippery slope to not respecting anyone else either. – Clare, kids 17, 20 and 23

48. The first 40 years of parenthood are always the hardest. – Dell, kids 45, 47 and 49

49. It will all be okay. – Tara, kids 10, 6, 4 and twins 2

50. And, above all other parenting wisdom, the advice of Rebel, mum to four kids aged 18, 10, nine and six rings true forever:

Don’t get them wet.
Don’t expose them to bright light.
Don’t feed them after midnight.

What gifts of parenting wisdom do you have for other mums?

Feature image by Brett Sayles; Garden by Jonathan Borba; Picnic by Liana Mikah; Sunset by Marco Ceschi; Hug by Eye for Ebony; Crossed-legs by Alena Shekhovtcova

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