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How was school today?

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Friday, 31 October 2014
If you have a teen who doesn’t talk, you know this question or starting any conversation about their thoughts and emotions can be more challenging than expecting (take your pick), a clean bedroom, a reasonable bedtime, or ignoring their ringing mobile phone.

The chatty munchkin who only yesterday couldn’t wait to tell you all about, well, EVERYTHING, almost overnight has become mute or barely able to offer, “fine”, “good”, same as yesterday”. So you give them a little time, and hope the poppet you know and love just needs a little space.

Hormones have much to answer for, but more than likely, you will have to become more creative about reconnecting. The simple questions you once asked to help you understand and check-in with their development and state of mind may no longer be effective. You may also need a more subtle approach if your teen suddenly has also become secretive or defensive.

Try a little humour. You will probably look uncool, weird, and just plain old, but if you get more than a monosyllabic response, you have leapt a great divide.

So here are a few openers:-
  • Did your teacher stand on her head or sing the whole lesson today?
  • Would you like pig’s feet or chicken’s feet for lunch?
  • By the way, I have organised Harry Potter to help you with your homework this week.
  • If aliens landed in your school tomorrow, which teacher would you buy a one way ticket back to their planet?

As a nanny and a parent your skills as a therapist, tutor, chef, and the many other hats you wear require regular modification when you have a teenager. What you do one day with success does not mean it will also work next week. It’s not always easy but it can be fun. Well, sometimes.

Gadgets for mums and nannies

Posted by Nanny Knows Best
Nanny Knows Best
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on Thursday, 02 October 2014
As a nanny I really only need one wish from my genie in a bottle or maybe I should wish to the heavens, “Starlight star bright, first star I see tonight. I wish I may, I wish I might, have my wish I wish tonight.”

Mary Poppins, Nanny McPhee or even Alice from The Brady Bunch to move in and take over.

I would welcome a little magic to deal with a snarly teen, whilst cooking dinner, planning the weekend ahead, and sewing name tags on new school uniforms, or simply have a happy ending like a 30 minute sitcom. The reality is I need to be organised and professional and breathe through the stressful times.

A magazine I flipped through in the paediatrician’s last week suggested gadgets might help. It didn’t mention a robot version of me so these will have to suffice.

I can see the merits of a slow cooker to solve the occasional dinner dilemma when the day is just too jam-packed, or a robot vacuum cleaner to quietly deal with the meal scraps that didn’t quite make it into small mouths.

It also recommended a car DVD player for longer road journeys, an iPad or Kindle for both adults and kids when waiting is tedious.

The most practical two were a portable battery charger and a wireless key finder. I’d suggest these are necessary for mummy and nanny sanity.

However, the portable mini hair straightener is as useless to me as a portable nail polishing art machine.

Such frivolity would only cause me more stress, draw attention to the lack of cosmetics in my handbag and make me fret to look into a mirror. No space even for a lipstick unless I toss out the Matchbox cars, Lego figures, just-in-case snacks and drinks, and my secret stash of liquorice allsorts when a deep breath and mediation fail dismally.

The gadgets may help here and there but there is no substitute for the old fashioned talking to your mini me’s, playing games, going for a walk, reading a book, and a regular salon treat for you.

Should I pay for my daughter's surgery?

Posted by Patricia_Marie
Patricia_Marie
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on Monday, 24 March 2014
Dear Patricia Marie,

My 18 year old daughter has begged me to pay for her to have her breasts enlarged for her birthday. She says her tiny chest makes her so self-conscious, she's constantly miserable. She won't wear anything revealing and can't bear to go out with her friends because she thinks she's ugly.

I am absolutely against this kind of surgery, but am I just being selfish. This situation is causing me great misery. Would appreciate some advice.

Patricia Marie says...

You are approaching this dilemma from a mother's perspective, in your eyes your daughter is still very much your little girl, you are wanting to take control of the situation and protect your daughter from making what you believe to be a wrong decision. However, you are not her, and you are not living with her body.

Try to listen empathically to your daughter's point of view. Whilst you may not agree with what she has to say, you may gain a better understanding of why she is feeling the need to embark on cosmetic surgery. Breast augmentation is a very delicate matter for teens, as physically their bodies may not be fully developed, and emotionally they are more vulnerable to peer pressure.

A good question to ask is why are larger breasts so important to her, and does she think enhancing her figure in this way will change her life for the better. It sounds to me as if she may suffering from low self-esteem and feel it would be helpful if she were to explore this with a counsellor before making a decision. Hopefully this will enable her to gain confidence which she will learn can only come from within, not by enlarging her breasts.

The British Association of Counselling and Psychotherapy have a directory where you can find a qualified registered therapist in your area. www.bacp.co.uk

Got a dilemma, please email Patricia.Marie@lady.co.uk 
Please note, while Patricia cannot respond to all emails, she does read them all.

In need of further support? Patricia Marie offers a counselling service in Harley Street, contact details as follows


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