Student Lets and Landlords

This year has seen my eldest returning to uni but this time he will be house sharing with four other students, friends he has made while living in student halls last year. They have had a year of independence, almost sheltered in a way, by living in a corridor with 11 others and sharing a kitchen and a couple of bathrooms. They work out differences on their own and gravitate towards other students that they get on with or become friends with. As parents, although it breaks our hearts to see them go, it feels like they are still being supported if they are living on campus with all the facilities around them. My eldest goes to Sussex university and it was well equipped with a large Co op, a large cafe, launderette, bar, pharmacy and a GP surgery! I know not all uni’s are the same and some are spread around towns on different areas instead. Read more

Fibromyalgia pain management help on the horizon at last

Any of you that have been following me for a while will know that I have ME and Fibromyalgia, which in lay mans terms means I am permanently exhausted and have constant chronic pain (with lots of other symptoms but the list is too long to mention!).

I was diagnosed in 2009 and after being initially referred for a 12 week management program in London at the start my Borough decided they would not pay for me to go out of borough for treatment even though there was nothing similar in my area. So, after being diagnosed  I was then left with no input apart from pain relief from my GP. I spent years on Tramadol until my body totally adjusted and they were having absolutely no effect. Last year when the pain became to difficult to handle my GP switched me to Morphine (slow release) and Oramorph for breakthrough pain during the day. Again as my body adjusted they had less and less effect and the dosages where increased to a point where my GP could not authorise another increase without referring my to a Rheumatologist.

This was probably the best thing that could have happened. I had an appointment in February and she confirmed 18 tender points of Fibro around my body alongside all over body tenderness ( that means my body feels bruised so wearing clothing/ shoes etc all hurts as though someone is pressing directly on a bruised piece of skin!). From there she referred me to the Fibromyalgia clinic and I had that very long appointment yesterday. It takes all afternoon as you see three separate specialists in different areas who all work together to approach the illness from different angles.

I came out feeling amazingly positive after speaking to three separate specialists who not only believed I was in pain but understood how it affects my daily life and had input in how they could, together as a team, help me manage my pain better and help me restore some normality back to my life.

THIS IS HUGE!! For years I have been left to cope with only inadequate pain relief ( turns out opiates are useless in treating the pain I have-typical!) with people finding it hard to actually believe I am in CONSTANT pain. I know I am my own worst enemy as I do not allow anyone to see how it affects me. If I go out no-one would even think for a moment that my body is screaming out in pain, I will smile and chat and completely mask it ( hence some people think it’s not possible to be in pain ALL of the time). My only visible show that something is wrong is that I use a walking stick, not because I bloody enjoy people looking staring at me but because the pain in my ankles is sharp and knife like and can literally knock you off balance when out walking around.

This denial, or masking my issues seems to be part of the problem. If people think I am OK I will carry on as normal doing things I know will knock me off my feet the next day just so no- one sees I cannot cope! Apparently I need to learn to say ‘No’ and totally understand how to pace activity. This is new to me too as I totally live my life the ‘boom and bust’ way, that means on days where I am more able I will do WAY too much just to catch up etc which then pays me back with several days not able to do anything at all.

So, after an extremely long hospital visit to the clinic yesterday they offered to put me on a 7 week pain management course which looks at all these issues alongside getting a combination of medications that actually work with a routine of pacing.

This is the most help I have had in all the years I have been diagnosed. I feel positive with everything they were telling me and I now have to just wait to hear when the course will be starting. Although it is 7 weeks long it is only 1 day a week at reasonable times with lots of breaks etc. I will meet other people in the same position who actually live in my area too which could end up being a bonus socially.

I have been on support groups online throughout having the illness but I tend to find they become quite depressive with people venting every little aspect, pain, new symptom and bad day they are having. I too have those days where it can bring you right down in mood, but that is not how I want to live my life- it is restricted enough without wallowing in what’s wrong instead of concentrating on what is going well. So, although I remain on these groups I tend only to comment on positive posts because I do feel that sometimes when I am feeling OK they can have a draining affect on your mood as you start to think ‘Oh God is that how I am going to become’. I am not running these groups down they do provide people with daily contact and reassurance and generally are a good thing, however, it can become a bit of a pity party some days and that’s not how I want to look at my illness. I know some people will say they have been on the course I have been offered and it did nothing for them and that’s fine, but because a lot of how you manage pain can be down to mindset as well I do not want to go in with any negative attitude- otherwise what is the point?

So, I will keep you updated when I do start and let you all know what happens. But for now I am very happy I am getting any help at all and we have to be prepared to help ourselves as well as the illness is complex and cannot just be fixed with a particular medication or procedure. So send loads of positive thoughts please, I am feeling that my outlook is going to be rosy.

 

Eating Out- without breaking the diet

Over the years whenever I have started a diet or healthy eating plan I find myself extremely determined and aggressive at the beginning, meal prep and enthusiastic organisation takes over when the determination is strong. Inevitably along the way, like most of us, life catches up and we find ourselves at the office without lunch as the kids were running late for school and there just wasn’t enough time, or getting home late from work with no dinner planned. This is usually the part where we give in to ordering takeaway, allowing the cravings for pizza and carbs to consume us. If we look at eating out in a different light, perhaps those crazy days of no meal planning won’t result in diet ruin.

  1. Know Before You Order

Practically everything is available online these days, and this includes calorie information for your favourite go-to takeaway restaurants. Before placing your order, quickly check out the portions and the calories in order to make an informed decision.

  1. Substitute More Greens

Most restaurants offer a standard side dish that includes carb-driven chips, rice, or potatoes. Although alluring, next time your main entrée includes a side, opt in for a greener vegetable instead. If you are getting Indian cuisine delivered to the office, perhaps a side of curried spinach or a house salad with your lamb Dhansak to complete your delivery order.

  1. Portions Are Everything

It is not rocket science; the portions you receive from most takeaway places are much more than what you would prepare at home. This is particularly tricky when a restaurant posts calorie information “per serving”, which is often half of what is in your container. If you are given a mountain of food, immediately portion it out and put the other half away – out of sight, out of mind.

  1. Eat Slowly

Listen to your mother – don’t wolf down your meal! We get it: you are hungry. The faster you shovel in the food, the slower you have time to digest and “feel” how satisfied you are. In obvious terms, this results in overeating. Another useful tip is to stop for a glass of water here and there – not only does water play a vital role in your diet, it also fills you up!

  1. Modifications Are Your Friend

Most restaurants allow order customisation in order to accommodate diet and allergy requests. This can include ingredient substituting or omission, preparation methods, and sauce selection. If possible, ask your restaurant if they are willing to swap the double cream for a lighter dairy or the sodium-based sauce for a lighter dressing. Simple switches can help more than you know!

Since I started my Slimming World journey in August this year I have learned that it is all about making the right choices. You can have the takeaway or dine out in a nice restaurant but you do need to be aware of what is on offer and what is the best option while still treating yourself at the same time. Do not be afraid of asking for the dressings to be separate, or asking for a salad instead of the normal carb filled sides. Eating out with friends and family, or even a weekend takeaway needn’t be the end to your healthy eating plan. Look at the menus beforehand so you are aware of what is going to be available and know what you are going to order before you get there. With takeaways such as  Indian or Chinese opt for plain boiled rice instead of fried rice, order a side of vegetables and have a smaller portion of anything that is seriously going to knock you off your diet and help you stay on track.

Eating out should not be the death sentence to your diet goals. Following these few simple suggestions will rid you of any takeaway or dining out guilt and keep you on track.

My tips on preparing your teen for University

My eldest baby left us on 12th September this year to start his university adventures. I didn’t want to write about it straight away ( or before) as my head was literally all over the place with a huge mixture of emotions. Yes I was unbelievably proud of him, but I was, as most mum’s would be, absolutely terrified that he wasn’t going to cope! It was so hard to leave him there on his joining weekend although we are lucky enough to be relatively close enough to go there for a day visit- which we did the next day to take him for a final family meal before leaving him properly.

last-meal-pic-with-conor

Almost a month into his new independent life and I am super pleased to say that he is not only coping very well but he is also loving his new found freedom. He has done several weekly shops now ( he loves the fact that he has an Aldi near him) and also done a few clothes washes too…………….this probably amazes me the most. He has also got himself a part time promotions job as well so is now earning a few extra pounds here and there to boost his weekly spending amount.

We had discussed the importance for him to maybe look for a part time job to subsidise his money as we as parents are not in a position financially to heavily subsidise him on a weekly or monthly basis. He is a sensible boy money wise as both my boys have been taught to save for the more expensive things that they have wanted over the years, but they also are shrewd enough to buy dvd’s/ older video games pre-owned from places like CEX and Game to make their money go further.

When my son initially discussed going to uni my husband and I did worry hugely about the financial side of things until it was explained at one of the uni talks that he could apply for possible bursary and loans etc that were means tested. Thankfully my son fell within that particular category however, I know other parents have had to look at other methods of supporting their child such as personal loans, savings and even equity release in order to support and subsidise their teen as necessary.

In a very short period of time I have come to realise that:

  • they will not starve!
  • they will eventually find the launderette
  • they will learn very quickly that their money does NOT last
  • they will cope because they have too

So here is a few of my top tips that you can help prepare your teen for living away at uni

*Teach them a few simple dishes to cook. My son is a very plain eater but he could at least cook pizza, cook eggs and bacon, cook chicken breasts properly and make sure he wasn’t going to get food poisoning!

*show them which of their clothes can go into the washing machine together and that their precious white t-shirt does not go in with their black jeans.

*one of the best things we did when setting up his student account was to keep his normal current account open so he could agree a weekly amount he could transfer on a weekly Standing Order from his student loan account into his current account. That way he has an agreed weekly amount he needs to manage on without the fear of dipping into his loan unnecessarily and whittling away at the money without realising.

*get them used to normal security measures ie: make sure before they go away they are used to always taking house keys with them everywhere-even if you are going to be home when they get in. If they are used to always taking their keys when  going out they stand less chance of losing/ forgetting to take keys when they are at uni…………..sounds silly but uni’s charge the students a fortune to replace lost keys!!

*take them with you when buying all their essentials to take with them, that way they know exactly what they have with them and they don’t waste money buying things when they get to uni that they already have tucked away in a cupboard!

* teach them to self medicate when they feel unwell. My boys have been doing this since their early teens and have a very sensible approach to over the counter medications. They know how and when they can take things like paracetamol/ ibruprofen and how often, cough mixture, hayfever tablets etc. YOU WOULD BE VERY SURPRISED HOW MANY TEENS DO NOT KNOW THE BASICS!

I could go on but those are a at least a few of the basic necessities to getting your teen ready for their independent uni adventure. If you have boys they will tell you that they wont be calling everyday, but what they don’t realise that they will find themselves texting you to check things about the cooking, the washing machines, their food shopping without actually realising that they are doing it………………………………………so do not fret THEY WILL KEEP IN TOUCH!

How to Prepare for Your Driving Test: Top 5 Tips

Having been a qualified driving instructor ( until my illness took over) I know how difficult it can be for anyone to transition from a provisional to a full driving licence, the driving test itself can often be a very daunting prospect. Both the theory test and practical test are actually very straightforward, but the pressure often makes these tests more difficult than they should be. My son has recently passed his theory test and hopefully will do his practical test quite soon ( when he gets a break from uni).

So, If you’re taking a driving test soon, these next five tips will help you prepare better in no time.

Take Advantage of Online Mock Driving Tests

There are many ways you can prepare for a driving theory test. You can read one of the available books on the UK driving test and learn more about the highway code and other knowledge. You can also use the tests at the end of those books to practice. The best way to prepare for the actual test, however, is to take a mock test online. I always advised my pupils to do what they think will be enough ( especially with teenagers!) and then do lots more!

There are a lot of sites that offer mock driving theory tests for you to try. Taking the online tests will help you prepare for the actual test mentally too, which is why it’s the best way to get ready. You can learn from your mistakes more effectively this way.

Timing the Test

Never take a driving test at a time when you feel stressful. For instance, you shouldn’t take a driving test on the same week as a school exam or any other stressful events in life. You have all the time in the world to get the driving license you need, so time your test correctly.

Get Enough Sleep

As mentioned before, it’s the pressure of taking the test that often make you fail. The test itself is very easy to handle. It is very normal to be nervous, but do not allow the nerves to take over, think of all the people already driving on the road they have all had to pass the test! To avoid feeling stressed on the day of the actual test, get enough sleep the night before. You should also avoid drinking too much coffee (or worse, energy drinks) before the test. The high level of caffeine will make you feel more agitated than usual.

Get There Early

Arrive at the test centre early. There is nothing worse and more off putting than rushing through the test centre doors with only minutes to spare.  Give yourself at least 20 minutes to get used to the test environment and catch your breath. You will feel so much better when the test starts and you’ll have no trouble at all passing the test with flying colours.

Getting to the test centre early will also help you prepare for the test mentally. Take deep breaths and visualise completing the test. Be positive about it and you’ll feel so much better – and so much more prepared – for the driving test. The examiners are normal people ( I know it’s hard to believe!), they are not there to fail you I promise.

Take the Necessary Documents

Last but not least, make sure you have the right documents with you. Most of the time, you need your driving license and your theory test pass certificate. Don’t wait until right before you leave for the test centre to prepare these documents. Have them ready the night before. If you do not have the appropriate documents you will not be able to take the test, so please be prepared.

You are allowed to bring someone to the test. If your child is taking their driving test, it is always a good idea to go with them and sit in the back of the car during the practical test. You’ll be providing a lot of moral support and your kids will have an easier time in general.

If you have a specific tip that helped you on the day of your test please share it with us as it could help someone else who is feeling very nervous about their upcoming test.

The benefit of a bedroom upgrade

With the summer season now well and truly here, (although no sign of any summer weather yet) there is no better time to refresh the bedroom and it makes sense to ensure ultimate comfort for those nights when it is too humid and nothing but the window and fan will let you get some sleep. My bedroom is up two storey’s in a Dorma loft conversion so when the weather does heat up it can get rather humid and uncomfortable.

bed pic for post

Clearly, the main attraction of the bedroom is the bed itself, so this should be at the forefront of any update ideas. It is the type of purchase that only needs to be undertaken every few years, so getting it right is everything, although in all fairness once you have invested in a good bed frame it would normally be only the mattress you change unless you are having a decorative overhaul.

One way to make your bedroom classier and more elegant is to change to a leather bed. Leather beds are some of the best looking bed frames around, and add a look of sophistication to any room. Not only eye-catching, but it is also incredibly pleasing to touch – leather really gives a sense of luxury at any time of the year. Bedstar offer a great range of leather beds, and with a range to fit a variety of budgets, upgrading is cheaper than you’d expect. Their range incorporates numerous different styles and sizes, including single leather beds, small double leather beds, double leather beds and king-size leather beds. The variety on offer at Bedstar is also impressive. For those who want to spend less money ( or are on a budget), the faux leather option is very stylish, it’s the same quality and presentation is available at a lesser price, using high-quality materials for luxury on a budget.

As well as traditional beds, they also offer modern luxuries such as the TV bed. This clever piece of technology means that the television is hidden until it is called upon – at which point a remote control or push button means that it is revealed at the end of the bed to be used. Now I know for certain that both my teenage boys would love a bed with a hidden television, however, I know for a fact they would never get out of bed if we actually had one!

There are numerous other techniques available for a good-value bedroom upgrade. One simple trick is to add plants. Adding plant life to any room adds personality, whilst being a natural air filter all year round. Also, certain types such as the peace lily are easy to care for and can reduce stress. Another way of adding a personal touch to a room is to add some artwork, it doesn’t have to be expensive and could be by a favourite artist, or even an attempt by yourself but it really can add some real character, making the room feel homely and gives a chance to show off your unique taste style to any visitors.

I love to see how others choose to decorate their homes and looking online is a great source of inspiration. Some people can be so creative and ingenious when it comes to styling their homes and can give some of us less bold types the chance to see and maybe try some new and fabulous designs we may never have thought of ourselves.

So where o you get your home decor inspiration from?

 

*Disclaimer: this is a collaborative post

 

 

 

‘Papa Don’t Teach’ – Would you teach your teen to drive?

Now if you asked me this a few years ago my answer would have definitely have been yes, that would have been because I was then working as a qualified Driving Instructor as a job and obviously had a suitable car which had duel controls. In fact it was something I was really looking forward too. I no longer work as a driving instructor due to my long term illness and so I am now looking at it purely from a parent’s point of view.

Therefore,if you ask me that question today, the answer is a resounding NO! In fact, just today I have booked him to start his lessons with a reputable company and instructor. Many of you will think this is madness to throw all that money away on lessons even though I feel I could teach him no problem but I would only do so in a suitable car with duel controls, believe me I speak from experience that learner drivers  try to kill you on a daily basis when they are only starting.

Then throw into the mix that you are the parent. You know, the parent who see’s that they live like a slob, cannot cook for themselves and that they NEVER do as you ask them to do. Then you expect them to listen to you just because you are going to teach them to drive in your precious family car…………….RECIPE FOR DISASTER RIGHT THERE PEOPLE.

As a previously qualified instructor, I went through rigorous training so that I learned very quickly that a teen learner driver will take everything you say literally, so do not be shocked when you tell them to turn right and they end up in someone’s driveway ( because they didn’t realise you meant ‘the next right’), or that they cause you whiplash as you told them to slow down so they slam the brakes on because they thought they had to stop right there and not at the give way at the approaching junction. These mistakes are easily dealt with when you, as an instructor can take control of the car to ensure you do not get whiplash or cause an accident and therefore have the patience of a saint!

As a rule instructor DO NOT shout at their students however, as a parent driving my family car with my learner teen at the wheel I can see where parents teaching their own teens is a much more stressful situation. Instructors have a certain way of explaining things, we have been through our training sessions where our ‘instructors playing trainees’ will take everything you say literally and believe me as an instructor you learn VERY quickly what NOT to say to a learner. Come on most of you will have seen Sky’s Driving School of Mum and Dad where they draw on Sandra Dodson’s experience, who also is former deputy chief driving examiner at DSA, Driving Standards Agency to point out how things should be done.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am fully aware of how much driving lessons cost and I can see as a parent I can see how you could question how or why they cost what they do. Then just look at it from the other side, that instructor has undertaking the rigorous training programme ( and believe me not everyone is cut out for the job!). They are also providing a suitable learner car complete with dual controls for the safety of your teen, themselves and other road users ( something that you could not even contemplate pricing on insurance). Your teen learns in the correct way at their own pace ( as everyone can learn differently) and then they have the same car to take their test in so everything is also familiar to them. The instructor will have visuals to explain any manoeuvre they need to learn  and teach them the safe way of completing it ( don’t forget a parent may have been driving for 20 years and have an huge repertoire of bad driving habits that they could automatically pass on).

So before you take the plunge just take a look at this video produced by Carfused.com after a recent survey of how a stressed learner is a very distracted learner. Also look at how the Dad instructs his daughter as opposed to how Sandra does……

Papa Don’t Teach- Carfused

So take it from me, someone who has been trained to actually do the instructor’s job and just think twice before letting your little prince or princess into your precious family car with no dual controls and then expecting them to A) listen to you and B) not misinterpret what you actually want them to do. Look at the cost of the lessons overall, and then the cost of possibly replacing your car (if they are unfortunate enough to cause an accident) and then the insurance premiums afterwards………………………..I know which I would prefer!!

Have you taught your teens to drive? I would love to hear about your experience.

My teen gets an ASD diagnosis at 17

This is what we have been going through recently. My eldest has always shown Asperger traits throughout his growing up, but has been very high functioning that it has never been a major issue to him or us as parents. He noticed himself after being at secondary school for a year or so that he ‘seemed’  different to his friends, that’s also when his lack of management skill came into play big time and and we had a discussion with him then to see if he wanted to pursue it further and get a diagnosis. At that time he said no, he didn’t want to be labelled different or have any spotlight put on him and so we helped him along with the school to get him more organised. It has also not hindered him in any way with friends, he has some great friends in the last few years that just accept him and his sometimes ‘odd’ ways and in fact it was one of those friends who encouraged him to go to his GP for help.

However, as he got older and then headed through the pressure of his GCSE’s it started to take it’s toll resulting in high levels of anxiety (which we were totally unaware about as he hid it very well under a laid back exterior) which led to a secondary period of ‘low mood’. This is when he as a 16 yr old then made an appointment with his GP and went off to discuss his ‘depression’ before telling us that he had gone and they were going to follow it up with a referral to our Children’s and Young Adults Mental Health clinic. We have supported him in his decision fully and have found out from our consultations that this high anxiety and low mood is very common in undiagnosed, high functioning, ASD cases in teens. They get to a certain age and then start to feel socially awkward and uncomfortable in a time that is turbulent for most teens anyway! This leads to the high anxiety resulting in a secondary ‘depression’.

We have since then been through the necessary assessments and he got his official diagnosis over the half term. I have emailed his Head of Learning at school to inform him of the diagnosis and arrange a meeting to see what help ‘if any’ he can get in his last year of A levels. There is an urgency to this meeting from my point of view as he has his UCAS forms to send off very soon and they need to know his requirements from school.

What I need to know is what sort of things he could be entitled to from others who are in this situation. If, at the very least, it would be nice if he qualified for some extra exam time, as his writing is atrocious and that could take the pressure of time off him as 2 of his subjects are essay based and he struggles to make his handwriting legible!

I would love to get some ideas from people in the same situation so I have an idea of what I should expect or not when I do get a school meeting.

Can you help?

Rug Doctor to the rescue

I have been meaning to try one of these machines for ages especially for my youngest teens room as his carpet is in a pretty grim state, but it has ended up being a job I just procrastinated about rather than got on with.

So a few weeks ago I sent Rug Doctor a very cheeky tweet with a picture of my son’s excuse for a carpet to see if they would be up for a challenge! Unbelievably they responded immediately and emailed me with an offer to try one of their machines. So, I could procrastinate no more and it forced us into a complete clear out in my son’s room which was well overdue.

Disgusting I know!
Disgusting I know!

So the Rug Doctor carpet cleaner was delivered to my house complete with all sorts of cleaning sprays and the detergent to get started immediately. The very next day my husband was off work he went straight to work with the machine, which had clear instructions on how to use it actually on the machine itself and seemed fairly self explanatory. We just started with a patch in the room to see if we could see a ‘before’ and ‘after’ shot which I think you will agree shows an unbelievable improvement literally within minutes.

You cannot deny a definite before and after improvement- we couldn't believe the difference
You cannot deny a definite before and after improvement- we couldn’t believe the difference

I have seen these machines in most major supermarkets for hire for what I think is a very reasonable price as for us with one room mainly that we wanted done would have only have cost us around £40 for the day hire of the machine and the amount of detergent needed for the room. I think you will agree it’s certainly much cheaper than replacing a carpet if it really isn’t necessary or if money is tight.

As our son’s carpet was pretty grim to say the least we used the spot spray on the very tough stains and then sprayed a covering of the odour spray before going fully in with the machine to do the carpet wash. When we emptied the machine we were shocked at what came out…………..the water was absolutely disgusting!

EEEEEUUUUUUWWWW!
EEEEEUUUUUUWWWW!

This only proved to us even more that the cleaner was well worth using instead of just ripping the carpet out. Luckily enough we had enough detergent sent through so we made the most of the machine and did the stair carpet ( as there was an attachment hose with the machine) and our front room rug, just to clean it up a little for over the winter.

I am always a little sceptical about these sorts of machines thinking are they actually going to do what they say they will, to be honest that is probably what has made us unconsciously put this job off. Although I was sent the machine as a review after challenging them on Twitter to see if they were up to the job and therefore didn’t pay for the hire, I would certainly not hesitate to hire one of these again. It was simple to use and we saw results immediately. There are still some of the stains left on the carpet, however, they have been long standing ground in stuff that have been there for a long time. It still removed the harshness of them fading them slightly but overall the carpet itself without any stains really has come up extremely well and has been given a new lease of life for over the winter.

This is the complete ‘after’ picture of my son’s carpet:

Unbelievable isn't it?
Unbelievable isn’t it?

So don’t be like me and just keep procrastinating about a job like this, don’t rip the carpet out just give Rug Doctor a try, for the price of say a meal out for two you could get away with making your carpet last a lot longer and bring it back to almost how it was when it was new.

 

DISCLAIMER: I was sent a Rug Doctor carpet cleaner free of charge to try for review purposes but all views are my own and are based purely on the results we experienced

When did 16 become the new 18?

 

I have certainly noticed this recently as I have a son who turned 16 in April and the trend seems to have appeared where the parents throw their little 16yr old cherubs a party at home, complete with alcohol.

First of all I didn’t do this and my son was very happy to get a load of his mates together for a boys day out paintballing. However, he has recently been to one or two of these parties although one was for a 17yr old. Second of all I don’t really think it’s appropriate to be encouraging your 16 or 17yr old son or daughter to drink accessibly in your house. You may be able to trust your own child but really is it a good idea to let all their mates loose in your house with alcohol at the ready.

This has made me think back to when I was 16 ( which is many, many moons ago now!). I remember going out with my friends acquiring a bottle of cider that we would all share and then make my way home, scuttling to my room before I had to face my parents hoping they didn’t realise I had been drinking. We used to sneak a drink is what I’m getting at, I was never allowed to have a drink at that age at home regardless until I was actually 18 and I was certainly never brave enough to ever get blatantly drunk at that age! When you turned 18 that was when you would maybe have had a party and obviously the big thing was that you could actually go up to the bar and order your own drink!

So for this era of teens everything seems to be getting earlier and earlier, almost to the point of what on earth do they have to look forward to.

Now I used to be of the opinion that I would not supply my son with alcohol nor would he drink underage in my house. However, a year or two ago I did attend an event by Drinkaware which concentrated more on teaching your teen to be sensible with alcohol. I mean they may see you drink your glass or two of wine at night to unwind, or get drunk at family get togethers or parties, therefore it made more sense not to do one thing but tell them another, but to teach them responsibility around alcohol.

I know everyone will have their own opinion on this but it is less of a black and white issue these days. I have been lucky so far as my eldest hasn’t seem in a hurry to have a drink or get drunk but I know my youngest who is 14 will certainly be a different story, so I am at least hoping to gain some experience via my eldest and have learned by any mistakes I may make with him along the way.

For now though I feel lucky as my eldest who has started going to more parties has openly said there will be alcohol there and that some of his mates will be drinking. We offer him a lift there and back and are on the end of the phone waiting for any problems. We have told him at any of these parties if anything occurs and gets out of hand he is to go outside and call us to come and get him. He also made us proud a few weeks ago when he went to his friends party and ended up looking after another of his friends( who had actually lied to his parents about where he was going) and then they called his mum to come and get him as he was starting to get aggressive due to drinking too much. I certainly would rather know where my teen is and what he is doing and at least be prepared than be the mortified and furious parent who is called to come and get my son due to him being ‘plastered’! We did have a chat about what had happened and I did tell him they had done the right thing phoning the boy’s mum. It did lead on to a great conversation about how easy it is for that age group to quickly overdrink and feel the affects afterwards, which they are unable to control.

What is worrying though is when will 14 become the new 16!

** NOT A SPONSORED POST** I just wanted to spread word about their website which has lots of great information. For more go to drinkaware.co.uk