My eldest teen dealing with disappointment this week.

Before I start, I want to put this into perspective. No-one has died, or divorced, or left etc. It wasn’t to do with grades or uni or even a relationship. But this week my eldest son had what they see would  as a huge disappointment. He was due to go on holiday with his girlfriend and her family on an early flight on Saturday morning to Tenerife for a week. He had been invited over the Christmas holidays and we agreed that it would be his gift for his 19th birthday which is on Easter Sunday this year. A lot of money was spent on flights, insurance, passport and proper summer clothes that he was going to need.

Last week there was things to sort for him everyday leading up to picking him up from uni late on Thursday evening so we had Friday to sort all the packing and money exchanging. It was a busy week for me as it’s not every day I can be up and around and active due to my illness, however, by Friday morning we were fairly relaxed thinking we were ahead of ourselves.

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Then came the message that was to change it all. His girlfriend messaged to say her younger brother had been rushed into hospital that morning as he had become unwell without any warning signs or symptoms. When he told us my hubby and I knew right there and then that they would not be flying out to their holiday,but wanted to allow him to process what was happening and come to his own conclusions without us being instantly negative. However, as the morning went on I received a call from the mum to tell me what was happening and that they would have to cancel the holiday! Having never spoken to her before other than a phone message I felt so sorry for her when she was getting upset telling us they have to cancel. As an adult we can look at the whole situation and know that the most important thing was that their son was going to be OK. But we then had to break the news to my son, yes he’s 19 years old and should be able to process the initial disappointment and be able to know that it was more important that their son was well. However, throw in the fact he hasn’t been on proper holiday abroad for around 10 years so he was definitely excited about going, also the fact he was going to spend a week with his girlfriend ( who he doesn’t see every week because she lives in Norfolk and he’s at uni in Brighton) and then add on that the fact he has Aspergers (mild traits)!!

Surprisingly, he took it well, but he was playing his guitar at the time ( a stress reliever for him) and we could see that his eyes were welling up but he was trying not to show it. He obviously was concerned for the brother as he has got to know him quite well now and they both get on. He knew it was more important that the son was in hospital and no-one knew what was happening to him (initially we heard it was possible appendicitis, then possible pancreatitis and he was due to have scans and more blood tests) but it was still a huge disappointment for him to process. So, we agreed that if he still wanted to have time with his girlfriend that because my husband was off work for a day or two we would be able to drive him up to stay with her as I know she would want to be at home to see her brother. So, that’s what we did and in all fairness he was quite happy in the end with the outcome of a few days with his girlfriend rather than not see her at all.

I think teenagers ( even the older ones who are more independent) still live in that moment or that day rather than look ahead or plan ahead as most adults would do, in that respect they are still like young children and therefore we have to remember they might not take the same approach to disappointment that a fully grown adult, who has experienced a bit of life, would. Things that happen along the way in life like this situation help us deal better with any future disappointments in life. They put things into perspective, they make them see that things do not always work out as you planned it and it’s still our job as parents to help them through these things and make them feel normal for having these feelings.

The main thing overall is that their son is OK, although he is still in hospital having scans and pain relief until they source the real cause of the problem, but I still think it’s natural to feel a little disappointment when it comes to these situations too. It’s not selfish providing you do not lose sight of the bigger picture. This certainly would have been much, much worse if this had happened on the plane or even when they were out at their holiday destination, there will be other holidays and other times to do things.

So for now we hope he has a great time this week in Norfolk and we just look forward to celebrating his birthday on Easter Sunday.

How have you had to help your teen deal with life’s little disappointments? I am generally interested to know how others cope.

 

 

Jump In, Tonbridge- Review

I have seen more and more of these style of trampoline parks popping up all over the place taking over (almost) from the generation of kids indoor playcentres, with the difference being that us adults can also now ‘pay and play’!

We were invited along to Jump In trampoline park Tonbridge in Kent over the half term,  which has just recently opened in fact. This one was on an industrial estate ( which most of these places are anyway) and although there was a decent sised sign on the outer gate we really had to look hard to make sure we were in the right place as this was the sign on the building itself….

jump-in-sign

We were advised to register everyone in our group that were actually going onto the trampolines and those under 18 need to be signed in by an adult on the waiver form.

As my eldest was home from uni we decided to all go on and try it ( yes even me!) but unfortunately for us we were restricted on our time that week and so were there around 3pm, and obviously at those times it was full of young children from toddlers up to teens. Thankfully we are not a family to be put off and we went on anyway. I am sure the later you go the older the kids/teens would be ( it is open until 9pm on weekdays and 10pm on weekends -Fri and Sat) but like I said we were a little restricted that week working around my eldest.

The venue itself you could tell had not been open long, the walls were a clean crisp grey and everything had that newly painted/ decorated feel. Once you register and book in and pay, you are given your grip socks which you need if you are going on the trampolines. The sessions are one hour long at £12 inc your grip socks with a second hour available for £6 (prices for under 5’s are reduced ). So at £12 a child it could be kind of expensive with more than one child- however, I guarantee you they will come off totally knackered…………… so worth it if you think about it! We were also given a coloured wrist band as it was peak time in half term and very busy, but I imagine this is the only way to actually keep a restriction on how many people they are allowed on at any one time. Then we were sent into a holding room to view a 4 minute ‘Do’s and Don’t’s’ video before entering the trampoline area itself.

There are small lockers available if you are all going on for you to pop your phones/ bags/ valuables etc into which you get your money back from each time.

As you walk through you are into the seating/ cafe area on the same level (think normal playcentre and you will get an idea of what to expect) and then if you are going on the trampoline area which is completely raised there is a ramp walkway to get on there. It is still easy to see your children from the cafe and there is a small walkway all along that you can go up to check on them if you want.

Like I say we all went on and had a ball. I lasted about 20-30 minutes before I was completely shattered and went for a coffee from the cafe ( ladies be warned Tena ladies would be very handy if you are jumping!! Just saying). Our 2 teens stayed on there the whole time! There was an area unfinished in the top corner which was bordered off from the rest of the park, it was set in lower and looked like it was going to be used for a dodge ball area ( I could be wrong on that but it did look like it). They also have a small 2 hoop basketball area which you queue for to go and have a try- using the trampolines to get the bounce and height to help you get the ball in the hoop- looked good fun. There is also an under 5’s small area bordered off near the cafe area. There is also an area at the top end where you have obstacles to get past over a pit filled with sponge blocks- string ladders to climb up and ‘gladiator’ style jousting on a slim walkway were you are given head gear to put on and bash your opponent with a large soft paddle to knock them off into the pit.

All in all we had a fun time, next time we would definitely book an evening slot so the age group would be older and more suitable for teens and adults alike without worrying that when you jump you are going to unknowingly fling a young child about 10ft in the air! They also run exercise classes which I imagine would be amazing fun and great exercise- my hubby and I can confirm our legs felt like lead the next day so this would be a great form of cardio exercise! It’s definitely something we all enjoyed and said e would do again……….and lets face it most teens don’t want to do anything with their parents so were pleased they said they would go back again.

Unlike normal playcentres though it is advisable to pre book your slot online before you go as once they reach their maximum amount of people at that time the slot will no longer be available for obvious health and safety reasons. You also get to keep your grip socks after the first time so a 1 hour slot reduces to £10 an hour when you bring those socks back to re use them each time.

If you fancy trying it then just check out their website here for more details on pricing/ times/ classes/ parties  etc.

 

Amazing how differently your teen is treated by teachers when they find out about his almost certain ADHD diagnosis

Ok so before all you teachers instantly take offence to that I will openly say I do not think secondary teachers are paid enough for what they have to deal with and I could not for all the money in the world even contemplate teaching teenagers!! I appreciate you all have several classes with probably 30 moody, whingy, bolshy annoying teens in every class driving you to complete distraction getting on your last nerve at times…………….. I repeat I COULD NOT DO THAT JOB.

That said, when it comes to your own child and you can see him being persecuted for being fidgety, talking, moving, getting distracted and distracting others. Now I am not a mother who sees her children as little angels, I am fully aware that my 15 year old son is ‘high maintenance’, loud, demanding and can drive me to total distraction on a daily basis, so I do appreciate how that could be a pain in the arse to deal with in a class of 30 kids. So when the said child does not change over the years, finds it hard to focus and is the king of ‘low level disruption’ but is generally a very likeable boy surely some alarm bells would be ringing from the school side of things?

However, this did not happen, it was my son after lots of discussions at home who decided that he needed to take this further as he was getting very frustrated with getting into trouble for the same repeatable behaviour, to the point where particular teachers would actually send him out of the room within minutes because he was tapping his pen, or tapping his feet, or fiddling with stuff on his desk and then totally lose his temper when they gave him a detention for disruption. He has been on Head of Learning reports in year 9 and just wasn’t actually learning from it- it his words ‘I feel as though I just cant stop myself- I have done it or said it before I have even realised’.

So we went through the process of getting the school to refer him last year for an ADHD assessment ( totally pushed from our side). He eventually had his assessment just before Christmas 2015 where the consultant openly told us it was highly likely in her view he would be diagnosed and to prepare for him to be put on medication that would help him settle, focus and help him achieve his potential at school ( he is at a grammar school and all his teachers say he is very bright but he is letting himself down with his behaviour). Unfortunately the appointment to discuss possible medications will not be until May/ June at the earliest due to the waiting list.

Tonight we had his parents evening. He has heard so many times about his behaviour that he totally rights himself off with school and doesn’t think he can do anything, yet recently we were emailed by his Chemistry teacher to say he had an excellent result in his latest ISA test. He is on par for an A* in his Drama, and does well in strange subjects such as Classics too. He has the capability to do really well in his GCSE’s and we have been told that by most of his teachers.

So at each of the 4 minute slots you have ( I swear it’s like a form of speed dating!) with each teacher, every single one of them concentrated on his behaviour and not on his work to the point I just didn’t care and totally ran over my slotted time in order to inform them that he has been ADHD assessed, with a highly likely outcome, and is waiting on a probably medication appointment in hopefully may/ June time- all of which has been discussed with the SEN who was supposed to pass it on to his them.

The difference in how they spoke to him, about him and what they could do to help was unbelievable! We went from him being basically slagged off ( no wonder he goes to school with a self fulfilling prophecy attitude, tell someone they are a waste of space enough and they will become it!) to a complete turnaround for some of them.

All of his teachers have said they will………….

  • physically check he has written his homework in his planner rather than just ask him ( as he will say yes intending to do it at break time only to get distracted and then forget………..roll on a detention).
  • some have offered to print out notes for him as he struggles to read his own writing when he rushes notes in class and therefore takes the attitude that it’s not worth it as he wont be able to read them, therefore getting into trouble for not doing enough note taking.
  • Some have decided that they will move him closer to their desk in order to help keep him focussed.
  • Several said to get a stress ball that he could keep in his hand in class so that he has something to ‘fiddle with’ without making noise or distracting others.
  • One has already started to give him a little note at the start of the lesson to break down his one hour class into 10-15 minute bites for him so he only has to initially focus for short periods on one task.

They spoke to him about helpful coping strategies that they could work together on and some we could use at home with regards to his homework and coursework etc. His Drama teacher was absolutely brilliant with him and said that he was welcome in her class when she was there during breaks or after school to ‘vent’ or talk about things he was struggling with and she would help him as much as she could. She said he reminded her of herself at that age where he was almost at a crossroads and could go one way or the other, on a good path or a bad one, and she was more than happy to help him make the right choices.

It is a shame that it wasn’t picked up earlier from school and he felt he had already been written off by his teachers who literally couldn’t be bothered to have him in their class. Therefore, in his head he was never going to do any good at his GCSE’s. Tonight he is already talking about being a primary school teacher ( which he would be fab at as he gets on great with younger kids). Don’t get me wrong he is not going to find this easy, he will have to put some hard effort in himself and knuckle down to getting his homework done, but if it’s in his planner then we as parents can support him by making sure it’s done and therefore cut down on any detentions for not doing it because it wasn’t written in there. He will have to try really hard in class for the teachers to keep this level of support up on his behalf and hopefully help him with coping strategies even before he has to think about possible medication down the line.

So, for the first time after one of his parent’s evening we have all come home much more positive and my son now knows he has a friendly and approachable contact in the form of his Drama teacher if he finds he is getting frustrated with things at school. I cannot thank her enough for how nice she was to him tonight and how supportive she has offered to be- I think if one teacher at school can influence him it is definitely going to be her and hopefully that will help keep him on track in other classes too.

I would love to hear from any of you who have gone through the same thing, and if your child was put on medication did that help them at all?

 

 

 

 

When your teenager can still surprise you…..

My youngest son is 15 going on 35 so mature for his age group and acts like he is an adult!

As most of you will know if you have teen boys they hit that point where they stop asking you every 5 minutes ‘what we are doing today?’ and hole themselves up in their bedrooms, curtains closed, headphones on with games controllers in their hands and either ignoring you or telling you to get out of their rooms.

This pretty much sums up my youngest for about the past year, where it has been pretty hard to get him motivated with anything. Then Sunday out of nowhere he comes down to the table in the lounge and sets up an area so he can make a model of a tank. Yes I know I thought I was hallucinating too! From 2pm he worked on it all day until around 9ish in the evening breaking only to have his dinner. To be bloody honest I don’t think I have witnessed him sit in one place for anywhere near that long before (even when he is gaming he is up and down stairs getting food and drinks).

Then on Monday after school he came in got changed and then started again. I could not believe it. He even got me to order another model online so he had something to start once he finished the tank. Even now I cannot believe I am writing these words! Last night around 8 o’clock he proudly brought it over to show me. He had actually done a great job, he is the most inpatient kid I know and would normally have several devices on the go at any one time. OK so yes he had headphones on watching The Big Bang Theory on his Ipad in the backround, but he still ploughed on through with all the fiddly time consuming bits that you have to do, filing, glueing and waiting for things to dry before moving on.

Now he just needs to paint it but I am super proud that he pulled himself away from his games to do something constructive, and the fact he spent that much time downstairs in our company to boot. I am not fooling myself, probably by the time the weekend comes the novelty will have worn off and he will be back gaming non stop, but for now I am going to wallow in the fact he is doing something different and spending more time in our company…………..and if that costs me a small fortune in models then so be it.

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Time for a teen room makeover

My eldest son is about to turn 18 in April and in all fairness his room hasn’t been decorated as such since we had a whole house refurb about 7 yrs ago. When we did the building work the boys went from sharing a room to having a room of their own and we literally just split their bunk beds to make temporary singles for each room. We kept the colours neutral so we could just easily change bedding/ curtains and posters or wall art to suit their changing tastes. This has worked very well up until now.

Now, as my son turns 18 we are looking to overhaul his room making it into a more adult looking space, there is plenty of room to fit a double bed which will be our priority as he is no longer a little boy but an almost 6ft young man and needs room to spread out.

Landcroft Road—East Dulwich : Classic style bedroom by Oakman

 

Surprisingly he still has his storage boxes under his bed overflowing with Lego and toys and games in his cupboards that depict younger age, not because he wants them still but because we have failed to make the time to clear out to be honest, and up until recently he hasn’t really minded that much. He still has a mountain of books so he would love something like these gorgeous leaning ladder style shelves to fill with books.

Colonial style bedroom by DA-Design

 

He’s into his music and has a keyboard  which he has used since he did music GCSE at school and now he has an electric guitar and some programming and recording tech which he spends a lot of his time doing. He is also due to go off to Uni in September ( I cannot mention it without almost bursting into tears- I am so not ready for my baby to go) but I think the music equipment will stay here for now until he finds his feet and I think his Uni room will not be big enough to fit it all in! He also loves all things retro so this would be right up his street!

Realizzazioni : Modern bedroom by Jorge Cases

 

We have put this job off for a all of last year really not through any other reason than lack of inspiration, even he doesn’t really know what he wants (except for the double!). Recently though I have been trawling the internet which has been an amazing resource for boys bedroom ideas regardless of the age group or what they are into and I have lost hours searching through Pinterest, home decor sites and even other blogger makeover posts. I think when they are little it is so much easier to come up with ideas or themes and products to fit any size or style of room.

I would love to hear from any of you who have been in the same position and see what you chose for your teens room

DISCLAIMER: This post is in collaboration with Homify

‘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?

Activities for Teenagers over the Half Term

 

Now when I say teens I don’t mean a 13 yr old with younger siblings, those teens are normally more than happy to engage in the family activities that their brothers or sisters like- a day at the park, walking in the woods, cooking/baking at home and Halloween crafts , bike rides and meeting up with friends while mums can grab a coffee and a natter and a bit of moral support!

But my eldest is 16 and has a younger 14yr old brother who is mature for his age and so thinks he is 16 himself. There are no younger siblings to occupy so we have moved on from planning every day to within an inch of it’s life and gone for a few planned things throughout the week with free time for the rest so they can either lounge in bed watching DVD’s or playing Xbox ( shoot me now for being a bad mother).

So as the net is saturated with activities for younger kids here is a few ideas that your older teens may enjoy (and you may earn some brownie points for).

* Offer them a taxi service to the nearest shopping centre, ours is Bluewater which offers them shopping, cinema and fast food places or restaurants. Offer them lifts for their friends so they don’t have the ‘effort’ of arranging how to get there- believe me this makes a difference!

* Book them and their friends into the local bowling alley. Ours is a Tenpin Bowling and offer a ‘Bowl and Bite’ offer over the half term which would cost less than £10 per child ( obviously only pay for your own and get your teen to round up what’s owed by the others)- we have done this loads of times and although it’s only 1 game of bowling if there are 4 or more this could take about an hour, then they could eat and then if they like spend some time in the games arcade area.

* Offer your eldest the use of your house ( if you trust them and their friends- which I do with mine having met them all, and know some of the parents). Now this may sound like trouble in the making but if arranged properly could earn you kudos as a parent and respect from your teen. After all we have to let them earn trust. I have before bought a few pizzas in and let them cook them themselves ( with a mixed group of boys and girls they loved doing it). As it’s Halloween get them to bring their horror DVD’s for a film fest maybe, or set the Wii up  ( I kid you not they love to act like kids when they are all together- it’s the freedom they like). I either give them the afternoon or evening on their own with an agreed time to be back- then we can go and do something with the youngest on his own.

* Find your nearest fun pool, for us it’s Larkfield towards Maidstone which is about a 30 minute drive away, but it has a normal separate pool, a wave pool, a lazy river and 2 flumes all included in the price normally less than £6. Now this one is probably for the younger teen ( although my eldest still likes going there with mates), but get him to arrange what friends he wants to go with and offer them a lift there and back and each can pay for themselves ( believe me this works well) as you are providing transport and a parents beady eye over them. Then take your laptop with you and get a bit of blogging done using their free wifi!

* Film nights at home. Now I use the term ‘night’ loosely as on a lazy day they are still unwashed at 3pm! So really anytime of day will do. Let them watch a film older than their age group- now before you jump on me for being an irresponsible parent my youngest is a mature 14 so I have no problems with the 15 rated films and my eldest is a sensible 16 and loves horror films like me so I will allow him to watch horror films although they are 18! So go on shoot my now! I cook up some popcorn, we turn out all the lights and bring the duvets down. Your front room may then smell like something has died in there with all the teen testosterone but they will love you for not making them shower and wander round the shops with you.

* If they are into cooking/ baking allow them to cook a dinner on their own ( my youngest enjoys this). Get them to decide what they want to make and then take them up to a supermarket for them to go in and get all the ingredients- then give them freedom to make a mess and give you food poisoning offering to clear up afterwards ( again they will love you for that). I have had full blown cakes, stirfry’s and curry’s made for us so far.

* Ask them to sort out something technical for you. I find getting my youngest to sort out my MP3 player ( I don’t do Ipods- sorry), he always sorts out the CD’s I want put on there and I get him to put on some of his that he thinks I would like- he likes to think he’s educating me to the modern music world. Obviously this is a task rather than an activity but gives him something constructive to do for an hour.

* Another technical one for them to do for you is to make a CD of your photos, maybe from your hols or just general ones over the year and as long as you have saved them already allow them freedom to add music, text and special effects as they see fit. I now have several of these and lets face it they will get them done much quicker than we would probably! Then it can be given an airing after dinner and you can have a bit of a laugh as a family.

Now this is NOT a sponsored post I just wanted to point you in the direction of some places we use ourselves.

So by incorporating a few of these if they suit your teens combined with a few xbox days I think your half term may go quite nicely, and hopefully if you have done some of the taxi runs etc and booked cinema or bowling etc for them some of the other parents may also have things planned that they include your kids in too.

If you have any other ideas for older teens I would love to hear them

 

 

The ‘New’ Teenager

This post is a little overdue because of last weeks events (if you haven’t heard you can catch up here)

Just over a week ago my youngest turned the dreaded 13! Actually I don’t know how this happened as I’m sure it was only last week they were starting school………..feels like that anyway. Also I mean c’mon I’m sure I’m not old enough * runs to check for grey hairs and wrinkles*.

It ended up being slightly unorthodox as his actual birthday was on the Monday however, my OH was unable to get the time off and there was a good chance he was going to be late home. So we gave our youngest the choice of sticking to his ‘real’ birthday or milking it with a ‘day early’ birthday!

Like any 12 yr old he jumped at the chance of getting his pressies early. So everything was set for the Sunday.

Pressies in the morning,

His birthday treat ( a Young Driver lesson)in the afternoon – will do a post on this another time!

His birthday meal at his fav Indian restaurant in the evening.

To say he had a great day was an understatement! His driving lesson was a real surprise and a huge hit. We were able to enjoy a full day all together. I was so glad he made the decision to enjoy it early as the Monday was a complete washout- OH at work and youngest at school, OH was late in and we didn’t do his cake until almost 9pm!!! However, he had quite a few visitors bringing him more cards etc so he was still centre of attention ( generally what he craves anyway).

So now he has had the experience the Queen has every year- 2 birthdays!

Now over a week later I’m thinking I may not survive this this one’s teenage years if the last few days are anything to go by……………..

Teenagers and the Summer Holidays

           TEENAGER ALERT!

Recently I have been reading and envying all the latest posts about keeping the kids entertained over the summer break. I used to do the same, list all the things we wanted to do and all the places we wanted to visit, arrange meeting up with friends for picnics in the park, swim afternoons, beach visits………………….and the list goes on.

My boys are now 15 and 12 (almost13) years old., and with ALL the will in the world I cannot get them enthused about anything ( obviously Xbox is not included here). I’m aware that the age they are now they like to lay in occasionally, have lazy telly mornings and later nights. But really what the hell am I going to do over the holidays? I cannot let them fester in their rooms all day!! I know they prefer to manage themselves even if it means just watching tell or playing on their phones or whatever they do whilst they lounge about in their black holes. The mere mention of going to a park or a walk somewhere sends them into meltdown mode! Things like cinema/ bowling/ Go Ape etc all cost lots so would only do occasionally.

So, I’m frantically looking for options.

We have booked a week away camping in the Isle of Wight in August. Actually they are both looking forward to this as they went there with their primary school on their Yr6 trip. So although we have booked the campsite etc, we are leaving the holiday up to them- we have the guide books and they know pretty much the places they want to visit over there (inc the hotel that they stayed in LOL). So this week away should be great for all of us ( even with their continuous bickering). To top it all off we are NOT- I repeat- NOT on a budget this time after a little radio win in May I have purposely kept plenty of spending money!!

My OH with be working as normal on shifts so there will be days when he is here with us and others were he wont. The days he is not here are perfect lazy days or cinema days that will fit in with my M.E. However, when he is here I would like us to actually DO something rather than waste the 5-6 weeks!

So apart from the normal having friends over for xbox and a sleepover I’m manically trying to sort ideas that wont cost the earth but that they actually want to do—no point forcing them to do stuff they don’t want to as no one ends up enjoying the day.

My list so far:

* Groupon have a great offer on for tickets to Horrible Histories Live in London ( still a pay out but def worth doing for a major treat)

* Thinking of possibly one of those Cineworld monthly tickets? Anyone tried these and are they worth it?

* Eldest has already arranged to go stay in Plymouth at my mums as my brother lives there and they spend days walking the moors!

* Fishing (my new obsession!) with the youngest while the eldest is away……youngest loves it and eldest detests it.

*If the weather holds out we will definitely get a day at the beach, complete with burgers cooked on the beach for tea- that we still like doing but cannot swamp them with doing it lots! Might offer them each to bring a friend which will separate them and contain the arguments.

*They still enjoy movie nights- so invest in a few new DVD’s or a pay per view off demand with popcorn and fizzy drinks to keep them happy- again could get them to invite a mate or two as a change???

* Games nights- monopoly being a favourite, as is Texas Hold’em ( *cough* nothing like teaching your kids to gamble!!) We invested in a proper poker table last year with cup holder etc

Other than that I’m pretty stumped, neither are bothered about cooking/ baking really and definitely making things/ craft is soooo out of the question 🙁

All you with teen boys, what else would you suggest?