Wednesday, June 29, 2011

2am the New Midnight...?

A common problem the average parent is likely to come across is the timely issue of youth growing up too quickly. Time and time again, parents are faced with decision time about what curfew to set for their teenagers. The only problem is, with the invention of constant communication technology, like cell phones and GPS tracking systems, the old ‘be home by midnight’ is no longer valid. Teenagers are taking a stand, and they’re hitting the sore spot by claiming their friends are staying up later too…and before you know it, the old midnight turns into the new 2am.

The key is to do your research and set some rules. Take your teen as a starting point for your research. You need to take into account that their friends may be very different to the friends you had at your age – everyone knows that there are some groups that stay out later than others for whatever reasons. There are daytime skaters, as opposed to the night-time ones. The night-time ones aren’t necessarily there at night to drink and do drugs – they may have divided the time because the skate park is quieter, or has more of their friends around at night-time. You’ll need to ask them to see their side of the story and understand their reasons why they are staying out so late.

Your next port of call is the other parents around. These can be family friends with teenagers, or even your teen’s friends’ parents. What do they think about their proposed curfew? Is it too late? What do the other parents set as curfew for their teens? Why?

Now after you’ve done your research, go back to your teen like a sales person, and try compromise the best time you can both agree on. Maybe not be as sly as the stereotypical sales person, but try work towards your both advantage. Through this process, you’ll be able to set some rules down, because even if you decide on a particular time, things do come up, so set them straight. Perhaps the curfew can be at 2am, which is the time when they must be at home, but they must TXT you at midnight, or an hour or two after they’ve left home to let you know they’re OK. Come up with a number of scenarios they can reference to in future. For example, what if the bus, taxi or their ride can’t get them home by 2am – do they need to TXT or call you? Are they hanging out in your suburb or in town? What if there is a family emergency – how fast can they get back home?

Now, if you need to, write these rules out and stick them on the door, or the fridge, in their car, wallet, or even in their room. Perhaps it might be embarrassing for them to have these rules up in their room, or in their wallet, but I personally think friends can be very considerate in today’s world – teenagers have a conscience too, and if your teen’s friends see you have set rules for them, they’ll know about the rules their friend has, and I hope you find, in the perfect scenario that they will actually peer pressure your teen to stick to them.

What curfew would you set for the teen in your life? What was acceptable when you were younger, and what rights are they demanding in today’s day and age?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Keeping Youth Safe Online

Many people out there are scared of the internet. They’re scared of its power, but hey, if Superman hid his powers from the world, he wouldn’t be able to help anyone at all!

The key is to contain and protect your youth from what they might come across online, and with some extra knowledge about what to do and what not to do, can help go a long way.

So here we go, three key points to keep youth safe online…

1. Don’t give our personal information. It’s kind of simple…in real life, if you don’t want someone to go use your credit card, don’t give out your details to people. Same with the online world; if you don’t want randoms calling your cell phone, don’t give out your personal information. Re-iterate to youth that whatever you put online will stay there forever, regardless of whether they take it off, it will always be stored somewhere online in a little box, and hackers have ways of retrieving this information. Don’t let them be a victim to this, so just a gentle reminder to not put out their address, contact phone numbers, or any type of details they don’t need on there. Many people are scared to set up profiles on social networks, because they believe their identity may get stolen. The way I see it, living in real life is way more dangerous – if someone really wanted to steal your identity, they can stalk you to your house, get close-up shots of your face, and steal your credit cards out of your wallet. Online, you hold a certain amount of authority over what information you want to make available for the public; heck, you don’t even need to put up a real photo of you – put up a photo of a cartoon, or a nice sunset…you are allowed to be in control, so stay in control.

2. Invest in security software. Just like parents put parental locks on certain channels, you can do the same to prevent any viruses, or to block unwanted websites online. It’s fantastic that you have the option to protect your online use so much, so don’t overlook a few tens of dollars.

3. Limit their time on the internet. Research is coming up with horrific figures about how much time young people are spending online…help contribute to minimize this in your household by limiting the amount of time your young people are spending online. It will ensure they are most productive during the time they do have, and also have time to do other things in the REAL world. A great tip many parents are talking about, is to not let young people…probably more the pre-teens, be online past their bed time. Apart from the corneas getting damaged, it will disrupt their sleeping patterns, which is not recommended for growing, evolving bodies of adolescents.

They may be simple, but definitely effective to help keep your youth stay safer and healthier. You can put all these in practice, starting today, and if matters are getting really out of hand, how about an online/computer-use set of rules to make sure everyone knows the rules they can stick to. It doesn’t have to be a big Super Nanny poster, but a good 5 points that you can brainstorm with the whole family can make online use fun, productive, and staying safe, effective in your household.

What is the best piece of advice you can give, or have been given about staying safe online?
Also, check out the video about the topic here:

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Annoying Youth Habits in your Workforce

Day in and day out, more and more youth are coming into the workforce. And no wonder – half the world’s population is under 25 years old, and the new generation’s work habits are following them into the workforce. Bad attitudes, scruffy work clothes, turning up late and in general, disregard for not understanding when the business doesn’t do well, they may be out of a job.

Sure, that sounds like the generic youth job of a bartender, or coffee-maker, but it extends way into the corporate and SME world too.

The twisted youth minds are a hard one to understand, but when it comes to it, unless your generation wants to be blamed for the bad habits instilled in today’s youth, it may be good to pay some attention to what they react to, and what will help them achieve more in your business.

Many attitudes come down to the parenting young people have received. Do they respect you as an employer, comes down to: do they respect adults in their lives? Showing up in scruffy clothes, comes down to: were values instilled about respecting the people around them?

Having asked around, some of the most common problems with youth come down to the same answer:

The issues are: coming in with scruffy clothes, Bad attitudes, and showing up late for work
Why do they do that? They know when their shift starts…do they not own an alarm clock??!

If only things were that simple. When a young person’s shift starts at 9am, they’re likely to show up at 9am on the dot. Coming in scruffy clothes…perhaps that’s how they actually dress. Bad attitudes aren’t kept in check unless someone complains. So why not just tell them! Picking up on turning to work late, older generations
understand that a 9am start time means coming into work 10, 15, minutes before start-time so they’re dressed and ready for work. Well, not in this world – youth will show up when they’re expected, sometimes later. The warning for being late will be obvious, but not when they show up on time, even if they spend 10 minutes to get into ‘work mode’, thinking they’re paid for the time they’re on the premises.
What’s the way out of it? Tell them what you expect and why – whether it’s about the dress code, attitude or time management. What may seem very obvious to you about workforce attitudes will be different to today’s youth due to their parenting they received. If you expect to run your business in a particular way, don’t let it to their common sense to decide what’s right and wrong – tell them. Come up with a Code of Conduct with all the rules written out so if they come to work ‘on time’ instead of 10 minutes earlier or are wearing a ripped shirt, you can point them back to ‘the rules’. No if’s or but’s there….

How do you/how would you keep your young workers in check?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Parenting Expo and Second Book Launch!

So the second book is finally here.


Absolutely excited to the max about it - check out the video HERE

The official launch will be at 2pm at the Parenting Expo....all you people in New Zealand, I look forward to seeing you there! More info on here:

Monday, June 6, 2011

It's The Little Things...

Imagine starting your day with a cute coffee that someone's put some effort into! Wouldn't that just make your day a gazillion times better?

After all, isn't it the little things in life that make the biggest impacts?
Think about the little things that you can do...for anyone, on any given day...

  • Saying 'I love you' to your teen who you just had a huge fight with

  • Getting a friend some flowers just because

  • Leaving a handwritten note for a colleague to congratulate them about...anything!

  • Calling a long-lost contact, just to find out what's up

  • Leaving your mark in your work with pride (like drawing on a coffee...although I AM yet to find someone who is brave/skilled enough to draw their number in a coffee...I'll find day...)

What are the small things you can start doing today?
Or what are the small things you do already? Let's add some happiness to this world, peoples...
I'm off to write a whole bunch of handwritten notes on bright pink Post-its...just because :)

Love and kisses! xoxox