Questions for my teens: The Teen Tag

After the success of a post I wrote here

I have decided to create a new Tag called Questions for my teens!

Anyone with teenagers can join in but I will ask some of you to start it off.

Do you fancy this?

Its a drama

beyourownexample

motherofteenagers

so what now?

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After the playground

Not Just the 3 of us

Here are the questions I asked my 2 teenagers. You may like to play around with these but their answers were awesome! Why not try it?

  1. What are your greatest fears at the moment?
  2. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time?
  3. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?
  4. What makes you angry and why?
  5. Do you believe in having a soul-mate and true love?
  6. What is the best and worst part of being a teenager?
  7. What would be your perfect day?
  8. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

I would love to read your teens answers so if you share your post on Twitter, copy me in @oldhouseinthes1

There is a Tag badge in my widget (side area) if you would like to add it to your post.

 

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Questions for my teenagers. June 2017

My children are 17 and 15. One is in the sixth form studying for A’ Levels and the other is just finishing Year 10 and the first year of GCSE’s. I have a daughter and a son and they are both really great people.

They have agreed to help me with this blog post! I thought it would be a fun idea to get their views on certain things. I can be quite opinionated with some saying I have a “strong” character but I’d like to think that my children have their own voice and we encourage discussion and differing views in the Old House. I would also like to think that they can talk to me about anything as that is really important.

I asked the children separately to see what their opinions apart from each other.

Teen Tag (1)

1.  What is your greatest fear at the moment?

Daughter: Getting my mock English Literature result back! Terrorism could be something but honestly, if it’s my time it’s my time.I don’t want to stop doing the things I like because of stupid terrorists. It doesn’t worry me and nothing scares me except those scary mazes in you get in horror movies!

Son: Being alone. I don’t worry about anything really.

Me: I fear for my children in this ever turbulent and unsettled world. It’s interesting that they do not worry about that really. Then I think back and remember that when I was a child there was unrest and acts of terrorism in Northern Ireland. I didn’t even consider what this meant to me until I was an adult. Perhaps youth protects us from the harsh realities of the world around us or perhaps age opens our eyes to it? I don’t know.

2. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years?

Daughter: Having a job, living alone with a cat. (My son thinks she will become a crazy cat woman from The Simpsons!! My daughter just really loves animals and thought she would grow up to be a cat until she was 3. She’s a very caring person.)

Son: Travelling.

Me: I hope to be travelling too but with Uni fees looming I expect I won’t be!

3. If you could meet anyone from history, who would it be and why?

Daughter: Socrates. He had such developed ideas about the world; he talked about such amazing ideas such as particles. He was killed because people were frightened of him. (My daughter is studying Classics A Level and is really enjoying it. I wonder if she will study this at University?)

Son: Joseph Goebbels because he was an interesting character. He was obviously crazy but he would be interesting to talk too I think and see how his mind works.

(My son is studying history GCSE and loves it. It will be interesting to see what he chooses for A Levels.)

Me: I’ve often pondered this question. I think it would have to be someone like Elizabeth the first who got me interested in history in the first place or Shakespeare. I would like to meet Elizabeth as she comes over as such a strong woman in a man’s world. Shakespeare, there is some thought that he didn’t write all of his plays, that perhaps a woman did, I would like to see and meet him.

4. What makes you angry and why?

Daughter: People who think they are better than others. Cruelty to animals.

Son: People who think that they know everything.

(They were very similar in their answers here)

Me: I have to agree with my children! Especially cruelty to animals. I would add environmental issues too but, as an adult, I’m more able to see that just “don’t cut down trees to save the orangutans” is too simplistic. It is a much wider and complex issue. That’s why I champion local environmental projects and ways of living. Help your local wildlife first.

5. Do you believe in having a soul mate and true love?

Daughter: Because of my parents! (Ahhhhhh…..x)

Son: No, I don’t think I do. (He didn’t know why….)

Me: yes I do. x

6. What is the best and worst part of being a teenager?

Daughter: The best bit is not having to pay any bills. The worst is having bad skin when I was about 14. I hated it but it cleared up with antibiotics.

Son: The best bit is having no worries. The worst but is some other teenagers who are annoying. (My son is quite mature for his age and gets cross with others that are “like little kids.”)

Me: When I was a teenager, the best bit was the freedom I had, especially with money. What I earned went straight into my pocket! The worst was friendships or boy issues although I can’t remember a specific issue interestingly.

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7. What would be your perfect day?

Daughter: Going to a festival or concert.

Son: Playing sport all day and then being with my friends in the evening.

(This sums both up pretty well! My daughter was upset at not going to Glastonbury this year but may go to Reading.)

Me: time with my family or in the garden.

8. If you won the lottery, what would you do with the money?

Daughter: I would put it in the bank so that it can earn interest. I would pay for my university fees and then buy a house. I would go on a brilliant holiday. I would give some to charity and share it with other family members.

Son: Spend it and not tell anyone!

(I can tell that my daughter is sooo like her dad when it comes to money and my son is very, very like me! I laughed so much at his response here!)

Me: Pay off the mortgage, put it in the bank. Pay off loved ones mortgages and spend some on Uni fees, holidays and lives pleasures! I wouldn’t go and spend loads on houses and cars. I would set up an Educational Foundation to support Special Needs in schools. I would also like to give money to various environmental charities such as Wiltshire Wildlife.

My son is very mature for his age but interestingly, he found answering some of the questions tricky and wanted to find out what his sister had said.

You may want to ask your teenagers questions too. It’s really interesting to record their answers. I wonder what they would think of these answers in a few years time!

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After the Playground

How to survive teen driving lessons in 5 easy steps.

Driving home from school the other day and my 17-year-old tells me that I have my hands at the wrong position on the wheel! What?? In fact, after a few driving lessons she is often pointing out various things I’m doing that are technically “wrong.” I remember doing this exact thing with my mum. I feel officially old!

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Both hands on  the wheel mum!

We are now at the stage where she wants to practise her driving with me in my car and I know that this is an important skill for her to have but it is very, very scary!

Firstly, this is my car! I have a cute, little, red Fiat 500 and I love it frankly! Also, it’s  very, very hard to be a passenger in a car with your CHILD driving!

So, here are 5 easy (tongue in cheek) tips to help fellow parents in the passenger seat.

1. Practise your “I am very calm” face. This is vitally important. Even the most patient person should know that the out of control feeling will transfer to your face thus totally annoying your teenager. Oh and do NOT grab the sides of your seat as this may also instill teen anger.

2. Do NOT take your teen’s sibling along for the ride. The moment when your children start fighting in the car when one of them is driving is not one I recommend. Or, the sibling starts to reach forward to plug in their phone so that they can play music. Just no.

3. Try not to make the braking action. You are not driving so this is useless. In fact, your teen will possibly start saying things such as “For God sake mum!” or “Will you stop!” or worse. Mime braking will be a thing but it doesn’t actually work.

4. Do NOT change gear for them. Stalling at junctions will happen and it will terribly embarrassing for your teen. They will be flustered, especially if there is a cute boy in the car behind them. Don’t touch the gear stick or hand brake for that matter. They may explode in rage or threaten to get out of the car. I recommend your calm face at this point.

5. Finally, do NOT let your child drive home from school. Friends watching your teen will encourage “cool” behaviour which, in turn will provoke stalling or the car bouncing. This will instill a fit of hysterical laughter in your teen (especially if the cute boy is passing by the window) or that teen anger that you want to avoid. Oh and don’t wave at anyone that you may know at this point as your teen may then refuse to leave the car and swap places until EVERYONE has left the school grounds. The calm face will not be as easy at this point.

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Fiat 500 in red

On a more serious note, she is doing really well and picking up this driving malarkey quickly.  It’s just I don’t think I am! And I’m not letting my Fiat go either!

OH THE JOYS OF BEING A PARENT OF TEENS.

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After the Playground

My ovaries are hurting…..

I was chatting to my good friend, Marie. She is lovely and has children of a similar age to mine and she was asking if I was going to have any more children.

What!??! Urrrr noooooooo!!??

You get the picture!

She always thought that I would have more children you see -I have 2. In fact, I always thought I would have more children. It was just that there was never the right time. I even saved names for those children.

Hubbie didn’t want another when I did (when son was about 4). Then when I definitely could not see myself with another, he started to consider the thought! By then, the gap would have been 8 years between 2 and 3 and I just couldn’t imagine starting again. Anyway, I was working full time and I couldn’t imagine working, having 2 school aged children and a baby! I was only just managing with the routine I had. I remember a family member telling me that I didn’t want to get to 40 and regret it or that every baby was a blessing.

I reached 40 and decided that I did not want another baby. I was so happy and lucky to have the family I have.

But then my ovaries started hurting…..

I think it’s my bodies way of telling me this is my last chance. I mean, I’m 45 now so there is such a slim chance! This blogging malarky doesn’t help either as so many of you lovely people have such cute babies! And dont get me started on Instagram! OMG the cuteness!

BUT

I think my ovaries are hurting because I just miss my children being babies? Does that make sense? I miss me being a mummy of younger children I guess. I think that’s just part of my make-up; I’m a primary school teacher so enjoy this age group. That’s not to say I don’t love my teenagers….I just miss them as babies. Or, may be my ovaries are hurting because I’m perimenopausal?? Yeah, that’ll be it!

OH THE JOYS OF THE PERIMENOPAUSE (Yes! It’s a thing…….google it!)

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What I have learnt in (almost) 6 months of Blogging.

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6 months of blogging! Whoop whoop!*

I have been blogging for almost 6 months now and I’ve learnt so much! Who knew that little old me could learn all the technical stuff?

I started this blog as a way of writing about the things we were doing to the old house but it’s evolved into a “parenting, lifestyle, things we are doing to the old house” type blog! Another blogger described it as “eclectic” and that’s what it is…..a rambling old house in the Shires!

So what have I learnt?

1. You become clearer about why you are blogging.

I started this blog to fill a void of not working full-time and having more time on my hands as my children are teenagers. We had also recently moved house so it seemed a good way to document things we did to the old house over time. After 6 months it’s become more of a hobby. A hobby which I had never considered before and one that is more time consuming that I could possibly have imagined!

2. There’s a whole community out there! Who knew??

There are so many lovely people out there who you chat to over the computer! I have a little group of blogging friends and that’s empowering. I like the fact that I could be chatting to someone on the other side of the world about their vegetables or about their teenagers slamming doors too! The other thing I’ve learnt is that people are kind and helpful. Generally if you ask another blogger for advice, they will give it to you. As someone who had never been on Twitter before, this was essential! (Apologies if I still haven’t learnt tweeting etiquette 😉). And as for the whole self hosting thang….yeez! Not for me…..yet.

3. I like to write. It may not be read by too many people yet but I enjoy it!

I’m always amazed at the posts that people like to read. It can be the posts that I have fretted over posting. Or, a post that I wrote in 5 minutes gets more views that’s a post that has taken me 3 days to write! I like to write and that is why I blog but it’s important to me that people enjoy reading them. I know that others do it for a job but I have a job so I’m happy with my teeny tiny corner of the internet.

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Writing my blog is like therapy! *

4. It’s giving me something to fill the “mum” void that I am finding now I have teenagers.

Oh the mum void! There’s a post to write. I think nature is cruel because at the same time that our children are becoming more independent, we are becoming more hormonal. Crazy. Again, another post! It would be called, “My perimenopausal brain…..”

5. I’m getting out and about more due to My Glorious Gardens series!

This is bit I love the most! I know that next academic year I’m working more in school so this is pushing me out there more during this summer term! I’m going to Gardens that I have always wanted to visit but haven’t had the time to visit in the past. I love it! In fact, I’m off today…… must dash. My country boots (and rain coat by the looks of things) are calling me and Dottie is looking at me as if to say, “Come on mum!” Well, at least someone needs me…….😍🐶

So what are my blogging goals for the next 6 months?

Well I don’t really know where my blog is going but that’s ok! I’ve been a guest on Dippy Dotty girl’s amazing website but I would love to guest on a parenting blog.

https://thetravellingdiaryofadippydottygirl.com/2017/05/02/saskias-adventures-in-beautiful-bruges/

I’m older with older children but I have loved every aspect of being a mummy and as a teacher, feel like I have a lot of advice to give.

I think I would like to make a Linky of my own but lack skills so we shall see!

*photos from http://www.unsplash.com (credit Lucy Heath, Jesus Kiteque & Andrew Neel)

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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8 reasons why pets are good for children and your family.

So your child wants a pet? Are they demanding a kitten or a cute puppy? Do they dream  of their own pony or pet rat? Obviously, getting a pet takes thought and preparation but they are an essential part of family life in my opinion.

Before you decide, here are the top 8 reasons why a pet is a great idea for your child and your whole family.

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A dog can be your child’s first friend
1. They are good for your physical health.

I know that since we have got Dottie we are a healthier family as she needs to be walked. Every day we go out and walk for about an hour. Some dogs need more exercise than others but an hour works for us. Having other pets can also be great for physical health. Rabbits and guinea pigs love to run in the garden and children enjoy playing with them, feeding them and being with them outside. Horses and ponies need a lot of care and exercise but obviously your child can ride them, perhaps developing a lifelong passion. Pet owners are known to be at less risk of allergies and visit the doctor less often.

2. They can be your child’s first friend.

When I was young I had a cat called Fozzy when I was about 8. He was basically my baby and my first real love. I used to wrap him up in a blanket and he would let me! In fact, he loved it. Pets are always there and provide great comfort for children. I know dogs that are literally part of the game!

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Dog dressed as Supergirl!
3. They connect family members together.

During Christmas Day we had 8 adults, numerous children and 5 dogs (as well as our old cats) here at the old house. I know that the dogs were as important to our family as the people. There was no question that they would be left out! Having a pet creates a feeling of unity amongst families and can be a good way to encourage teens to come out of their bedroom!

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Children with lots of cute dogs
4. Pets can help with stressful moments.

Young children often have full on tantrums and we all know that is normal but it can be very stressful! Having a pet to stroke and distract their attention can be very handy! My daughter loved our cat when she was a toddler and that was a good way to encourage her to come out of her tantrum. Pets can also be very funny too and provide some lighter moments in a stressful day.

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Dog playing with her toy.

5. Pets teach children about responsibility.

I know that very young children can’t be responsible for walking a dog but they can feed a guinea pig or rabbit. Teaching children that pets need to be cared for is a great way for them to learn about responsibility. Children can learn that cleaning out the rabbit is not fun but is necessary for their pet to be looked after. I also think that boys learn about nurturing from having a pet that they wouldn’t necessarily learn through play. It’s not cool to play family type games but playing and loving a pet is ok.

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Child feeding her guinea pig.
6. Having a pet can teach our child about death and the circle of life.

This is hard for children to learn but is, sadly a fact of life. Losing a pet is terrible but can be a life lesson that children should be exposed to in my opinion.

7. Having a pet can beat loneliness and anxiety.

I remember crying my eyes out about something that had upset me as a child and telling my cat! My cat didn’t give me opinions, he just listened (or so I thought!). Pets can be a source of comfort to children of all ages. I know that Dottie really senses my emotions and will come for a cuddle when I’m feeling a bit low. Stroking animals has been proven to lower stress too. I know of children with Special Needs have found a friend in their dog or their pet has encouraged them to speak when other ways have failed.

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Boy with a kitten

8. Pets are fun!

Pets can be great fun! I knew someone growing up who kept miniature horses that would come into their house and sit on their sofa at night! How fun is that?? My dog is great fun and gets us out the house. We have explored more of our local area whilst walking her than in the time before we had her. Kittens love to play and are such fun when they pounce. My children would play with our cats for hours when they were younger; they provided lots of entertainment.

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Dog on a car seat with her toy!
So there we have it! 8 reasons to get a pet. In fact there are loads of reasons to get a pet! I hope this has helped with your decision. Now, just to choose which one…..

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES….WITH 1 DOG AND 2 CATS.

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How can I instill a love of books in my child?

I love reading.

I love books.

I love the classics, the tat you get to read on holidays, children’s fiction, novels and even gossip magazines.

I used to read more but in the age of the internet, social media and ((cough)) blogging, I just don’t read as much as I used to. This makes me sad and a little anxious that our children will lose the love of reading that I had as a child and teenager growing up. So how can we instill a love of books and reading in our children but in turn make sure they keep up with new technologies?

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  • Make books a priority

When your child is a baby buy simple, brightly coloured board books so that your child gets in the habit of seeing these books as equal to other toys. Buy the books that are age appropriate such as ones all about animals or colours. This will keep your baby and young child interested. Toddlers and Preschoolers love rhyme and alliteration so there are thousands of picture books out there to choose from. Make storytime part of your daily routine so that your child can see that they are a priority. Let your child see you read too. Then they can see that it’s an enjoyable activity.

  • Let them read whatever they want to.

We are all different and what your child likes to read may not be what you want them to read. I have heard parents complain that their child not reading Swallows and Amazons or that they don’t want them to read another fairy book. Well, firstly Swallows and Amazons may be a classic but modern children don’t always relate to the classics. I am not saying they shouldn’t read Swallows and Amazons but it may not be enjoyable to them right now. They may want to read another Fairy or Horrid Henry book. It’s safe for them and they understand them. Let them read these choices!

Oxnard Outlet: Children
Children reading
  • Don’t choose books that are just beyond them.

As a teacher I see this all the time. Parents want their child to read books that are challenging for their child however they forget that their child is only young. Some children at 7 could read War and Peace but they would not have any clue about what they were reading! Just because your child can read something doesn’t mean that they should or will. This is the reason why young readers get put off from reading because it becomes too tricky for them to follow the story or the topics are simply not in their comprehension. Simple stories are best at this early stage to encourage enjoyment and positive habits.

  • Read children’s books yourself.

There are so many books being written all the time that is tricky to make good choices when it comes to children’s books. Reading books before your child means that you can help them select books that you know that they would enjoy. Both my children were avid readers but used to get stuck reading the same authors. Whilst finding an author you love is important, it is easy to get stuck. There are so many great authors out there to discover! I also found that as my children got older they would increasingly want to read books with content I wasn’t necessarily happy with. By reading these books first, I could keep a little eye on what they were coming into contact with. Now they are teens, I obviously encourage them to read whatever they like.

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Boys sharing a book
  • Use technology

Reading is reading in my book so it doesn’t matter if it’s online or on a tablet. There are many great reading games that support reading at home that your child may love. Nothing beats the small of a new book and the crinkling of a page for me but your child may love screens as much! Just remember that screen time should be limited at a young age as they can be overstimulating at times.

My favourite books for each stage.

0-2 years

Anything with lift the flap surprises such as Where’s Spot? Dear Zoo or That’s not my dinosaur!

3-5 years

There are so many that I love but my favourites (and children’s favourites when reading to them in school) The Last Noo-Noo, Stick Man, We’re going on a Bear Hunt, Alfie gives a hand, Where’s my teddy? Superworm ( basically anything by Julia Donaldson; the woman is a genius and she lives near me!)

6-8 years

Some children at this age are ready to begin simple chapters books but they will also love to read their picture books that you have read to them up until now. My favourites are: The Worst witch, The cat in the hat, Horrid Henry, Fairytales, Rainbow magic fairy books, anything by Dick King Smith.

9-11 years

The gap between children that struggle and their classmates can really hinder a child at this age so it so important that they find something they love. Some of my favourites reflect this. I love Diary of a Wimpy kid, anything by Jacqueline Wilson, Charlie and the chocolate factory, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Gangsta Granny, Skulduggery Pleasant.

11-14 years

Getting this age group to read anything away from their phone is tricky but there are some great books out there. My favourites are: Cherub series, Tunnels series, Noughts and Crosses, The boy in the striped pyjamas, Girl Missing

5 Benefits of Reading to Children | Wishing Well

I hope you found this post informative. Thank you for reading!

OH THE JOYS OF LIVING IN THE OLD HOUSE IN THE SHIRES.

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