6 Reasons why your teenager needs a summer job.

Both my children are teenagers and they have both got themselves some work for the summer holidays. I’m really pleased that they have taken this step as it teaches them so much. I remember working on a Saturday and in the holidays to earn some extra money. It was a little different for me because I started working like this from the age of 13. Nowadays, children can’t get many jobs until they are 16 due to employers needing to let the Local Authority know if they take on anyone younger than 16. This is due to child protection issues and makes things tricky for employers. This also makes it much harder for our teenagers to get work during the weekends or during the holidays. My son has some work experience with a family friend and this has worked out well. My daughter is doing some volunteer work this summer which is something younger teens can be involved with. However, whatever summer work experiences your teenager can get, it teaches them really important life skills.

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Meeting new people

1. Meeting new people

I remember working with a whole range of people of all different ages when I was a teenager and I loved it. My daughter worked in a cafe last summer and this meant that she was dealing with the public all day. This teaches teenagers important social skills about how different people communicate with each other. My daughter was quite shy but will now happily chat to anyone. I think dealing with some quite difficult customers has also given her coping strategies when dealing with tricky social situations. Seeing when people are rude can help our teenagers realise that they need to be respectful themselves. It helps to develop empathy and certainly builds character! Having to be away from their phones is also a massive positive in my book!

2. Knowing their own mind and developing a positive mindset.

Let’s face it, most teenagers haven’t got a clue what they want to do with their lives. Having a summer job can help them to decide what aspects of their summer jobs they enjoy and what aspects they don’t! Children can speak terribly to their parents but they wouldn’t dream of speaking in the same way to their employer. I believe this helps to develop a positive mindset in our children. Knowing that they can do a job well helps them to see what skills they actually have and are good at.

3. Developing Confidence

Both of my children have developed more confidence by having summer jobs. Confidence in their own abilities but also confidence when talking with adults. They are naturally quite shy people so learning to cope and being out of their comfort zone has been good for them!

4. Independence

Getting up for work, making their own sandwiches, travelling by bus, making sure their clothes are clean and ready or getting somewhere at certain times. All of these things obviously started at school but having a summer job has really helped my children to become more independent.

5. Developing new skills

There are so many different skills that teenagers learn by having a summer job and it obviously depends upon their job. I think the most important skill that summer jobs provide are to teach teenagers the value of their hard work and this is so important. They are learning that hard work means something and I am hoping that this will encourage my children to keep studying. They are learning about the working world and how hard it is! I hope that this will encourage them to strive for what they love rather than having to take any work to pay their bills.

6. Money Management

This is their motivation! Earning some money. Being a working teen is awesome! You get to spend your own money on whatever you want to. My daughter spent most if her earning last summer on make-up! And why not? You are only young once! My son is eying up some trainers but the difference is that he will look after them if he has bought them for himself as he knows how much they cost in hours worked.

I actively encourage my children to get weekend and holiday work. Do you? Do share your experiences with me.

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

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Because I said so!

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Can I have Coca Cola?

No.

Why?

Because it’s bad for your teeth.

Why?

Because it’s got loads of sugar in it.

Well, you’ve got some.

Yes, I’m a grown up.

But you have teeth!

Yes, but my teeth are adult teeth and you are still growing.

Is sugar ok for adult teeth then?

Well no. You can’t have fizzy drinks because they also make you hyper.

But I promise I won’t get hyper!  Pleeeeaaassseee! I really want Coca Cola! Why does it make me hyper?

It’s the caffeine I expect and no, you can’t have any!

Well you like it and it’s got that stuff in it. Does it make you hyper?

(sighs) No, it doesn’t make me hyper. Look. You can have orange juice or water.

Does orange juice make me hyper?

No. It’s good for you!

Oh. Does it have sugar in it?

Ummm well, yes it does but we can water it down a little.

Well, can you can water down Coca Cola? I really want some…..pllleeaaassseeee mummy!

No.

Why? Why? Why? (Cries…..getting crosser….)

No!

(Cries, stamps foot etc etc) I WANT COCA COLA!!!

No!

WHY?

BECAUSE I SAID SO!!!

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and that is the sign I would have made to take pride of place in my kitchen.

It’s been my parenting mantra.

This post is an entry into the #MyCustomSign http://www.smartsign.com blogger challenge.

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10 signs it is the almost the end of the school year

It’s the end of another school year and everything is rush, rush, rush!

You know it’s the end of the school year when:

  1. If someone asks you for anything, you lose the plot…literally. Do NOT ask me for one more thing! Triple this for teaching parents…..
  2. The kids look like they have been dragged through a hedge backwards. Their shoes don’t fit, trousers up to their ankles and hair needs a cut. If your child is in Year 6 or 11, times this by 10. Then they want your child to look “smart” for the end of term assembly. Hmmmmm
  3. The school send home “stuff.” It seems that every picture and book has been hiding in some drawer has been released and brought home in the customary plastic bag (so that’s what that huge plastic bag was for!)
  4. Talking of drawers….your child tidies their school drawer and finds several pound coins (oops that was the charity hair day money), 20 hair slides, 4 erasers, 16 chewed pencils and a party invitation from Sam dated 4 months previously.
  5. You keep getting emails from Mrs Organised for money for Mrs Teacher, Mr Head and Mrs Lovely the TA. In the end, you forget to give money to Mrs Organised and end up getting chocolates from the garage.
  6. Pack lunches get really, really boring as you haven’t had time to go supermarket shopping for 3 weeks.
  7. Your child’s teacher looks like she/he may pass out with tiredness or has the “I’ve only got Johnny in my class for 10 more days” look of glee on their face.
  8. Even the Headteacher looks like they need a stiff drink or a hair brush.
  9. You have overslept every morning for the last week.
  10. You realise that in less than 2 weeks, you have the children at home for 6 weeks…..and you’ve spent all your extra money on those gorgeous shoes….

So there we have it!

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Happy Summer everyone! I will be taking a blogging break at some point in the next few weeks so have a safe and relaxing break!

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Waiting in the dark for you to come home.

When you were a baby, I would feed you in the dark so that you could learn the difference between night and day. I didn’t want to wake your dad either so would tiptoe across the carpet to get a clean nappy. You would dreamfeed, all snuggled up against my skin, safe and secure in my arms.

When you were a toddler, I would tiptoe across the landing to your baby brothers room in the night to feed him. I would always check in on you. You would often sleep upside down with your bottom in the air! Or you would be smuggled down with your Dutch dolly called “Lovey La-La,” thumb in your mouth. You looked so small in your new “Big Girl” bed. You would often be surrounded by books. I would move a blond curl from your little face.

As a little girl, you would often tiptoe into my room, press your face up to mine and ask me if there were robbers at the door. I would take you back to bed and tuck you in reassuring you that no one could get in. Your little imagination would run riot. You didn’t like the dark and would insist on a night light. Your teddies and soft toys were positioned carefully on your bed so that they could keep an eye on you. Little soldiers guarding you from nightmares and frights.

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Now, I’m waiting in the dark. I’m awake you see as you are not yet home. I know you will always text me to let me know that you are safe. You are a good girl like that. But you are not in bed. You are not home. You are where you should be, out with your friends. But I’m awake waiting in the dark. I offered to pick you up but it’s easier, you said to stay with a friend. It’s all planned. That’s ok. I love that you are organised like that. It’s just that, I will always be your mum you see and I will lie in the dark thinking of you, even when you are not here. Have fun. Stay safe. My little girl.

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Am I an “inbetween” blogger?

I’ve committed blogging suicide apparently. According to every “How to get ahead in blogging” type post you must have a niche. Well, I don’t.

I’m not really a Parenting blog. Yes, I blog about life with my teens or the occasional post about when my children were younger. But that is not all I blog about.

I’m not really an Educational blog. Yes, I blog about educational things. Being a teacher means that these things do come up but I wouldn’t describe my blog as an educational site.

I’m not really a Gardening blog. I love gardening and gardens but I don’t only blog about these things. Gardening is my hobby and I love it.

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So, this has left me with a dilemma.

Do I carry on as I am and blog about all the things above or specialise in just one? I’ve been blogging for 7 months now and I’m still finding my way but do I really need a niche?

Well, I’ve decided that I love all of the above so I’m now renaming myself an “in between” blogger. I’m ok with that! Are you? If you like what you read, keep visiting the old house!
This old house blogs about gardening, garden visits, parenting dilemmas, mamas randoms and educational tips.

My blog has had a make over! What do you think?

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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.

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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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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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