Hi and welcome to Chapter Three of kNOw Limits Newsletter.

In this Chapter we will be entertaining and inspiring with the following;

  • Update and Learning from Mandy and Caylees learning from their forthcoming book
  • A real life situation introduced in the mailbag
  • Book reports from myself and Caylees idea for a game on support
  • Information on forthcoming courses that kNOw Limits is offering
  • Information on a chosen resource

Dear Mandy’s Mail bag.

Dear Mandy,

I feel like I am nagging my 13 year old daughter all the time. She initially agreed to help me with certain jobs around the house. She had ironing and putting the rubbish out. I have told her the jobs need to be done by certain times but shes always saying she will do it later. It gets to a point where the clothe4s are needed and the rubbish is about to be collected. In fact last week I put the rubbish out myself because she did not do it on time. Do you have any suggestions as I am fed up.

Mandy says;

First are the jobs ones that you have told her you want done or did she choose. Young people are more likely to commit to something if they had a say in the matter. In fact most adults work the same way as well. So why should our kids be different?!

If it was her choice start with the positive by saying how pleased you are that she agreed to do the jobs. Explain how this supports you and the benefits for her. i.e. You are less stressed when you are not running ragged and also will have more free time if your daughter wants to have some time with you.
Explain you do not like to nag and you are sure your daughter does not like you nagging. Introduce the fact that you have a timeline for the ironing to be done. However she has 3 choices of times. E.g. Before tea, after tea at 6.30pm or before she watches her program at 8pm. You may ask for her suggestions but only agree if it works with your routine. She can cope with 3 choices to consider as she is older. Also make sure the choices you offer would be choices you would also be happy with. Otherwise your not been fair. Offering the choice of time if the job is non negotiable means you are in control of the outcome and your daughter has flexibility in meeting your needs. If your daughter chooses not to choose make it clear to her that THIS IS WHAT SHE IS DOING. Then state “I see that you want me to choose” and then follow it through. Many young people may get to this point but when they realise the consequences is they lose some control they may decide to choose after all.



See book review's 1 and 2 below.

Mandy and Caylees learning from their forthcoming book.

Holidays always an interesting time for us. Holiday to Caylee means a holiday from everything she feels is work….including our book! However I did notice she was referring naturally to the skill of understanding in a lot of our communication. Its almost become second nature which is great. It still leaves me with the constant challenge of trying to capture these moments for the book. Also as Caylee had not been reading so much through the holiday she wanted to give her ideas on a game for support which is the skill we are now working with. When she read it out to me my initial thoughts in my head were, “Is it creative enough?” “Does it have enough content to it? “Is it too simple?” I found myself asking Caylee questions to develop the game but this appeared to confuse her. She said she had been clear in her mind until I had started to talk about it.

I then took a step back and reminded myself that I am an adult who has had years of experience at developing ideas. Caylee is 11 and this is a big achievement for her. More importantly it was her idea and it came from her as opposed to me.

It then got me thinking that as adults and parents don’t we all fall in to the trap at times of making things too complex.

What if we were to look at our problems, issues and situations through the eyes of a young person. They could be 5,10 or 15 but it’s the simplicity they still have. The straight forward directness that adults seem to lose .

And even better if you have a son, daughter or young person you know ask them what they would do in a given situation. Given the chance young people love to think their opinion and views are important. And they have an opportunity to give the advice rather than the one who is seeking it.

And to finish this piece by sharing an exciting moment!!

I was really excited when one of the staff from our local Waterstones book shop asked me how the book was developing. She then went on to say wouldn’t it be great to advertise a local author in the area with their new book. Author! I think she meant me…. oops……….sorry Caylee I mean us.
I couldn’t contain the excitement.

Book Report 1.

Kid Co-operation. Elizabeth Pantley.

This is a great book for giving lots of practical tips on how to have effective relationships with your kids without nagging.

I found the authors advice to be direct, practical and easy to follow.

It gives parents a sense that their problems are not unique and in fact are shared by half the population.
If parents do have partners it also actively encourages them to read it together and find a certain level of agreement on issues involving discipline and expectations.

It gives many great examples of how to put requests over in a clear, respectful manner and focuses on the positive language as opposed to negative.

e.g. NEGATIVE You Can’t go outside until you finish your homework.
POSITIVE You May go outside after you finish your homework.

NEGATIVE DON’T eat that cookie until after dinner.

POSITIVE You CAN eat that cookie right after dinner

Overall there are no areas that let this book down. I would say its geared more towards primary age kids than secondary. However there are still some valuable tips to pick up for the teens and as the saying goes ‘its never too late’..

Book Report 2.

Story Theatre. Doug Stevenson.

The advantage of this pack is it comes in audio pack cassettes as well as books. This is especially useful for people who are looking to develop their presentation skills or brush up on skills they already have. This pack teaches you how to connect with your audience using stories to teach, motivate and entertain. It explores different types of stories, the 8 steps of a story structure, the phrase that pays and acting skills for dramatic effect.

The strength of the pack/book is in the minute detail that goes into crafting a story to connect with your audience.

However some people may find this too detailed and too overwhelming. Having experienced Dougs training for my self my advice on this point is to stick with it. What you have at the end of it is worth it.


In our first 2 newsletters we have introduced and explored respect, listening, and understanding. We then started to explore appreciation and support. With Caylee just starting her new secondary school the last week has been full of potential moments to support her. However what I also know is that support can lead on to independence if given the right balance at the right time for your son or daughter. If the balance is not maintained in the right amount 2 possible things can happen. 1) Too much support is given because of the parent’s natural anxieties. All parents will worry if their kids will be safe on the journey if they are not taken by car. All parents will naturally want their kids to feel confident and not embarrassed by having them at the school gates. 2) Not enough support is given to enable their kids to feel safe and confident. This may happen with best intentions on the parent’s part. i.e. Your kids tell you they can go to the new school by themselves and they will be embarrassed if they are seen by their friends with their parents. Therefore the parents may want to please their kids more but have not checked out the safety issues. This can lead to kids taking too many risks early in their development.

There were a number of things that were important to Caylee and I when we started this journey.

1) She had the practical skills to cope with the journey. E.g. Knowing her green cross code and more importantly using it. That she had done the journey enough times to feel reasonably confident she could do it alone.

2) That I trusted her to be able to do the journey.

So I sat down with Caylee and drew up a plan of support. We mapped out each step of her journey from the timing of leaving home, the actual journey there and back from school and what type of support she needed from me each step of the way.

Days 1 and 2; Caylee wanted me to drive her to school. She felt the idea of coping with anxieties over going to a new school were enough for her at this point. To have a new journey on top of this would have been overwhelm.
Weekend; We both made the whole journey to school and back together on bus and walking.

Day 3; Morning and evening I went with Caylee on the bus and walked her to just before the school. On the evening journey she asked me to walk a couple of hundred yards behind. This enabled her to feel safe enough I was still there for her but enough for her to feel she was doing it by herself. We also discussed the fact that she would be going straight to the child minders on the evening of Day 4 and I would prefer her to ring me on the journey and when she got there. She got annoyed and said she only wanted to ring me once and felt this was too much. I realised I was focusing on my own needs as opposed to Caylees and so agreed.

Day 4; I was going to go with Caylee on the journey in the morning and she would do the evening journey by herself. She said to me she would like to try the morning journey by herself. I will admit I had some anxieties about her doing this but felt this was her decision and she needed my trust in her. We made sure she had her mobile phone on her in case she was not sure of the route at any point. This is one time where I would say thank goodness for mobile phones!
And she did ring me half way on the journey when she had a moment of panic. She was on the right road but could not recognise the landmarks. It just took a moment of quiet reassurance and then she was on her way.
On the evening journey she rang me when she got back to the child minders safely.

My advice to parents in learning from our experience is the following;

1) When supporting your kids make sure you check in with them what TYPE of support they need. E.g. Practical, emotional, financial, spiritual. Get really specific with them about what this support looks like in detail.

2) When you are anxious about letting go, ask yourself is this your need as opposed to your kids needs. Kids are generally more resourceful, resilient and creative than we give them credit for.

3) Remember these are opportunities to develop ‘life long skills’ in your kids. It may appear that our plan for Caylees journey was very detailed, maybe even too detailed to some. However what I know is that the confidence and independence Caylee is developing is a skill that will transfer to lots of other situations for her. And really importantly she is learning how to identify her own support needs and express them clearly. Something that I suspect half the adult population is not very good at!!!

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