Hi and welcome to Chapter Four of kNOw Limits Newsletter.

In this Chapter you will find the following morsels of inspiration to digest;

  • Update on Mandy and Caylees learning from their forthcoming book
  • A real life situation introduced in the mailbag
  • Book reports from Mandy and a ‘diamond’ poem from Caylee
  • Information on forthcoming courses that kNOw Limits is offering
  • Information on a chosen resource that I feel may be of benefit

Dear Mandy’s mailbag.

Dear Mandy,
I am very disappointed with my 14 year old son. He asked us for some money to go with his mates to a local church youth group. My wife and I said we would drop him off on the way as we were going out to some relatives. However I started to get really suspicious when he started to get really worked up and said he could make his own way. I insisted we drop him off if he wanted to go. He then hung around outside with his mates and said they were going to go in when I had gone. I checked with the people who run it and they said the entrance fee was a quarter of what my son had told me it was. It also started an hour later than what he had told me. I have told him he is grounded a month for lying to me. He says he is angry I did not trust him. The atmosphere is very difficult between us at the moment. Did I do the right thing?

Mandy says;
It is important to find out why he thinks lying is going to get him more of what he wants than telling you the truth. Explore what it is he really wants from you. Look at the 8 ways. Is it trust, is it respect, is it being listened to, is it being understood, is it being appreciated, is it being supported, is it responsibility, is it independence?
Perhaps you can explore with him what activities there are in the local area to take risks and develop his independence from you in a safe and structured way. E.g. Car rallying, abseiling, climbing,
Something where perhaps he is responsible for his own and others safety.
He needs to see that telling you the truth especially if it is something you do not agree with, is not going to get an immediate negative response from you.
You also said he is angry with you for not trusting him. Make sure he realises that you asking the youthleaders questions is more about them than him. Explain you care so much about him you want to make sure they are credible and know what they are doing. It is the youthleaders you are needing to make sure you trust NOT mistrusting him. Also make sure he is aware that you are ultimately responsible for anything that happens to him at 14.



See book review's 1 and 2 below.

Mandy and Caylees learning from their forthcoming book.

When I was doing my Parent Coach training we had to develop a ‘signatory story’. This had to encaptulate what your key message was that you wanted to put out to the world. Mine was made up from about 10 vignettes capturing significant moments as I grew up right through to my 30’s and now being a mother. There is a key moment in one of the vignettes where I am getting annoyed with Caylee and as I am speaking its as if I can hear my own mum repeating the same phrase. I commit to wanting to say things in a different way to Caylee at that moment in time.
I have now being doing some more work to develop my signatory story and one of the key actions was to read it to as many people as I could. One of these key people was Caylee. When I got to the end I asked her for some feedback. The first thing she asked was, “ That story about you and me having an argument, was that a true story?”

I was really struck by the question and said “Yes of course it was true, don’t you remember it?” She said “No, but its good though.”
And then it got me thinking. This scenario had happened about 18 months ago but had really stuck out in my mind. I had felt really guilty that Caylee was so upset at the time and said she thought my clients meant more to me than she did.

Now she was saying she did not remember it.
And it got me thinking……..What else do we put our own interpretation on and think everyone else must also experience the same meaning and intensity. What do we perhaps hold on to for months even years perhaps feeling guilty and thinking others involved remember those events in the way we do?

An even harder question to answer is what do we gain by holding on to certain memories and beliefs about people and events. For example feeling guilty because someone you love is involved in a car crash after you have had a blazing row with them. The person is then so riddled with holding on to the guilt that it prevents them from moving forward in other relationships. They then use this as an excuse to not live their lives in the way they possibly could.

What do YOU need to let go of today that will enable you to move forward with ease and lightness?

I also decided that this could help me look at things in a different way to Caylee. I said something the other day to Caylee in complete innocence. In my view Caylee completely took it out of context and read into what I had said. I found myself getting really annoyed with Caylee and telling her it was ridiculous what she had interpreted from it. On reflection thinking what I could do differently one of the things was to not get pulled into the detail of the argument. The bottom line was Caylee had interpreted it differently and put her own meaning to it. That did not mean it was ridiculous or wrong. It was just different to what my meaning was. By accepting her meaning was valid I was bale to not get so annoyed by it and was also able to give her reassurance that I loved her and respected her opinion. On talking to one of my colleagues, Sarah Newton a Coach for Teens we began to discuss the developmental changes young people go through from concrete to abstract thought. Caylee is now 11 and is about the sort of age where abstract thinking will start to develop more rapidly. Everything starts to become centred around that persons world. They begin to question more of where they fit into the world and their family.
So the most important thing is to REASSURE rather than RETALIATE.

And I want to finish this piece by saying the BOOK Caylee and I are writing is being notched up a gear. I am exploring publishers at the moment who may be interested in our book idea. I am also now starting to type up our thoughts and collections over the last year. YES LAST YEAR!!! I suddenly realised the other day it was 11th January 2004 when me and Caylee showed our commitment to the book by both signing a contract with each other. So it seems rather appropriate that the deadline for the first manuscript is going to be end of January. WATCH THIS SPACE!!! And be ready to tell the WORLD.

Book Report 1.
The Artist’s Way. A Course in Discovering and Recovering your Creative Self. Julia Cameron. Pan Macmillan Ltd. 1995 ISBN 0-330-34358-0

You may have noticed no book reports on parents and kids books in this newsletter. Well you are right and it is no coincidence. This last month I have been looking after myself more. Whenever I read any books I normally am thinking about how I can adapt and develop the ideas to use with other people.

Although I have still recommended the tool of writing to my clients if I have felt it appropriate, I have used this book far more for ME and my own personal development.

The Artists Way consists of 12 Chapters that correspond to 12 weeks worth of self discovery through writing. One of the main tasks is each morning you write 3 pages of free flow writing. It does not matter what it is or whether it makes sense but you just write whatever is in your head. There is then a weekly ‘Artists Date’ where you commit to doing something creative for at least 2 hours. Then each week you reflect on the week and have lots of additional activities you can explore if you have the time. I think the strength of the book is in the structure it offers to write, the activities to explore and the unknown that comes only from the process of getting your thoughts out of your head onto paper.

What I found a little off putting for me was some of the language used i.e. Recovery. I found this a bit too heavy. I also found that as I have spent a number of years understanding myself more and continue to do so the book sometimes took me to far back to ‘recovery’ language. However once I ignored this and used it for the discipline of the writing pages and the activities alone I found I rediscovered my joy for writing just for the sake of it.

Book Report 2
Get Clients Now. A 28 Day Marketing Program for Professionals and Consultants. C.J.Hayden. AMACOM Publishers. 1999.
ISBN 0-8144-7992-8

Get Clients Now is a 28 day program for sales and marketing success that gives you a step by step action plan for getting all the clients you need. It tells you what to do, how to meet your goals with the least amount of time and effort, and how to keep yourself motivated.

What I liked about the book was the daily introduction and inspirational ‘food for thought’. I also liked the way you could dip into particular sections of the book depending on which strategies you were implementing. I have done the full course for 28 days from the book and have continually dipped in to it every so often when I want to keep myself on track. This is a book I can imagine I will keep dipping into once in a while. I would find it hard to believe anyone who had implemented the whole program as it describes and not see any improvement in their business and number of clients.

I don’t think there are many negatives other than there is some Americanisms that would be useful being translated. Also some of the references to the services are also American as well so would be useful to find the UK equivalent.
Definitely a must buy!

As Caylee has not done a book report this month she has done the diamond poem you see on the first page of this document. You will also see she has shown how a diamond poem consists of a number of syllables going in a certain order. This is her contribution. I was thinking of putting it in after the 2 book reports but if you think it looks better somewhere else then let me know.


In our 3 newsletters we have explored respect, listening, understanding, appreciation and support. Since our last newsletter we continued to explore support and have now moved on to responsibility. This has been by far the most difficult concept to explore. On one level Caylee is very responsible and shows this effectively i.e. Crossing the road safely on her journey to school, tidying her room (well of a fashion!!), putting her thoughts on dictaphone for the book etc….

However this can be more difficult when I want Caylee to take responsibility for making a mistake or for speaking in a tone of voice I do not find acceptable. I have also found it difficult to distinguish between what is really going on at the time. On exploring this further I have come up with 4 questions that have helped me break this process down and reduce the risk of conflict. (note reduce not get rid of it.) Where I have left the space, place the name of the person you would like to explore responsibility with.

1) Is _________ not taking responsibility for something because he/she is not ready developmentally?

2) Is _________ not taking responsibility for something because he/she does not see the importance?

3) Is _________ not taking responsibility because you have not being clear enough with him/her as to what you want him/her to take responsibility for?

4) Is _________ not taking responsibility because his/her particular personality type means he/she finds it harder to accept he/she has made a mistake or done something he/she knows you are not happy about?

1) Getting annoyed because you feel the person ‘should be taking responsibility by now’ for certain actions will create further conflict. It will end up becoming a battle of wills and the person is more likely to feel bad about themselves because they are not measuring up to what you expect of them. If you are finding this happening firstly focus on what they are doing well even if this takes a while. Praise them for doing things without having to be asked. It is easy to miss the obvious opportunities. Ask yourself ‘What is the most obvious thing I am missing?’ Secondly go back to the skill before responsibility which is support. Ask them what further support do they need from you to achieve the things they want. If they find it hard to accept support look for small unobvious ways to show you are supporting them. You may need to stay exploring the support skill for a while longer until the person feels ready and confident to take on more responsibility.

2) If they do not see the importance of taking on responsibility explore what their perspective is. Remember the rule of not making each other wrong. May be they do not see how certain actions can lead to more long term benefits for them. E.g. Having a tidy room will mean they can find their homework when it needs doing and therefore will get less stressed out doing it.

3) Being clear about what you are asking and whether the person has a choice is very important. If I say to Caylee ‘Can you go and tidy your room?’ its ‘asking’ a question. ‘Can’ implies there is a choice as to whether she does it or not. If I say to Caylee ‘I want you to tidy your room by 3pm please’ this is a ‘tell’. I am not giving an option as to whether it is done or not. However I do believe if we give an element of choice in the request we are more likely to get a favourable response. Most people no matter what their age like to feel they have a choice in how they respond no matter how small. Therefore I may say ‘I want you to tidy your room. You can do it at 1or 2pm. What time are you going to do it?’ or…….’I want you to tidy your room by 3pm please. Give me a time when you will go to your room to do it.’ Remember this was what the mailbox was all about in the third newsletter.

Also be very specific about what you mean by ‘tidy room’. E.g. Clothes need to be off the floor and on the shelf; Homework books need to go in school bag; The floor needs to be clear of bits of paper.

Even if you know they know what to do because you have made it clear before, it does not harm to repeat it. This is particularly if the standards of tidiness are not being met.

Another important point here is your standards and the other persons may be different. It is best to have some done in a way that is partly acceptable with no conflict than arguments and conflict that leave you both feeling unhappy. Don’t forget the ultimate aim is to teach responsibility not perfection!

4) If they are finding it hard to still take responsibility particularly for making mistakes or doing wrong try and make it less personal. Perhaps use examples from your own learning e.g. I remember when someone did that to me and….

Or…………If someone was asking for our help with this situation what advice could we give. Try and do anything that distances it away from the person or situation personally.

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