Video Wed: What to do and why not to worry if someone unfriends you on facebook

So there’s a new facebook, and all the pallaver that goes with people adjusting to the new stuff.  Please, before you run around madly worrying about privacy and facebook charging for things, check out this fabulous woman’s page called Mari Smith.  She’ll set you right and I can’t possibly add a comment to all the daft facebook panics going on at the moment!  (She gets lots of comments on her page from people sharing her stuff, so switch it from ‘Everyone most recent’ to just show ‘mari smith’ when you look at her page).

Right, rant over, on with the show!  Apparently there is a new feature where we are going to be able to tell that someone has unfriended us.  It’s not so new is it, because I can tell now that an apparent friend who once worked with me unfriended me, as her name looks different to me when she comments on my friends updates?  (If you are seriously considering unfriending someone, just unsubscribe to their updates, don’t be so obvious as to unfriend them unless they are really horrid; you’ve always been able to do this by having lists and only looking at the lists of people that you like lots).

Well I’m going to tell you why you never need to worry about supposedly losing a friend.  It’s because as one person is leaving your life, there is always someone else on the way in.  Always.  No exceptions.  It might not always be obvious because actually although they de-friended you on friday at 1pm, they were actually gradually going off you for ages.  So in the meantime there has been someone else, or maybe a couple of people who have been gradually getting to know you.  Have a think about it, you do have new friends don’t you?  Plus now with facebook, twitter and all sorts of online communities, it’s really easy to make new connections.  So there will be a new person.

Also, there is a downside to everyone.  Why are you glad that they have unfriended you?  Did you worry everytime they said they had achieved something that you weren’t as good as them?  Were they reminding you of a life that you no longer have?  Were they talking with lots of other people about how fabulous they were, so you automatically were assuming that you aren’t fabulous?  Were they moaning about life lots?  Did they basically take up time in your life, reading their updates, that you will never get back?

Plus they didn’t unfriend you because you are horrid, they did it because you remind them of themselves which irritates them.  There is also the fact that some people get really twitchy on facebook about seeing other people’s lives going well.  I can already hazard a guess at who is remaining my friend but unsubscribing this instant.  It’s impossible for you to appeal to everyone in life, the most you can achieve is 50%.

So next time someone unfriends you on twitter or facebook or even in ‘real life’, just pop this song on really loud, have a dance, stick two fingers up, and then keep your eyes open for new opportunities of friendship surrounding you.

(For my Kindle blog subscribers check out ‘The Human League Don’t you want me’ on Youtube)


Is the family the key to how we turn out ‘good’ or ‘evil’, and not genetics?

Last week I watch a fascinating program (if you are a nosey people watcher like me) about whether scientists could find scientific signs of ‘good’ or ‘evil’.  If you haven’t seen it check out the BBC iPlayer for Horizon on BBC2.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking about it for a bit, because some bits surprised me, and some bits proved what I’ve always thought.  I’m not really into labelling things ‘good’ or ‘evil’.  I understand the concepts and why they would be labelled like that.  But I also know that if you go to the opposite side of the world they will turn the labels around.  So it’s kind of arbitrary.  But a psychopath is a very different thing, as it gives a nervous feeling as though they lost their humanity.

First of all they talked about how they proved that it’s not just in families that bonding occurs and creates a hormonal shift.  They showed a team warming up and how the occitocine increased in all of them as they bonded.  So this is the ‘selfless’ chemical which makes us all want to work together as a team.  However, because they were in sports, they also got a burst of ‘testosterone’, which is the ‘selfish’ chemical that makes us have the burning desire to grab the ball and win.  I loved this section because it proved that we need to be both selfish and selfless to be really successful.

Then they talked about soldiers and how stressed they became after taking lives when they got back to their own lives.  Originally the american army (and I bet many others), used the good old encouragement of hate to get their soldiers to kill, because it dehumanises the people on the other end of the gun.  But apparently it often backfires massively when the soldiers get home because they can then find it difficult to get back to normal or struggle with guilt.  The top army guy truly believed that men were not made to kill other people; I’m not 100% sure about that.  However, they found that by practicing over and over and over again, so that it is more muscle memory that makes the kill than anger, that it had a much less detrimental affect on the psychological health of the soldier.  This makes lots of sense, because the soldiers are in a more centred balanced place, rather than the huge chemical surge of anger, which is bound to have a downer.

But what was most disturbing was when they then started to look at psychopaths.  Because these guys have a totally different brain pattern, basically big bits missing in parts of the brain that I don’t remember the long words for.  I do understand the ramifications though.  The psychopath needs to have more and more and more thrills, and they need to be more extreme to get through to them.  Plus, guilt is basically missing.  This I was really surprised at; I assumed there would be guilt, but they kind of got over it.  We are all guilty somewhere, so it must be there, but it’s not there for the serial killings.  Also they found that there is a gene that is in all the psychopaths, hence it can be passed down in families.

I wonder wether this is how come seemingly ‘normal’ people suddenly got involved in the London riots and stole stuff?

They reckoned that a large number of top business executives are actually not really good at their jobs, but successful because they are psychopathic; they love thrills and risk taking, will do what needs to be done to succeed, and are amazingly good at manipulation and charisma.  Which was a bit scary.

Ironically, one of the psychologists then found out that he had a family history and checked himself to discover that he had the genes and the missing bits in the brain.  He was shocked when his family weren’t that surprised because they felt that something had always ‘been a bit off with him’.  So why hadn’t he killed a pile of people and become a serial killer?

His answer is obvious.  But is it so obvious, because we often take it for granted.

He had a lovely childhood, full of joy and love.  There are tonnes of photos showing it.  I’ve always believed that families are tremendously important, especially the mum (or the person that does that role) as the heart of the family.  I’m not trying to add to the pressure of being a Mum.  What I’m saying is not to underestimate yourself, because as a Mum your role is crucial to our society.

I’ve got some plans to help to get Mums back in a strong position in this world, but the first step for you is to look after yourself.  If you feel a little overwhelmed, check out my blogs under the ‘sparkling you’ tab, and keep an eye out for my book coming in October ‘Six Steps To A Sparkling You: get more Time, Energy, Space and Money and beat the overwhelm and greyness’.


Video Wed: New School Year Resolutions: What is or is not your responsibility?

I confess, I have a bad habit of taking responsibility for stuff that isn’t my shit and getting knackered in the process.  I’m about a zillion times better at it than I used to be, but I still have a tendency to be tempted.  I think it comes from being a ‘young carer’ as they now call it, for my Mum.  It’s Ok in small doses, especially when it translates into caring for people or offering opportunities.  But it goes wrong when I take responsibility for other peoples choices and try to interfere or influence them, especially family or friends (I’m much more controlled with my clients, thank goodness otherwise I’d be a rubbish help to them).  It’s partially because it makes me more tired, partially because they then don’t get a chance to prove that they can sort themselves out and partially because it brings out the ‘sensible’ side in me, rather than the ‘fun’ side, who is a lot more sparkly.

So I was thinking today, it’s the new school year, so its a great time for making changes as we are so used to the idea of September being the beginnings of something new.  So I’m choosing to make a concerted effort to become responsible for a whole lot less, thereby getting me a pile more energy, and space to take responsibility for new things (like the success of my book when it is published at the end of October).

Here are some things that I came up with.  Fancy joining me in dumping a pile of responsibilities?  What are you going to dump?  What are you going to focus on?

My Responsibilities

  1. Keeping myself fit and healthy; to be honest I didn’t put this at the number one slot, it was down after the house at the fifth slot, which isn’t bad, but it’s time to change that one, especially as I’ve promised to lose 5lbs in the next 3 weeks.
  2. Loving my kids from top to toe, inside and out, naughty to good side, from here to eternity.  At the end of the day, we all want to be loved just as we are, but I remind myself that this is the most important thing every morning, as life can be distracting.
  3. Providing a safe, nourishing environment for my kids to grow up in: well, atleast feeding them a bit and giving them the odd drink and bath.
  4. Seeing what they love doing and what they are fabulous at, and encouraging them to be who they are.
  5. Keeping the house running; mind you I’m bored of housework now, so it’s time to focus on being able to pay someone to do it.
  6. Using the words in my blog, book and generally day to day, that best reach people/loved ones.  But letting the words go at that point, after all some people just prefer or choose to see things a different way.
  7. In my relationship; hmmmmm, thats interesting, I’m a little stuck on this one.  I don’t want to be ‘nice’ to live with.  I do think that it’s important to keep the sex going.  I think that it’s something to do with being the best person that I can be, and giving him space to be who he is.  But it definitely needs more thought.
  8. Helping Mums enjoy being a Mum; it’s tempting to be a parenting coach, or help everyone, but what I care about most is Mums, and I think that we need a little extra help at the moment in this world of ours.  Plus I think that we are the heart of the family and the heart of society, so we are a really important part of making some big changes in our world; starting small first though with our own families and working up to the rest.  I’ve talked about the London riots a bit, and this is the bit that I think I can help with.
  9. Keeping track of the family finances; I used to leave this to the hubby as he is the finance guy, however it’s me that cares about managing our finances and not him.  So it’s time for me to take over this.  We often get irritated with other people for not doing stuff, when really if it’s our bag and not theirs, maybe we should just get on with it.
  10. The bottom line is whether I take care of myself, feel strong, stand up for myself, take opportunities and enjoy life, is pretty much down to me.
What’s not my responsibility
  1. Healing the world.  I fell prey to the wish to heal the world when I became a Reiki master 12yrs ago; it’s kind of a standard phase to work through.  I’m over that now, first comes the kids, then me, the family, and my work/writing.
  2. Getting every mum in the whole wide world to buy my book and enjoy being a Mum more; maybe just 50%?!!
  3. The hubby;  We used to be very co-dependent (I’m talking 22yrs ago), but I’m much more into the idea of two individuals who enjoy being together, than who are very needy of each other.  I suppose us Mums find that once we have kids the poor old husbands do get left to fend for their own devices a bit as we have limits as to how many ‘children’ we can take care of.  But there must be a lot of potential in that as well?  It’s like the difference between providing healthy snacks in the cupboards, and nagging the hell out of someone to eat them!  If they choose the healthy snacks of their own volition, then they’ll get into a good habit of doing it without us wives to nag them.  So I’m going to make sure the options are there for him, but back off the nagging to take them.
  4. Wether my kids are clever, or fabulous at everything.
  5. Doing all the disciplining; I’m a keen fan of sharing the fun and discipline out between parents
  6. Tidying everything; I think it is fair to share this torment
  7. Ironing; my stuff doesn’t need ironing and the hairy one is much better at it.
  8. Keeping our old springer spaniel alive; I’ve got the pills, and am going to try the magnets.  But the old boy’s legs are pretty rubbish at the back now, and tempting as it is, it’s not my responsibility to hold onto him and keep him alive.
  9. Coaching all my friends; I’ve learnt to just be their friend and listen to them, rather than shift into work mode.
  10. Spending time I don’t have in helping people who don’t give anything in return; their’s a world full of people who used to LOVE my time and don’t get it any more
It’s been a good reminder to myself to write this and think it through.  Right, off for a playdate; I forgot to mention my responsibility as PA to a busy 5yr old!
I’m going to leave you with a classic: Level 42: Take care of yourself

Who are you ?

Teaching People How To Treat You: Do you let people get away with being disrespectful to you?

The first time I heard this phrase ‘You Teach People How To Treat You’ was from Dr Phil Mcgraw.  The idea is that how we behave encourages how other people react to us.

Basically, we give people a ‘pay off’, which keeps them behaving in a certain way.  Like when a child keeps being naughty, just to get attention, and the vicious circle continues, because we are too tired to proactively give them attention before they misbehave to get attention; round and round and round!

It’s challenging, because it suggests that we have a part to play in a relationship when someone mistreats us or does something we don’t like.  That doesn’t mean that we should feel guilty or take responsibility for someone else’s choices as an adult though.

The good news about it, is that it suggests that although we can’t change them, there can be a change in a relationship just from a change in ourselves (or by changing ourselves we get out of the relationship).

My Mum

My Mum was a weird example of this.  ‘The Wicked Witch Of The West’ we called her.  I used to get migraines from just thinking about going to see her.  She had an intuitive ability to know your achiles heel, without you ever having told her what was going on; hence the ‘witch’ nickname.

When I was training to be a Reiki Master 13yrs ago, my teacher told me ‘If you don’t sort out your relationship with your mother, you’ll never sort your relationships out’; I cried.  But one day I had the guts to say this …

When things like xxx are said <can’t remember the specifics, but it was something mean.  Notice I didn’t say ‘when YOU say’>, I feel hurt.  So if it happens again, I’m going to leave and you can pay someone to pack your stuff up for you‘.

I picked the most amazingly stressful day to do this, when she was being moved from her beautiful victorian flat to warden assisted housing.  She looked a bit like a gold-fish for 5 minutes, but that was literally it.  10 years of horribleness over.  I couldn’t believe it was that easy.  A couple of times afterwards she tried to push the boundaries, but all I said was ‘If we talk about this, we’ll argue and both get upset, so we aren’t going to talk about it’.

Remember when I said about people wanting to feel loved?  Well, she must have been getting a pay off from the hurt she saw in us.  Maybe it was because it meant that we cared about what she said or did, thus showing that we loved her?  Or maybe she felt that there wasn’t enough love in the world, so she had to try and control it.  I’ve never been able to pin it down, because she died before I could ask her, and before I understood more about her, by becoming a Mum myself.

There have been other people in my life who ironically ‘should’ have been easier to sort out, but have been more difficult.  I suppose that with my mum, if it went wrong the only person really affected was me, whereas with other people there are often other loved ones involved.  But it’s still important to calmly and gently make a stand for how you wish to be treated (or loudly if they didn’t hear you first time around).

The Kids

The same goes for our kids; we teach them how to treat us.

Curly Headed Boy has been resorting to shouting at us (I think he might actually have a slight hearing issue in some way, although it hasn’t been picked up in standard tests).  If I reply by shouting back, it just escalates.  If I reply at all, he got what he was after.  But what I want to teach him is that by being respectful and thoughtful he will get more attention from me (plus that I get a headache from the shouting).  So it’s important to make sure that he doesn’t get a pay off from doing something I don’t want him doing.

There are times when I have had to raise the bar and be properly angry with him.  I’m not talking about the growing frustration that suddenly pounces out as anger, although in moderation it can certainly work.  I’m more talking about sitting him down for a very stern talk about his behaviour.  He’s 5 3/4yrs, just about to go into year 1, and has learnt some less attractive habits from his school mates; he’s just testing the boundaries, and it is VERY testing!  He needs to know that I respect myself enough to not be willing to hear a rude tone of voice or disrespectful behaviour towards me.  In return he has the right to call me up on it, if I don’t follow the same rules towards him.

How to Say It

Here’s how to say it again.  Don’t say any more than this, no excuses, no defending yourself, no criticisms of them, no use of the word ‘YOU’.  Nothing, just this, and then stick to the consequences.  Make sure the consequences are reasonable, not something like ‘I’ll never talk to you again’ or ‘You’ll be on timeout forever’.

  • When <xxxx> happens
  • I feel <xxxx>
  • If it continues, then I will <consequence>

So what is it that your kids (or other people) do that you don’t like?  I might be all about the love, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take action.  Do you need to stand up for yourself more, or put your foot down?

If you ever need some hints of ideas on how to do this, remember there is my question corner for anonymous questions/advice.

There is also lots of advice about bullying here.

(Please note: If you are in an abusive relationship, then you may need external help and there are loads of organisations who can help you out.)

Video Wed: Is it possible for everyone to have purpose, whatever their background?

So last week I talked about how difficult it is to not have purpose, and how everyone needs it from babies to dogs.  The week before I talked about how politics doesn’t understand human behaviour.

This week I wanted to talk about whether we are made by our background or can change it?  Lots of people were talking about the kids or people involved in the London Riots, saying that they have no hope.  But is that true, or is it just a perception?  How difficult is it to change it I wonder?

There are four of us in my family, technically the same background, but really different choices and outcomes.  Why?  God knows.  Is it a slight difference in genes, which order you were born in, your star sign, how old my parents were, different gender, different decade born in (they are 20yrs older than me), slightly different parenting approach?  Or does there come a time, when whatever has happened in the past, we have a choice to say ‘This is me, love it, move on with it and I’ll make of it what I will’, or ‘I’m a victim of what has happened, and I’m powerless to change it’.

This video kind of proves my point as this guy has no arms and no legs, but is tear jerkingly inspirational: (for my kindle readers, please look this one up, you don’t want to miss it ‘Look after yourself after watching this’).  His website is

So my answer is ‘yes it is possible for everyone to be inspired, have purpose and sort their shit out’.  But will they?  No.  However, we can try our best to make the opportunities available for those who can, and give a slap to those who whine, and a harsher penalty for those who step over the line.

Is it possible to have romance and kids?

One Thing I’m Totally Sure Of Is: Everyone wants to feel loved

One Thing I Am TOTALLY sure of is that ..

Everyone wants to be loved just as they are.

We don’t want to be loved, despite our less attractive bits.  We want to to be totally and unconditionally loved.  This is true of us all, from the poorest to the richest, from the kindest to the maniacs.

Ironically, a lot of our less attractive behaviour comes from this one truth, because our brain kind of mixes up what ‘Love’ is an what it feels like.

Let me do some science, (but don’t expect scientific language for me, and feel free to add it if you would like to).

This is how our brains work generally ….

  1. Something happened.  Hmmm, I wonder what I thought about it.  Yep, this is my view/perspective/judgment of it.  Right let’s store it under this category.
  2. Something else happened.  Hmmm, it’s a bit like the last thing, but not quite the same.  So let’s store it in the same place out of laziness because it’s sort of the same.
  3. Lots more things get stored in the same category.
  4. Several months later, something else hardly the same at all happens, but by then we’ve forgotten the first thing, so it appears to match the same category.

Get it?

So, a child child looking to feel more loved over a period of time can put these thoughts together: ‘I feel loved when my Mum gives me attention’ -> ‘When my mum looks at me she is giving me attention’ -> ‘Hmm, Mum is ignoring me, but if I do something naughty she will look at me and give me attention’ -> ‘Result, she shouted at me’!

Of course, there are other reasons for unpleasant or unsociable behaviour, after all some people just like being irritating etc, we don’t just want to be loved, we do want other things too which give us a pay off that we like.  But it’s always worth wondering what’s going on in your child’s head when they behave in a way which just doesn’t make sense.  Especially if the way that they react is quite extreme.  You’ll probably be able to ask them what it’s all about, if you wait until they have calmed down.

How do we make people feel loved?

So the next question is how on earth do we make people feel loved, because it’s not as easy at is seems?  I bet there are times that you’re loved ones don’t feel totally loved.  If you don’t believe me, ask them (I’m going to do another post about Curly Headed Boy soon, to show you that you aren’t the only one).

There are two sides to it:

  1. Really getting to know them so that you know what makes them tick, and what makes them feel cared for.
  2. Learning how to see them totally, and loving them just as they are.  It’s about aiming to love them totally including the ‘less attractive’ bits, rather than what we normally do, which is to love them despite those bits.

I can show you how to do understand what makes your loved ones tick (1) quite easily, and if you put a bit of effort in, then you can definitely do it.  Some of us naturally know what is important to our loved ones, but it’s much more likely that you don’t and just assumed that you did.

Loving people unconditionally (2) is more difficult, because it’s not about being infatuated/in love with them; it’s about unconditional love which is quite illusive.  I think that Mums often (but not always) feel this naturally for their children.  But eventually the stresses of life make it more and more difficult to love our children’s ‘good’ and ‘bad’ parts, without wishing there was less of the ‘bad’.  I learnt how to get to the point of totally someone or something by learning the Demartini Method from Dr John F Demartini (I’m one of the few Senior Certified facilitators globally).  I’ll post some blogs about it over the coming months in ways that will be really applicable to your lives; but to truly learn it, you really need to do a course, or go to a facilitator for a 1to1 session, it’s just one of those things that needs more than a blog post to learn in full.  There is a book if you are interested though, called ‘The Breakthrough Experience’.

So how to get to know someone better?

First find out more about them and their values/priorities, you’ll be surprised what you don’t know about your loved ones.  These questions will help and if you want more info then you can read Dr John F Demartini’s book ‘The Heart of Love’ where he shows the full Twelve Demartini Evaluation Method questions:

  • What do they tend to spend their time doing?  Why do they like it?
  • What do they like the house to be like?  Why?
  • What do they like to spend their money on? Why?
  • Who do they like being around.  Why?
  • Then try actually asking them!

What Makes Them Feel Loved?

I’ve found a book by a guy called Gary Chapman called ‘The 5 Love Languages’ to be very helpful with this on top of what I learnt about values from Demartini (he’s also written a pile of others and one for kids, but be warned he is very christian which might be off putting for some of you, and it shows up more in the other books).  He says that most people favour one or two of the five which are (I’ve translated them a bit):

  1. Compliments
  2. Quality Time/Conversation
  3. Gifts
  4. Acts of Service
  5. Physical Touch

The problem with these 5 options is that, if you don’t know your loved one very well, you could say the wrong things, buy the wrong things, do the wrong things, talk about the wrong things, and even touch them wrong!  That’s why it needs to be combined with the more practical general understanding from the first questions.  (If you want to see an example, I wrote a more specific post called ‘what to do if your wife won’t sleep with you‘).

So why am I writing about this?  Well someone popped me an email about their grand-daughter, and it was spookily similar to some problems that I’ve been having with Curly Headed Boy, but before I could launch into a blog post to answer it I needed to do some background stuff first … keep watching for the next post.

If you ever need some hints of ideas on how to do this, remember there is my question corner for anonymous questions/advice.

I realised I’m lost without my iPhone!

So I thought I was doing pretty well to go on holiday for 2 weeks and hardly touch my phone at all.  I kept thinking about how well I was doing ‘unplugged’.

I was ignoring the quick check of my iPhone in the evenings.  Plus the growing sense of desperation as the button on my iPhone got worse and worse, so that I couldn’t change between applications or use it properly.

I at last had to admit that my iPhone was totally broken.  The button wasn’t working at all really and I had to switch it on and off (not a quick thing to do), if I wanted to change from messages to phone to apps etc.  You’d see me like some mad crazy woman desperately pressing the button over and over in the hope that it would suddenly work, as it did sporadically kick back into action.  So I went into my O2 shop, and realised I had a problem with my phone addiction when I considered buying a new one to cover the potential fortnight without!

Instead I went back to a ‘normal’ phone for the past 10 days.  OMG I’d totally forgotten how to text.  Plus, I’ve realised that my iPhone has taken on such a big part of my life, that it’s become ‘more than a phone’.

I literally couldn’t sleep well without it, because there was an app I use to clarify my thoughts before bed time.  The apps for twitter and facebook don’t work as well on my ipad, so that was tricky.  Plus I wanted to check the weather, and play music, and play videos to keep the Little Dimples busy or games for Curly Headed Boy when we were in queues.  Where was my life before my iphone!  I couldn’t do my food shop in the car on the way home and now have a house with no food in it.

Problem is I don’t really want to break my addiction, because I love my iPhone.  Is that sad?

What I have promised to do is make the most of what I learnt, which is to ‘PUT THE PHONE DOWN’ and be present with my kids more.  So I’m going to have twitter/facebook times of the day and ignore it more.  I’d already banned the phone during the key crunch times like getting dressed, breakfast and the whole bedtime routine period from dinner onwards as focus was definitely needed.  But I’m going to be even stricter from now on.  You wouldn’t believe how many parents I saw on their phones at the festival that I went to at the weekend, or the numbers of times I saw the kids trying to talk to parents who were focussing on a phone.  It’s sad really and definitely makes for frustrated, irritated kids who feel that a phone is more important than them.

So wish me luck in my journey to control my iPhone addiction and only use it’s power for good ;o)

Video Wed: London Riots and Lack or Gain of Purpose?

After writing my post ‘The problem with politics is it doesn’t understand human behaviour’, I’ve been thinking even more about the Riots, as I’m sure many others of you have done as well.  I was mainly making the point in my post that it is psychologically detrimental to give people benefits for no fair exchange and how important it is to take responsibility for what is ours to do (and not for what is someone else’s).

Since then I’ve been thinking about the arguments posed by people about how hard it is for kids from deprived areas who have ‘no hope’.  There is definitely some truth in this.  Every creature needs a purpose, it is what keeps us going and keeps us alive.  Even young babies enjoy putting the washing in the machine because it gives them a sense of being useful.  We had a rescue dog that came to life when he learnt to ‘work’ (he was on lone to a working kennel and ended up staying there).  I’ve thought back to the times in my life when I didn’t have a clue about what I was doing and where I was going, and I agree it felt awful.  They were black times.

This is in no way the full answer as we now know that a huge pile of the rioters were nothing to do with this group of young kids, they were just people out to take advantage of a situation, with little moral thought, who thoroughly enjoyed the frenzy and excitement.  However, it would be unwise to cut funding on programs that can educate kids on what is available and the opportunities that are there for them.  Plus programs that help them work out what they are good at and gives them directions would be great.

I was sent this youtube video after my previous post, and I think it is great.  (For my kindle readers, it’s called ‘Keep Britain safe, every individual counts’).

Ironically though in the balance to the lack of purpose in these kids, there was a huge creation of purpose in the people who got together to clean up the streets.  How amazing was that?  We need to capitalise on this, in order to bring back the sense of community. I have always had a ‘bigger plan’ for ‘the mummy whisperer’.  It makes me wonder whether I should kick it off now, rather than later when I’m better known?

Then there are the people who just took advantage of the situation.  What to do about them?  Well partially make going against society’s rules much harsher so that people wouldn’t consider it.  Plus make sure that we do something about people who we know have done something ‘wrong’.  Shop the benefit cheats.  Stop turning a blind eye to stuff.  In a way, it is us that let them think they could get away with it.  If they don’t have the same values as us, we can’t force them to be sypathetic, empathetic or thoughtful of those around them.  But we can make the price of breaking other people’s property too high for them to do it!

What worries me most is that I suspect that there is another, smaller, quieter group of people.  I don’t think that they were lacking in purpose.  I think that their whole sense of purpose is to create chaos and anarchy, and that the young people without hope, the criminals, and the middle class people wanting something for nothing, were just pawns for them.  I wonder if I am a bit paranoid?  But after the deaths of those kids shot in Norway and that mad man’s talking about his connections, it makes me think.  This is another reason why we need to not be ‘ignorant’.  We might be ‘educated’, but it’s easy to ‘ignore’ what is going on around us.

The Problem With Politics Is It Doesn’t Understand Human Behaviour- London Riots

I found tears in my eyes as I tried to explain the riots to Curly Headed Boy this morning (5.5yrs old).  But I have had to explain something similar when local teens burnt down a pile of things near where I live.  One blog post can’t explain away the whole of the London Riots, and I’m not going to try and do it, but I am going to explain what us as parents can do right now.

The problem with politics is that it doesn’t understand human behaviour.  Its a pile of people on the right believing that the world ‘should’ be one way and a pile of people on the left believing in another way.  The middle road of the liberals should technically work, but doesn’t because they don’t really understand how the world of human beings works, and just cherry pick the options that they think will sound the nicest.  So they put in place a pile of ideas, and have no clue about the repercussions.  I understand the concept of how the world ‘should be’, but the reality is that there are a pile of humans in the way of that and ‘should be’ doesn’t work in reality.

The other problem with politics is that we don’t have much choice in who we put in power, and then for some reason we give them a huge amount of our personal power and stop taking responsibility for our own stuff.  I’m not saying that we should be out there stopping the rioters, but I am saying that many of us (myself included) blame the government for stuff that really we could be sorting out for ourselves.  Hence a pile of people rioting and taking no responsibility for it.

So how did I explain it to my little boy?

I pointed out to him what a tantrumy pain in the butt he becomes when he is spoilt.  Have you ever noticed how your kids behaviours are worse after a visit from a kindly relative who let them have everything they wanted or after a major treat that you organised?  Have you noticed how they become more demanding?  ‘Little Lord Fontleroy’ we call curly headed boy at these times.  These rioters are like big 5yr olds having a massive and hell of a lot more destructive tantrum.

The reason is that when we get too much for too little effort it makes us think that we deserve things, but ironically it squashes our self-esteem and makes us feel horrid.  Add to that a need for rules and safe boundaries as children, and you get people who get bored and destructive.  Remove the security of parents who know how to love their children by seeing both the ‘good’ and the ‘bad’ sides, rather than being abusive or overly supportive and you again affect their sense of security which they try to replace with ‘things’ they can buy.

I have no doubt that there are people in poverty in england, but they are not rioting.  They would be looking for heaters, food, and blankets.  They are the people who don’t know how to work the system, and who have really basic needs that are not being met.  They are the people that we are failing in the UK, whilst we give too much to a generation of young people who are just too damn spoilt.

So when my son asks me why people are rioting I say that they were not lucky enough to have parents who made them do something for every treat, who were strict and consistent about their rules, and who loved them from the top of their heads to the bottom of their toes.  He understands this, so this is the easiest thing I can say.

He asked about the police and why they couldn’t stop it, and the answer is that the system we have in the UK doesn’t hit people where it actually bothers them enough.  If curly headed boy doesn’t care about a punishment then it wont work on him.  I’m not that tough, I just make sure that I use things that are fair and that mean something to him.  For example; it starts with going into another room and counting to 30, then maybe a 5min time out, or a removal of a treat, or taking away a toy for 24hrs.  They are never too harsh or heart breaking, but they are fair and make sense to him.  (Little Dimples will need a totally different system as she was born naughty!).

I’m not saying that prison is a great place to be, but if it doesn’t stop people from offending, then it’s not going to work.  If you knew you were going to spend a lifetime paying back the damage you had done, then that would be a very different situation.  If you knew you were going to have to work to fix the damage you had done, it would be different.  If you knew that you were going to lose your benefits after bad behaviour, but be taken care of for 2yrs in a hard national service like we used to have, it would be different.  I can see why there is a sudden interest in the death penalty returning, although I’m not sure that is the choice I would have.  We can’t remove ‘criminality’ from our world, but we can reduce it by making it a damn site less attractive.

What can we do about this chaos?  Well start at home first, use the simple rules I’ve mentioned to love our kids with.

If your kids are involved, and you can’t keep them in, then you need to make sure that the police knows about them; keep them safe from more riots and from a future where they think that they can get away with anything because they deserve it (very easy to say I know, and hard to do).

Tackling the riots?  Well we need to use people’s values to stop the riots and stop them happening again.  For a small percentage I think that education and the ‘softer’ side will get through to them and help.  But for the majority I’m sorry I think that it needs to hit them where it hurts; prison, their benefits, and some kind of national service ala old fashioned bootcamp kind.

For the future?  No one should get anything for nothing.  Keep the benefit system, but if you get benefits and you are capable of moving a finger then you should get the right to do something, even if it is only a little thing.  Carers looking after those who can’t move, therefore deserve to be paid as a proper job.  This gives basic self-esteem, and is only fair.  Mums are a different matter, as they aredoing something; they are taking care of children.  However, I must admit that I think that young single Mums would be better off being put together in specific communities, rather than getting houses of their own.  OAPs have done their bit, but they aren’t useless, hell I have an OAP looking after Little Dimples for me and she’s a fabulous 73.  And the bored young people?  They need boundaries, structure, rules, not benefits.  If they aren’t going into further education or apprenticeships, then I cringe to say it ‘bring back national service’.  Our system of punishment?  Where it’s not a death/physical attack, then make the people pay in kind for what they did by fixing it, or paying to fix it.

New Laws?  There is one new law needed ‘only people with common sense and nonse should be able to make decisions for the country’.  Everything is topsy turvy and quite ridiculous, with a pile of jobs worths, health and safety nuts, insurance ambulance chasers, and higher punishment for minor offences that child abuse.  Not sure how to put this one in place; any ideas?

Right, I’m going to get off my soap box.  I’ve never posted politically before, and I hope that it doesn’t cause offence.  My objective was to give you some ideas as to how to explain to your little ones what is happening, but I did have a bit of a rant along the way.

Video Wed: Bristol, the simpler things in life and sunshine

Bristol is a weird place, it has an odd magnetic nature.  I remember a social worker telling me that they recommended that families didn’t move elderly relatives out of Bristol because they hardly ever reacted well to it.

A few weeks ago we went back to my home town of Bristol to meet up with some old friends who were over from the states.  As we drove in Curly Headed Boy said ‘Oooh Bristol is lovely, why don’t we live here Mummy?’.  I must admit I felt at ‘home’ immediately.  However much the place has grown up (it now has an aquarium and a science museum), it still felt the same.  It’s such a colourful place.  St Albans is lovely and all, but people do tend to wear the same colours, have the same coloured cars, and look pretty similar.  Bristol is a mass of difference.

I popped out to a chemist and suddenly was faced with something I hardly have in St Albans; someone SMILED at me, before I smiled at them.  Wow!  It’s not that people are unfriendly where I live now, it’s just that they are more reserved.  Plus local Bristollians look like me, there’s a lot of the ‘hobbit’ look as I call it; short, with curly brown hair, and rosey cheeks.

It took me a day to remember something that is most different.  It hit me when we went to a local festival (which was by pure chance, as we didn’t know it was on), and I realised that in St Albans I’m always ‘doing’ things with the kids.  But in Bristol as a child, it was more that you would go somewhere and meander around in a chilled sort of way.  You kind of look at the docks, or the downs, or the ‘stuff’ and meander around with a pile of other people just meandering around.  It was a big reminder of enjoying ‘the simpler things in life’.

Hopefully at the moment I am enjoying the ‘simpler things in life’ on a beach, paddling in the sea with Little Dimples and Curly Headed Boy.  I’m assuming it is really sunny where we are in Cyprus (did I mention my excitement at our first every family summer holiday in a previous post?!), so I thought I’d send you some sun!  So here is the video wednesday with Katrina and the Waves ‘Walking on Sunshine’.  (I’m particularly fond of her because she played a gig for us at Uni, and she has sooooo much energy, she was really fab).