Don’t Blow the Budget

One of the most stressful relationships we have is with ‘money’, money affects every aspect of our lives. It does not really matter how much money you have or do not have, as even very ‘rich’ people can struggle to manage and have the right relationship and attitude to money. How much money you have or do not have does not always equate to how happy you are; obviously when there is no finanical stress in your life you may have peace of mind to make decisions about what you do with your money. The relationship you have with your money or ‘no money’ is what keeps you in  patterns of emotional confidence and happiness or limitation and negativity.

So are you in charge of your money or is your money in charge of you? Are you in debt; are you taking positive actions to move forward?

Do you only react or respond to money issues when you can no longer put off the fact that your money relationship is  out of control and if you do not fix it you will ‘go down the drain hole’?  Are your credit cards out of control? Do you only take time to have  a relationship with your money when it is close to ‘disaster’? Do you keep repeating this pattern?

Do you try to grow your money? Do you plan in advance; do you have a budget; do you look after your financial records, are your finances under control and are they blossoming? Have you made the choice to take control of your money and have you stuck to the choices you have made? Your first decision is having the intention to take action to manage and grow your money no matter how little or how much you have.

You may need firstly to get out of debt; to do this you will need to assess your expenditure and if it greater than your income you need to decide what steps you can take to either increase your income or decrease your expenditure.

The power of intention is when you decide and make the choice to take the steps to be in charge of your financial wellbeing. You will need to support yourself every day until you change a pattern of behaviour that may have been with you and your family of origin for your whole life. You can do it; it is about choice and action; it is about commitment; hard work; perseverance; making finances a priority in your life; good habits and believing you deserve to create financial freedom and abundance. You may need professional help to start the process; you will need intention and action to complete the process and get your financial situation working for you and not against you.

Christina McMahon

Posted in Health, Relationships | 3 Comments

Cyberbullying Parent Resources

With the increase of cyberbullying the response to assist parents increase their knowledge and skills has at last started to offer many useful sites that are both practical and informative. One site worth viewing is as it has some excellent pages. One page is ‘chat speak’ giving you the meanings of mobile and on line language of young pople today. Obviously this ‘type’ of language is evolving and will change; chat speak however is a good introduciton for a parent to understand what their teenager or child is actually communicating in the new language of the young. Christina

Posted in Cyber Matters, Parenting, Teenagers | 11 Comments

Using Children as Weapons Achiever Style 4

Using Children as Weapons in Family Disputes

Achiever Personality Style © Copyright Material  Written by Christina McMahon

When you first meet they often will be clear and precise and have a feeling of strength about them. You may feel you can rely on them because of their clarity about where they are going and how they are going to get there. When something needs doing they just get on with it and often will take the load off you.

Often partners will attract their opposite and the opposite to an achiever is a harmoniser; it is like two polarities are attracting as magnets and it is in the relationship that each can move closer in skills to the strengths of their opposite and choose to learn new skills. Look for an ‘energetic or volatile’ relationship if you have two achievers together.

What they can do in a crisis?
(Remember we are only referring to the style when it is not working from the positive; many achievers have a high level of skill to negotiate and consider others needs.)
Can be aggressive depending on their skill level – can become very dominant, blunt, abrasive or in a few situations physically violent. The emotion they are experiencing is anger as they want the situation to change and they are not getting their way. Their primary need is to keep the power in the situation; especially if in the relationship they have always been the ones to call the shots and hold the power. The fear of losing power means they can’t ‘do’ what they want; the courts may be holding the power and this could intensify anger if the courts appear to treat them in an unfair manner.
How do they use children as weapons?
Because these people can be very strong they can demand a child to do what they really do not want to do; it may simply be in the way they speak. The child may be trying to ‘protect’ the other parent or minimise the anger in the battle of the parents. This can cause enormous stress in the child and it will depend on their emerging personality how they will be able to handle this situation – if the child is also this style they could be angry but if they turn it on themselves it will be deep resentment and eventually possibility illness. In extreme and limited situations the children may be fearful of this parent if volcanic tension of anger is evident when around the child. The child can be a weapon as the battle could be over the wellbeing of the child or other parent because of the anger of one parent.

When this personality style is operating well they will simply be very clear, firm, give easy to follow boundaries and expectations in a very loving manner to their children. However when anger is not dealt with the child may be intimidated or fearful of when the parent will next be angry and what that will mean for them or the other parent. A child caught in the battle of the parents can always be on watch to see if the situation is safe and this can result in many different behaviours and emotions; if the parent is very powerful in a negative manner it may mean they will suppress, be quiet and generally not communicate with this parent.

How does the ‘Balanced’ parent help to break the pattern?
Start to come from a compassionate heart.

(Impossible if your unresolved emotions are getting in the way).
Make sure you receive professional help to move through your emotional issues.

If this parent is out of control with anger it is often best not to be present when they are in extreme rage as the anger could be dumped on you. To be able to know how to manage a person in rage takes many skills. The ‘Harmoniser’ and often the ‘Responsible’ generally cannot handle this behaviour and become exceptionally hurt and defensive by the intensity of the anger directed at them. They may as they grow older learn to be more assertive and stand up to an angry achiever; however many people do not manage anger well when directed straight at them and really you need training to be able to help with this situation. To be able to stay in the presence of an extremely angry person you need to be able to be centred and have the ability to be appropriately assertive no matter what is thrown at you. This takes real skill.

Sometimes the reason for the breakdown in the relationship is the intensity of anger and the effect it can have on children.

Often in this situation it is best to have an advocate to talk for you or after everything has gone through the courts to set arrangements up so there is no contact of the battling ex-partners.

With regard to children the angry parent needs to be given evidence to strongly show what affect their anger can have on the welfare of their children. They still love their children but have allowed themselves to get out of control; anger controls them rather then they feel anger and use it constructively as a passion for change. They need to really recognise the importance of care, nurturing, love and reassurance and plenty of hugs and praise for their children.

They generally do not try to use their children as weapons (can change if a second style is very strong) they simply have become insensitive to the damage anger can do to their children.

(Training manual available: The Ego Self )

Posted in Children, Divorce & Separation, Parenting, Relationships | 48 Comments

Money and Stress

Stress can be overwhelming if you do not take charge of your financial health. In many families the teaching of children about financial responsibility and the attitudes and skills needed for the creation of wealth simply do not exist. Survival ‘mentality’ is the generational ‘blue print’ in many families. Children learn about money; abundance; wealth; struggle; survival from what they are taught, modelled and react to as they grow to adulthood. What are you teaching your children today about money? What is their personality and what will their struggles be around money?

To start to change your life and relationship to money; survival or wealth you firstly need to have the intention to take charge of your financial well being. If you are in debt you need to get out of debt! If you are in serious debt you may need help. (One organisationt that will help is CAPS 1300227000) Is your expeniture greater than your income? What steps are you going to take to increase your income and reduce your expenditure? You cannot survive on credit cards and do well financially in life.

The power of intention is the first step; you decide and make a choice to take steps to support yourself and improve your financial situation. You stay positive; stop blaming everyone else; and decide you are going to change a pattern of behaviour and skill that may have been with you for your whole life. You can do it; you do have a choice; it is about commitment; hard work; perserverence; making finances a priority in your life; developing good habits and believing you do deserve to create financial wellbeing.

Posted in Health, Parenting | 3 Comments


An early sign of depresssion for many people is the inability to take action. The challenges of life and  the perceived non ending ‘life blokages’ can test many of us to lose self confidence and hope that  something good will happen for us in ‘life’! When we least feel like taking action because of feeling low; ‘down, ‘hopeless’, overwelmed, or exhausted; is exactly when we need to take some action. You may need to sit in the sun until you feel a little better; walk the first telegraph pole today and add one every day until you are walking at least 30 minutes a day. You may need to answer that letter; ring the people or organisation you do not not want to talk to, or buy a paper and apply for a job, any job! What you need to do is take at least one small action and then choose again to take another action. Depression can intensify the more you do not take action; and it is only through action that something starts to move; start small and you will be amazed at how quickly change starts to happen. Christina

Posted in Health | 1 Comment

Expressing Your Emotions

Expressing your emotions in the family and not hurting the kids!

Children are exceptionally sensitive to family high emotions; the younger they are the more they are ’emotional sponges’. It is beneficial to children that parents know how to manage and express emotions in an appropriate manner. Parents need to have skills and strategies to defuse high emotion; they need to learn assertive skills; they may need to recognise when they are ‘dumping’ their stress on a family member and choose a different strategy. We all need to communicate what we are feeling; it is how we do it that either benefits all involved or ‘hurt’ those we love.

Courses are available so a parent can learn to manage and express emotions so we do not hurt the kids. Parents are children communication models; what you do is what children learn; so learn new skills and limit harmful conflict in the family. (Christina)

Posted in Conflict Resolution | 28 Comments


The challenge for many people is to empower themselves! Relationships give us the opportunity to experience disempowerment or empowerment. In couple relationships where respect is a foundation to how we view and treat the other person we are more likely to try to create  a relationship built on empowerment of both partners. Self esteem and self acceptance are both closely connected to feeling empowered. Empowerment at no times means power over another person it is the encouragement and ownership of who we are; what we can do and our sense of true self. (Chrisitna)

Posted in Relationships | 6 Comments

Cyberbullying Teenagers

Source: Edited from the Raising Children Network

When young people experience bullying behaviour online, it can be difficult to spot. To help your child, you can learn about cyberbullying – what it is, when to step in, and what to do about it.

Did you know?

In a recent study; 20% of all teenage girls surveyed said they’d been cyberbullied.
The problem was most common in girls – nearly 1 in 4 reported having been the victim of cyberbulllying.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is online bullying using modern communication technology to deliberately and repeatedly harrass, humiliate, embarrass, torment, threaten, pick on or intimidate someone.

Cyberbullying happens in lots of different ways – by mobile phone, text messages, email, or through social networking sites such as Facebook. Examples of cyberbullying include sending anonymous threatening emails, spreading rumours on the school e-bulletin board to break up friendships, or setting up an unkind or unpleasant fake social networking account using real photos and contact details.

Effects of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can leave teenagers with low self-esteem, less interest in school and a deep sense of loneliness. Some feel they have no safe place, because the bullying can happen anywhere there’s internet or mobile access. It can also happen at any time of the day or night.

Nearly one quarter (23%) of children who use mobile phones have reported receiving a threatening or abusive text, and 14% reported sending one.

Helping your child avoid cyberbullies

You can help make cyberbullying less likely to happen to your child by:

  • discussing cyberbullying when your child first starts to use the internet or a mobile phone. Talk about what forms cyberbullying can take, the consequences it can have, and how it’s best to never pass along or reply to bullying material
  • talking with your child about online friends and messaging friend lists. Explain that adding someone your child doesn’t really know as a ‘buddy’ or ‘friend’ gives that person access to information about her that could be used for bullying.
  • teaching your child not to give out passwords to friends. Some teenagers do this as a sign of trust, but a password gives other people the power to pose as your child online.
  • teaching your child to ‘think before posting’. Young people who post personal information online (like suggestive photos or videos) can also attract unwanted attention, negative comments or ridicule. This kind of personal information might be available online for a long time, well after your child is comfortable with other people seeing it.

A recent study suggested that 20% of teenagers have engaged in cyberbullying behaviour at some point. There’s no denying that cyberbullying is harmful. But if 20% of teenagers have engaged in bullying or been bullied, that means that 80% are using the internet happily and responsibly.

How to spot cyberbullying

Cyberbullying can be tough to spot. Many young people who are being bullied don’t want to tell teachers or parents, perhaps because they feel ashamed or they worry about losing their computer privileges at home.

As a parent, you might find it hard to keep up with the different technologies your child uses. Or you might not know how to bring up the subject of cyberbullying.
Some warning signs that your child might be the victim of cyberbullying include:

  • being upset during or after using the internet
  • withdrawing from friends and activities
  • being more moody than usual, or showing obvious changes in behaviour, sleep or appetite
  • spending much longer than usual online, or refusing to use the computer at all
  • exiting or clicking out of a computer activity if a person walks by
  • avoiding school or group gatherings
  • bringing home lower marks than usual
  • ‘acting out’ in anger at home
  • having trouble sleeping
  • feeling sick or complaining of frequent headaches or stomach aches.

Worried your child might be the one doing the bullying? For ideas on encouraging your child to treat other people with respect online, you could read our article on being a responsible cybercitizen.

Helping teens handle cyberbullying

If teenagers are being bullied online, it’s great for them to feel they have some power to resolve the problem on their own. These six steps are a good way for your child to get rid of the bully:

  1. Go block or delete the person engaging in cyberbullying. Blocking from friend lists helps stop the person engaging in cyberbullying from posting or uploading offensive content about your child. If it’s a text message or call, you can call the service provider and have the calls/texts monitored. If necessary, the service provider can even contact the sender, since mobile phone holders breech their contract if they use their phone to bully. If necessary, you can change the phone number.
  2. Ensure you keep evidence of bullying. Save and print out any bullying messages (use the print screen key, at the top right of most keyboards).
  3. Tell someone. Sharing feelings with a parent, older sibling, relative, teacher or close friend will help keep your child from feeling isolated.
  4. Report abuse. Reporting bullying to web administrators is usually as easy as clicking on a ‘report abuse’ link on a website. The website will remove the offensive content. There could also be consequences for the person engaging in bullying. If your child has been threatened, he should also report it to the local police.
  5. Ignore bullying behaviour. This means not responding aggressively to taunts. It’s OK for your child to tell the person engaging in bullying to stop, but they shouldn’t try to fight fire with fire.
  6. Delete the bullying message (after saving a copy), and don’t forward via text or send chat logs to others.

You might like to check out our illustrated guide to stopping cyberbullying. It’s a handy reference that you could print out for both you and your child to use.

Helping teens who have been cyberbullied

Your child won’t always be able to solve cyberbullying problems independently. It’s always worth stepping in if you’re concerned about them, as you’ll be able to help practically and emotionally.

Loving support is vital. Also:

  • talk to your child – listen to his side of the story, and reassure him that the bullying isn’t his fault
  • let your child know that you’ll help and that things will get better
  • stay calm and resist the temptation to ban the internet in your home. Banning online activities will only make your child less likely to share her online problems
  • speak with the school if the problem involves a classmate. It’s best to make sure your child knows about your interaction with the school, and that he has a say in the process.
How cyberbullying is different from other bullying

Cyberbullying is different from other kinds of bullying, for both the person engaging in bullying and the victim.

People using bullying behaviour will often act more boldly online than if they were facing their victim in person. Sending taunts remotely and anonymously makes the person doing the bullying feel safer. The victim’s physical or emotional response, which might change or soften the bullying behaviour, can’t be seen.
For the person being bullied, cyberbullying is tough to deal with. Because teenagers use mobiles and the internet so often, bullying can happen at any time, not just when they’re at school. The victim might not know who’s doing the bullying or when the bully will strike next. This can make teenagers feel persecuted and unsafe, even at home.

Bullying messages posted online are very hard to get rid of. These messages can be forwarded instantly and seen by many people, instead of just a few kids in the schoolyard.

Posted in News, Parenting, Teenagers | 39 Comments

New autism programme brings hope to families

New autism program brings hope to families
By Stefanie Menezes
Updated Mon Jul 4, 2011 1:58pm AEST

Story Reduced: 

It is estimated at least 30,000 children in Australia have an autism spectrum disorder.
Helping or educating an autistic child can be difficult as support services are rare and expensive.
A new model, known as the Self Advocacy Curriculum, is being adopted in American schools to help children with autism help themselves.
Valerie Paradiz, whose autistic son first started primary school in New York in 1994, says he had a difficult time communicating and interacting with other people.
“I saw that teachers really struggled, although they seemed in part to understand that there were these components of children needing to really identify what their own disability required of them in terms of navigating environment,” she said.
Ms Paradiz, a university professor, left academia soon after that and started an after-hours school to help students on the autism spectrum.
A few years later she developed the Self Advocacy Curriculum.
“To help teachers and therapists and parents to learn how to develop ability in advocating for oneself,” she said.
“That ability can range from understanding your civil rights and entitlements to understanding what kinds of sensory or social differences you might have.”…
She designed the program to help them speak up.
“It could be as easy as asking ‘can I turn the lights off?’,” she said.
The curriculum was soon piloted in public schools across New York.
…. The results, she said, were groundbreaking.
“What it is showing is not only can our children recognise their needs but they can advocate to have those needs met and they can take these skills and use them in an environment in which they have not been directly taught to use them,” she said.
“A huge challenge for individuals with autism is that they use interventions or strategies only in the environment that they were taught them.”…
Kara Potter is the director of The Learning Ways group, a not-for profit after-schools program set up to help children on the autism spectrum.
For the past year she has been testing the curriculum out on a small group and agrees the results are impressive.
“We saw some very significant changes in the sense of wellbeing that the children were expressing after being part of the work that we did with them,” she said.
“In particular we saw children being able to start to discriminate and make decisions for themselves.”
Currently, intervention programs in Australia are limited and none of them are coordinated nationally.

Posted in Children, Health, News | 1 Comment

Using Children as Weapons Harmoniser Style 1

Using Children as Weapons in Family Disputes

Harmoniser Style  Copyright Material  Written by Christina McMahon

When we examine the conflicts and intense emotions of people experencing divorce or separation it is often the escalation and intensity of ‘bad’ behaviour over children that leave many people shaking their heads in disbelief. When this continues for many years we are left with a very damaging situation to all involved; especially when ex-partners can’t move out of entrenched conflict; even when all the hard court battles are supposedly over. It is always easier to see what is going on when you view it from the side lines and when you are not emotionally involved.

How can the people involved stop what is happening?

How do we know we are not the problem or a large part of the problem?

Have you reached a place of the ‘compassionate heart’ or is your ego still running your emotions and behaviours. Are you displaying to your children exceptionally ‘bad’ or irrational behaviour; do you play games of retaliation, revenge, or are you in power struggles, do you want control or want to be the centre of attention.

Are you communicating in a constructive manner to your children?

Do you try to protect your children from out of control emotions; or do you use your intense emotions to manipulate the child as a weapon for revenge, power or control; or are you simply oblivious to the needs of your children because you are so caught up in your ‘emotional history’, that you have put blinkers on to the damage you are psychologically doing to your child.

There are four main personality patterns people may experience when their unresolved ego issues are stimulated through crisis. You are probably a combination of different patterns; with different intensitie, at different stages of the grief process.When we are foccussed on the negative or unresolved we could feel like doing the following. Take revenge  or retaliate; stay in a power struggle; act out control issues; engage in attention seeking behaviours.

So when parents use children as weapons in their continual conflict with and ex-partner they will revert to behaviours that can be identified from these personality needs and fears.

Why do they do this? They do it because they do not have the personal knowledge or skills to manage the conflict situation in a constructive manner and at the same time at a very deep psychological level are hurt, pained, angry, and fearful.

So basically unresolved ego/ personality issues are being triggered and they are linked to intense emotions.

So how do parents use their own children as weapons?

Behavioural patterns and intense emotions responses or reactions are complex; they can be understood and defused through counselling. You can learn to communicate in a manner that will assist your children live a happy life and not grow up with too many unresolved childhood issues!

Lets Identify Personality 1 of the 4 Typical Personality Styles

These are some of the patterns triggered in parents when they use children as weapons.

We are referring to unresolved issues of these styles not to people who operate out of the positive of the style.

When you first met they are usually loving, quiet, nurturing, supportive, and giving, the perfect mother or father image.
What they can do in crisis?
Passive Aggressive – one moment nice and charming and the next attacking. Often they can be seen as the victim to the intimidating partner.
They can choose revenge/retaliation but will not admit to themselves that this is what they are doing.

How do they use children as weapons?
Because these people are natural nurturers when not in crisis they generally will have very close or co-dependant relationships with their children – they would have done a lot of nurturing of their children and will often see their children as theirs. The children often feel an incredible loyalty to these patents. If it is the mother, a boy may feel they have to protect this person because the child will feel that this parent is more sensitive then the other parent; a girl may feel they need to look after the father. The parent may cry, be remorseful in front of the child; tell the child things about the other parent; explain why they are really trying to protect the child. The close loving nurturing of this parent generally forms close attachments with the child and this loyalty will help in the games being played. The child becomes a weapon because they are trying to make everything OK for this parent and some times they are very subtly convinced by this parent that the only way to do this is to be loyal to them, and not see the other parent or look after the parent. Often these children will grow up feeling it is their responsibility to look after this parent because they are not capable of looking after themselves. Add illness (depression; mental disorders; high blood pressure) to this and intensify the problem for the child.

Most of this happens without conscious awareness this is what is happening.

So how does a ‘balanced’ parent help to break the pattern?
Start to come from compassionate heart. (Impossible if your own unresolved issues are in the way)
Make sure you get professional help to move through your emotional issues.
Meet the needs of the ex-partner where you can and it is reasonable – their needs are security and belonging. How can you help this to be achieved for the sake of your child?
Take everything slowly; as they adjust very slowly to change.
If you made the choice to finish the relationship realise it will take them a long time to really accept it is finished. They may try to hang on in any way they can – like through the children.
Don’t react to the ex-partners games; observe, stay calm, know your own rights and state them calmly.
Speak to them in a friendly manner; the harsher you are the more likely they will shift to revenge. They have more difficulty being vengeful to people who are nice as it is how they see themselves.
Make your home safe and enjoyable for the child. Build a loving relationship with your child where they can be a child and have fun.
Teach your child values in a loving and supportive manner – let them start to work it out for themselves.
Make sure your child does not feel they have to look after you.
Don’t judge or criticise the ex-parent to the child.
Gently state your concern for the child’s wellbeing, at the bottom line they are nurturers.
Next style is Personality Style Adventurer

(Training manual available: The Ego Self )

Posted in Children, Divorce & Separation, Parenting, Relationships | 21 Comments