Secret Headquarters

Life and thinking.

My child hates me…

One should not jump to conclusions to say that you’re being a bad parent or you’ve done something worthy of being hated. From what I’ve seen of children and parents, the kids are just frustrated and don’t know how else to express those negative feelings they have in that particular moment.

They may hate you because they know it has power over you so they say it. Don’t react. Your child probably doesn’t hate you and in fact they are just being an annoying brat who needs some direction.

Just a theory, but it is worth considering.

Make sure you show your child love not in moments when they are frustrated and saying they hate you but during moments of relative calm. Love them by taking them for walks and showing them the neighbourhood. Love them by spending time with them, not buying things for them. I’ve seen too many parents give their kids whatever they want because they love their kids to no end. Except those same kids are the ones that feel entitled to everything and are upset when they don’t get what they want. You may decide to buy things for them but don’t ever confuse a child by showing them your love through material gifts.

The kids I see better adjusted, who even though their parents have the money, those parents chose to not buy them whatever they wanted. They received occasional presents and small nick nacks but they weren’t the ones coming into class on Monday saying their parents bought them the latest Nintendo DS.


Holidays! or not…

Its the holidays. 2 weeks of kids being at home all day and you either seeing more of your kids or much the same as if it wasn’t the holidays.

What do the holidays mean for a child? I often hear kids coming back from holidays saying they got bored. I might ask some kids what they did and they tell me they didn’t do anything, watched TV, played video games, maybe went out once or twice to go shopping. What a shame.

For me growing up, my mum only ever allowed me to play videogames during holidays and this made the holidays rather easy for her to handle because I would play video games but now I’ve grown up to be an addict of video games (possibly gambling if I ever got into it) because I had to make the most of the holidays and I played and played because after holidays were over, video game time was over. I became a hoarder of my video game time. So my suggestion?

Not video games.

I think…
Holidays should be a time of exploration. Whatever they enjoy, encourage them to pursue it with enthusiasm during the holidays. Get obsessed with their creative minds or sporting aspirations or adventuring spirit or musical talents. Make the holidays a special time.

If you agree, one way of encouraging this is to provide them with the materials to do this. Or direct them to an internet page that can help. If at all possible, give them your time. If it isn’t possible, then force yourself to make at least a tiny amount of time for them. When you make the time, make sure it’s with purpose so you don’t end up spending 2 hours fixing things around the house or organising your files instead of actually spending it with your child. (I’ve often had good intentions and made time to hang out with my mum only to be at her house using the computer to do work. Bad son, I know)

What are your suggestions for the holidays? How do you encourage your child’s exploration?

To hit or not to hit

My mum explained it to me one day. ‘Dad was good to you. Do you ever remember him hitting you?’ (Yes, I do. Twice. Once for playing with fire and once for lying to him.)

Dads should never hit. Never hit your child. Never hit mum.

It communicates a very powerful message worth ten times more than any sort of boundary you’re trying to reenforce. Your son is learning that men don’t hit. Your son is learning their role as a physically stronger gender requiring to protect rather than abuse.


As for mums. I don’t think one way is better than the other. BUT it pains me as a teacher to need to tell the principal that a child in the class has been hit and there are marks to show it. If your kid fears for their physical well being then you need to stop. It is the law and my guess is that your child will grow up thinking that the only way to get others to listen is to hurt them until they fear them.

My mum hit me as a child so I think…

Hitting your child needs to be to communicate they did something wrong as opposed to physically hurting them. So a spank that they feel for 1 second is okay. A spank where they have a bruise is not okay.

Communicating punishment for something can be done in many ways, spanking is not the worst (Turns out teachers can’t spank, so we created other methods). You could send them into time out, withdraw privileges like TV or computer. I’m a quiet sort of guy so I seldom raise my voice at the kids but whenever I do the kids know that I’m upset. But I see other teachers who always raise their voice and the children don’t even flinch when they’re being directly scolded.
The important thing is to have consequences. A simple apology is not a consequence. If they waste your time = You should waste theirs. If they make a spill = They clean it up. If they hit someone = Withdraw privileges.

Equally important is the moving on process. After they have paid the penalty then ensure they understand what they did was wrong to avoid bitterness and then assure them you’re moving on.

‘Do you know why I sent you to time out?’

If they aren’t then spell it out. ‘When you hit Bobby, you broke an important rule. Hitting is not accepted in any circumstance even if Bobby took your toy.’

OR ‘Lying is not tolerated. Everyone deserves to be told the truth.’

‘Okay, what will you do next time? …’

And don’t ever bring it up again. Renew your trust in your child that they are a good kid. Believe in your child. I am so grateful to all my teachers and parents who continued to believe I was a good kid even after I messed up every now and then.

Reading with boys

Boys are naturally active. They want to play catch, ride a bike, kick a ball, wrestle. Not all, mind you. Some just want to be like Ferdinand the bull and sit and smell flowers.

They may not want to read. Just like they may not want to eat vegetables.

It is manly to be a protector but it is also manly to be someone who can appreciate the arts. Who told you otherwise? The media is the thing that told you otherwise or maybe your dad. What is manly about hating reading?

I have a class full of boys who love to read! I designate time for them to read and I don’t use that time to organise the room or catch up on marking. I purposefully grab a book and read. SO here are the top 2 things I’ve seen work with my class. I think it should readily translate into the home. Post below to let me hear of your suggestions.

  1. I show my kids that I read! Grab a book. I recommend something humourous by Australian authors Paul Jennings or Andy Griffiths. Or if you like sports, grab a biography of one of your favourite coaches or athletes. If you want something more meaty, then try Bryce Courtenay’s The Power of One. About a kid who becomes a boxing champion and beats up his childhood bully.
  2. Next, read to your child.  The kids love time with the teacher. So imagine time with dad! It is approval by dad. When boys start out, they loved reading, but then they found out that they sucked at it or it seemed that no men read, so they had to stop loving to read. If they see that dad approves of reading, that will have a much bigger effect than seeing a teacher read. They will be more likely to continue enjoying what they already enjoy.

Read adventure books, read picture books, read information books, read books with dinosaurs. Just don’t read something that’s pink and glittery.

Does anyone have any anecdotes or tips about reading to your boy? I’d love to hear about it! Post below.


I’ve got an addiction. When I get caught in it,  I can’t get out. I’ve put in place measures to avoid this addiction but when I relapse. 4 hours instantly disappears from my day where I ignore my needs to eat, I lose the ability to speak normally to people, I don’t sleep, I’m willing to miss appointments, get angry at anyone who steps in on my time. It is debilitating.
For me it is gaming. Any game.
Could be angry birds. Latest or a classic on PlayStation. Latest or old game on iPhone. Or online flash game. Anything that keeps track of score.
How do I handle it? I need to delete it or block the site. There is no such thing as moderation in this matter.
How do you identify if your child is developing an addiction?
If they get increasingly angry or frustrated whenever their activity is interrupted.
They are willing to skip meals for it.

What can you do?
start by moderating time allowed on it. Give other options. Describe to your child the behaviour changes you see in them.

Learners for the 21st Century

I just had a staff development day about fostering important learning attitudes for the 21st Century. Stonefields School in New Zealand. They should run their own uni course to equip teachers. Maybe they could be the new Teacher’s College???

We want kids that know what a good learner looks like:

  1. Reflective
  2. Self Aware
  3. Determined
  4. Question
  5. Think
  6. Connect
  7. Wonder


How do parents get involved in this? I want my kid to be creative but I don’t know how to talk about those 7 learning qualities.

#1 TOP TIP Be a learner yourself!

Kids copy more of their parents than they sometimes know.

Its okay to be stuck, use it as an opportunity to learn! Think about the problem, think about what you already know, think about possible solutions. Getting the answer is the easy part once you know the problem.

What about single mum who is always working?

I was speaking to a child and this is what I found out.

Child gets sent to friend’s house every weekend. What else can mum do? Mum needs to work to support the family. Week days child sits at mum’s workplace playing on iphone until 6pm.
My thoughts. Completely initial thoughts without much contemplation. Just a starting point for further discussion.

  1. The child needs to be taught healthy independance.
  2. Recommend a healthy social model for them to copy.

Healthy independence. Teach them things that allow them to develop themselves. For example: How to borrow books by themselves. How to get involved in healthy internet forums. Start a hobby.

Without you being home it can be nigh impossible to teach healthy social responsibilities. They won’t be able to catch the healthy behaviours from short interactions. Direct them to learn manners from the teacher or a well behaved older child. They will be looking for role models because you’re not there. Better you help direct them rather than them finding the wrong ones.

Does anyone else have to support the family and have tips on how to be a parent that isn’t there?

My wife and I are separated…

What do you do when you have 3 kids ranging from 4-11? What do you need to remember when mum is still their mum and not your wife?