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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Advice from Friends.

“My daughter was quietly confident at this stage of her eleven plus preparation. My son `talks big’ but I don’t think this he is as confident as she was. She was always prepared to go straight to her desk and start working. He, on the other hand, leaves everything to the last minute and rushes through it. I’m not quite as confident about him passing the eleven plus as I was with my daughter.

I asked my friends – and they laughed.”

`Boys will be boys!’ they chorused.

It seems fine to listen to friends – because they can always be relied on to give support when you need it. Friends see us in a different light. We all have our own fears and insecurities – even as adults – but straight talking from a friend can do wonders for our morale.

Whatever bravado is displayed, or even preening, ten year old children still need their parents to be suitably strong and firm. Children can not envisage a parent lacking in self- esteem or displaying a lack of self-confidence. So how then do parents maintain this façade when they have their own self doubts?

The great thing is that most ten year old children are usually tolerant of our mistakes. They know that we do not know all the answers. Sometimes even boys are charitable about our misconceptions. But a boy will defend to the death an assertion that he is not as mature as his sister was at the same stage.

Parents may sometimes be able to reason and cajole their daughter into understanding a new situation or change in circumstances. The young `Alpha Male’, however, may need rules, definitions and a carefully charted path.

So listen to your friends, ask their opinion on how you can help your son to understand your point of view. Ask them if they can comment on your behaviour towards your child. Your friends may give you insight into how you can build a strong and confident relationship that will lead to success. Your friends may be able to give you the strength to be able to take decisive actions rather than hoping that the problems will just go away.

When you ask your friend’s advice you are hoping that they will help you to understand yourself so that what you see as a highly stressful time with your ten year old son is no more than a matter of interpretation and measured response. In the end, however, you may just be driven to say: “I have had enough. Don’t answer back. Just get on and do the work.” (And you may feel a lot better about yourself too!)

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