“I’m just trying to manage the damage I’m going to do to my Children”

I avoid perfect people like the plague.  I’m drawn to people to laugh at their foibles, see mistakes as stepping stones and laugh freely.  Perfect people are boring boring boring.

There’s real pressure among parents to be perfect.  Talk about putting pressure where it’s least needed.

I joined a ton of mommy and baby groups with my 1st child and during introductions I’d say something like, “I’m Lisa and I’m just trying to manage the damage I’m going to do to my son.”  It was the quickest way to weed out moms I was never going to connect with and find the ones that were going to become my friends.  

There’s way too much shame attached to parenting mistakes.  We’re only human, we’re going to make mistakes here, there and everywhere.  We can either learn from them or go down the denial/shame path.

So many of my parents feel shame at their past mistakes.  Okay, go down the pity path for a moment to get it out of your system, then get over it and move forward.  

Life is about NOW.  Too many of us live according to our past but that’s our own baggage, no one else of value sees us that way.  You can be whatever you want to be.  You can be a self-obsessed perfectionist type of parent or an open-minded learner.  

For my regular readers this is repetitive but if you’re new to BratBusters here was my parenting slap in the face:

My son was 15 and said, “You’ve been a really difficult mother to have.”  I was shocked and said, “Why?”  He said, “Because I never had anything to rebel against, you’re too understanding and easy to talk to.”  Maybe I haven’t explained this before, but he was upset when he said it.  It was at that moment that I realized I hadn’t been meeting his needs so I said, “Go clean your room”.  And he never did.  Rebellion … check.  

I know that’s small potatoes in the parenting realm but I’d had so much experience with other kids that there wasn’t much I hadn’t learned to deal with so that really threw me for a loop.

I use humour in everything I do in life.  It’s a great stabilizer.  I use it when dealing with new moms with postpartum to suicidal teens.  It’s very carefully placed during life and death situations but ultimately the best medicine.  It takes the pressure off, it lightens the need to be perfect.

Are you aiming to be the perfect parent?  I sure hope not.

If you want me to help you “manage the damage”, check out my private coaching sessions.  One session is good for general parenting guidance, 3 for managing problems and 5 for managing bigger problems.  Call me to discuss if you’d like (604-349-8044, Vancouver, CANADA).

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach


5 Steps to Stress Free Summer

1. Group discussion about what everyone wants to do over the Summer. The more involved kids are in decision-making, the happier they are to go along.

2.  Plan Up AND Down time. Fun, excitement, activity are great, but everyone needs down time, even kids.

3.  Keep schedule going. Structure, consistency and responsibilities are important all year round, but relax them a bit over holidays.

4Have a boredom back-up plan. If kids whine about being bored, have a huuuuge list of chores and jobs they can do around the house.  Whine-be-gone.

5. Relax and go with the flow. Don’t sweat the small stuff or else you’ll have no clout with the big stuff.


Activities don’t have to be expensive so here are some free and reasonably priced ideas to keep your children and teens busy over the Spring Break:

Young Children:

Hiking, biking, indoor pool, skating rinks … all the usual.  But there are some places out there you may not have thought of and here are just a couple:

      • Gymnastics Clubs usually have drop-ins where kids can jump on trampolines, run into foam pits, etc.
      • Arts Studios usually have kids’ programs over Summer which exercise their creativity.  Drop by the dollar store on your way home and let them choose a bunch of craft supplies to use at home.

But, if you want to get really creative on days when the weather’s not great, how about setting up a hunt for hidden letters around the house?  These letters are just small pieces of paper with 1 letter each on them.  Once the children collect all the letters they have to figure out how to put them together to form words.  E.g., MAKE PLAYDOUGH, BUILD FORT, PLAY SIMON SAYS.

What’s BUILD FORT you ask?  Delegate a room in the house for the Spring Break Fort.  Use furniture, blankets, even fake Xmas tree, to help set up this play fort.  It can be a jungle for boys, Alice in Wonderland for girls … get creative and let them help you design it.  This is free and fun and you’ll be amazed at how much time they’ll spend in that fort.  They’ll bring their toys in there, flashlights, etc.  Be warned that parents may not be allowed in the fort :).

One of my kids favourite indoor activities was balloon tennis.  Just get some cheap little rackets at the dollar store and blow up some balloons.  Clear an area in the living room, or use the coffee table as the net.  The goal is to never let the balloon hit the floor.  Don’t use real tennis rackets or you’ll end up with broken lights, broken noses, etc.

My “go to” resource for ideas is Youtube.  They have everything on there.  Check out magic tricks, science experiments, etc.  Tons of fun ideas on there.

If all else fails, just ask your kids what they want to do, you may be surprised at the great ideas they can come up with.


Obviously you’re not going to be making playdough with a 15 year old, but there are still lots of things you can suggest they do on their own or with friends, like organize and clean their rooms … kidding.

Unfortunately, most things with teens costs money unless it’s just hanging out at someone’s house.  Be flexible with teens and try not to get too frustrated if they want to sleep till noon, stay up until 3:00 a.m., play video games all day, etc.  I know it’s not ideal but teens really need a break from structure and be able to just “chill” (is that word still in?).

Getting them away from home is the best way to keep them busy as when they’re home they’ll probably just meld into the furniture.  Offer to drive them and their friends downtown, to the beach, to a local hiking trail, etc.


Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

To feel in control of parenting get started with my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” included in my Newsletter.  Sign up button at the top right of page.    

Need Help?

Sign up for “4 Week Parenting Program” … or … 

  Sign up for “Private Coaching”

Parents: “No Yelling Challenge”

Hi Parents,

I have a challenge for you if you are prone to yelling at your kids.  I challenge you to not yell or even raise your voice for 3 whole days.  The only exceptions are if your kids are in danger and you have to yell to stop them from walking out onto a busy road, etc.

I can hear you asking, “Yelling is all that works, what am I supposed to do instead?”   Just keep calm and say what you want them to do or not do in a quiet voice, even a whisper.  Say it once, then twice but no more.  If you need to physically stop them from doing something then go ahead but stay calm and no eye contact or conversation.  They already know what you wanted, they’re just ignoring you.

I’ve used this challenge with clients and the results have been fascinating.  Once they learn how to control themselves, they’re on the fast track to controlling their children.

Please contact me and let me know how it went.

Good luck!  You can do it!!!

Warmly, Lisa.


To feel in control of parenting get started with my FREE “3 Step Parenting Plan” included in my Newsletter.  Sign up button at the top right of page. 


Need help?

Sign up for “4 Week Parenting Program” … or … 

  Sign up for “Private Coaching”