Parenting CAN be Fun & Easy

Parenting can be fun and easy.  I loved, it.  It was the best time of my life as those little people provided me with so much joy and laughter.  I even enjoyed disciplining as I came up with punishments that were funny, well, to me.

One of my favourites was “Mom Makeover”.   What teenage boy wants to be putting make-up on his mother?  I’d say, “It’s either a one day ban on video games or a 30 minute Mom Makeover, your choice.”

The goal is to only have to discipline on rare occasions.  You want your children to be self-disciplining and accountable for their actions.

The biggest problem I see with kids lately is “Self-Entitlement-itis”.  They’ve been so spoiled and gotten away with so much that they expect that to continue when they’re out in the real world.  It’s quite the slap in the face when they realize that’s not the case.

Parenting sessions may be for you.

Happy Parenting,


How to Discipline a Difficult Teenager | Parenting Teens

Surprisingly few parents ask me how to discipline a teenager.  I get more questions about how to cope with a teenager.  I guess discipline seems unattainable.

Can you discipline a difficult teenager?  Yes, but it’s very different from how you discipline a toddler, child or tween.  

The first step is to check yourself.  Are you acting or reacting?  In other words, when your teen lashes out do you react or just stay calm?  If you’re reacting, you’re diving off the emotional cliff with them.  If you’re acting (staying calm and controlled), you are not elevating the situation.

I admit I’ve never raised a difficult teen as I had that mutual respect cemented early on, but I’ve certainly worked with a lot of very challenging teenagers.  What they all have in common is that they are all Me Me Me.  They don’t stop and think how their words or actions are affecting others as they really don’t care.  They’re totally self-absorbed.

They have tunnel vision which all focuses on what they want.

What you have to do is dive into that tunnel and create a diversion. 

So, you’re now calm and ready to create that diversion?  Let me explain how this is done.

Let’s say you have a 14 year old girl who goes out drinking at parties and comes home wasted, if she comes home at all.  You say,

You’re too young to party all night.  You’re also too young to be drinking, that’s just a fact.  What’s going to happen from now on is that I’m still going to let you party, you’re just going to be calling me every 90 minutes so I know you’re okay.  I’m also going to be picking you up at an arranged time and location.  The pickup spot can be a few houses away from where the party is so as not to embarrass you in front of your friends.  Does that sound fair?

It doesn’t matter how she reacts, you’ve just calmly explained there’s going to be a shift.  The most important thing for you to do is to STAY CALM.  Not just that, but no eye rolls, no frustrated sighs, absolutely nothing that she could interpret as a negative reaction to her.

You are now setting yourself up as a calm, controlled leader.  You’re also showing that you’re fair as you’re still allowing her to party, just on your terms.

It takes time to gain the respect of a teenager, you have to be patient and willing to put in the work.  

When I first started mentoring teenagers I didn’t have a clue what to do.  I’d been through some training but it didn’t suit me so I had to figure out my own way.  One thing I decided right away was to never open up their files.  I didn’t want to get to know them through their past mistakes.

I’d say:

I have 3 rules:

  1.  No swearing in front of me
  2. You have to say thank you at the end of each session
  3. You have to give me a hug at the end of each session

They often broke the first rule but they never broke and second and third ones.  The thank you’s and hugs were often strained but they happened.

I was setting myself up as a calm leader, someone who respected them but still had boundaries.  That’s all you’re doing with this first step.  

I’m here if you need some guidance to get through this, it can be challenging.


Parents, What Keeps You Up At Night?

Parenting can be fun, rewarding, beautiful and all those good things.  But it can also be really stressful.




The parents who complain the most about sleepless nights due to worrying are parents of teenagers.  Worries revolve around:

  • sex
  • drugs
  • eating disorders
  • suicide attempts
  • belligerence
  • aggression
  • depression
  • bullying
  • grades
  • etc.

I’ve worked with parents who are up nights worrying their teens are no longer interested in family vacations to parents with teens who have attempted suicide on several occasions.  Some parents are so worried about their teen they’ll sleep outside their room on the floor.  I’ve had several clients who’ve done this so it’s not uncommon.  They all think they’re the only ones going through this, but of course they’re not.

If you’re worried your teens aren’t as connected to their family as they once were, don’t worry, they’ll come back into the family fold once those hormones settle down.  But if you’re worried about the crisis stuff then stop trying to do this on your own.  There is tons of free help out there in the form of school counselors, police, youth groups.  Or you can hire someone like me to guide you through the minefield.  Just make sure they specialize in teens as dealing with a 12 year old is very different from dealing with a 17 year old.

The worst thing you can do is nothing.  

If you’re up all night worrying about your kids, get help.  Reach out to other parents who you know are also struggling, talk to trusted friends and family, or get professional help.  Sometimes just getting your worries out in the open can help.

Call me (604-349-8044, Vancouver, Canada) if you think I can help you.

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

More teen reading:  


How to Deal with Tantrums, Meltdowns, Flipouts, Freakouts, Scenes, etc.

Some of us are prone to tantrums, others aren’t.  My son had tantrums whereas my daughter never had one.  Tantrums in children can turn into adults with bad tempers.  But if handled correctly, they’ll not only stop having tantrums as children, but they’ll be less likely to have bad tempers as adults.  You’ll have taught them self-control.

“I just don’t understand why parents can’t control their kids.”  … said person with no kids.

I totally understand why parents can’t control their children, they just haven’t learned the skills required.  There’s a huge learning curve to parenting.  Few parents say they’d do it all the same if given a second change.  Lucky for me I’d practiced on tons of other people’s kids before having my own which gave me an edge.  I probably left a trail of destruction behind me but no one ever complained, not to my face anyway :).

So, how do you deal with someone having a tantrum?  It’s the same with toddlers right through to adults for the most part.  You just stay calm and wait for the storm to pass then you can have a calm discussion about what lead them into the tantrum but be careful with your wording.  I told this to a mom and after her husband flipped out over something so she calmly said to him, “Now can we discuss why you went mental?”  We all had a good chuckle over that one as it’s so passive aggressive and not going to get you anywhere, but it feels good to say of course :).

Myth: A tantrum is frustration due to not being able to communicate.

MythBuster: A tantrum is anger at things not going their way. If it was just about not being able to communicate then children who are 3+ wouldn’t have tantrums, they’d be able to verbally express what’s on their mind.

I explain exactly how to handle tantrums in my Tantrum Busting Manual but the most important thing to remember is to stay calm.  The last thing you need to do is to be dragged into the scene.  If your child goes off the emotional cliff and you go with them, who’s at the top to pull you back up?

Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

More on tantrums:



What Parenting Style will Backfire in the Teen Years?

“New Age Parenting” (a.k.a. “Attachment Parenting”) is where you allow the child to be the boss.  Discipline is a no-no as is considered to be mean.

School principals complain about “New Age Parenting”as being one of the reasons schools are having to do so much of the parenting these days.  Teachers are having to spend more time dealing with bad behaviour and less time focused on academics.

Children not only need leadership, they crave it.  

Every single troubled teen I’ve worked with has said they wish their parents had been tougher on them when they were young.  Many have told me they’d get into trouble to test their parents, see if they loved them enough to discipline them.  They understood that discipline is love.  When they didn’t get leadership from their parents, they looked to their peers.

If you discipline children when they’re young they’re self-disciplined when they’re teenagers.  My son had a rebellious side but said (complained was more like it) that he could never exercise it as I was always sitting on his shoulder.  He was wrong, his conscience was always sitting on his shoulder.  I did all the work when my kids were little so we could sail through the teen years.

Friends who raised their children without discipline really struggled through the teen years.  They were imposing curfews that were constantly broken, taking away video games, threatening, yelling, picking up drunk teens from parties … just a mess.  The ones who struggled the most through the teen years were the ones most critical of discipline in the early years.  I could’ve written their future out for them but they wouldn’t have believed me.

Video on dangers of “New Age Parenting”.

If you want to be respected, you have to earn it.  You have to educate yourself on each child’s needs and wants.  All children need strong leadership.  If you don’t provide it, they’ll turn to their peers.  You want your kids turning to you, not their peers, when they need advice, guidance, etc.

Remember that discipline without fun doesn’t work either.  You have to meet all of your children’s needs and fun is a giant one.  Be the fun parent, be the house their friends come to, play games with them, goof around with them.  The relationship you build through fun mixed with discipline is wonderful.

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. 


Lisa Bunnage, Parenting Coach

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