Talking To Teens About Vaping

Parenting is hard work at every single stage. You start with the sleepless nights and endless feeds, move onto the temper tantrums of the toddlers years, hit those awkward in-betweens years until you finally get to the dreaded teens!

For me I think the transition of no longer being the person they always turn to for advice and the person they confide it the hardest part of them growing up. There as so many other people in their lives now that they hold of great importance that Mum is often pushed down the pecking order and certainly for me my opinion on pretty much everything isn’t really valid.

When it comes to subjects such as what they are wearing or eating for their lunch then it not really to much of a problem but when it comes to more worrying subjects such as drug taking and smoking then this is something I find important they can feel comfortable approaching me to talk about and not just take for gospel the facts they come across on the internet or chat about with friends.

Both of these things can have a huge impact on their lives and being an inquisitive teen very tempting to try for themselves. For me as long as they are armed with all the information possible about how these decisions can affect every aspect of their life and I have given them the physical and emotional side to it then I am happy that they can go onto making an informed decision about what path they take when these temptations come their way.

However something that is pretty new to the UK and something I have very little knowledge about is vaping. It has taken off in a huge way and has been labelled the ‘safer’ alternative to smoking but there are mixed views on how safe it actually is.

Vaping – inhaling and exhaling vapour through an aerosol type device is being dubbed the ‘safer’ alternative to smoking. With this label and the fact the vapours come in appealing flavours such as strawberry, mango and even salted caramel the pull to teens is very strong.

I know that I have had several heated debates with my teen regarding their safety and being such a new product there is certainly a lot of conflicting advice out there, but below are a couple of the things I feel it is important to talk through with your teens about:

Unknown Chemicals – Different brands use different chemicals in their vape pens that could potentially cause harm to growing lungs and mouth.

Can Lead To Smoking down The Line – In several studies it has been proven that people who start by vaping then move onto smoking itself. Although they may think they are harmlessly experimenting with a safe alternative they could infect be putting themselves on a slippery slope.

Don’t Follow The Crowd – As I said before vaping has been dubbed the new and cool thing to do and is becoming increasingly popular. Peer pressure will be extremelly strong when there is temptation like this all around and I hope that my teens can make informed decisions on wether they really want to follow the crowd or not.

My biggest tip though is the same for any tricky and worrying subject…just keep those lines of communication open. Allow them to be inquisitive, be as honest and you can and hope that by this they will choose the right path.

*collaborated post

Workspaces For Teens

Give me a newborn over a teenager any day! Oh yes there are the sleepless nights and the endless cycles of feeding but as long as food, comfort and plenty of cuddles are supplied they are pretty much catered for. Teenagers however are a different breed altogether.

I have managed to navigate one child through their teens and she has now made here way into her twenties with both of us coming out the other side pretty much unscathed, however I am now on the same journey with my eldest son who has been completely different to my daughter.

I actually couldn’t ask for a better teen than Archie in so many ways to be honest. He is kind, caring, thoughtful, helpful and aside from the occasional strop he is pretty easy going. However when it comes to schooling its a different matter!

He is punctual, always completes his homework and is very well behaved during class but is a naturally gifted boy that is coasting through school and isn’t fulfilling his potential which is in fact more frustrating than anything else.

If he was messing around or not completing work then this could be dealt with by punishing him, but lack of motivation is a much harder thing to crack as it has to come from him.

He does however have lots of ambitions for jobs that don’t nesseserily need formal education and he has his heart set on this. I love and encourage my children to follow and fulfil their dreams so I am probably a large part to blame for this and need to get his mindset to think in a slightly more practical way without quashing his dreams.

He currently dosent have a area dedicated to learning so I think a workspace where he can keep organised, stay away from the hustle and bustle of the rest of the house whilst still building on his teams would be just what he needs right now.

Below I have listed a few of the top things I think are needed to create the perfect working environment for a teen:

Privacy: This is always something that most teens crave and I think its very important to allow their work area to be private and somewhere they can grow their own independence.

Organisation: Organisation isn’t always something that goes hand in hand with teens and many struggle to get this sorted, so a good desk such as the ones from Lionshome will help them to make sure everything has a place of its own, things are to hand as and when they need it and allows enough space for them to carry out all the work that needs to be done.

Limit Distractions And Boost Creativity: Make this area somewhere that is solely for work. Make sure that computer games and any other devices are kept away from this area to limit distractions and allow this area to be a calm, motivating place that allows your teen to be creative, productive and engaged to have a positive effect on their schooling and hopefully whatever career path they wish to follow.

I would love to know how you get your teenage children motivated to work.

*Collaborated post

Gifts For Teens From Prezzybox.com

Teens and pre-teens are notoriously the hardest group of people to buy for, and for me it’s especially hard when it comes to little stocking fillers for Christmas morning.

Mine always have a stocking until well into their teens so that nobody is left out from that exciting treat of dipping into the long sock filled with goodies.

This year I have got together with prezzybox.com and managed to find some fun, affordable and quirky gifts for Izzy and Archie that I know they are going to absolutely love.

Izzy who is twelve loves anything pink, glittery or social media related and they had gifts aplenty to fit this.

The Iris The Unicorn Travel Mug which will be perfect for keeping warm in this freezing weather, a Neon Magic Hairbrush that is a super vibrant colour that fits perfectly inside her schoolbag and the one that I think is going to be a favourite is a Selfie Light that attaches to the back of your phone to create that perfect selfie.

Archie the moody teen who has just turned fifteen is now and has always been so hard to buy for. I love the fact that he rarely asks for gifts, but this is not much help when trying to get ready for Christmas.

However it only took a few minutes to find some gifts that were just perfect for him.

What teen doesnt love sweets! well mine certainly do and the tub of Personalised Retro Sweets is going to go down a storm I’m sure. Next up was a set of six Emoji Golf Balls that come in three different colours with a cool emoji on each ball. Lastly he was a real fan of the fidget spinner when the craze hit a few moths ago so I went one better with the Baffle Puzzle that is a little like a Rubik cube in a cylindrical shape.

Prezzybox.com not only caters for teens but for all different ages, genders and occasions and can be easily ordered from the comfort of your home to avoid that manic high street shopping. It’s the perfect site to stock up on different gifts at this time of year and there really is something for everyone.

* I was gifted these products for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Please Don’t Let High School Take Your Sparkle

It’s that time of year again when the children are returning to school to start a fresh year of new and exciting challenges…for some it might not just be a new classroom it could be that big jump from preschool to reception or primary to secondary school.

In our house it is Izzy that will be taking that big leap to high school and to be honest she is taking it all in her stride.

It can be a huge change for both the child and parents with so many unknowns for everyone.

With Izzy being my third to take this step I don’t really have any anxieties about the whole process as it is a familiar school for us both and something I’ve had many years of practice with.

I am however getting a sinking feeling that the pressures of fitting it will cause her quirkiness to disappear and she will feel the need to conform and follow the crowd.

My little bare footed hippie certainly knows her own style but as she has got older the thoughts of others have been swaying her a little and as I’m sure we all know the pressures of a such a big change and that dreaded teen angst creeping in can have such a huge impact.

I know with the older two that I found the move to secondary school the biggest change as their it is such a tricky age. They are really trying to find themselves and this means much less parental involvement is needed in their day to day goings on which can be pretty hard.

They look to others for recognition and this is where I noticed a change with my older two as my opinion moved down the pecking order and their peers were not the people they wanted to please rather than me.

With this in mind I really hope she doesn’t loose  her huge zest for life, her don’t care attitude towards everything she does and her individual style. I hope she learns to withstand everything that it thrown at her over the next few years and let her inner sparkle continues to shine bright and be that one that stands out in the crowd.

#TeenTalk With Gaby Logan And Boots

Those foreboding teenage years sadly have to come to us all.

I remember as clear as day that awkward moment when my mum thrust an Usbourne ‘Our Bodies’ book into my hand looking decidedly more embarrassed than me, and the day my dreaded period arrived seemed much more filled with the worry of telling my Mum than the actual mechanics of it all.

This all happened for me in the early 90’s and you would have thought that by now things would have moved on  and these subjects that parents once feared and avoided would now be much easier to broach.

Sadly 68% of parents still find it difficult to approach puberty topics with their teens, a quarter of parents asked in a poll avoid these subjects all together and 33% of parents wish they could talk openly with their teen.

The other week I was invited along to the Haymarket Hotel in London to have afternoon tea with a group of lovely bloggers that was headed up by Gaby Logan and teen expert Sarah Newton.

Armed with tea and cake we chatted about the #TeenTalk campaign that Boots are running for it’s second year to try and support parents as they navigate their teens through the tough years of puberty by providing parents with much needed advice and support to talk to their teens with informed confidence.

Gaby Logan is currently hitting this phase in her life with her preteen twins and this is how she has been handling this phase with her children. 

 “As a mother of twin teens, I understand the challenges of communicating with teens all too well! They suddenly go from wanting to tell parents everything, to one word answers. But as every parent knows, you desperately want to give your children all the guidance, help and support they need and being able to communicate effectively with your teens is crucial to this. What I love about the #TeenTalk campaign is that is helps to give parents the confidence to start and maintain a strong, open and honest conversation with their child through puberty and beyond”

For me broaching the subjects of changing bodies, personal hygiene and sexual relationships is something that I have never shied away from with my own children and I have always tried to answer  questions that arise at any age instead of leaving it to a big, built up ‘chat’ as they approach their teens.

As a mother of a daughter that I have already been through it all with and a 14 year old son I do also know that as with everything no child is the same and the way you broach these subjects can’t be the same for them all, but as the teen guru Sarah Newton said we need to keep the conversation going.

My own parents were very closed shop about it all and simply giving them a list of the things that should happen and leaving it at that probably isn’t the best way to go about it.

Let their inquisitive minds be filled with all the information that you think they need to confidently go into thier teens with the ability to make informed choices on what path they are going to take when one of these hurdles come along.

Be it a boys first shave or a girl feeling ready for her first bra are all huge steps in the eyes of a teen and they still really need that help and reassurance from thier parents that the decisions they are ultimately making are right.

From the 10th May -6th June Boots will be giving away a free #TeenTalk guide with every purchase of Venus, Always, and Tampax products.

These products are perfect for helping teens through this transitional period and they are even kind enough to be giving away a free gift for anyone with teen daughters.

It was an fabulous afternoon filled with relieving memories of our own teen years and experiences some of us had already had with out own children.

By listening to all these stories on thing that has stuck in my mind is that as long as you are well informed, open and honest then you can’t go far wrong.

“It’s Not Blackpool Illuminations In Here You Know”

Illumination, lights, bulbs

“It’s not Blackpool illuminations in here you know” this is an all to familiar phrase that regularly came from my parents mouths when I was a teen and something I sadly find myself saying now I’m a mum to teens!
It is infact not until that bill for leaving on every light in the house fell into my own hands that I understood how much not flipping that switch actually costs.

Sadly though along with an inability to find the wash basket and a passion for growing mould on plates, leaving lights on is a rite of passage for teenagers and it is probably easier to find ways round it rather than waiting for them to conform.

Something that I have recently discovered thanks to thelightingsuperstore.co.uk  is the use of LED lighting in the home.

I had always thought of LED as being something that was used only in places like shops and restaurants and I had never considered it an option for the home.

There are however many benefits of using the bulbs.

They really are the lighting option of the future with the minimal energy they use they are extremely long lasting which saves money as well as the environment.

The bulbs themselves are on the pricey side but due to that fact they use 90% less energy than traditional bulbs you will recoupe the money from your initial outlay within a matter of months.

The versatile bulbs come in a variety of different shapes, sizes and colours and can remarkably last up to over 25 years!

Another bonus of them is that due to the small amount of energy they use the heat that is radiated is minimal and posses less of a fire risk than most…again great for teens they love to drape rubbish over their lamps!

To me they are a no brainier! Long lasting, energy saving, cheaper and better on the environment. They really are an option to be thought about.
*collaborated post.