When I was a young girl I daydreamed quite a bit wishing my life was different. The primary school I attended held an annual raffle and one year the prize was a doll’s house. It was a beautiful house with a blue roof with many rooms decorated with miniature wooden furniture. I remember kneeling next to it for some time playing with the figurines imagining it to be mine.

The photo below reminded me how full of hope and anticipation I was wanting to win the doll’s house that would change my life forever. And then came feelings of sadness and disappointment when my ticket wasn’t drawn that rainy Saturday afternoon. My heart was broken, but as sad as I was, I was learning that life’s disappointments can make us stronger and more resilient.

Our thoughts and emotions shape our world

Once we objectify and understand the emotions, we can empathesize with ourselves, and channel our focus in the direction of emotions we actually want to feel.


My parents divorced while I was at school. This had a devastating affect on me well into my adult life. There has been a plethora of research on family structure and how important it is for a child’s emotional, social, educational and psychological wellbeing to be raised in a loving and stable family environment. For an insight into parental divorce and how children feel click here.

The family as we know it has been beset by many profound and rapid changes affecting society and culture. Family and youth problems have resulted from longer working hours, less time parenting and higher rates of divorce. Much research has shown that effective parenting reduces problems in adolescence and builds strong families. To read about the importance of strong families and the effectiveness of family-focused interventions click here.

Although children experience a wide range of behavioural and emotional problems following divorce, protective behaviours can be learned to strengthen levels of resilience and coping. Early interventions such as the Penn Resilience Programme are key to improving young people’s resilience, coping mechanisms, emotions and behaviours.

Be inspired and learn about hope, resilience and optimism in times of adversity by watching the video below.

What kids need is a voice to emote

Good parenting is instrumental to family wellbeing and to society as a whole. There are many different styles of parenting and each style reflects the personality and level of commitment of parents. For example, Permissive parenting is a detached style of parenting shifting responsibility from the parent to the child. It is the easy way out – well at least for the short term!

Then there is Authoritarian parenting. These parents are inflexible and have unreasonable expectations for their children. Two of my daughters were in a tennis competition with a girl who’s father would do a ‘walk of shame’ when she hit a poor shot or lost a game. She was often in tears as she hit the ball over the net trying to please her father.

Two happy little tennis players

This style of parenting can have serious psychological and emotional repercussions which can profoundly affect self-esteem and self-efficacy. As a result, children can become anxious and withdrawn or defiant and aggressive and indeed, very unhappy. Daughters in particular need the affection of their fathers – otherwise, they may look for it somewhere else.

Research has shown that the most successful parenting style is an Authoritative style. These parents teach their children strong family values and have rules which act as a filter between the environment and the family. They take time to reflect on how well they parent and build bonds to support healthy development. Take this quiz to discover which style of parent you are.

Fathers need to spend time with their adaughters

Julie Lythcott-Haims has some great advice on raising well balanced kids.

Professional success in life comes from having done chores as a kid

Teaching my children to do chores and encouraging them to get a job at the local supermarket, fast food store or milk run taught them to work hard, learn social skills, manage their own money and stand up for themselves.

Although I didn’t win that beautiful doll’s house I won a far better prize – I won the hearts of my husband and children and a warm and loving home in which to raise them.