10 Simple Tips to Survive not Despise the School Holidays


The school holidays can be an enjoyable instead of stressful time for Mothers through forward planning. Think positive about being able to enjoy a slower less stressful start to each day, instead of the usual school morning struggle of getting kids out of bed, neatly dressed and out the door on time equipped with their nutritious lunch box.

1.    Complete the Christmas shopping before the holidays start, it prevents having little prying eyes around or having to leave them at home alone whilst you’re battling the Christmas crowds.

2.    Involve the kids in the Christmas preparations of putting up the Christmas tree, gift wrapping presents, cooking Christmas biscuits and cakes, and putting up the Christmas lights.

3.    Assist each school age child to spring clean their bedroom when the holidays start. It not only ensures the area is ready for the influx of back to school stationery, it also increases responsibility for them to continue to keep their bedroom tidy.

4.    Set screen time boundaries from the start to ensure kids spend more time planning their indoor/outdoor activities.

5.    Encourage good old fashioned backyard fun with getting under the sprinkler, water pistols, building treehouses, and doing crafts such as painting, pottery and woodwork.

6.    Focus on inexpensive outings that are not a further drain on your finances. These could include packing a picnic basket and meeting friends at the beach, park, bike track, as well as bushwalking or fishing and swimming at the river.

7.    Bring out the packed away toys that haven’t been used for a while such as the lego, jigsaw puzzles and board games.

8.    Use of positive rewards after the Christmas preparations are completed could include a trip to the cinema, theme park or ice skating rink.

9.    Organise play dates with the kids inviting friends over to play.

10. Check what the local council, shopping centres and Bunnings have on offer for school holiday entertainment.


       Happy & Smooth Sailing over the School Holidays Everyone!

Raising Teenage Girls


Recently I tuned into the 3 day Mental Health Summit which was a fundraiser to Kids Charity. I found psychologist Dr. Justin Coulson’s presentation on the “Secret Life of Teenagers” to be a very informative and practical guide to raising teenage girls. As a father of 6 daughters, Justin has an abundance of firsthand experience, as well as having done extensive research on the various issues impacting teenage girls today. His most important advice was that “teenage girls need more connection, and less direction and correction”.

Justin highlighted his 3 key words –

  • Connection and Acceptance – Justin stressed the crucial importance of connecting with our daughters. He emphasised that teenage girls “need to feel accepted for who they are, they need to know you love them, but you don’t accept bad behaviour”. Justin states that connection is assisted when parents share with children their reasons for being grateful of them.

  • Autonomy - Parents can assist daughters to build autonomy, by explaining their behaviour requests, exploring the feelings of their children, and empowering them through enabling choice and encouraging initiative.

  • Self-Compassion – It is paramount that both parents and children use self-compassion as a means of being kind to themselves. Justin states that too often “we are hard on our children and they are hard on themselves”.

Justin has just released a book titled “Relationship Rules” which I’d imagine would be an invaluable resource for parents raising teenage girls.

Compiled from keynote speaker Dr. Justin Coulson’s presentation, Mental Health Summit, 2018. For additional information about Dr. Justin Coulson check out his website. www.happyfamilies.com.au





In Darwin last year I attended the Level 1 Training Conference of the Gottman Institute. This Institute was founded by American psychologists John and Julie Gottman in 1996.  

I really like their system of Emotional Focused Therapy concentrating on the four indicators of conflict in a relationship. They refer to these indicators as the ‘Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse’ – Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling. Let’s face it every relationship has conflict at some stage, it’s how we deal with the conflict that is important in maintaining relationships. Therefore, in healthy relationships the usage of the horsemen is less, and more effort is made to repair them as they occur.

Stay tuned to read my future blogs explaining each of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and what the Gottmans’ refer to as the best antidote, or way of dealing with each specific form of conflict.

(Adapted from the works of Drs. John and Julie Gottman, Gottman Institute) https://www.gottman.com

Back-to-School strategies for tackling bullying


I felt that bullying would be an appropriate subject for my first blog of the year seeing it is back-to-school week. Bullying is a problem that is prevalent in society more so than ever these days particularly with the widespread use of social media. There are practical steps you can adopt to prevent your child from being seriously harmed from bullying. In doing so, you are empowering them against the actions of a bully who abuses their power in unhealthy ways.

1.     Creating loving, compassionate and respectful relationships is the most effective way in guarding children from bullying and becoming bullies themselves.

2.     Remain connected to your child no matter what situation presents itself.

3.     Ensure that as a parent you model confident and assertive behaviour to others.

4.     Ensure that you instruct your kids well on how to assert themselves in a respectful manner.

5.     It is crucial for kids to be taught basic social skills. . Bullies are attracted to kids with social insecurities, therefore empowering them to become more social skilled lessens their vulnerability to being bullied.

6.     Instructing your child how to successfully respond and stand up to bullying prevents the situation from escalating.

7.     Role play practicing assists your child with confidently developing strategies instead of becoming emotional and retaliating. Explaining to them the importance of defusing, rather than inflaming the situation, and giving them specific examples of what to say and do is invaluable. Some examples of these strategies are - advising the bully that they are choosing to ignore that comment and - by counting to ten before responses are given so the child stays calm.  

8.     Teach your child that bullying can be frightening and ensure the importance of asking for help.

9.     Ensure that your child intervenes in preventing bullying he/she witnesses. Rescuing the victim and getting help can assist in stopping the bully in their tracks.

10.  Teach them basic bully avoidance by not frequenting areas that aren’t supervised.

11.  As a parent don’t hesitate to report bullying to the authorities so that your child doesn’t feel isolated in tackling the problem themselves.

Adapted from http://www.ahaparenting.com/parenting-tools/safety/helping-bullied-child




Communicate Versus Attack


I recently caught up with a friend for lunch. She was describing a recent argument that her and her partner had experienced. It was a common issue that I have encountered previously, involving equal share of domestic responsibilities. Couples today can be constantly challenged with arguments pertaining to domestic responsibilities, working commitments and finances. As a counsellor, I have found that an effective way to improve relationships is to structure the way you communicate with your partner. Use a good choice of words to communicate your feelings, as opposed to attacking with words. Focus on using “I” statements, as opposed to “You” accusations. 

“You” statement – “You don’t assist enough with the domestic chores. You expect me to clean up after you all the time”.

Rephrasing – 

“I” statement – “When you don’t assist with the domestic chores, I feel overburdened and unappreciated”. 

“You” statement – “You don’t spend enough time with me”. 

Rephrasing -

“I” statement - “When you consistently work late, I feel that you prioritise work over me, I feel as though I come second place to you”.

“I” statements encourage us to take responsibility for the way we are thinking and feeling without blaming our partners. It enables us to be assertive, whilst being less hostile and more compassionate. In asserting yourself, you are expressing your inner feelings with specific emotions. 

Keep in mind that a common misperception can be when you use “I feel” to precede a statement. 

For example, I feel you are trying to control me. It is clear that this is a disguised “you” statement as there is an onus of blame, and it fails to express emotion. 

The Power of Positive Psychology


This blog draws inspiration from Brene Brown’s spiritual connection and establishes the correlation by achieving inner happiness through positive psychology. Regardless of whether you are a spiritual or religious person, or without religious connections, the power of positive psychology enables true happiness from within the person themselves.

Positive psychology is a relatively new form of psychology and was introduced by Martin Seligman in 1998, although the term originated from Abraham Maslow in 1954 (Seligman, 2002). Positive psychology promotes happiness by enhancing wellbeing and creating meaning and purpose in life for the client. Happiness, or inner satisfaction is dependent on the release of positive emotions in creating positivity and appreciation, giving the client vision for the future.  

There are three components of positive psychology – positive emotions, positive personal characteristics and positive associations. Each component portrays a different pathway for achieving happiness. 

The hedonic side, or pleasure seeking side of happiness is achieved through the release of positive emotions in appreciating the simple delights in life, such as company, human needs, and beauty in nature. 

The purposeful activation of strengths through the experiential engagement of flow is a fully committed demonstration of one’s potential in accomplishing happiness through achievement (Nakamura & Csikszentmihalyi, 2005). 

An altruistic approach in using strengths as a service to other people brings happiness and fulfilment to the individual. This happiness through charitable endeavours makes life more meaningful (Seligman, 2002). 

At Life Counselling Solutions, we implement positive psychology techniques and focus on empowering the client to activate their strengths in amending their current issues. In effect, this increases their positivity and assists them to regain control of their own domain. 



Although at times everyone endures feeling of sadness, if you have been experiencing intense sadness or moodiness for a considerable period of time, be assured that professional help is only a phone call away. Life Counselling Solutions can assist you in dealing with the issues that have resulted in your depression. 

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Do you do drugs?

Drug Use_Counselling,jpg

If so think about the damage it is doing to your bank account not to mention the permanent damage it would be doing to your body. Be kind to yourself and don’t doubt yourself. Despite what you may think, you have got what it takes to kick the habit regardless of how deeply it has impacted your life over the years. 

By making an appointment or arranging a telephone or skype session you will have made the first change in solving your drug problem and kicking the habit.

The next step of talking to someone and developing life changing strategies will probably assist you with conquering the habit for life.

Call us today at Life Counselling Solutions, your local counselling practice based at Buderim on the Sunshine Coast.