Raising Teens: A conversation with Helen Wills - SE3EP1 - Helen Wills
Today, we're joined by Helen Wills on our show. Helen, a vibrant midlife mom to two teens, and the host of the Teenage Kicks podcast. Through her blog 'Actually Mummy,' Helen shares her candid parenting experiences and life as a woman over 50. She's a passionate traveller, an advocate for Type 1 diabetes, and believes in making life after 50 more visible and celebrated. Join us for an insightful conversation with Helen about her journey as a mom and advocate, and how she navigates parenting in today's tech-driven world. Stay tuned! https://podcasts.apple.com/gb/podcast/teenage-kicks-podcast/id1501488455 https://www.instagram.com/iamhelenwills https://actuallymummy.co.uk/ This Episode is brought to you by Skill Samurai – Coding & STEM Academy www.skillsamurai.com.au
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Speaker 1 (00:08): Welcome to the Parenting in the Digital Age podcast. Many parents are concerned that their child might be falling behind. Others are just looking for ways to help their children thrive, not just in the classroom, but socially and well into their future careers. Each episode we explore the challenges facing parents in the modern world, from behavior, education, and nutrition to device and gaming addiction. We interview a range of leaders in the area of childhood development to help you successfully navigate parenting in the digital age. Here is your host, Jamie Buttigieg.
Jamie: Hello parents and welcome to Parenting in the Digital Age, the podcast that explores the unique challenges and opportunities of raising children in today's tech-driven world. In each episode, we dive into insightful conversations with experts and thought leaders to provide practical guidance for navigating the digital landscape and life as parents. Today, I'm very excited to have Helen Willis on our show. Helen, a vibrant midlife mom of two teens, and the host of the Teenage Kicks podcast. Through her blog called Actually Mummy, Helen shares her candid parenting experiences and life as a woman over 50. She's a passionate traveler, an advocate for type one diabetes and believes in making life after 50 more visible and celebrated. So join us for an insightful conversation with Helen about her journey as a mom advocate and how she navigates parenting in today's tech-driven world. Helen, thanks for joining us. Please just share with our listeners what you do and what you are passionate about. Helen: Hi, Jamie. Thanks for having me. Yeah, I mean, primarily, I'm passionate about the fact that teenagers are awesome. I, you know, like every mum, my kids grew up and I feared every age, but I feared nothing more than the teenage years because the hype that I kept getting was, oh, just wait till they're teenagers, was just so... scary and I remember, excuse me, I remember when my daughter was about seven having a particularly bad week with her and thinking, crikey if this is what she's like at seven, how awful is it going to be when she's 14? And it has been nothing like I imagined, the opposite if anything. And so the thing that I'm passionate about is getting the message out to parents of younger children and tweens. those kind of hanging around 11 to 12, where maybe the hormones are starting to kick in, that teenage years can be amazing. Of course they come with difficulties, but teenagers are just awesome. Jamie: Yeah, yeah, definitely. And you said two teenage kids, one daughter, one son. Helen: Yeah, my daughter's 18 now and my son is 15. Jamie: Okay, we're kind of similar ballpark here. I've got a 19 year old and a 16 year old. So we're about sharing some of the same challenges and success Helen: Yeah. Jamie: is no doubt. So I had a look before the show at your blog and it's, I think saying it's a blog is kind of underselling what that website is that you've created. It's incredible. There are so many. powerful tools and stories and anecdotes and resources and just stuff for parents. Tell us a little bit about the blog and how this even came about in the first place. Like what led you to creating something so mammoth? Helen: Well, it's been a long time in the making and it's just grown organically. I think my daughter was about six when I first started and I wasn't working. My son was four and I was bored and I wanted something else to do with my life. I had written a handwritten diary from pretty much, not the day she was born, but it was my birthday a couple of months after she was born, my daughter, my first. And I wrote it, I don't know why, but I wrote it in her voice. It'll be something to do with the fact that I was drinking champagne because it was my birthday. Somebody had given me this beautiful diary and I don't do diaries and journals, never had, but I just thought, what am I going to do with this book? Um, and I started writing, but it was in her voice, like, Oh, I kept mommy up all night last night. And as I, as I wrote more, it became quite funny to me. And then my family read it and decided, yes, it was funny. And years on, when she was six, I thought, you know what I'll do? I'll publish it on a blog for my family to read. And maybe, maybe someone will spot me and I'll get a book deal. And of course that never happened because I didn't push for it, but the blog took off. And I ended up with a whole community of other parent bloggers following me, me following them, sharing stories. And then over the time, as happens with blogs that take off, well, brands started to contact me and I started to earn a little bit of money out of sponsored content. And it became, I decided, well, look, if I'm earning money, I need to actually take this seriously. So then I got a lot more structured in what kind of content I was putting out there, things that I knew parents were asking about. And then when my kids became teenagers, and even more so their friends became teenagers, I knew I couldn't keep writing about my kids' issues online because they were all out there for the world to see. So I switched to writing more third-person articles about problems of parenting teenagers and how to support teenagers and what's going on for teenagers. And then that gradually evolved to be my podcast, Teenage Kicks. So now all talking, usually with adults, sometimes with teenagers, about common things that families with teenagers are dealing with. Jamie: Yeah, that's quite a tremendous journey. And for anyone who hasn't checked out the actually Mummy blog, definitely well worth checking out. I did so, and to be honest, this podcast, we've had it scheduled for some time, been looking forward to it for some time, but only just recently did my pre-show research. And I think it's a tremendous blog. So congrats on your Helen: Thank Jamie: impact Helen: you. Jamie: and doing such a thing. Okay, so let's talk about the podcast. You've got a podcast called Teenage Kicks. Is it largely focused on mental health for teenagers or is it broader than that? Helen: A bit broader, but yeah, the theme is mental health. And that's because when I was setting up the podcast, I knew I wanted to talk about teenage issues. I knew because parents were messaging me on social media saying, I can't talk to anyone about this, but my child is doing X, Y, Z. I'm really worried that there was a demand. And I knew that I didn't want to speak to teenagers because there's whole legal issues around that. And I knew that parents wouldn't speak to me publicly. So I reached out to people who had been through something difficult in their teenage years, but were now adults and were happy to talk about it. And my first couple of seasons, the floodgates opened, people were desperate to share their stories. And so we've got... some really, we've got tough things covered on there. People have shared, you know, I won't, I won't say it out loud because they're, you know, I don't want you to have to put a trigger warning on this, but you know, really difficult things as well as just general, you know, my, my son or daughter can't revise because they're too overwhelmed by exams and how do I help them. So I've got, you know, a bit of everything. Jamie: Yeah, that's wonderful. So he's an interesting question, that's still on topic, I suppose, but departing a little bit, Helen is, you know, I sometimes struggle even as a father to be a parent and then also be a friend. And there's sometimes a fine line. What advice do you have for managing the balance between being a parent and being a friend? Helen: I wrangle with myself still over this and the conclusion that I'm coming to is I can't be a friend. That's not appropriate. They've got friends for that. And friends will give them all sorts of advice which are advice which is tinged by their own friendship desires because they're not altruistic friends. They've got their own agendas, rightly so. But as parents... We're the only people in the world who are there completely, apart from maybe teachers, but completely with our kids' best interests at hand. It's, we are quite altruistic where our kids are concerned. We just want the best for them and we're prepared to suffer for it. Jamie: Even if they don't see that. Helen: Of course they don't see it. No, not at all. But that's why we have to not be their friends. I think that what I... think is akin to friendship but isn't, it's a little bit removed, is just keeping the communication channels open with them and acceptance. So rather than friendship I try to practice acceptance and that is harder and harder to do as they get older because when they've been little we've controlled everything about their lives and then gradually over the next 10, 15 years we have to let go of most of it. and let them live their own lives. And that's so difficult to do. I call it death by a thousand cuts, letting them go. But we can only do that if we accept who they are, who they're becoming, what they want, what they need and their feelings. And this is something I've learned. in later life as a parent. I wish I had known this in the younger years. There's some amazing Instagrammers talking about this now and I just think, well it makes so much sense why weren't you around 15 years ago? They don't want us to advise them and tell them what to do anymore, they want us to hear them. Jamie: And that's a big shift for many parents, you know, like I know the way I was raised versus the way we have to adapt to raise today's teens. And it's not always that easy. Like, you know, if I find myself in this position as a father, I'm often telling and I've got to pull myself up and mentally be quite conscious of that. And just say, Jamie, just sit back, sit and listen. and sometimes it's easier said than done. You were talking earlier, Helen, about your daughter and when she got sort of 14, it wasn't quite as bad as it might've, as it could've been, or as other mothers may have, or parents may have, experienced, so I don't think that comes by accident. I think that's really down to good parenting and great relationships and knowledge. In your experience, or maybe you can share some strategies. How can we as parents communicate effectively with today's teens? you could offer us. Helen: Um, well, like you just said, just take a step back. I, the, the thing I find myself wanting to do immediately, my child presents me with a problem is advise and tell them what to do. And just taking a deep breath and listening until they finish speaking is sometimes, not always, sometimes enough for me to shut up. And instead of saying, okay, well, have you thought about doing this? Saying. That sounds really sad. How are you feeling? And trying to encourage them to talk about how they feel because they've got to work out for themselves what they want to do. The times when I've jumped in and said, well, you know, put yourself in their shoes. They might be thinking this. What do you think you could do? And they'll go, especially my daughter, mom, I'm not here for you to fix it or for you to offer me advice. I just want to offload and vent. Is that okay? And that is more than okay because when they're teenagers, they often don't speak to us. So if they're venting, they're speaking to us, they're communicating to us. And if they're just using us as an offloading space, that's okay. The other thing I'd say is get interested in what they're interested in, even if you're never gonna be interested in it. So I'm sure you have the same there as we have here. There's a show called Love Island. which I watch religiously with my kids when it's on. So it's on at the moment in the UK and my kids are away, they're on a school trip at the moment, but I'm watching Love Island every night because I know that will give us something to talk about and also to learn because, you know, Love Island, it's young couples partnering up and it's quite funny. It's really tempting to say, well, I don't think she should be acting like that. That bikini's far too tiny. But actually, if I listen to what they've got to say about Love Island, then I get to know more about them and about the culture that they're living in and how they feel about it. And occasionally, I might just be able to drop in a little bit of, gosh, that seems a little bit difficult for her. And maybe some nuggets will land with them. Jamie: Yeah, and you're right, sometimes just asking questions in order to get them to think and arrive at their own conclusions. And often I find that's the best way. And sometimes we've got a situation, I won't quite share the situation here on air, but with my son and I said to my wife, you know what, let's... articulate the options. Let's give him both the pros and cons of each decision he's about to make and but let's let him make it. Let's let's let let's let Max just figure out what it is that is going to come of this and he'll have to wear the consequences of that. And I think that's better than how I perhaps would have dealt with that in my younger parenting Helen: Yeah. Jamie: days. Helen: Yeah, exactly. Jamie: Yeah. You touch a little bit on screens and, you know, sitting there watching some shows and getting interested in what they're interested in, which is hard. You know, I find it hard to get interested in what they're interested in, but it is so important in order to connect at their level. You know, look, I often worry about screen time. I don't think I've got it right with my own kids. My daughter, well, actually they're probably both on par at the minute. They just sit there with their phones. They're quite consumed. You know, what tips do you have for parents like me trying to manage my teens' screen time addictions? Helen: Were you asking the wrong person? Cause I would like that information as well. My personal advice is try not to get too caught up and stressed by it. I try desperately hard to get my kids to put their screens down, to get outside, to exercise, to walk their dog, which by the way, kids, we bought for you. not me, it's not my job to walk the dog every day even though it does seem to be. To read a book, my daughter's such a bookworm, to sleep a bit earlier and it falls on deaf ears. It doesn't change what they do, all it changes is their feelings towards me because I'm a nag, I'm irritating. They are less likely to communicate with me. They're much less likely to share a funny TikTok video with me, which some of my friends' parents get from their kids. So again, join them in it as much as you can. Be interested when they send you a TikTok video. Sit down next to your son who's playing FIFA and ask him about the rules and why he chose that particular outfit for his team. And could his stadium be pink rather than blue? Oh yes, it can. Who knew? FIFA's great. Just again, engage on their level. Try not to nag and try not to worry. It is worrying. They should definitely not be on their phones as often as they should be. They do need to be outside in the fresh air, getting more exercise. But we can't make that happen is my conclusion. I can gently nudge them, I can bring them healthy food, I can say, today I'm busy, I'd like you to walk the dog, please. And that's where I'm not being their friend, I'm being their parent, I have expectations of them. There are still house rules, but I cannot force anything on them because if I do, they'll resent me. And I know that because my own parents controlled me and forced habits on me. And as soon as I had the option, I left and I didn't go back. I had no relationship with them. So really, really difficult one, Jamie. I would love to have the time they spend on their phones, but I just hope I talk about mental health quite a bit and they go, not that therapy crap, mother. But I just hope that those messages will drip feed in and one day when actually it's happening already. My daughter has just been through her A levels, which is the end of school exams here. in the UK and is looking for university. And she did say, revision has cured my TikTok habit, I'm just not on there anymore. So, you know, I think when responsibilities come, when other goals come, they will then know to prioritize those over their phones. Jamie: I think that's it because like I struggle immensely like to sort of sit there next to my son and watch South Park videos or whatever, you know, I call nonsense that they're watching. It's really difficult for me as a parent. And, you know, you said there you talk about a distraction or but I think it's more a change in focus that can, you know, maybe help them move. Well, it's not even moving away from screens. It's about creating some sort of healthier mental balance, I think. And, you know, my son recently got interested in LARP, L A R P, Live Action Helen: No. Jamie: Roleplay. Right. This is Helen: Oh. Jamie: where you go to a park and you see all these, you know, kids or adults, there's 50 year old adults dressed up in medieval costumes. And they're out there battling in a field and doing all this stuff now. I kind of laughed at first and kind of scoffed a bit, but... You know, back to your point, it gets him outside. It gets him finding a tribe or community of people like-minded. OK, they're not my mind and they don't have to be, Helen: Yeah? No! Jamie: you know, someone that he can connect with. And so I encourage it. And so like I drive him to the ends of the earth whenever he's here. And, you know, the other week we drove into, I don't care. You need to go to this laughing event was two hours away. No problem getting the car. I stayed up there and, you know, couldn't make it happen because it meant that he was doing something healthy. He was doing something active, right? And so sometimes the parents, we just got, we need to, I don't know, just talk, listen, inspire conversations that get them focused on something other than screens. And then when they do find it, run, just go with it, even if it's not your thing. Helen: Absolutely. And likewise, spending time with them. This is why I watch Love Island again. I do whatever it takes to spend time with my kids. If they want me, I'm gonna be there. And yeah, same, my daughter likes to skate, ice skating. Jamie: Oh yeah. Helen: And the best rink and the best coach for her was an hour's drive away, but I took her. Every single week we would go an hour's drive away, so a three-hour round trip to let her skate because she's doing something physical. She loves it, she switches off from her life, she says when she's skating. And bonus, I know a lot about Taylor Swift because of the amount of time she spent in the car with me and that's great, I can share that with her. Jamie: Indeed. And skating is one of those things that many things like I find it when I cycle is that it's almost like meditation, you know, people, Helen: Mmm. Jamie: some people don't understand meditation or some people struggle to get it and to clear their mind of all this digital distraction and work stress and family pressure and all this other stuff. It's things like skating is great because when you when you're doing it. I think it's like finding that flow state. It clears your mind and allows you to clear some of that digital mess and garbage and social pressure that's in your head. Like in teens, I think they're crushed with this social pressure because, you know, they're carrying these phones around with them 24-7 and the social pressure follows them. Like, you know, when you and I were at school, it was, it might have been some social pressure in the playground, but the minute I got on the bus to go home from school, it was over. You know, it was just being Helen: Yeah, Jamie: family. Helen: yeah, Jamie: But Helen: that's Jamie: now, Helen: true. Jamie: like this social pressure follows them around in their phone, whether it's bullying or the way I should look, the way I should talk, the way we should appear, is it's constantly with them. So anything we can get them to just, you know, we're never gonna get a kid to meditate and clear their mind, but things like skating or whatever it is for them, we've just got to help them find another passion. Helen: Yeah, you're right. It's meditative. Yeah, my husband says the same about skiing. That's what, and actually I felt the same when I went on ski trips. You have to concentrate so hard on what you're doing that you're in your body and you're in the moment. Jamie: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Now you're in a good part of the world and you like travel, right? Is that true? Helen: I do. Oh Jamie: I've Helen: yeah, definitely. Jamie: read that you like travel. So if my pre-show notes are correct, you've traveled four continents with your family. How accurate is that? Helen: Well, I said it, so it must be accurate. Yeah, no, that's true. We've been a lot of places. And thanks to the blog, actually, I was offered the opportunity to take my kids skiing when they were very young and they are now fanatics. And we took them to Canada last year and they're now... Unfortunately for us, they're firm fans of only skiing in North America. Obviously we've done a lot of Europe and the blog took us to Cambodia a few years ago as well, which was an eye-opening and fascinating experience for them as well as me. Jamie: What was eye opening about that? What would you say was the most interesting Helen: Um, Jamie: thing for you guys? Helen: well, you know, it's quite shocking for them because we live in a pretty middle-class white middle-class world where, where we're, where we're, where our home is, um, and so they've never seen the poverty, um, they are, they loved the different culture people in Cambodia are so welcoming, um, They're really happy to see tourists, tourists are putting them back on the, back on the economic map, I guess. But for me, what was shocking to see was that, well, I knew it was happening, but when what was happening in Cambodia was happening, it was around the 90s. I was in my late 20s, early 30s, running around London in a snappy suit with plenty of money, living quite a materialistic lifestyle and that to be in the country where that was happening at the same time. You know, I know World War II was terrible, World War I was terrible, Vietnam was terrible, but I wasn't alive as a functioning adult in those times. So to be in that place, I actually got goosebumps talking about it, to be in that place and to be able to draw a parallel between what my life was like at the same time as these people. Our guide had been a child. during the war there and his parents were taken away and he never saw them again. He never found out what happened to them. Yeah, it was fascinating. And I think the kids were probably just about the right age. They were sort of 10 and 12, just about the right age to cope with the horror of what happened. but also to really soak up the culture and enjoy learning about it. Jamie: Yeah, yeah, it's a travel is an education in and of itself, particularly for kids. When did you start traveling with your family, with the kids, when they were young or as teens, you really got to explore more. Helen: Yeah, as they started to get older, I mean, for one thing, I didn't want to spend the money going to far flung places with children who would have no recollection whatsoever. I think I talked to my daughter about this. We went to Disneyland in Paris when she was four and it was the most thrilling trip I've ever taken personally, because I can remember how excited she was and how much she believed in it. but she has no memory whatsoever. So I always say to her, that trip was for us. Clearly we thought it was for you at the time, but it was for us. It's us who's got the memories. Jamie: Yeah, I'm very much trying to convince my son to go overseas on a journey on his own. You know, he's 19, so he wants to go to Japan, but he wants me to go with him. So I may do that, but I really, I just think there's so much education and growing up to be done. And when you travel, you just figure some stuff in life out and travel is just one of the best educational tools we can possibly have for ourselves. Great for our soul, of course, but any tips on traveling with teens, any tips on traveling with kids, for those listening, thinking of traveling, have kids and the young, we don't travel. We somehow, there are many families just put it off until the kids get old enough and they start travelling when they're older. What tips do you have for great travelling experiences with teens? Helen: Hmm, difficult one. And I've wrangled with it a little bit myself just this summer because my kids both like very different things. So my daughter would be happy to sit in an exotic location by a pool with a lovely view for a week. My son would love that for a day and then he'd be bored and he wants activity. So I've struggled to figure out what to do. But again, a bit like being interested in what they're interested in. I'd say as a parent, challenge yourself to explore what they love. So I love a pool and I'd be happy to read seven books in a week by a pool with my daughter, but I know it doesn't make my son happy. So instead this year we're going to Dubrovnik, which is essentially a city break in Croatia is on the coast. So we've got the view. and the lovely restaurants and places to eat, which both of them love. It's a beautiful city. It's where parts of Game of Thrones were filmed. So my kids have seen Game of Thrones, so there's interest for them both. They love history. And there are islands that we can visit on boats. So I'm doing what makes them happy because actually experiencing things with them is what my travel is about now, rather than This is the holiday I like and they will just have to come along and lump it. I've got pictures of me and my brother. My brother's 11 years older than me when he was about 17 on a family holiday. And it's hilarious because I'm like six or seven and I'm sitting there in a dinghy on the beach with a great big smile on my face and my brother looks like he could kill someone and I just think what kind of holiday is that? It's not worth it. Do what they love and then learn something. You might love it too and if you don't love it, then you've had the joy of spending some time with them when they were happy. Jamie: Yeah, yeah, absolutely, absolutely. Tell us a little bit about your advocacy work, switching subjects, you do some advocacy work for type one diabetes, tell us where that originated and what you do there. Helen: Yeah, so when she was nine, my daughter Maddie was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. For anyone that doesn't know it, it's an autoimmune condition and it is way underrepresented by the media. Diabetes in general is trivialized as something to do with just avoiding sugar and people who get it did something wrong. Type 1 diabetes, I mean, Don't start me on type 2 diabetes because no one asks to get type 2 diabetes and it's hell to live with. So I do think the stigma is appalling. But type 1 diabetes is autoimmune. There's nothing anyone could have done to prevent it that we know of yet. Has nothing to do with sugar except in the fact that your pancreas doesn't make enough insulin. eventually shuts down, can't make any insulin, so you have to inject it and insulin's needed to cope with any kind of glucose in the body and you could eat no refined sugar at all ever and still have a high blood sugar if you haven't got insulin. In fact I always say our worst nightmare is a pizza because the carbs in that convert to sugar but they convert over a really long period of time so you'd be fast asleep and sugar's kicking in and you need more insulin for it. Um, so because of this sort of misunderstanding that people have, I felt, and so did she, very trivialized, um, very unsupported by people in, in our lives and quite angry with the media for creating that perception in people. So I used the blog to write about what type one diabetes is really like, what it's like to live with, how awful it is for a child. Um, and how 24-7 it is. There were nights when I was needing to inject insulin into my sleeping child three or four times in the middle of the night. And then other nights where I was needing to wake her up and make her consume vast amounts of sugar because her body was doing something weird and the insulin was too much. The insulin that had been perfect yesterday was too much tonight. And that is what type one diabetes is like. I think it's an Einstein quote that said, madness is doing the same thing twice and expecting different results. It's the other way around with diabetes. You could do the same thing every day for a week and have seven completely different results in your blood sugar. It's very, very hard work. Jamie: Yeah, yeah. Helen: So I, yeah, I advocate for her locally in school and I advocate for the broader community because I've got this platform. I've got a space that people read and come to. Jamie: Yeah, and you're using it very well in my view. And as I said, it was just some pre-show research, but I certainly will stay connected with that blog because there is so much value and resources and tools there for parents that we can use. So thank you again for providing that. Any advice you have for parents maybe dealing with a recent diagnosis? There's some, you know, like yourself when your daughter was nine, you know. you're facing all sorts of emotions, any advice for those parents who are just facing this a recent diagnosis of type one diabetes in a child? Helen: Yeah, um... The best practical advice is to find a really good Facebook group because you need to be around people who get it. No one understands it unless they live with it, so you need to be around the people who do understand it. And then I would say on an emotional level, give yourself time and... compassion. This is a grief. It's honestly like your child has died and you've got a new child. There is so much loss involved in this diagnosis and it took me at least two years to really get my head around it and start to put myself back together and I wish I'd been able at the time to be less punishing on myself. The other piece of practical advice is don't imagine that you can control this. When you're diagnosed, you'll be told to try and keep blood sugar between four and seven, which is normal. You can't. You will never be able to do it. If you have a good day where that happens, celebrate and rejoice, but don't expect that you can do it again the next day. It is not in your control because insulin is a hormone and there are 14 other hormones, I think. that it interacts with. So your child has a cold, your blood sugars are gonna go wacky. Your daughter gets her periods, blood sugars are going to be hell. Your child goes through a growth spurt, you're gonna be up in the night a lot. Just try and take one day at a time and accept that this is not within your control. The best you can do is keep a regular close eye on it and do the next best thing in the moment. and then forget about it until the next time you have to do something. Jamie: Yeah, great, great advice there for those parents. And you know, you're sharing an important message with that, which many need to hear. Changing the subject a little bit. If you could have one superpower as a mother, what would that be and Helen: Oh, Jamie: why? Helen: gosh! Jamie: I'm full of good questions today. Helen: Oh, see with this, I always want to say invisibility so that I could follow them around and see everything they're doing, but actually I don't think that would help me or them at all. So I think... like an emotional shield is what I would like so that I could switch off any kind of worrying about what my kids think of me because I frequently go to bed thinking, oh I got it wrong today, I really need to try harder tomorrow. So I think I'd like that to be able to just switch off the self-criticism. Jamie: Yeah, look, we all get it as parents and I often think back to... you know, my relationship with my father and how that developed over the years, how it was, you know, he was quite strict. Let's just say that is the word for an old, you know, Maltese background. That means something to some people, but how we've developed a great relationship in later years and you have kids and now you have grandkids and life changes, but you're right, we shouldn't be so self-critical and that's a good advice. All right, one question as we wrap up today's podcast, you because we ask this to everyone is if we had a time machine and you could go back to your 10 year old self, what 12 year old they're about, so what would um Helen senior say to Helen junior, what piece of advice would you give you your younger self? Helen: Ah. I think I'd say, and this is actually what I say to parents of teenage, parents of nearly teenagers who were panicking, try not to worry as much as you do about things that might happen in the future because one, most of them never happened. And two, the things that did happen, you coped with really well. And that's how it will be. Jamie: Yeah, perfect advice. I say this often, I'm gonna write a book one day and I'm just gonna take, I've asked that question every one of our episodes and just literally take the answer to that question and put it in a book and I think it would be a marvelous read. Maybe when I get to episode 100, we'll see how we go. Helen: Yeah, good celebration. Jamie: A great celebration. Yes, yeah, indeed. Helen, thanks for your generosity. Your time's been a great conversation today, one that I was looking forward to. I know that there are many parents that would have gotten a lot from your messaging today. Check out the Teenage Kicks podcast to hear more of Helen's message, the Actually Mummy blog, and any other ways we can reach out to you. Helen: Yeah, I'm most active on Instagram. I am Helen Wills there. Jamie: Fantastic. We'll put those in the show notes. Helen, thanks for your time and I hope we catch up again soon. Helen: Yeah, lovely speaking to you, Jamie. Thank you so much. Jamie: Likewise, cheers. Bye for now. Helen: Bye.
If you enjoyed the show, please connect with Jamie on LinkedIn or Instagram. You'll find links in the podcast description. Parenting in the Digital Age is sponsored by Skill Samurai Coding and STEM Academy for Kids. Skill Samurai offers afterschool coding classes and holiday programs to help kids thrive academically and socially while preparing them for the careers of the future. Visit www.skillsamurai.com.au. This episode is sponsored by Skill Samurai - Coding & STEM Academywww.skillsamurai.com.au
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