Ian Munro

Right reasons for parties

birthday party

We recently celebrated the first fifth birthday in the family for three decades.

Children's safety starts with choices by parents

Hypodermic needle.

Two recent issues in the news caught my eye because they involved the moral responsibility of parents and the community to protect their young.

Take time to get the balance right


"My father was a harsh disciplinarian and I'm struggling to know what's the right balance with disciplining my son."

Experimental use and drug abuse

K2 synthetic cannabis

Over the last month or so quite some media attention has been given to the effects of the legally available drug K2.

Don't be afraid to make hard decisions

K2 synthetic cannabis

It's some time since I've touched on one of the issues that often niggle away at the back of parents' minds - drugs.

Gap in early memories

Mother and daughter, mum, toddler

Having recently spent time with both sets of offshore grandchildren, I've been wondering how much the younger ones will remember our visit.

Adolescence tough on parents, teens


I should start this week's column with an apology to reader, Sophie. She asked a simple question and here am I dragging the answer out over three weeks.

Beware riptides of teen emotions


Ian Munro finishes his series on adolescence considering some comments from psychoanalyst Anna Freud.

Adolescence a time of fear and self-doubt


Sophie is trying to come to terms with the transformation she's seeing in the "lovely young boy" that she's had around for 13 years.

Path to maturity was never easy

angry lady

"Why does it have to be like this?" writes Sophie with some degree of desperation. She's wondering what happened to that lovely young boy she's had around for 13 years and was so certain was going to be an equally lovely young teenager.

Important to be polite


'What a summer! Just like the summers I remember as a kid."

Be dogged: The job has to be done


'It's all very well setting up a routine for chores but try getting your teenager to carry it out," says one reader in response to my December columns on chores.

Driveway, road rules important


There has been another spate of children being hit by vehicles in driveways. Usually these accidents happen because the child was invisible to the driver, as can be the case in most modern cars, or the backing started just before a check was made in the mirror or through the rear window, or the driver was in a hurry or a bad mood.

Set a volunteering example

sam johnson

It's the nature of adolescence that teenagers will be self-centred and inward looking. Sadly, this self-centred label is also being applied to a cohort of young adults - the group known as Generation Y.

Think of how they see things


Children can be a source of inspiration when you're establishing rules of behaviour.

Gearing up for the empty nest

empty nest

They finished school last year and moved one step closer to standing on their own two feet.

Weighty bags cause issues

school bags

Yesterday's daypack has become, with some redesign and enhancement, the preferred schoolbag of today for preschoolers to varsity students.

Not vaccinating a hugely risky health approach


'We need to be clear here. No New Zealand child has died from a vaccination.'

Alcopops just as dangerous as loaded guns

drugs and alcohol expo

The shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, just over a month ago, leave us shaking our heads.

Memories to cherish


Christmas is a great time to establish some family traditions and rituals, especially if your family is young.

Make chores rewarding


A reader wants some tips on getting her slightly older kids to help with household chores.

Chores aim to develop good traits


Last week I discussed the "we're all in this mess together - so what's wrong with sharing the work?" approach to chores. This week, some points to bear in mind if you want to take that approach.

Chores a part of life


It's a while since I touched on the topic of household chores.

Keep eye out for teens


The end of the school year looms, giving your teenagers more time on their hands.

Screens deny time for development

watching tv

The recent column on screen viewing and its effects on the very young mind led a reader to remind me of earlier research undertaken in New Zealand on the detrimental effects of too much television viewing, something I had written about previously.

Good learning possible when stress reduced


It's that time of year again. End of year exams.

Small screens and child development

TV watching

Over the years there have been all manner of studies about the effects of television on children.

Talking about sex best protection

teen talk

There are two reasons why parents are often reluctant to discuss sex with their children.

Teach saving early

Budget blues

Last week, while writing about pocket money, I touched briefly on savings at the end.

Chores and allowances

Pocket money

Long-time readers will know that I'm no great fan of paying kids to do basic household chores.

The danger of secrets

pregnancy and children

A three-year-old with a little brother or sister on the way can come up with a lot of questions on the matter.

At the end of the day

roast dinner

Genuine problems need to be talked through and you can't always do this amid the hustle and bustle of everyone arriving home and the dinner preparations.

Teens must learn impulse control

angry man

Doesn't it drive you crazy when your teenager feels that there's absolutely no reason why you should be issuing instructions or requests?

Time spent with kids is best of all


By the time you read this, Father's Day will be almost two weeks gone, but I write this on Father's Day having just talked to our daughters and sons-in-law in England and Australia.

Early action will help control lies


Over the past couple of weeks I've talked about some of the reasons children might tell lies and indirectly suggested ways of dealing with the problem.

Powerful reasons behind kids' lies


Back to lying again this week - as a topic, of course.

Trying out lies part of life


Children lie. Why? We all do in varying ways, usually to protect ourselves or others.

Sweetening 'no'


There are several things it's important to say to a child.

Battle to keep house tidy


Keeping the house tidy can seem never-ending, more so when kids are in residence.

Grandparents' vital role

grandparent hunt

Our grandchildren take it for granted that they can see their grandparents on the other side of the world while talking to them.

Consequences can be deadly


Parenting columnist Ian Munro thinks teaching children about consequences could be a life-saving measure for adults.

Kids' weight a serious issue to be tackled

Obese person

Parenting columnist Ian Munro lists ways parents can help their children lead active lives.

Matching bad behaviour to consequences

Crying child

On each occasion I've written about time out, I've suggested that it's a technique useful for up to 10 years of age.

How to choose a new school that suits well


There's been a lot of talk lately about how to identify the best school for your child.

Be consistent in discipline

time out

How is the time-out training going? This week, some things to check if it isn't going so well.

Procedures for managing time-out

time out

Last week we looked at setting up time-out.

When it's time for a child to take time out

confused toddler

We're just back from Britain and a precious few weeks with grandchildren. With a four-year-old in the house, time out got a bit of a working.

Dad's presence builds on bond

Stressed father with baby

Many first-time fathers have difficulty in knowing just how to establish a bond with their new baby.

Time to look at fire safety


The separate deaths reported recently of two youngsters in an overheated room reminds us that winter can be a dangerous time in the home.

Teenage boys need strong father figures

Bored teenager

Are our young males in crisis? Possibly.

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