How are you doing?  If I am honest, really honest, this is hard.

Not just the lockdown frustrations, but the effect it is having on those around me that I love wholeheartedly and would give my arms and legs for.

However much I input,  the pull of the phones for my teens is stronger  and it makes me angry and feel powerless.

The tendency is to nag. I refuse to be that mum!

I have tried a few different things, some more successful that others I have to say!

So throughout this time, when we as a family have had to spend more time together than we usually would, we have talked a lot about making ‘valuable contributions’.


The go-to for my teens has been to spend more and more time hidden away in their bedrooms, taking whatever TikTok entertainment there is on offer and hibernate until COVID takes a hike

My mantra has been boringly on repeat!

‘We need your valuable contributions to family life’


I have explained to my gorgeous brood that we need them in our family, that their unique personality is a gift to us and we thrive on it. All of us. (there are 6!)

I have also explained that we miss out if we don’t get to engage with each other.

Bottom line. We miss you.

Now, I’m not talking valuable contributions like ‘hoover the whole house’ or ‘wake up early and wash the cars’  – I’m starting small – it could literally be smiling at your brother when you’d normally scowl. Saying something encouraging when you’d normally stay silent. Giving me a well needed hug. (Thankfully I have raised 4 snugglers!)

Life Skills. Basically.

What I’d like to say is ‘Please get off your back side and get in here and spend some time with us’ – however, I know that what is actually  heard is ‘blah blah blah’ and is met with a consistent response of ‘Meh’.

That’s why I have turned it on its head.


Teenagers need building up.




They need to know that their contributions are valued and  necessary.

That they have the power to build up too.

Eventually the drip feed mantra will flood their hearts and souls and hopefully help them to see that they are loved, respected and needed members of this Team.

I’m trying anyway, and I won’t give up!

I have found a few great places to share this parenting journey, because I have realised I simply cannot do it alone. I am just not enough.

When you next sit with a cup of tea take a moment to look at a few of these links. Give yourself a moment to be encouraged and recharge.


Whatever Together. (

What a great resource.

It also has an anonymous forum for talking all things teen and it’s a great place to be honest and seek advice.  (we all need plenty of that – or is it just me?!)

Care for the Family (

Now these guys have plethora of support – get in touch, put your pride to the side and reach out because the help is out there!

Drug Proofing your Children (

This is a great course too, definitely worth the time investment  to be ahead of the game with this one. I did this course before I had even one teen under my roof, and it shapes a lot of the decisions I make even now.

Parenting Teenagers Courses (

This is one of the most well researched parenting programs for teenagers. It is worth being armed for these years to be able to bring out the very best in our young people, and that chat through serious issues in a light hearted and friendly space.

I really hope you don’t feel alone with your parenting especially right now, stuck in your homes. Don’t be afraid to reach out to make the investment in your family life, the return is totally worth the time.

Family walking in the trees


Photographs taken by Helen Rayner in December 2020.

If you would also like to make the same investment in your family life, please do get in touch.

(Posted with permission)