21 episodes

This podcast is for those of us who are parenting teenagers.
Cai Graham’s straight-talking insights and tools & techniques are designed to equip parents (and teenagers) with the tools for navigating adolescence.

The Parent & Teen Toolbox Cai Graham

    • Parenting
    • 5.0, 33 Ratings

This podcast is for those of us who are parenting teenagers.
Cai Graham’s straight-talking insights and tools & techniques are designed to equip parents (and teenagers) with the tools for navigating adolescence.

    EP 20 - Dear Struggling Teenager

    EP 20 - Dear Struggling Teenager

    The teenage years are a real struggle for many. Parents and children alike.
    In the previous episode, I wrote a letter to “A Struggling Parent” - so, it’s only fair I write a letter to “A Struggling Teenager.”

If you are parent listing to this - invite you to share this episode with your child. It might help them understand what’s going on in their heads.
    Dear Struggling Teen,
    It's not just you
    I want you to know this
    And I also want you to know that what you are feeling is temporary. That speaks to good feelings as well as bad feelings. But it's all just temporary.
    Our mental health is like a bright blue sky. Every so often clouds come along.
    They could be the white fluffy ones that aren't too bad – that gently float away without too much effort.
    Sometimes we get the grey clouds that might bring along some wind or rain. They stay for a bit longer – but still, they move on after a little while.
    And then there are the black clouds or sometimes a total coverage – that totally obliterates the blue sky behind. But rest assured, that the blue sky is still there – waiting to reveal itself again. It might just take a bit of time.
    Thing is with being a teenager – everyone tells you about hormones and how your body changes.
    Bits get bigger
    Your voice changes
    Hairs start sprouting
    But not many people talk about how your mind is affected
    And for some kids – it just becomes a hot mess.
    One lad said that it's like a five-lane motorway going on in his head – but all the cars are going in different directions.
    Another child said “It feels like having a brain full of porridge - I just can't think straight"
    And if you don't know what to expect – it's bloody scary
    So here's the sciences-bit.
    During childhood, the brain develops at an alarming rate – and by the time you approach puberty, the brain has the power of a supercomputer – or even like the Internet.
    But here's the problem – the software that is currently installed in your brain is still going through its upgrades.
    It's only really got the power of a microwave.
    Impressive enough – but not as sophisticated as it needs to be. As I said – it's still upgrading.
    But all this takes time – and it's totally worth it.
    So be patient, please.
    I need you to be kind to yourself.
    I need you to treat yourself with compassion and some understanding (a bit like when your Gran is learning to use text for the first time – there is a learning curve).
    It takes a huge amount of brainpower and energy to make these adjustments – and it is – to be fair – bloody knackering!
    This is why you get angry quicker
    This is why you say random things without thinking
    This is why you need your sleep
    This is why you mess up
    You are not lazy. It's biology.
    Your mind and body are doing exactly what they are designed to do.
    You see – as your brain is developing and trying to get its shit together - the amygdala – which is the bit in charge of your safety and well-being – it's often set to “ON” for too long.
    That's why your anxiety levels are often heightened.
    The amygdala was programmed to help us (when we were cavemen) to look out for danger – like the sabretooth tiger. It is programmed to keep us safe.
    Sometimes, whilst our brains are going through such a massive transformation, it gets its knickers in a twist – and the amygdala is “ON” all the time.
    Again this is exhausting.
    Anxiety is exhausting.
    And it is important to find ways to teach your brain that there are in fact no sabretooth tigers around at the minute!

    Right, up until now, I've been talking about emotions because that's the first bit in your brain to develop.
    The last bit of the brain to develop is the front bit – they call it the pre-frontal cortex.
    That's the bit that's in charge of :
    Decision-making & rational thinking
    Focus & concentrat

    • 15 min
    EP 19 - Letter to a Struggling Parent

    EP 19 - Letter to a Struggling Parent

    EP 19 - Dear Parent of a Struggling Child

    They do say :

“You are only as happy as your saddest child”
    When your child is struggling, as their parent, it can occupy your every waking thought.
     
    I get it.
    I was that Mum.
     
    So, I have written you a letter.

    Dear Parent of a Struggling Child,
    It’s hard isn’t it?
    Watching your “baby” struggle.
     
    It’s hard isn’t it?
    Seeing your once, happy go lucky child, morph into a confused and anxious teenager; lashing out at any of your efforts to look after them.

    I know that you too struggle, bewildered and unsure of what to do for the best.
     
    It’s hard isn’t it?
    All you want to do is wrap them up in your arms and protect them from ‘the big wide world’ – and yet they resist any of your attempts to bring them close.
     
    Parenting a teenager is hard – It’s damn hard.
     
    “But Mum! You just don’t get it!”
    As their parents, we feel that it is our responsibility to keep them happy and safe – we are supposed to have the answers – and yet we continue to feel powerless in this fast-paced world. A world of school league tables, cyber-bullying, gun & knife crime, climate change, and gender fluidity…

    Much of this is alien to us – and it is hard to keep up.

    So you see – I get it.

    I was You.

    I see You: Tiptoeing around the house – treading on eggshells trying desperately not to upset the temporary peace that has finally settled.

    I see You: Looking at your daughter as she slopes out of the door - hoping she won’t be treated as cruelly today by her mean-girl “friends”.

    I see You: Driving around the block again - clutching at the conversation - as your son slowly opens up to you.

    I see You: Witnessing their anxieties - terrified that if it gets too bad they might think of doing something stupid.

    I see You: Worrying perhaps, that they think you don’t love them because all you seem to be saying is NO.

    I see You: Sneaking into your daughter’s room - hoping that late-night hot chocolate will alleviate her anxieties as she struggles with the mountain of schoolwork she is tackling.

    I see You: Deflecting the verbal abuse as you try and reassure your son that you want to understand his struggles - all the while watching him withdraw further and further into his own tormented mind.

    I see You: As your child collapses into the car, appearing to have the weight of the world on their shoulders? And all you can think of to say is “How was your day?” Desperate for connection, desperate for confirmation that this time, today was perhaps a good day.

    I see You: Lying in bed in the wee small hours - beating yourself up that another attempt at support was misconstrued, ending with shouting and tears.

    “Mum! You just don’t get me!”
    I see You: Collapse in a heap at the kitchen table wondering where on earth you went wrong - and how on earth you can drag you and your family out of this mess; desperate for the laughter and calm to return to the home again.

    You see, I understand your fake smiles when someone asks you how you are; pretending that everything is perfectly fine. The alternative would be confessing that you feel you are letting your child down. You and your child are both struggling, but what’s even more upsetting is that you are suffering separately. Alone.
    I know that feeling of despondency when you look into the mirror and catch a glimpse of the truth behind your own eyes.
     
    Every day there is sadness and hopelessness. You see that your child is in anguish - but it feels like there is fuck all you can do about it.

    And then there’s the guilt - oh my goodness - the GUILT. Because you have absolutely no idea how to mend your fractured family.
    How can you share these feelings with anyone else?
     
    Speaking your fears and worries out loud would be admitting that you

    • 14 min
    EP 18 - Surviving the School Holidays

    EP 18 - Surviving the School Holidays

    “I’m bored”

“There’s nothing to do.”
     
    Do the holidays fill you with dread? 
Or are you thrilled that there are no rules to have to follow?
     
    Summer might be a little different this year - as there are still travel restrictions due to the Coronavirus. As a result, many of us are staying closer to home and might have more time on our hands.

Now is an ideal opportunity to help your child to use their time wisely. Perhaps you can show them how to cook a basic spaghetti bolognese - or how to do the laundry without turning everything pink.
     
    The trick is to make these learning skills fun. We don’t want to lecture our kids - but we do want to equip them with the tools they need to cope in the outside world.



    In this episode, I give you ideas on how to support your child develop their kitchen skills; how to look after themselves, and the importance of managing their own finances for example.
     
    They will thank you in the long run.
     
    If you have younger kids I also talk about how having daily themes can also remove the overwhelm of how to keep your child occupied over one the holidays.

     
    * Three Questions to Ask Your Uncommunicative Child :
    All too often parents say to me :
    “My child won’t speak to me”
    or
    “I know something’s not quite right - but they won’t tell me what’s wrong.”

Well, I have a resource for you.
    
Download this FREE Resource : 📍www.caigraham.com/threequestions
    It will help you reconnect with your child quickly and easily; and in a way that will not drive them to their bedroom to avoid you!
    * Breathing Through BIG Emotions :
    If you or your child are struggling with your emotions at the minute - then I have a great online course that introduces you to 7 different breathing exercises that a can get you out of many sticky situations :
    📍www.caigraham.com/breathe

    Details of all further podcasts can be found on my website :
    📍www.caigraham.com/podcast
    * If you need to get in touch - Please email me at toolbox@caigraham.com

    Music Credits : MBB : https://soundcloud.com/mbbofficial/happy

    • 30 min
    EP 17 - Is Your Child Under Achieving

    EP 17 - Is Your Child Under Achieving

    You have tried to support your child by helping them develop good study habits and showing them the importance of a well balanced daily routine.
    But their grades are dropping and they just seem disinterested.
     
    “What’s the point?”

    “Schoolwork is boring.”
     
    In this episode, I discuss the difference between Under-Achieving and Not Performing.
     
    I explain why, more often than not - your child’s lack of interest in their studies and schoolwork is more a result of Fear rather than Laziness.
     
    This is not about making sure your child gets straight A’s all the time - it is about helping your child reach their full potential ( inside and outside the classroom ) whatever that means for them
     
    I leave you with 4 pointers to ensure your child feels properly supported :


    What’s their MOTIVATION
    2. PRAISE the Effort Avoid Using Labels Set Realistic Expectations


    If you need to get in touch - please email me at toolbox@caigraham.com
     
    If Anxiety Levels are running high in your home - then I have a couple of resources for you:
     
    My Anxiety course provides you with support by :

    ✔️ Recognising the triggers
     Understanding Anxiety - and why we don’t want to get rid of it all together  Learning a couple of techniques to help you stop a panic attack in it’s tracks How as a parent, you can support your anxious child  
    📍www.caigraham.com/anxiety



    If you or your child are struggling with your emotions at the minute - then I have a great online course that introduces you to 7 different breathing exercises that a can get you out of many sticky situations :
     
    📍www.caigraham.com/breathe



    Details of all further podcasts can be found on my website :
    📍www.caigraham.com/podcast

    Music Credits : MBB : https://soundcloud.com/mbbofficial/happy

    • 19 min
    EP 16 - Boundaries

    EP 16 - Boundaries

    As our children approach adulthood, they are so desperate to gain and develop their newfound independence - so the last thing they want is parental restrictions being thrust upon them to cramp their style!

    BUT - in this fast-paced world - Boundaries are EXACTLY what our children need.
     
    In this episode, I discuss the importance of sticking to your guns and having healthy boundaries for your child to adhere to.
     
    Boundaries are often be greeted by teenagers with repeated objections - but our children do indeed thrive when there are clearly defined parameters to live by  (just like motorists adhering to the Highway Code) - without specific rules, family life would be chaotic.
     
    Boundaries bring clarity.

    I explain why boundaries need to be child-centered and not an attempt for parents to maintain the upper hand!
     
    Children feel safer with boundaries in place - though teenagers are highly likely to admit to this. Without particular ‘standards’ being put into place, each decision and course of action turns into a negotiable tug-of-war. This just builds resentment as each power struggle escalates.
     
    I talk about what parents can do to ease the friction in the home so that healthy boundaries can be put in place and give way to a calmer atmosphere in the home.
     
    If you need to get in touch - please email me at toolbox@caigraham.com
     
    If Anxiety Levels are running high in your home - then I have a couple of resources for you:
     
    My Anxiety course provides you with support by :

    ✔️ Recognising the triggers
     Understanding Anxiety - and why we don’t want to get rid of it all together  Learning a couple of techniques to help you stop a panic attack in it’s tracks How as a parent, you can support your anxious child  
    📍www.caigraham.com/anxiety



    If you or your child are struggling with your emotions at the minute - then I have a great online course that introduces you to 7 different breathing exercises that a can get you out of many sticky situations :
     
    📍www.caigraham.com/breathe



    Details of all further podcasts can be found on my website :
    📍www.caigraham.com/podcast

    Music Credits: MBB : https://soundcloud.com/mbbofficial/happy

    • 22 min
    EP 15 - COVID 19 - The Importance of Sleep

    EP 15 - COVID 19 - The Importance of Sleep

    Why it’s OK to let your child sleep in!
     
    In this episode, I talk about the importance of sleep.
     
    How teenagers have a different sleep cycle than parents and why it’s important for us to adjust to this.
     
    16 million adults say that they have sleep problems - so I offer some suggestions on how to reduce the stress of trying to get a good night’s sleep
     
    I explain :
    ✔️ Why sleep is important.
    ✔️ What to do if you cannot get to sleep
    ✔️ What to do if you wake in the night
     
    In this episode I give you 3 practical exercises that will help you :
    ✔️ 4-7-8 Method
    ✔️ Chalkboard Exercise
    ✔️ 5-4-3-2-1 Happy Place
    I also give you my own Sleep Routine: LASTS:


    L - Learnings
    A - Actions
    S - Set the Scene
    T - Thankfulness
    S - Socks
    Sleep well x

    If you need to get in touch - please email me at toolbox@caigraham.com
    If Anxiety Levels are running high in your home - then I have a couple of resources for you:
    My Anxiety course provides you with support by :

✔️ Recognising the triggers
    ✔️ Understanding Anxiety - and why we don’t want to get rid of it all together
    ✔️ Learning a couple of techniques to help you stop a panic attack in it’s tracks
    ✔️ How as a parent, you can support your anxious child
    📍www.caigraham.com/anxiety

    If you or your child are struggling with your emotions at the minute - then I have a great online course that introduces you to 7 different breathing exercises that a can get you out of many sticky situations :
    📍www.caigraham.com/breathe

    Details of all further podcasts can be found on my website :
    📍www.caigraham.com/podcast
    Music Credits : MBB : https://soundcloud.com/mbbofficial/happy

    • 23 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
33 Ratings

33 Ratings

Fiona Minett ,

Cai is an absolute saviour!

Cai's expertise is so invaluable in ANY parenting circumstances, let alone the current lockdown. She is so warm, caring and determined to make a difference in the lives of parents raising the next generation. Highly recommended listenting in every way!

David W Charlton ,

Interesting and informative

Enjoyed listening to the first few episodes and had some timely reminders to help us both with our children. Looking forward to hearing more 😀

Nic Betsy ,

Definitely recommend 100%

I have turned to Cai Graham quite a bit during ‘hibernation’ and she is always so helpful. I would really recommend her to anyone who needs a dose of parenting therapy!!! So glad that I stumbled across her instagram.

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