parenting q&a

This week, Natalie Turner, former paediatric nurse, life coach and author of, looks at the subject of back to school fears as well as schooling and education issues…

Q.) My 14-year-old daughter’s grades started slipping last year. She seems to be so disconnected and apathetic, I’m so worried about her going back to school. I can’t seem to talk to her without it turning into an argument. What can I do?

A.) I think we can all remember when we hit puberty and the whole world changed, including the way we interacted with it. We all thought noone understood us, especially our parents. With all those new hormones in your daughter’s body, it can be overwhelming for her. So it takes real patience from you, but remember your sweet little girl is still in there somewhere.

I can highly recommend the book How To Talk So Kids Will Listen And Listen So Kids Will Talk It introduces active listening and has great examples that help diffuse a situation before it turns into yet another argument. It is especially useful for teenagers.

As with all periods in our children’s life this too will pass if you can create an atmosphere in which she feels she can talk to you. This will continue to develop your relationship together and you’ll become someone she can trust with the big things in her life.

When she starts back at school, book an appointment with her teacher and see if they have any suggestions for improving her grades.


Q.) My 10-year-old son was being bullied in the last term of school. I’m dreading sending him back, yet switching schools isn’t an option for us. Help!

I’m really sorry to hear this.

Can you talk to him about? Will he open up to you? The best way to deal with this is to remain neutral when he discusses it. If he sees you’re upset he may refrain from telling you again because he wants to protect you.

Involve him in creating a solution. For example how should we deal with this? Children can surprise us sometimes when we involve them in this thought process. He may find some interesting ways to deal with it, knowing he can be open with you.

Fill him full of confidence in all areas of his life. What does he love? What is he good at? Do lots of these things and shower him with encouragement. It’s easy for bullies to pick on children who don’t feel good about themselves. If can send him to school feeling good about himself, he may no longer be an easy target.

I would also suggest you book an appointment with the school and see what they already have in place to target bullying. Discuss the idea of setting up an anti-bullying team full of students. is an excellent resource for parents and children, so do check it out


Q.) My family and I recently moved to Dubai from the UK and my children will start new school soon. While I’m excited for them, I’m terrified I’ll be lonely when their gone, as I don’t know anyone here and I’m incredibly shy. What do you advise?

A.) I’m so sorry you feel like that, it must be difficult for you. The school itself is a great opportunity to meet friends. I’m sure they’ll have a parents committee who will be welcoming new families. Don’t forget, most of the parents at the school will have been in your position at some time or another. Here are some links to women’s expat groups, which you may find useful: ExpatWoman; ReMAdeDXB and Dubai Ladies Club 

I know you may find it hard to walk into an established group of women you’ve never met, but again all expatriates will remember a time they were in your shoes and I’ve always found them to be really welcoming – I’m a British expat living in Hungary with my partner and two children.

Good luck and remember: although it feels scary now this has the potential to be a very exciting time in your life.

Natalie turner

Expert Natalie Turner and her two adorable kids