Media 2017-12-19T18:34:30+00:00
Caroline Radford features as an expert contributor to ‘The Modern Parents Discipline Guide’ article published Dec 19th, 2017.

Advice For Raising Sons

Julia Hammond 5/12/2017

Contributor Caroline McMahon RN RM – Caroline’s Angels Baby Sleep Specialists

A son brings endless joy and occasional trouble to your life. They can be sweet and caring or mischievous depending on the day. Prepare yourself for all the unique aspects of raising boys with our advice.

General rules of thumb

Dr Anna Cohen, Sydney’s leading Clinical Child Psychologist from Kids & Co. has written a whole article on how to raise boys into good men. She agreed to share with us a few of the main points you should always keep in mind.

“Some basic things to remember:
• Recognise boys’ desire to live in the moment, their inability and/or unwillingness to plan their lives;
• Never underestimate the power of peer pressure for boys as they bridge to adolescents (9 and on);
• It’s important to get mothers off the bridge of adolescents and father/father figures onto it;
• Boys like clear boundaries.They have to be able to see and/or feel the consequences of doing, or not doing something, before it becomes real enough to matter and to motivate them.”

Find the entire article here.

Embrace his energetic side

Finding ways to release pent up energy for young boys is paramount to their ability to concentrate in structured environments such as school. Teach him the spaces where he’ll need to practice quiet behaviour – like the classroom or at the grocery store. Providing spaces for him to let loose, such as an at-home playground, will help you justify the times when you need him to engage a lower gear.

Taking a back seat can be good

We can’t imagine a parent who enjoys watching their child in difficulty. But there are times when allowing them to do things for themselves, especially if they’re difficult, leads to greater strength. Relationship coach Megan Tuohey explains in more detail.

“The thing about life is that to live is to struggle. Everyone struggles. We often rebel against the discomfort, shutting down, avoiding or dismissing the opportunity. Trying to stay still, which of course, is not a long term option. We must be able to live with and work with, struggle. And yet, we often have trouble with idea. Sometimes we want others to do it for us. This concept reminds me of the idea of helping a butterfly emerge from the cocoon, the very act of struggle brings strength. In fact, if you assist the butterfly to emerge, it’s often not strong enough to survive.

So it is for us, so it is for our children. Just as it is sometimes hard for us to struggle, we can find it hard to watch children struggle and often we intervene. Sometimes this is highly appropriate particularly when we are scaffolding them to help them learn themselves rather than doing it for them. It’s unhelpful, however, when we don’t allow them to experience struggle and then succeed. This is how children build resilience, and strength and internal fortitude. When we rob them of the chance to struggle, we may lose an opportunity to support them through to strength.”
Follow Megan on FacebookTwitter and Instagram.

Let them learn in their own way

Young boys tend to be less cautious than girls. They take risks and learn through experimentation. Allow them to experiment with safe pretend play toys that encourage their imaginative side. Watch them play and see what their toys can do; it may not look like what you think the toy was for but this is where they will develop creativity and innovation for their future.

Learning to handle aggression

Caroline McMahon is the co-founder of Caroline’s Angels who provide support in sleep and toilet training, settling and behaviour of babies and young children. Having raised two sons of her own she shares the methods that worked for her.

“Rule setting is a great way for young boys to manage their feelings and what is expected of them both at home and school, setting them up to be great men.
For example, setting the rule of ” Keep your hands and feet to yourself” is letting our boys know what is expected of them.

Boys need very clear boundaries of where they sit is in so many areas. Telling them not to punch, or hit or kick is not what they should do, but by telling them what they should do is often more helpful and the becomes a choice they make for their own behaviour.
I implemented this rule with my own feisty sons then saw as they become teenagers struggling with their own emotions and anger, especially in a heated discussion regarding their behaviour and my expectations of them. That despite their rage, they were able to keep their hands by their side, automatically by now knowing to keep their hands and feet to themselves.

By setting up a rule as young boys I was able to guide and reinforce without needing to yell and smack them to get them to understand this concept. Each time I see the devastating effects of a ‘King Hit Punch” I am saddened to think that perhaps that young man did not have a patient parent there in their younger life to teach them this simple but life long rule that would carry on to helping them have the strength to resist the urge to strike out.”
Find out more with Facebook and Twitter.

There’s no doubt you’ll raise a wonderful son. You’ve already taken the first step – seeking out advice that will help him and you flourish in the family.


Night nannies saving parents’ sleep

Being woken every night by a crying baby in the first months of parenting is a rite of passage, but one that most people keenly anticipate coming to an end.

Not Leanne Girdwood. For almost 20 years she’s been working overnight in private homes, feeding and settling other people’s babies while parents catch up on sleep.

Night nanny Caroline McMahon runs workshops for parents.

Night nanny Caroline McMahon runs workshops for parents.

Photo: Krystle Ricci

Girdwood says there’s a range of reasons clients book her services. Parents may need help settling twins or triplets, while others struggle with postnatal anxiety or depression. For many though, Girdwood simply provides respite from the sheer exhaustion the early days of parenting can bring.

“Nothing can prepare you for the bone-weary tiredness you’ll experience when providing for the needs of a newborn, and the flow-on effect that tiredness has on every aspect of your daily life in those first few months,” Girdwood says.

Melbourne night nanny Leanne Girdwood.

Melbourne night nanny Leanne Girdwood.

Photo: Supplied

She began her career in the 1980s as a trained mothercraft nurse, working with babies and parents in postnatal wards. After becoming a mother herself, Girdwood identified community need for more home-based support and began working overnight with families through a nanny agency. She now takes bookings directly through her Melbourne-based business, Mothercraft Care.

“As a society, we should be much more prepared to provide support to new parents,” she says. “There’s so much pressure to be the perfect parent, with the perfect child and a pristine home.”

While working nights doesn’t suit everyone, Girdwood says the only issue for her is staying quiet while everyone in the house is asleep. After settling a baby, she reads or knits using the dim light from her phone. “I guess it seems like a long time to be awake and alone and responsible, but I’m used to it.”

If parents do surface during the night, they often pick Girdwood’s brain for advice. “Some mums with anxiety have trouble sleeping and I’ve had some great middle of the night chats about life with some of them over the years.”

Perth night nanny Caroline McMahon.

Perth night nanny Caroline McMahon.

Photo: Supplied

A lack of social support combined with the intensity of the newborn period prompts some parents to reach out to Perth night nanny Caroline McMahon. She says some of her clients are so socially isolated, they don’t have anyone to call up for a coffee and a chat.

“They don’t have that little village around them to come in and help.They just get quite fearful of that lack of support.” In some cases their distress is very apparent. “I’ve come to women who are waiting on the front doorstep with a screaming baby, and just thrust the baby at me.”

McMahon was working as a midwife when she noticed the mothers she’d supported in hospital kept calling her for advice after they’d gone home. She started up an in-home baby sleep support business, Caroline’s Angels (with business partner Caroline Radford), which quickly became busy.

McMahon says her midwifery experience and links to the medical community are invaluable in her night nanny role. At times, she’s the first to suspect a parent may have severe postnatal mental health issues.

“We might have been told there’s a bit of depression, and in actual fact we’ve got quite a non-functioning mother. It’s then up to us to support them in seeking further help.”

McMahon extends her expertise to expectant parents too, running workshops for parents-to-be to help build realistic expectations of how chaotic life can be with a new baby.

“Look, it’s a really unsettling time. It’s a process. [Becoming settled] just doesn’t happen quickly and we educate our families that it’s quite normal,” she says.

But while there’s still a need for overnight care, McMahon will continue helping exhausted parents get a good night’s sleep. “We’re like Father Christmas turning up. We get such a lovely response. It’s a beautiful job.”


The next you can see Carolines Angels live are

  • Perth Baby Sleep Workshop Event – Wednesday October 11th 10am  Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre


  • Melbourne Baby Sleep Workshop Event – Tuesday October 17th 10am Abbostsford Convent



Thanks to Dymocks Whitford City for hosting us at our book signing for ‘5 Steps To Sleep – For Babies and Toddlers’ at the reopening

of Westfield Whitford City – Saturday 23rd October.  It was great meeting lots of new faces and very cute babies and toddlers!


We look forward to seeing you at Dymocks Whitford City for our book signing event on Saturday 23rd September at 1.30pm.

Come and say hello!


We loved being part of this week’s “Yin and Yang” feature in ‘The West Australian”.  Thanks William Yeoman for the great pic and for telling the story of who we are.