I’m tweeting every day for five days as a gift to Parents this Valentines. I wish I’d known this when my kids were young!

* Hubby could tell me 100 x a day ‘I love you’ and I’d still enjoy. But his love language is Acts of Kindness – that love is SHOWN!

* How would you know if ur child’s love language is acts of kindness? They are the HELPERS.

* It’s really important to thank the ‘Acts of Kindness’ child. S/he needs to know you see their loving action.

* Children whose love language is Acts of Kindness thrive on you doing things for them that show you care.

* For child whose love language is Acts of Kindness, to refuse / procrastinate help can be very hurtful.

* Hubby asking ‘Any pancakes?’ OK Val stop tweeting – go practise what you preach! Acts of kindness show love!

* Many little acts of kindness is no little thing.

For more helpful tips and insights please check back here tomorrow or join me on Twitter


Last edited February 12th 2012


What makes your child  FEEL loved? 

Here’s a summary of my tweets today re the child who thrives on ‘Words of Affirmation’

* We tend to give to our children the same sort of love that makes US feel loved but our child’s ‘love language’ might be different.

* Ask yourself : Did my child experience my love today?

* Some children experience love especially thru affirming words. How would u know? Listen for frequent comments eg ‘I love u’ ‘You look pretty’

* You love your child, right? But does your child FEEL loved? Sometimes as parents we miss the plot.

* What makes me feel loved doesn’t necessarily make my child feel loved. I love words of affirmation but my son puts value on quality time.

* Its challenging to give our children what THEY need to feel loved, rather than giving them what makes US feel loved.

* Avoid OTT ‘You’re terrific / brilliant’. Rather give descriptive praise e.g. U picked up the books and put them on the shelf. TY’

* Even positive labels like ‘good girl’ can be unhelpful for our children. Read my story about this.

* Labels can limit us to seeing just some aspect of our child’s behaviour, as though that is who the child IS.

* It’s not just what we say to our children. It’s HOW we say it.

* Mum gives out to 4 yo who responds: ‘Mummy who don’t you use your telephone voice to me?’

* To the child whose love language is ‘words of affirmation’ harsh criticizing words can be soul wounding.

* The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice. – Peggy O’Mara

For more helpful tips and insights please check back here tomorrow or join me on Twitter.

Last edited February 11th 2012

Hard to Forgive at Christmas

Choose to Forgive this Christmas

Dear Santa

Here’s another letter from Daniel. So glad his parents are sorting things out.  (Maybe they read your letter about ‘When Grown Ups Fight’!)

It makes sense that it’s hard to forgive, even at Christmas, when someone has deeply hurt you. Many people are stuck in a place of anger/unforgiveness regarding an ex, their own parent, someone else, perhaps they are struggling to forgive another group of people who have injured those we love. And sometimes it’s ourselves that we find hard to forgive. 

What would you like to say to parents who find it hard to forgive?



Dear PercyPostElf

It makes sense that when people hurt us, it’s hard to forgive.

What we often overlook is the cost of unforgiveness –  to our physical and emotional health but we also often forget the huge price that unforgiveness can cost our children too.

Let me share with you an African tale on how to catch a monkey.

Find a tree with a very small hole in the trunk.  Take a handful of peanuts and while the monkey is watching you, push the peanuts into the hole in the tree. Now move away and wait. The monkey will soon come for the peanuts. But when he puts his hand into the hole and seizes the peanuts, his fist is now too big to get out the hole. He doesn’t want to let go the peanuts – so he’s stuck. Now you can catch your monkey!

That’s what happens to us when we hold onto unforgiveness. It’s hard to forgive because we think we’re punishing the person who hurt us but actually, we are keeping ourselves stuck in one place. Sometimes we avoid forgiveness because we don’t want reconciliation with a particular person or situation. But forgiveness and reconciliation are not the same thing. We can choose to forgive, even if reconciliation isn’t desirable or advisable.

Forgiveness is choosing to let go of the ‘peanuts’ of anger and bitterness. These uncomfortable feelings are emotional termites that eat away our family’s happiness if we don’t deal with them.

‘Peace on Earth’ doesn’t just happen. Peace happens one relationship at a time. Peace happens when people choose to be peace-makers. And sometimes part of peace-making is forgiving.

Did you know that our way of living is hugely influenced by the thoughts of the past four generations and that the thoughts we think will affect the next four generations? This Christmas let’s consciously choose the emotional legacy we leave to our children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great, great-grandchildren.

It can be helpful to take time to reflect:

‘Is there a situation where I  am finding it hard to forgive?’

‘On a scale of 0-10 what example of forgiveness am I modelling to my children?’ (0 equals holding tightly to bitter, angry and unforgiving thoughts  and 10 being  free of those).

This Christmas I ask parents to get the help needed to let go of unforgiveness – for their children’s sake as well as their own.

The word ‘forgiving’ is actually two words.  What do I choose to give: to myself / my loved ones / that other person?

Christmas is a time a time for giving and for for-giving.

Reconciliation is not always advisable but we can choose to let go of our bitterness or anger and move forward.

Now it’s over to you – how will you choose to be a peace-maker this festive season?

Choose to forgive this Christmas



P.S.  Check in tomorrow for  my final letter this year.  After that, Rudolph and I will busy with present deliveries.

P.P.S. Here are my other letters:

Day 1  What to do with Children’s ‘Great Expectations’?

Day 2  ‘Need’ or ‘Want’

Day 3  Dealing with Disappointment

Day 4  Christmas Surprises

Day 5  Three Key Questions Regarding Purchases

Day 6  No Money This Christmas

Day 7  Christmas is for Giving

Day 8 When Sad or Bad Things Happen

Day 9  When Grown Ups Fight

Day 10 An Attitude of Gratitude

Day 12 Christmas – What Really Matters







Last edited December 07th 2018

Christmas Surprises

Gift Ideas for Kids at Christmas

Dear Santa

This letter is from a boy in Cork, can you answer his question please.



Dear PercyPostElf

Ha, ha. I remember that!

Please tell Michael that one year when his Mummy was a litle girl,  the elves decided to have some fun.  We made a special surprise present for her.

That little girl’s name was Val and we left just one fairly large parcel under the tree for her. Val was always a very curious little girl and as soon as she saw the present,  she wanted to know what Santa had left her. Val’s Mummy said she had to wait till everyone was ready to open presents, but when her mother wasn’t looking Val sneaked a peep to see if there weren’t any more presents in the pile for her.  No –   there was just this one mysterious rectangular box.

At last it was time to unwrap the presents. She opened the parcel to discover a  – red suitcase. That wasn’t what she wanted. She felt really disappointed but her mother smiled across the room at  her and said  ‘Open it!’

Val opened the suitcase and inside were  lots of little gifts. There was even a pretty china piggy bank, that she specially loved. It’s funny how all these years later, now she’s a grown up woman, that surprise package is still the one she especially  remembers.

Surprises don’t need to be big or expensive to be fun and special.

And another great thing about surprises is that we have fun planning them and it’s great to watch the surprise. If Parents are feeling despondent – try planning a surprise. You’ll give yourself a serotonin boost – the ‘feel good’ chemical! Gift Ideas for Kids at Christmas

Percy, please ask parents to write to me and tell me what special surprises they remember.

I’d love to  share their memories.  And maybe thinking about surprises would give them  a chance to think about how they could do something special this Christmas.



P.S. Here are my other letters:

Day 1   What to do with Children’s ‘Great Expectations’?

Day 2  ‘Need’ or ‘Want’

Day 3  Dealing with Disappointment

Day 5  Three Key Questions Regarding Purchases

Day 6  No Money This Christmas

Day 7  Christmas is for Giving

Day 8 When Sad or Bad Things Happen at Christmas

Day 9  When Grown Ups Fight

Day 10 An Attitude of Gratitude

Day 11 Can’t Forgive

Day 12 Christmas – What Really Matters








Last edited December 10th 2016

‘Here’s your hat. 
And your scarf.’

These words could be part of the ‘Mum Song’ lyric. Anita Renfroe’s Supermum runs round doing everything for this child. She gives her her clothes and her shoes – and presumably everything else. Imagine this same child on her first day at school.

Where’s Mummy? Teacher’s asking me a question.

I don’t know what I should say. And I’m so hungry.

Mummy’s not here to open my lunch box.

Everybody else is eating sandwiches.

I can’t open this. I can’t open my lunchbox.

I’m so hungry. And I want to pee.

Hold my legs tight together.

I can’t go by myself.

I want to pee so bad.

Uh oh.

Doing everything for your child does not equal loving your child. Love is about helping your child to develop her own competence. Observe your own actions. And your child’s. What are the things that your child could be learning to do for herself? Being a coaching parent is not about throwing your child in at the deep end. It’s day by day gentle support towards competence. What could happen if you choose to support your child to do as much as possible for herself?

Last edited April 27th 2010