Dr. Vincent Maloney, Psychiatrist and author, addressed an attendance of about fifty people at a seminar hosted by Castlerea Mental Health Association on Tuesday night. At the seminar, which was held in Tully’s Hotel, Roscommon Lions Club launched details of an upcoming ASIST course to be held in Castlerea (see below). Dr. Vincent Maloney presented his ten Golden Rules for Parenting as part of an enjoyable talk on rearing adolescents. Introduced by Dr. Greg Kelly (chairperson, Castlerea Mental Health Assocation) the guest speaker made a thought-provoking address which was laced with humour. Dr. Maloney went through the ten Golden steps he had previously devised (listed alongside). Many of his observations were delivered with humour, but there were serious undertones to what he had to say. His speech was well-received by the attendance. Dr. Maloney’s address had been preceded by the launch of the Roscommon Lions Club facilitated ASIST training for Castlerea. Ms. Mary Larkin of Roscommon Lions Club Suicide Awareness Sub-Committee outlined details of the work undertaken by the committee since its formation in 2005. She explained that ASIST is Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training and that about 100 people have participated in the course in County Roscommon over recent months. ASIST training will take place in Castlerea on Thursday and Friday, May 24th and 25th next. People interested in taking the course can get more details from Mary O’Sullivan of HSE (West) on 087-6858023 or any Roscommon Lions Club member. Dr. Maloney’s ten Golden Rules 1. NEVER compare one child to another (Dr. Maloney explained that while this might raise the self-esteem of one child, it is certain to undermine the self-esteem of the other one. It should NEVER be done. "The kids hate it"). 2. Communicate with your child (Dr. Maloney said that he often tells parents they have one mouth and two ears, so they should listen twice as much. Any correction of a child should not involve more than six words. Any more and it was giving the child extra attention. Parents should talk to their children side by side, not face to face. "That way, they’ll tell you so much without realising it. They’ll tell you about friends and drugs, the lot….once they get into a stream of consciousness"). 3. Help your child form goals in their life (Dr. Maloney advised that if the child has goals, even small ones, they can become self-fulfilling prophesies). 4. Teach your children an emotional vocabulary (Dr. Maloney pointed out that in one study it was found that boys only could only come up with an average of five words to describe their emotions. They end up not being able to describe their emotions and they can take anger out in different ways. It was important that they learn the names of emotions and understand them). 5. Teach your children the financial facts of life (Dr. Maloney said that our children are living in cloud cuckoo land when it comes to money. At 16 they want to move into a flat yet have never made their own bed. They have no idea of costs. He advised that instead of the parent using credit cards in a shop or when paying bills they should get their son or daughter to pay in cash. In this way the son or daughter will realise that real money is being used). 6. Give from their abundance…. (Dr. Maloney said some of the kids’ pocket money should be put aside each week — even 50 cent — for a charity. In this way they learn to make the comparison with others, and realise that others are not as well off as they are). 7. Parents should have a common set of rules that they agree on (Dr. Maloney said if the above isn’t the case, kids will ‘play’ one parent off the other; from as young as two years of age they know how to do that. It was important to agree on rules and penalties. "Your child wants you to be definite on the rules — only then do they feel secure."). 8. Adopt a ‘we’ position (Because of, for example, peer pressure, it was important that the family’s position on issues was known; e.g. "we" agree that honesty is the most important thing, or "we" don’t experiment in drugs." It is then clear to the child what "we" stand for. They may go away from that position, but they will come back to it). 9. Learn to say no to your children (Most of us are afraid to say no in case we cause psychological damage to the child; in fact the opposite applies. His own rule was that you should say no to 12-14 year-olds seventy-five times out of one hundred; fifty times out of one hundred in the case of 14-16 year olds and 25 times out of a hundred to 16-18 year olds). 10. Respect your child’s intelligence (We love books and academic intelligence in Ireland, said Dr. Maloney, but there were numerous other forms of intelligence, all of which should be appreciated).