Three Ways To Help Your Child Over Come Their Fears Of Ghosts And Things That Go Bump In The Night

November 14, 2007

When my youngest son was quite small he used to say things like, “Mum, who is that man standing over by the window?”  Of course when I looked oftentimes I couldn’t see anybody at all although there have been occasions when my boy and I have shared the same visions.  But as you can guess in our house, ghostly boarders, auras, healing touch, and things that go bump in the night were and are an accepted part of the household.  This meant I didn’t have the same problems many parents face as their child reaches toddlerhood and starts to worry about monsters under the bed and ghosts in the attic.  But I do know the worries parents have over helping their young one to feel safer in their own home and bed.  

One of the key things to help ease your young one’s fear is to show how calm you are about such things yourself.  Children learn their cues from their parents and if you are hysterical, or worried about strange noises, animals and insects then your children will learn to stress about those things too.  I have become the “Calm Expert” who has gotten used to having weta’s (very large bugs), large spiders and lizards shoved under my nose by my errant sons as they were growing up and I pride myself on the fact that not only do I not flinch at the sight (although I do wish they would give me a bit of warning) of anything that I think belongs back in the garden, but I can even manage a tight lipped “wow isn’t that cool” as a response. 

So if your child has a monster under the bed, or strange creatures tapping at the window after the lights have gone out, be calm about it and if possible find a logical explanation (that the child can understand) for the things he/she is experiencing.   

It is not a good idea to ignore or brush off your child’s fears either, because it is a really important part of child development for them to have a parent who is going to take care of the monsters, ghosts and other weird ghouls. Some parents get annoyed with their children and just say things like “there is no such things as monsters” or ghosts, but again this does not help the child get over their fear; they just learn to hide it so they are not made to feel bad about themselves. 

The second thing parents can do is take charge of the situation and get your child to do it with you.  Yes, dive under the bed and wrestle with the “monster”; turn on the lights to banish ghosts; turn on soft music to banish creaking windows and trees or put a chair under the door handle of the closet so any “thing” can’t get out.  You are not pandering to your child’s imagination by doing this, you are teaching them to face their fears with you as the protector.  They will feel stronger for being with you, and feel better about themselves as they learn to conquer their fears. 

Finally, the dark can be a really scary place for an imaginative and creative child.  Rather than try and squash your child’s imagination by rubbishing his fears, simply install a night-light, or for older children a touch light they can use if they get scared.  Our children’s brains are forced into being grown up mode far to quickly already, and it really doesn’t hurt for your child to have his fears validated and helped with a bit of love and comfort from you while he is still small.  

There will always be things in this world that science cannot explain.  And it is not up to any of us to tell a child that ghosts or other such things don’t exist, especially if the child is claiming to see them.  There have been many documented cases of children seeing ghosts in cases where the adult can’t and rather than dismiss their concerns, maybe we should help our children to accept what they see and just get on with living – after all wouldn’t we look like idiots to our children if science could one day prove that ghosts do exist and always have?

Lisa Oliver is a mum, a step-mum and a grandma, who works as a freelance writer from her home in the wilds of Kaihu, in rural Northland New Zealand.  Her book “Can Ghosts Hurt Us and Other Questions” can be found on her website and details about her writing services can be found by clicking the “Services” link on the same page.

You Know You Are Safe When You Can Sit Naked On The Toilet

November 14, 2007

For thousands of women all over the world the concept of domestic abuse is a part of their daily lives.  But while many unaffected people in society presume that the only danger a woman (or child) is in is during a physical or sexual attack the reality is that women who live with an abusive partner are on the alert for an attack every waking moment of every single day.

Of course most abusive relationships start off fairly simply.  A partner gets out of control once in a while; possibly when drunk or doing drugs; hits his lady around, or breaks the furniture and windows; sobers up; says sorry and all is right until next time.  But that “easy phase” does not last long.

Research on why women stay with their abusive partners shows that after about three complete cycles of the “ easy phase” they start to become hypervigilent and this problem increases along with the length of time they are in that abusive relationship.  This is why many psychologists believe that women who have been in long-term domestic violence relationships start to exhibit symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD): an issue until recently thought only to affect returning soldiers who had been fighting in war conditions.

The woman is constantly on alert; she has to be.  She watches for changes in mood (which can occur very quickly), triggers that could set her partner off on another rampage and ways to placate him in the hopes that the violence can be averted.

Joanne* sits drinking a cup of tea in a local Women’s Refuge office.  She can laugh about her life now but two years before life hadn’t been good, or safe.  She said, “It got so bad (with my partner) I couldn’t even go to the bathroom on my own – I couldn’t get peace even if I locked the toilet door.  He would pound on the door; telling me to hurry up; accusing me of making sneaky phone calls in the bathroom – like I even had access to a cell phone.” 

This lack of space, and constant harassment is common to many domestic abuse situations and can be physically and mentally debilitating to the woman.  She can’t get any time to herself.  She is often cut off from friends or other family members.  There is often no respite from the constant stress of being on alert all the time and this can cause serious mental and physical health problems as the body is not designed to be on stress alert every minute of every day.

The ease with which most of us live our daily lives, often without thought or fears about our personal safety is a concept that is alien to the battered woman.  We pick out our clothes to wear each day; we do our hair the way we like it; we talk to who we want when we want and we can go to the bathroom in peace and quiet.  So as you are using your bathroom today spare a thought for the battered woman who would do anything for five minutes peace to herself and yet who is paralysed in fear of getting help from the likes of you and me.  

If you would like to learn more about why women don’t leave their abusive partners please go to This book, Invisible Bars: Why Women Don’t Leave, was written by a woman, Lisa Oliver, who spent more than ten years as a battered woman in two different marriages.  She uses research data and personal anecdotal information to help others understand the complexity of the domestic abuse relationship.

* Not her real name

Writing a book in 8hrs isn’t easy – section one

April 30, 2007

Okay, well this day went off badly from the start.  Yes I was awake by 8am and yes I was up by 8am but I wasn’t sitting at my computer at 8am – I was cleaning down the kitchen. 

Every morning is pretty much the same for me from Monday to Friday.  My husband brings me in a cup of tea at 6.30am when he and my older son go off to work.  My alarm goes off at 7.15am so I have time to have that cup of tea before my youngest daughter gets up at 7.30am.  Her bus arrives at the gate just after 8am and that is when I get up and get dressed. 

I never realized how much time I waste first thing in the morning. I get up, get dressed, think about going on the treadmill, forget about the treadmill, go into the kitchen, look at the mess caused by husband and kids, grab a cloth and straighten things out. 

Then there is washing to be sorted and put in the washing machine, the dogs to feed, my nutra shake to have as breakfast, and another cup of tea to make.  Then I go to my computer. But of course I can’t start writing the moment I sit at my desk – there is no way I am that dedicated.  So first I check and answer my emails; then I check my bank statements online and my online auctions.  By then the snail mail post has arrived so I open and answer that, as I need to.  By now it is ten o’clock and I can finally open up my word program and make a start. 

Or not.  This morning my friend Pam called – she was excited about going for a new job interview so I chatted to her for a bit.  Then my son comes in and says can I find him pictures online for his art project.  The he reminds me (after I have done his pictures) that I was going to phone the motorbike mechanic in town about some parts for my son’s bike, and after all that I feel that I need another cup of tea. 

Another cup of tea on my desk and it is now gone 11am – getting on for lunchtime.  So I decide to work through until 1pm and then break for lunch and shoot into town.  Right the creative process. 

Oh great another interruption, my son can’t find glue, five minutes later I am back at the computer getting systematically more frazzled, but determined to get some words on paper.  Now where was I, oh yes you poor reader, you want to know about how this book can be written and published in eight hours, not how come I get so many interruptions in a day. 

Well believe it or not I did do it in the end. Check back soon for the next part of the writing and living process. 

Lisa Oliver has been making a living from her writing through a lifetime of interuptions for the past ten years.  For more examples of her work please visit and her lulu shop front at

Survive Perimenopause – Exercise for women who hate it

April 30, 2007

Going to the gym is all very well for the women who can get to one easily, enjoy exercising in front of other people and who look good in a leotard.  Exercise equipment at home is fine if you have the room to store the machine when you are not using it, and the will power to pull it out from the cupboard or under the bed everyday.  For many of us exercise screams of torture and unpleasantness, and it doesn’t have to be that way.

 Perimenopause can be a really exciting time in your life because you are finally freeing yourself from child rearing and family duties.  Your commitment to the family, while still very strong, doesn’t (or shouldn’t) require you to spend all your time and energies devoted to them.  Perimenopause is the start of the ‘ME-years’, and can be the start of a whole new adventure in your life. Take the time at least 3 – 4 times a week to do something that you enjoy, and get a bit of exercise at the same time.  Here are just a few suggestions to get you started. 

Walking Activities – walking is one of the best types of activities you can do and the cheapest.  Power walk in one direction then meander back home. Look for collectables (flowers, rocks, shells, leaves) for creative work.  Take a dog with you.  If you are an urban dweller then take advantage of the early morning or evening to window shop- you won’t be tempted to shop because the shops won’t be open but you can keep yourself updated on what is going on in your area. 

For those readers that are near the water actually wading along the edge of a lake, stream or beach can be a pleasant way of increasing the exercise for your legs.  

Swimming – Find the quietest times at your local pool or beach and enjoy a leisurely swim combined with some underwater exercises such as leg extensions and squats.    

Dance around your house – add a touch of zest to the dusting or when vacuuming – turn the music up loud and dance to it as you work.  That will get the pulse racing and make you feel good at the same time. Take a project you enjoy and get your heart pumping – that is all that is truly needed in exercise – have fun with it.

Lisa Oliver writes mostly about women’s issues such as domestic violence, but her latest book, “Survive and Thrive through Perimenopause” is a light-hearted look at getting through middle age with a sense of humor. You can find this and other books by the author at

Can Ghosts Hurt You

April 30, 2007

Have you ever known a situation where you don’t think about something for ages and then all of sudden one topic seems to crop up in different places in a short space of time?  Take for example the question of whether or not ghosts are capable of hurting physical people.  In the past week I have come across that question three separate times – firstly in an article by Tom Cooney, secondly as part of an investigative paranormal television program and then as a question from my own ten-year old daughter.  So can ghosts hurt us? 

In the first instance of course there has to be an assumption that ghosts do exist in our physical world.  I for one, am a person who not only believes in ghosts but I have actually seen some, and felt the presence of others at a number of times in my life.  So for me it is perfectly normal to assume that ghosts do exist. 

But what about people who don’t believe in ghosts – are they capable of being hurt (assuming ghosts could hurt living people) by something they don’t believe in – well this is another assumption we will make – that if ghosts were capable of hurting people, then they would be able to regardless of whether or not they were believed in or not. 

The second consideration that has to be thought out is a definition of hurt.  Tom Cooney, who has written a number of different articles on the paranormal, asked this question in one of his discussions.  He noted that if the term “hurt” included not only physical pain (which is often what the term is used to define) but also emotional, spiritual or psychological pain then it was possible that a ghost’s presence could have that effect on some people, so then the answer would be “yes” ghosts could hurt people. For me though, I would be more interested in the intent behind any spiritual action, and it is my belief that true ghosts, as opposed to other spiritual entities, do not intend to hurt anybody living.  They simply have a different method of communication than some people are used to.   

If you watch any popular television programs that deal with ghosts there is generally some hysterical person who is in a state because he/she has been impacted by unexplained phenomena and quite often the program goes on to show an almost textbook case of mass hysteria occurring within the one building that is supposedly haunted by a ghost.  It is this personification of haunting that have greatly maligned the whole idea of ghosts in our western society. 

The word “hurt” implies to me a malicious intention; if you set out to hurt someone then there is often a negative emotion behind this action.  Of course it is possible to hurt people through omission or even by accident; it is also possible to feel remorse over an action that may hurt another person but do ghosts have these same problems despite the fact that they operate on a separate plain of existence?  Well I guess that depends on the ghost, but we are getting ahead of ourselves. 

Logically a ghost is not capable of physically hurting a living person simply because they do operate on a different plain of existence.  They do not have as solid a physical state as we do; while they may manifest themselves in a way we may recognize in terms of dress and mannerisms, the image is one that has no actual physical substance.  So if you had a ghost walk up to you and slap you around the face it is unlikely that you would sustain any bruising or even feel any of the expected impact from the blow.  You may feel a draft, you may feel a chill for a short moment as your energies meet the energies of spirits, but that would be the extent of the physical damage.  

The question as to whether or not a ghost might emotionally or psychologically hurt a person is more difficult to address.  Without being rude many negative ghost/living interactions are caused more by a living person who has his/her own reasons for rejecting the encounter, than being a fault of the spirit involved.   Many people have a social or religious reason for rejecting the concept of ghosts, so any paranormal activity in a family home could cause stress to the family.  There are other people who believe that any paranormal experience could only be the work of the devil and so these encounters can be seen as evil – and unfortunately popular movies such as the Amityville horrors perpetuate this myth.   

In both of these instances a ghostly encounter could cause emotional and psychological harm and there is plenty of evidence to show that major stress can cause negative physical symptoms.  Is this the ghost’s fault, I personally don’t think so but of course situations involving persons who reject ghosts, can cause a negative reaction in a physical person so I guess the answer is relative and nothing more. 

Lisa Oliver writes predominantly about issues surrounding domestic violence and abuse, but every now and then takes time out to write something a little more lighthearted.  For some of her recent books visit

What is Domestic Violence?

April 30, 2007

Domestic violence is more than just a situation of a man hitting his wife on a Saturday night after they have both had a few drinks, although this situation can be part of a bigger problem.  Domestic violence is a pattern of behavior that evolves over time with an end result of one partner using a range of tactics to have ultimate and complete control over the other partner.  These tactics can include verbal abuse, physical abuse, sexual abuse and/or psychological abuse.  Depending on the levels of control the abuser has over his own behavior, domestic violence can at best result in a woman or child living in fear of an attack on a daily basis, to a situation where a woman or child dies at the hands of their abuser.  In New Zealand alone six women died at the hands of their partner between November 2005 and January 2006 and these figures are comparable per head of population in most western countries.

 The important point to note in this definition is the fact that domestic abuse is a pattern of behavior that evolves over time.  Often times early in a relationship a male partner may express jealousy when his partner talks to another man at a social gathering for example.  If, in response to his verbal anger his partner spends time reassuring him and taking the blame for her “wrong” behavior, the male starts to learn that the initial anger he expressed was “acceptable” within the relationship and so the next time he gets upset he gets that much worse, and so on.   

For some women the warning signs are not as obvious although they are often glaringly obvious in hindsight.  Some of these  “warning signs” that you as a woman should note is when you are dating someone new for example and the man might want to really fast track the relationship so that he is living with you before you really know too much about him; he might always need to be right in a discussion even if he isn’t; he doesn’t give you any space in the relationship and always needs to know where you are, who you are with and what you are doing; other signs include the use of pornography; lack of consideration of your needs; has problems with homosexuals or people of a different race to himself; and so on.  

One of the reasons why it is fairly easy to be lulled into a false sense of security when in a relationship with an abuser is that in the early stages of the relationship the length of time between incidences might be fairly long.  He may get angry only once every two or three months for example, but if the woman stays in that relationship, and the degree of abuse, whether it be physical, emotional, psychological or sexual (it is usually a combination of these elements) gets steadily worse, then regardless of what the man might say in the “honeymoon period” he is not going to stop abusing her. In fact there is a very real danger that the number of incidences in a year will increase alongside the increased severity of the attack.

One of the common misconceptions about domestic abuse is that the man who is doing the abusing has actually lost control of his own behavior, supposedly because of something that his partner has done (or not done).  However studies have shown that the level of control exhibited by the abuser is actually very high, and that the men who do hit their women, or abuse them in some other way do chose their behavior.   

There are three final points that need to be made in this article: Firstly the single underlying element that is used to control abused women and children is fear.  Fear is something that is difficult for an abused woman to convey to another person – fear is an insidious feeling that can permeate every aspect of a woman’s life – and finally fear is the emotion that has to be overcome by a friend or support person who is trying to help an abused woman. 

The second point that must be made is that there are many cases where abusive acts are not evident to an outside observer.  While the most common face of domestic violence is one that is covered in bruises there are many other forms of abuse that are just as debilitating to the victim and yet is not visible to other people.  In particular emotional, psychological and sexual abuse, leave very few visible scars that could be noted by another person.  

Finally an abusive man does not have the word “abuser” tattooed on his forehead. An abusive man can be from any ethnic group, belong to any socio-economic group, work in any profession or trade, or come from any family unit model.  An abuser cannot be picked out by the clothes that he wears, the way he acts in public or the car that he drives.  While there are some warning signs that could indicate the possibility of a man being an abuser, which were mentioned earlier, the fact still remains that because an abuser is an expert at controlling behavior, it makes that person very difficult to pick out of a crowd. 

If you or someone you care about is a victim of domestic violence take them to the nearest police station or consult your local directory service for a women’s refuge or similar local organization.

Lisa Oliver spent ten years of her life as a domestic abuse victim.  Since leaving her partner she has shared some of her experiences in her latest book, “Invisible Bars: Why women don’t leave”.  Two further books by the author, “Why Men Hit the One’s They Love” and “Invisible Bars II: The bars we create for ourselves” are both due out later this year.  Lisa can be contacted at or visit her website at

Outsourcing Works For at Home Moms

April 18, 2007

All over America children are being sent off to school in the morning by working Moms who have a twenty second commute to their own daily workplace.  These women simply make a cup of coffee, and go and turn on their computer and their daily work has begun.
Outsourcing has become a familiar buzzword in the American business industry and although most of the large firms around the country outsource their work to Asian countries there are a number of smaller – midsize firms that are turning to the internet to both recruit their new workers, and provide them with their work.
Janet MacIntosh is one such Mom.  She started working for a small web based company writing web content articles.  When asked about how the system works for her, Ms. MacIntosh said, “It is absolutely great working from home.  While I don’t make as much money as I did when I was in the traditional workplace, I do make a regular income.  What I love about working like this is that if I do have to take time off because one of my children gets sick, or if I have them home during the holidays, I can either do my work in the evening after my kids have gone to bed, or I can take some time off with them, without fear of loosing my job.” Many other women cite similar reasons for developing their own little home businesses.
So how can you find working conditions like this?
The first thing to do is to sign up to some of the Internet job sites.  Good ones include,  or .  Both sites offer free membership although they also have paid subscriptions that provide the content provider with a higher class of job.  Sign up on either or both sites; post your profile that outlines your previous experience and then start searching for work. 
The joy of this type of job seeking is that you don’t have to worry about laddering your tights as you make your way to an interview because in most cases your ‘interviews’ are conducted via email.
If you have specific skills such as web design, graphic design or copywriting you will find the Internet is an accepting marketplace.  There are always adverts on jobs sites around the net for web design and graphic design services, and it does not take long for you to develop your profile and portfolio and start to command some decent money for your work.  If you don’t have these skills but are keen to learn then the Internet is an excellent avenue for that too and many of the courses offered online are free to sign up for and can be completed online.
Not only are there a surfeit of jobs sites all looking for new workers, but also there are vast ranges of advice sites that can provide even the most novice computer user the tools and skills required to work online.  Sites such as offer excellent (free) articles for people who are keen to try out their writing skills online, while other sites such as offer equally good advice about how to develop other working skills.
Oh look is that the time, my little darlin’s have just come home, and as for me, well I have made a few dollars online today and I didn’t have to worry about where to park the car. It was a good day all round.
Happy job hunting

Hello world!

April 14, 2007

Hello, new to this site, but not to writing.  So blown away with the high calibre of postings on this site, I have to admit I hesitated to join up.  The Dating Guy had me wanting to phone him directly and tell him about my younger sister, while Looser with Socks made me think.  What do I think I have to add to this mix – life experience maybe – lord knows I am old enough; humor – well only in the dryest sense; some good old fashioned advice, well that is more my style; or maybe like so many of the other columnists here, I can share my musings, my philosophy or just some old fashioned wit from a woman who is on the wrong side of menopause and should really stop smoking.

New to blogging I hope to learn as this site grows from fellow bloggers and commenters alike.  I want to read about love and life, and I want to learn because I do believe that will keep me young.  So if you are interested in reading a commentary about Plato’s republic one day; the hassles I have with my six teenagers the next; and my continued growth into “middle age” hopefully you will add me to your list of friends and visit often.