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Nobody is to blame for autism


By Emsie Martin Autism is on the increase worldwide and for that reason we have World Autism Day on 2 April to create awareness. What is autism? Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are a group of genetic conditions that cause abnormal brain development and functioning. A lot of research is currently...

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The necessity of extramural activities

By Marli Naidoo Academic performance enjoys most of our attention when we consider our children’s future success. However, if our children focus wholly on academic performance, they can begin to feel stressed. So much pressure at a young age can sometimes cause children to begin feeling depressed and resentful towards their studies. Extramural activities provided children with a release valve. By taking up activities such as karate, art lessons, cooking lessons etc. they are afforded the opportunity to explore interests they are passionate about, and can discover new strong points. When a child knows where his talents lie it will ... Lees meer.

My child is a bully: What must I do?

By Essie Bester No parent wants to hear that his/her child is a bully. It is painful to think of your child as someone who causes harm to other children. However, bullying is a serious issue for the aggressor as well. Children’s friendship skills are important indicators of their general mental health. If your child participates in bully behaviour – whether physical or verbal – it could be a sign of serious distress. She might be experiencing anxiety or depression, and struggles to regulate her emotions and behaviour. According to Dr Jamie Howard, a senior clinical psychologist at The Child ... Lees meer.

Kids and extracurricular activities: How many are enough?

By Dr Eugene Brink When I was growing up, there were only a handful of extracurricular activities kids could do. The rest of the time was for playing, and even watching TV was a luxury. Today there is a whole cottage industry of specialised activities (along with a myriad of TV choices) to cater for all needs and tastes. Kids have so much to choose from, yet they face the same challenges as anybody else: a scarcity of time and energy. And after all, kids need to be kids and just play in an unstructured fashion as well as do ... Lees meer.

The value of Equitherapy for children with emotional and physical challenges

By Melodie Veldhuizen Unfortunately, physical and emotional challenges and even physical and emotional abuse are a reality for many of our children, resulting in them finding it difficult to relate to people, especially as far as trust is concerned. However, these children are capable of forging wonderful ties with animals. Jannes von Backstrom of Rustic Roads Equestrian Centre talks about Equitherapy and how it can help children overcome these challenges. “Horse-riding is one of the most beautiful types of sports, but also one that is associated with great sadness,” Jannes says. Jannes describes Equiherapy as horses and riders combining to ... Lees meer.

First aid for the whole family

By Marli Naidoo First aid is one of those things one simply has to learn even if you hope that you will never have to use it. Unfortunately it is also one of those things that we as parents are inclined to discuss with each other but not with our children. The reason is that we do not want to frighten our children. However, it is important to talk about this as a family so that everyone can be prepared. What will your child do if something happens to his nanny and cannot take care of him at that moment? ... Lees meer.


Communication between spouses about “When one of us stays behind after the other one dies”

By Melodie Veldhuizen Whether or not you are a believer, one thing is certain – all of us will die someday. Death is not a topic anyone likes to discuss, especially not the death of a spouse. You may think about it in passing, especially when you read a news item or hear about the death of friends or family. But have you and your spouse ever discussed this delicate issue? Talked about what will become of my loved one when I die? Will she be well cared for? Or about my wishes when I am no longer able to ... Lees meer.

A true narcissist all along

By Emsie Martin The guy is jovial and everybody likes him, but behind that mask hides a person who thinks and believes he is the most important person in the world. His people at home, however, do not experience the same jovial, helpful person. Nothing is ever his fault and he never says sorry. It won’t help to talk to people about it because they won’t believe you. So what is a narcissist? The general characteristics of a narcissistic personality disorder is an obsession with self-image, power and pomp. People who has NPD apparently have such a grand idea of ... Lees meer.

How to tell your child you are getting a divorce

By Emsie Martin Divorce does not ask who you are, what type of work you do, where you live or how long you’ve been married – it just happens! To tell a child his parents are divorcing is no easy task, even if you are a psychiatrist or counsellor by profession. Sometimes the children are still too young to understand, but often there are older children involved. Parents going through a divorce must themselves work through a variety of emotions such as anger, disappointment or fear of an uncertain future. Most parents try to avoid the topic of divorce until ... Lees meer.

Is marriage counselling worth it?

By Emsie Martin The day you stood at the altar with stars in your eyes you could not imagine that you might have to see a marriage counsellor one day. After a few years, it feels as if you can no longer make things work. There are just too many differences – which you realised too late. The main problems arise because people have not learned to communicate clearly and effectively. Anri van den Berg, a marriage, relationship and trauma counsellor, explains it as follows: “Of course, infatuation plays a huge role in our choice of a partner. We are ... Lees meer.

Protect your marriage from falling apart due to financial pressures during Covid-19

By Marli Naidoo Constantly being cooped up together and financial pressures caused by Covid-19 and the lockdown regulations have resulted in many marriages falling apart and an increase in the divorce rate. In some cases, couples found that their financial challenges have led to a deepening of their relationship and stronger marital ties. However, this applies mostly to couples in the higher and middle-income groups. Families in the lower income group who are experiencing serious financial pressures during this time find it much harder to focus on preserving their marriage. However, it is possible to come out of this stronger ... Lees meer.


Help, my pet has bad breath

By Melodie Veldhuizen Most cat and dog lovers have noted that their animal friends have bad breath. You can do something about it, if you know what the cause is. Some of the causes can be treated and even preventd, while others can only be treated at great cost. Pica. This is an eating disorder where animals, especially dogs, will eat anything they see that is not food, such as faeces, stones, ground, hair, paint and even cloth. This can cause serious health problems, such as intestinal sores, blockage of the intestines or irritation of the digestive tract. You may ... Lees meer.

Should I have my dog’s hair shorn or not?

By Emsie Martin Summer has arrived, not only for us but also for our pets. Most of us think now is a good time to strip your dog of its abundance of hair, just as you strip your clothes and change into swimwear or shorts. But is it really a good idea to have your wooly bundle’s hair shorn off? Health issues associated with heat are noticeable among brachycephalic (short-nosed) dogs, especially those with long hair. In the South African heat it would really help them to have their hair shorn. Benefits of shaving your dog in summer: • It ... Lees meer.

Caring for your pet during a heat wave

By Emsie Martin Most of us have already experienced the extremely hot days of this summer season and you might be thinking it’s a good time to strip you dog of his thick ruff, just as we strip of layers of clothes and walk around in swimsuits and shorts. Your pet is also hot, but first ask your vet if it is the right thing to do. Following are some tips from the SPCA on how to protect your pet against the heat this summer: If possible, keep your pets indoors when it gets too hot. If that is not ... Lees meer.

Prepare your pet for the new baby

By Nico Strydom The arrival of a new baby can turn a household on its head and it could also affect the house pets. Once the new baby has come home, it is accompanied by an overwhelming array of new sounds and smells, and this could upset a dog, especially if it is not used to children. A baby also results in drastic changes to the daily routine, which means that your dog’s schedule could possibly also change. A new baby could also result in a dog getting less attention than before for a while. All this can result in ... Lees meer.

Learn to understand your dog

By Nico Strydom Dogs use their bodies and expressions to communicate their feelings. By learning your dog’s body language you will know when it feels sad, happy, threatened or bad-tempered. Dogs use their whole body to show how they feel in a particular situation. They will bark, whine or growl and use facial expressions and their ears, lips, noses, tails and bodies, and it is therefore important to know what the different expressions and habits mean. It is, however, important to take everything together as well as the situation in which the dog finds itself into consideration, otherwise you may ... Lees meer.


Domestic workers and gardeners: How to make sure who you are employing

By Nico Strydom Appointing a person to work in your home or on your property is not a decision to be taken lightly. According to Charnel Hattingh, head of marketing and communication at Fidelity ADT, it is of great concern that so many home-owners allow strangers into their homes or on to their property without knowing anything about them. “Most households need help – whether it be an au pair, nanny, domestic help, care-giver or gardener. Often, being desperate to appoint someone overshadows the necessity to do background checks on these people,” says Hattingh. “The end result can be disastrous ... Lees meer.

How to protect your car during rainy weather

By Nico Strydom Large parts of the country have received generous rain during the last few months and with more rain being predicted, it is important to protect your car against water damage. The heavy amount of rain results in large water puddles forming on the roads and this is exacerbated by ineffective storm water drains and insufficient road maintenance. "Not only is it a road safety hazard, but the water can be just as dangerous for your car,” says Dewald Ranft, chairperson of the Motor Industry Workshop Association (Miwa). Water damage can influence a number of different components in ... Lees meer.

Store important information on your cell phone

By Wilma Bedford Before leaving your house, you make sure that your house and car keys are in your purse and that you know where your extra keys are in an emergency, but are you really ready? You may have hundreds of photos of your love ones and yourself, but do you have photos of important documents easily accessible to save yourself time or to serve as proof should it become necessary? Take photos of important documents and store them safely in a file on your cell phone and, if you have a smartphone, store the photos safely under a ... Lees meer.

Tips to prevent road deaths

By Dr Eugene Brink A recent accident that claimed the lives of three teenagers from Groblersdal who were on their way to Hartenbos for their matric holiday is a clarion call to all of us to be even more meticulous on the road. And yet, far too many people die in brutal car accidents on South African and global roads each year – and the harrowing part is that it is largely preventable. For instance, during the 10-day period between 1 and 11 January 2021 alone 1 448 people died on the country’s roads in an eye-popping 1 210 crashes, ... Lees meer.

Domestic violence: How to get help

By Nico Strydom The number of domestic violence incidents in South Africa increased during the Covid-19 lockdown. This is aggravated by the fact that so many women who are victims of abuse and who choose to talk about it are blamed and humiliated and made to feel that there is nothing remarkable about their experience. “You must have done something to make him treat you like this. Don’t wash your dirty laundry in public. You have to make it work. All of us have problems, yours are nothing special.” These are words that are heard so often by women who ... Lees meer.


Go ahead, enjoy some video gaming over the holidays!

By Anja van den Berg It is holiday time, and some youngsters (and, um, maybe also not-so-youngsters) are looking forward to enjoying one of their favourite pastimes: playing video games!  Some concerning research has emphasised the adverse effects of too much gaming: loneliness, anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, social problems and even gaming disorders. However, the emphasis here should be on too much gaming. WebMD says that, in moderation, playing video games can do great things for your mental health. According to WebMD, there are many misconceptions about video games and their impact on psychological wellness. Video games can be a ... Lees meer.

Travel safely this holiday season

By Marli Naidoo There is excitement all around when the time comes to get away from home for a holiday. The bags have been packed and the food for the trip is ready, and all you are waiting for is for the show to get on the road. However, for travelling safely and getting to your destination unharmed, common sense is the main ingredient. Plan your trip thoroughly and be wise on the road. Plan your route beforehand. You can use GPS to get you to your destination, but this is not always faultless. Look at the instructions carefully and ... Lees meer.

Safety tips for the holidays

By Emsie Martin   It is summertime, and most of us like to go to the beach – that is if the beaches are open with the fourth wave of Covid-19 hovering over our heads. But let us not get ahead of ourselves; let us be positive and remember that it is our responsibility to keep safe. The National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) urges the public to adopt a water-safety mindset when it comes to coastal and inland waters (dams and rivers). For a safe experience at the beach, choose a beach that has lifeguards on duty, and remember to swim between ... Lees meer.

Unexpected guests for Christmas

By Emsie Martin Christmas is approaching fast and soon relatives and friends are going to turn up –and even some unexpected guests. Maybe you have been caught on the wrong foot. Do not panic; there are some hints you may consider. According to Carla Oberholzer, debt adviser at DebtSafe, it is not advisable to postpone doing your shopping to the last minute. There are three types of scenarios why it is sometimes necessary to buy Christmas gifts at the last moment: As we all have experienced over the past two years, financial conditions are tough and owing to a limited ... Lees meer.

Online reviews: Separate the wheat from chaff

By Dr Eugene Brink Holiday time means vacation and exploring new places for eating and shopping. While this sounds exciting, the actual experience might disappoint unless you knew more. In the Covid-19 era, people are increasingly turning to online reviews to form an informed opinion – and to the internet to purchase goods. Research firm Statista found that more than 2 billion people worldwide are expected to buy goods and services online in 2021, up from 1,7 billion just five years ago. “In the world of online shopping, often buyers will purchase an item only after they see that other ... Lees meer.


Easy and cost-effective home improvements this summer to increase your house’s value

By Anja van den Berg December is the time to breathe and take stock of your year. Most of us also benefit from a bonus salary cheque or a year-end bonus. Instead of spending that money on frivolous things, why not invest in one of your most important assets: your home. Even simple upgrades could improve the value of your property. If you’re watching your budget (as most of us are), small cosmetic changes could look like a million bucks. Here are some summer home improvements that will increase your home’s value: Glam up your exterior You’re going to spend ... Lees meer.

Normalise mental health in your family

 By Marli Naidoo The stigma surrounding mental health has subsided considerably over the past decade. This decline is not happening fast enough, however. Most people struggling with mental problems have already run into misconceptions regarding psychology; that they should only be positive and their problems will go away; that it is only a phase; and that they can control it if they only try hard enough. This stigmatisation makes people feel ashamed about their problems so that they are not exactly willing to get help. It is essential for parents to start teaching their children about mental health from a ... Lees meer.

The activities of Afriforum neighbourhood watch and how to get involved

By Melodie Veldhuize You may be aware of ongoing action in your neighbourhood to fight crime, proactively and reactively. But do you know who these people are and how they function? Most probably they are volunteers from AfriForum’s neighbourhood watches. Jan Wessels, Head of Community Security at Afriforum, tells more about the activities of neighbourhood watches and how you can become involved. IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCHES, COMMUNITY POLICING FORUMS (CPF) AND AFRIFORUM NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCHES? There are similarities and differences regarding regulating legislation, raison d’être, constitution and code of conduct, entity, conflict resolution, community security plans, support, reporting ... Lees meer.

Tips for protecting your house in the rainy season

By Nico Strydom The rainy season will start shortly over large parts of South Africa and it could cost homeowners a lot of money if they don’t take the necessary precautions in time. According to Virseker homeowners’ claims during the rainy season from March to October rise to a whopping 197% of the average for the rest of the year – which was the case in 2018, 2019 and 2020 – and this is caused mainly by weather-related factors. Homeowners and lessees therefore have an ideal opportunity to inspect their houses, make the necessary adjustments and do repairs to avoid ... Lees meer.

Protect your house against wind and rain

By Emsie Martin The coming rainy season could be an expensive one if you do not do the necessary repairs and adjustments in time. According to a statement issued by Virseker the number of claims submitted by house owners during the rainy season – from October to March – could increase by as much as 97% as compared to other seasons. “Water, hail and lightning damage or blown over trees are typically the main culprits. Something that could have been prevented by good, proactive inspections and maintenance,” says Ricardo Coetzee, spokesperson of Virseker. Virseker offers the following tips for a ... Lees meer.


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