Last updateMon, 28 Jan 2013 9pm

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Friends and Relationships

If you were a car? What would you be on the motorway we call life?

This article is a variation on a theme of the rocket chart. It will help your jelibean find out who they are and who their friends are. Here we explore other ways that we can help our children find out who they are and where they are going in life. This article is very literally a ROAD MAP involving a motorway.

If your little jelibean is too old to do a Rocket Chart or just doesn't fancy it, then don't despair as there is always another way. It's understandable that there are some children who are either too old to be bothered with Rockets or that don't like that idea. Don't bother to try and argue, if a jelibean has decided that they don't want to do something, DON'T force the situation.

Motorways work equally well. Liken life to the motorway closest to you. Life on the Motorway can be very dangerous indeed especially for the scared little jelibean.

The driver of the car is the one who is responsible for getting from A to B in as safe and direct way as possible. Most children like cars, even the girls, especially if its a pink or black Mini convertible, with a really neat CD player and shiny alloys. I am sure it doesn't take much imagination for your child to identify their own self as a car. Would it be the T Reg Escort, the Silver one with the gold go-faster stripes, the alloys and sound system that cost more than the car is worth?


Marshmallows usually identify with the steady reliable cars like Volvos or Saabs or Land Rover Discoveries. They may look boring, folks, but they are always the ones to start on that cold day in December. Marshmallows appear to read signposts very well, respectful of others on the road, they pay attention to the speed signs and are able to predict the road ahead, they also take into account the weather and the time of year.

OK by now I hope your jelibean will be able to think of the car he or she is most alike. This is the time to take that piece of paper and the pens or pencils and start to draw their imagined journey through school, or the family, or their social group. So start their little jelibean engines up and take them on a very different journey up JeliMallow Motorway. Ask them to make a map of their route. In advance, tell them, they must

Prepare for the journey. Make contingency plans for the unexpected delay or two.

Be flexible Don't set impossible targets.

Stop regularly, refuel and refresh.

Observe other drivers. Stay away from the boy-racer types.

Stick to the speed limit. Accidents will delay you and maybe even include you.

Rest and Relaxation - time out

Fuel and Energy
Help in case of a breakdown
Service and tidy up time
Reassurance and advice and information


Is your child identifying itself as too fast or too slow?
Does your child know the danger signals, or is your child so scared of the danger signals that it can't progress?
What colour is your jellybean's car? Is it a SAFE colour?
What kind of cars are your jellybean's friends and teachers and mentors? Are these cars dangerous? Are they articulated lorries, are they pulling caravans and getting in your child's way? Are they White Vans? Do any of your jellybean's friends have faulty brakes and no MOT?
What lane does your child drive in, and does s/he feel SAFE in that lane? Is it the best lane or does s/he feel forced into that lane?
Who are your child's Service Stations? And why? Are these Service Stations readily available throughout the day?
Is your child scared of changing direction?
What does your child see as its journey's end?

It's just a matter of sticking to the rules and knowing what the signposts are. It's important to take particular note of point 5, taking a break. Remember the docking stations in the Rocket Charts? You can use Service Stations to make the same comparison. Ask your child what and who their Service Stations are.

Traffic Jam
Service Stations provide:
You can also ask them to mark out the people they know, in their class or in their social circle, ask them to put these people in whatever kind of car suits their personality, and place them in whatever lane they think they're suited to. Mark the slow lane as green, the middle lane as amber, and the fast lane as red.

It may surprise you where your jelibean child places you, and in what kind of car s/he places you, but this is all part of the learning process you're going through together, and if you do a motorway map at the same time, your jelibean, who's chosen a pink Mini as representative of themselves may be shocked to find that you've decided they're actually a quad bike, which shouldn't be on the motorway, anyway! You may also be surprised at their choice of vehicle for "friends" whom you thought were reliable. Your jelibean child knows best.
The possibilities for the motorway are endless and together with the Rocket Chart are probably a book on their own, so I'll end this bit with a few little ideas for you to expand on while you're drawing your maps with your jelibean.
Speed Cameras mean stick to the rules and slow down. If you do get stopped by the police or get ticked off by the teacher, you only have yourself to blame.
Use the correct fuel, putting diesel in a petrol engine wreaks havoc. Ensure that you have identified a good Service Station to stop at, one that will provide you with all you need to proceed safely.
Exits always lead to roundabouts, and you can always change direction if you want, but crossing the central reservation is lethal. If you make a mistake, that's OK, best to admit it quickly and return with an apology.
Lane Control is vital. Point out that the middle lane and fast lane are actually only to overtake slower cars or big lorries. Staying steady in the slow lane will be SAFE and you can then watch all those around you from a SAFE distance. There is really only one lane in our lives thats SAFE thats why the marshmallows choose it. It's the lane marked green.

So who are you in car terms, or are you a great big juggernaut? I used to be the crazy bottled blonde in an untaxed Ferrari, always in a helluva rush, handbag hanging off my arm half open, searching for the keys which is making me stressed as I KNOW I had them a minute ago. Once that drama is over, it's the CD, it's the wrong one, the kids have been messing about with it. By the time I get to wherever it is that I am meant to be, I'm a wreck, and the car is missing wing mirrors or even a wing. I thankfully now spend most of the time in the slow lane, as I've found that a second-hand Punto is OK to drive and gets me where I want to go. I've found a great steady Discovery to stay behind. I tend to do as it does, its SAFE. Whenever I do pull out to overtake it somehow blocks me gently. I don't need to overtake any more. This is the story of my life, but what you're doing in watching your jellybean plot his or her life on the motorway of secondary school or work is finding out, jointly, what preparations and risks your jelibean knows s/he is making and taking.

These are the things you should be watching out for: