Family of the Week: Charles

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Author of Beyond the Past, Pam Charles and her two sons - Sheffield Eagles rugby league player Wesley, 17, and Lucas, 9 - live in Whinmoor, Leeds. Pam also writes a blog at http://beyondthepast13.blogspot.co.uk/

What are your top tips for getting children to do what you ask?

Be courteous and build up a good relationship of listening to them not just instructing them.

What family task takes you the longest?

Homework. It’s a nightmare trying to get Lucas to sit down for long enough to start. Once started and he can keep his concentration it takes no time at all.

What’s the funniest thing your children have ever said/done?

I took Wes to Anfield to see Liverpool FC play Barcelona when he was four. He ran up the stairs into the stadium, stood with amazement and shouted, “Mum, there’s a football pitch in here!” Lucas told his reception class teacher he was not allowed coca cola at his Grandma’s. When asked why he advised it was for the Bacardi!

What’s your favourite family day out?

Anything as long as it does not involve any shopping! Lucas loves animals so Knowsley Safari Park or Yorkshire Wildlife Park. Wes loves sport so a rugby match or football game. We all love the cinema and now Lucas is old enough to join us for James Bond and Star Wars – all fanatics of both!

What hobbies/pastimes do you enjoy as a family and separately?

We love any sport. We spend our time together playing board games, watching F1, football, rugby league, darts, American football, world strongest man. We have very limited spare time. The boys use theirs to play computer games. I use my spare time to write.

What’s the hardest thing about being a parent?

Getting it right and knowing if you are getting it right. I decided to parent my children as equals so they are involved in decisions and discussions. I listen to them. It’s hard doing it a different way to the norm and know whether you have made the right decision. So far so good.

What is Leeds’ most family-friendly restaurant and why?

Sant Angelo’s in Wetherby. It is our little piece of Italy.

What’s the best thing about weekends and why?

Wes plays rugby league for Sheffield Eagles so weekends during the season are taken up with match days and there is nothing more special than seeing your child fulfilling their dreams. Off season is football season so I watch Lucas play.

What is your most treasured memory?

There are so, so many. Seeing Wes run out for his first ever game with the Sheffield Eagles, Lucas taking part in a maths competition in front of the whole school and parents, my first book, Beyond the Past being published. To name only a few.

What’s your top penny-pinching tip?

Only buy what you are going to eat. Before I was diagnosed with Meniere’s disease, I had a great job and admit I wasted money on food we didn’t eat. Now I am forced to be more frugal but having a rugby player to feed means we have to have good quality protein and vegetables. I only buy for what we need for meals. There is no waste but we eat well.

One family member’s proudest achievement?

For me it has to be Wes pursuing his dream of being a professional rugby league player. I know the sacrifices he has made and how hard he has worked, right from the age of six. For the boys they would say my book being published.

What can your children not live without?

Most definitely wi-fi. They wouldn’t know what to do without it!

Jeremy Thompson chatting with Nelson Mandela in 2007.

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