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Global Guide to Divorce

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Children

How to Make Remote Work Possible With a Baby or Toddler at Home

Over the last year, more and more people have had to transition to learning how to work remotely. Even as COVID-19 cases have been reduced, the odds are good that many parents are working out of a home office for the time being. Although remote work limits your risk of spreading the coronavirus, it’s also a major productivity challenge all on its own. Add a very little one to the mix, and things can get hectic, fast.

However, there are ways you can keep your cool, stay productive, eliminate household stress, and manage your household all at once. Wendi’s Tips shares some of the best techniques working parents can use to get through the next few months with their sanity intact.

Dress for Comfort

When you’re taking care of a little one, you’re on the go a lot. Parents of young children spend a lot of time kneeling down, playing on the ground, and chasing after budding crawlers and walkers. If you don’t have access to child care, this is still going to be true while you’re working remotely. The fact that you’re also going to be juggling work is only more reason to focus on wearing comfy clothes.

Now, we’re not saying you should stay in your pajamas all day — that’s not the world’s best look on video calls. However, split the difference with comfortable, fashionable items. You can get yourself a whole cozy remote work wardrobe without spending too much if you keep your eye out for sales at shops like Dillards. This can be an especially good move for new moms — elastic waistbands are your friend for those first few months.

Get Help If Possible

Depending on your situation, you may be able to ask a local friend or family member to bubble up with you and be a dedicated babysitter. Your parents, siblings, or close friends might be willing and able to take this on for you. Have a clear open conversation about what level of quarantine and self-isolation everyone wants out of the bubble. It’s important to be on the same page in order to make sure no one inadvertently crosses a line.

However, we understand that this won’t be feasible for everyone. If you can’t find anyone who can bubble with you, you might still be able to get a little bit of babysitting out of interested loved ones. For example, you can look into setting a friend up as your virtual babysitter. This works by setting your child up with a video chat with the friend or family member in question. It’s not a perfect solution — you definitely still need to be in the room so you can keep your little one safe — but they can hold your child’s attention while you knock out a task or two. Remember, video chats are thought to be a healthy, productive form of screen time!

Ask for Flexibility

At the end of the day, your best bet over the next few months might be asking for flexibility at work. For example, you might ask if, apart from meetings, you can work during non-traditional work hours. If you have a partner who also works from home, see if you can organize it so one of you works earlier than the traditional 9–5 and the other, later. This will give both of you more time to dedicate your full attention to your child or your work, rather than try to split it between both.

Enhance Your Career Prospects  

Now that you’re working remotely, have you considered giving your career a boost? Online degree programs allow you to complete your coursework from home and work at a pace that you can adapt to your family obligations. There are all sorts of online programs available, including those with degrees for business, teaching, nursing, and accounting.

These aren’t the only options, so go into the conversation with an open mind and a few ideas for what might work. You and your supervisor can collaborate to come up with a solution that works for your family and your team. Remember — this is all temporary. Come up with a plan for the next few months, and try to take things one day at a time. Soon, this will all be behind you.

Author Janice Russell believes the only way to survive parenthood is to find the humor in it. She created Parenting Disasters so that parents would have a go-to resource whenever they needed a laugh, but also to show parents they aren’t alone. She wants every frazzled parent out there to remember that for every kid stuck in a toilet, there’s another one out there somewhere who’s just graced their parents’ walls with some Sharpie artwork!

How to support your children though a divorce

The year 2020 has been a pretty brutal one for most people. Some people have been able to find some comfort in the bonds of family and friendship. For others, however, those bonds have been stretched to breaking point. If you’re in the latter group, here is some advice on how to support your children through a divorce.

Have a basic plan in place before you break the news

For a child, there are no positives to a divorce. This means that you need to focus on minimizing negatives. Ideally, you want to be able to show your child that, effectively, nothing is going to change for them. If that is not possible, then explain how you’ll minimize the negative impact of any changes.

It’s best if you and your partner have a complete plan ready before you break the news to your child. At the same time, however, you want to make sure that they hear the news from you, not social media. For practical purposes, therefore, it may be best just to outline your plan and then tell your child. Commit to keeping them in the loop as your plans develop.

Involve your child in discussions/mediation

Wrapping up a marriage almost always involves lengthy discussions, especially where children are involved. For many couples, mediation sessions are a practical and affordable way of keeping these discussions civil and productive. These are probably going to be where you and your partner iron out the practicalities of your split.

Some of those practicalities will have a massive impact on your child. This means that, whenever possible, they should have age-appropriate input into the discussions. They don’t have to know everything. In fact, it’s often better that they don’t. They certainly shouldn’t see their parents openly arguing. They do, however, need a reasonable degree of information and involvement.  

Try to maintain a consistent routine

Right now, COVID19 is probably causing more than enough disruption to their lives, especially when it comes to co-parenting through a pandemic. This means that it’s more important than ever to maintain stability as much as you can.

As a minimum, stick to regular mealtimes and nap/bedtimes. Resist any temptation to try to soften the blow by excess use of treats such as sweets and late nights.

If COVID19 means that you and your partner are stuck with each other’s company for longer than you’d like, keep it civil. You’re probably going to have disagreements. Recognize this in advance, own the fact and agree on a process for dealing with them privately. If you’re able to move out physically, have a plan in place to maintain contact, even if it’s only virtually.

Stay consistent with discipline

This is really a sub-point of keeping to a consistent routine. It is, however, important enough to deserve a mention on its own. Children handle divorce differently. In fact, the same child can handle divorce differently on different days. This is particularly true if they’re going through a lot of hormonal changes.

Recognize the difference between understanding their feelings and handing them control. Maintaining consistent rules and boundaries may be challenging in the short term. It will, however, help your child’s long-term recovery and personal growth.

Author Bio

K J Smith Solicitors are specialists in family law, experienced in all matters relating to divorce, civil partnerships, cohabitation disputes and collaborative law.

 

10 Tips To Prepare Preparing Your Children For Your Divorce

Whenever there is a divorce it impacts a family as a whole. Children are never aware of the situations and hence they are impacted more severely. Parents are involved in their fights while getting a divorce and children get squeezed into these issues. While if a child is not prepared for future outcomes then he may face mental challenges such as depression, aggression, and hatred.

Now how do you make your child prepared? What are the steps to be used to start the process? How to make sure it never happens in the future? So here comes some tested tips to help you out.

Where to start?

No parent would want their child to be in a negative phase of their life and that too because of problems between parents. Hence prior actions can avoid these situations and assure a happy future for your child.

Age matters

There is a difference in the mentality of a toddler and teenager and hence you need to speak to them differently. Well, a parent needs to have a proper consultation with a divorce attorney in Long Beach because they are also going through the same time.

Talking with toddlers

Babies are simple as they don’t understand the events while they need time for care and nutrition. You can not leave them alone. Kindergartners can understand some events with limited thinking. If you can avoid creating situations in front of them then it will do. You can watch their behavior and talk accordingly.

Early teenagers

These are around 6-11-year-olds who have gained enough knowledge to understand the situations. They can recognize and become depressed with thoughts of divorce. They may ask questions or not but you need to empathize with them and tackle with care.

Teens

Children at the age of 12-14-year-olds are more prone to be mentally depressed with divorce or may not get affected at all. But both behaviors are dangerous as they must be explained in situations clearly. While talking to your children and understanding them needs a lot of psychology knowledge.

Priorities

There are times when you reach out to your child but they won’t respond to you. You need to make sure while being in these situations the communication should be more open. You need to tell them that your parents are open to each thought you have. As they can trust you and share their thoughts.

Handling forthcoming prospects 

While handling a divorce your child needs to be ready for each struggle he may face in the future. What you can do? Start with build g a good relationship, you may already have it. It is just that you keep working on it while not forgetting your children in between of divorce.

Tell them what you feel rather than beating around the bush. You should not hide real situations as when they come to know it might be a shock. So be careful when you handle a child.

Read

A parent must not think that they know everything. You may not know some key areas for the importance of a child. But if you read good parenting books then it is more likely that you can understand situations much better before it gets worse. Reading will. make you ready to tackle situations differently.

Avoid conflicts 

What you can do when conflicts are likely to arise during or after divorce? Your child will be against them at some points, he will ask you hundreds of questions each day. You may come across conflicts while answering these questions. It is imperative to avoid conflicts.

How can you avoid conflicts? You can easily avoid conflicts by preparing a reasonable answer backed by logic before the conflict happens. You may want to know what questions can be there. Step into the shoes of your children and think about what they can ask? Eventually, you will understand.

Consistency

A parent’s job is never completed; they need to be continuously working on and creating it with their child. You may lose the consistent behavior but then again start from scratch and try reconnecting. Ask their schedule to be involved more. Engage them with family bonding activities. Slowly be better at it.

Conclusion

Reach out to family law attorneys in Long Beach in case of any help. Don’t hesitate even for once as these situations may be more clearly explained by the best divorce attorney of Long Beach. I wish you all the luck that prevails!

 

3 Tips that Make Budget-Friendly Birthday Parties Easier for Parents

Kids look forward to celebrating their birthday party every year. If you are a parent who is working with a tight budget, however, you may not be looking forward to the costs of hosting a party in your home. Thankfully, putting together an unforgettable home birthday celebration for your child doesn’t have to cost a fortune if you use these budget-friendly tips.   

Keep Kids Busy without Worrying About Extra Expenses  

The whole point of a birthday party is to celebrate and have fun, so make sure you incorporate some savings-savvy party activities into your plans. Hosting a sleepover can offer some super creative ways to entertain all of your little guests, especially when you can put together a backyard stargazing party that’s practically free and oh so much fun! You can use a telescope you already own or have kids build their own. Party guests will be so excited to check out the stars at night, and backyard astronomy lessons are educational as well.

Looking for more activity ideas for a fun birthday bash? Check out these budget-friendly ideas, like a treasure hunt or a chance to stomp on balloons. Just be conscientious of any children who may have sensory processing issues, and try to have alternate games set up for them. Bingo and rubber duck hunts are autism-friendly activity options if you want your celebration to be inclusive of children who have special needs.  

Feed Those Hungry Party Guests without Going Over Budget  

To keep kids from getting cranky, you will want to have few snacks and beverages available. If you plan on hosting your children’s friends for a full meal, try to plan a menu that won’t break the bank but will still satisfy picky eaters. A hot dog bar is a fun way to fill those tummies, or you could go with pizza for a super easy crowd pleaser. Want to avoid the costs of a big meal? Schedule your party between mealtimes. Time is important when you have a super-slim food budget, so aim to have your event happen between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Of course, no birthday bash is complete without a cake. Instead of overspending at a gourmet bakery, go to your local grocery store and give a plain cake an easy makeover that will wow everyone. Cakes from grocery stores are less expensive, and you don’t need to worry about ordering ahead. Simply scrape off any typical store decor, and replace it with your kid’s favorite candy or cereal.  

Plan Your Party Around a Theme to Make Decorating Simple  

Planning out activities and food options will help you keep party costs under control. You can make planning easier by coming up with a fun theme as well. Some of the most popular party themes let you get as fancy or basic as you want, and you can create most of these pulled-together parties for minimal costs.

If your child loves nature, consider a magical enchanted forest theme, and use free decor, like pine cones and tree branches, to spruce up your party space. You can even use pine cones for additional craft activities, which can save you even more. Complete the look and functionality of any birthday party theme by picking up supplies to match too. You can shop online for inexpensive party kits that come with everything you need to add the finishing touches to your celebration. From fun party plates to eco-friendly straws, you’ll have all of your birthday party bases covered.   

By celebrating your child’s birthday at home, you’re already on the right track to stay within your budget. Make sure you save even more, and still keep everyone having fun, by using the handy party-planning tips above. After all, your guests will care much more about the memories they make than they will about how much you spend on the party itself.

This article was written by Natalie Jones of homeownerbliss.info

Reminder: You Can’t Buy Your Children’s Love

It’s a common scenario. Parents get separated or divorced and have joint custody of their kids. One of the parents then starts showering the kids with extravagant gifts from concert tickets and designer clothes to electronics and trips to fun or exotic places. They might let the kids get away with everything, allowing them to stay up late, eat anything they want and enjoy as much screen time as they like.

If you’re guilty of any of these, it’s time to reconsider your behavior.

Divorce is often hard on everyone involved and where you used to enjoy unlimited access to your kids, you now find yourself co-parenting and splitting the time you spend with them with your ex. This can trigger feelings of insecurity tempting you to try to buy your kids’ affection.

Maybe you are still reeling from the divorce and your unresolved feelings are driving you to upstage your ex-spouse in the gift-giving arena. Or perhaps you feel guilty about putting your kids through the trauma of divorce and so you try to buy their love. On the other hand, you might genuinely care for your children and want to spoil them once in a while, especially if you don’t get to see them that often.

Regardless of the reason, you need to stop and reevaluate your actions. Your quest to be known as the favorite parent or secure your children’s favor might be doing more harm than good. An all too common parenting mistake is giving into your kid’s every whim. While it might seem like a sure way of getting into their good books, in reality, you’re just creating entitled kids. Similarly, giving your children extravagant gifts isn’t bad, but you should never do it to compensate for your poor parenting. Otherwise, your kids might come to equate love with “things”.

Making things right

Recognizing that you’ve fallen into a common parenting pitfall is the first step towards changing things for the better.

You can’t buy your kid’s love but you can foster it. Here’s how you can do that:

  • Speak your kid’s love language.

Love can be expressed and received in different ways. Discovering and speaking your kid’s primary love language ensures that they feel loved and allows both of you to build and reap the rewards of a fulfilling relationship.

  • Put their needs first.

In the wake of a divorce, it’s easy to lose sight of your children’s needs. But no matter how confused, angry or hurt you feel, you shouldn’t turn the situation into a competition for your kid’s affections. It’s important to learn how to meet not only their physical but also their emotional needs.

  • Don’t be afraid to discipline them.

You might want your kids to consider you the fun parent so you hold back on disciplining them. However, letting them get away with all kinds of behavior isn’t love. Kids need consistency and structure to thrive so don’t be afraid to lay some ground rules and set consequences.

To get true love from your kids, you need to treat them well and spend time building a healthy lasting relationship with them. Get to really know them and be the best parent you can be. Remember that while presents are nice, what your children really want is your time and attention. These stand the test of time and are way more valuable than any possessions you can get them.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

Single Moms – Tips To Learning To Read Your Boys’ Emotions

Bringing up kids together with a spouse is one thing, raising a son as a single mom is another. Boys aren’t known to be very emotionally expressive and going through a divorce can make them even more reticent. The lack of a male role model or influence can further complicate things, leaving your son confused as to how to act and express his emotions. As the mom, it’s up to you to learn to read and interpret your son’s emotions.

Unfortunately, society teaches boys and men that they can’t have or express certain emotions. Expressing emotions like loneliness, fear or sadness is often considered feminine and is seen as a sign of weakness. So often these feelings come out as anger and aggression- the emotions that are seen as socially acceptable for boys and men to express.

It’s not uncommon for kids who have been through a divorce to experience a wide range of feelings from anger to anxiety and loneliness. Add adolescence to the picture and you have a young man with a cauldron of emotions churning through him with no socially acceptable way to express them. Without proper guidance to find healthy emotional outlets, he might suppress his feelings or start acting out.

Research has shown that emotional suppression has negative outcomes on children and can lead to depression in teenagers, anxiety disorder, and poor sleeping patterns, among other issues. Acting out, on the other hand, can put your son at risk of substance abuse, disciplinary issues and even run-ins with the law. It is, therefore, crucial for you to help your son find healthy ways to express his emotions.

Interpreting Your Son’s Emotions

Boys may not be adept at expressing their feelings but with a little observation, you can learn to read and interpret them.

Your son may convert stereotypically feminine feelings like vulnerability, nervousness or sadness into pride or anger which are more socially acceptable for boys to experience. He might even cover up these feelings with nonchalance. For instance, if he’s about to take a major exam, he might cover his nervousness with indifference. Alternatively, if he’s feeling fearful or anxious in a certain situation, he might lash out in anger to hide his true feelings.

Suppressed emotions may also leak out in the form of physical ailments. For example, if you might notice that your son regularly complains of headaches or stomach aches when he’s anxious or nervous e.g. before an exam, before playing in a major game, etc.

Helping Your Son To Express Himself

Here’s how you can teach your son to be more emotionally expressive:

  • Model emotional expression. If your son sees you showing a variety of emotions, he’ll become comfortable embracing all his feelings. So let him see you happy, anxious, sad and everything in between. Seeing how you manage these emotions will also teach him how to regulate his.
  • Listen to him. Learn to give your son your complete attention whenever he chooses to express his feelings. Don’t rush to give your opinion, advice or solutions, just listen without judgment to what he’s saying. Seeing you pay attention and take him seriously will encourage him to open up more.
  • Find male role models. Since you’re divorced, your son isn’t likely to see his father every day even if you’re on good terms. This means that he needs strong father figures in his life to mentor him. The male role model could be an uncle, a pastor, counselor, or coach.
  • Teach him healthy coping mechanisms for negative emotions. Left unchecked, negative emotions can wreak havoc in your son’s life. Let him understand that while it’s okay to experience anger, frustration, grief, sadness, discouragement and a host of other such emotions, he’s still responsible for his behavior. Help him find healthy ways to purge these feelings either through physical exertion e.g. playing sports, going to the gym, taking a walk or through creative outlets like music, art or journaling.

In order for boys to grow into well-adjusted men with rich emotional lives and deep connections with others, they have to be taught to embrace their emotions as well as learn to express them in healthy ways.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

 

Co-Parenting A Teenager That Is Vaping Behind Your Back

Raising a child as a single parent thanks to divorce is no mean feat. If that child is a teenager, then things often become more complicated and you need to know how to handle it..

Take, for instance, the vaping craze that’s exploded among teens. What happens when you discover that your teen is vaping behind your back? How will you handle it? How do you and your ex work together to discover a solution?

Why is Vaping Dangerous?

You might be wondering why vaping is a serious issue. Don’t worry, you’re not alone. Most parents and teens are under the impression that vaping simply involves inhaling harmless water vapor and flavor. There’s a misconception that e-cigarettes are better than conventional cigarettes.

However, while e-cigarettes are smoke and tobacco-free, most still contain nicotine. This is a dangerous, highly addictive substance that can wreak havoc on teens’ developing brains, affecting their learning ability, attention span as well as their mood and impulse control.

Additionally, the CDC reports that the vapor or aerosol from e-cigarettes isn’t as benign as once thought. It contains chemical fruit or candy flavorings that have been linked to certain lung ailments. What’s more, the nicotine in e-cigarettes might put users at risk for addiction to other drugs in the future.

Co-parenting A Vaping Teen

Teens can turn to vaping for several reasons including acting out because of divorce or because of peer pressure. Here’s how you and your ex-spouse can handle the situation:

Discuss the issue with your ex-spouse.

You and your ex-spouse need to sit down and discuss how you’re going to handle this situation. Things won’t work if one of you sees that vaping is a problem and the other thinks there’s nothing wrong with it. Get on the same page on how you’ll raise the issue with your teen, the consequences they’ll have to face and what kind of help they should receive, if necessary.

Have a discussion with your teen.

Next, have a discussion on vaping with your teen either separately or together as his parents. Avoid scolding or lecturing and instead, ask open-ended questions to initiate dialogue. This way, you have a chance of discovering the root cause of their behavior. During the discussion, educate your teen on the dangers of vaping.

Outline consequences to your teen.

For consistency, both you and your ex-spouse should agree on suitable consequences for your teen’s vaping. These consequences should be clear and should match the committed offense. For instance, you could ground your teen for some days or withdraw some of their privileges for a while. Ensure that consequences set are enforced by both of you and that rules are the same at both homes.

Seek professional help.

Finally, if you both notice that you’re not having any impact on your teen, seek professional help. It can be hard to quit vaping but it is possible as long as your teen is willing to do it. There are trained professionals who can guide your teen on how to become vape-free.

As parents, both you and your spouse should find ways to co-parent your teen through a vaping incident, keeping in mind that his well being is the most important thing.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

A Single Parent’s Guide To Settling Into A New Neighborhood After Moving

It’s not uncommon for Americans to move multiple times throughout their lives. Some people may simply switch to another city or state, whereas others may head abroad. According to an Internations survey, reasons for moving include love or a desire for a comfier retirement. Whatever the motivation, moving offers an exciting opportunity to get a fresh start. This is especially true if you are recently divorced and looking to turn over a new leaf. The process of transitioning to a new place can be daunting, however, especially if you have a child in tow. So, let these pointers guide you through the process.

Make Sure the House Is Ready Before You Move In

You don’t want to spend the first night in your new home discovering that there’s no hot water for a shower or cooking. Before you move, check that basics such as plumbing are working and that the bare minimum safety devices such as locks, smoke alarms, and carbon monoxide detectors are in place. If any remodeling issues related to wiring, plumbing, or heating and cooling are needed, have these fixed before you move in. It’s also smart to scope out amenities before moving day. Where is the nearest pharmacy or supermarket? Do you know who to call in case of an emergency like a power outage or a broken pipe? Lining up this information beforehand can save stress down the line.

Unpack in an Orderly Fashion and Prioritize Kids’ Rooms

When it comes to the actual moving day, label boxes according to room. As you unpack at your new place, Moving.com recommends starting with kids’ rooms. You can ensure your little ones are comfortable and stay safely out of the way in their rooms while you finish unpacking in peace. Consider loading up a tablet with their favorite games and cartoons to keep them occupied. After your kids are cared for, prioritize the remaining unpacking based on the rooms you will need most urgently, such as your own bedroom and the kitchen. As you continue unpacking over the first week, you can start adding personal touches that will make it feel like home, such as kids’ artwork and family photos.

Take the Time to Get to Know the Neighbors

Once your house is somewhat in order, host a housewarming party and invite people from the surrounding neighborhood to stop by. You can simply leave an invitation in their mailbox, with a few brief lines about yourself and your child. This is a great way to get to know fellow parents in the area; some may even have kids in your child’s age range. If not, network and ask those who stop by if they know of potential playmates for your little one. Getting kids involved in local activities like sports teams is another fun way to get them settled.

Get Out and About in Your Community

The key to really getting to feel at home in your community is to get out of the house. Take the time to visit local shops and restaurants, join your neighborhood association, and host events to get to know people. If there is a public library or visitors center nearby, check of bulletin boards advertising community events. The local newspaper is also a great resource to see what’s going on in your area. Finally, a fun activity for a single parent and kid to get to know their city is a hop-on, hop-off bus tour.

While moving can be nerve-wracking for kids and adults alike, you should be able to integrate with ease. Keep in mind it will take time to adjust to your new surroundings and that you and your child may get “homesick” from time to time. This is perfectly normal. Stay positive and focus on the many exciting opportunities your new community has to offer. With an optimistic outlook, you’ll be sure to find yourself feeling at home sooner rather than later.

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not step, Not Half, Just Family

The family structure in the US is changing and blended families are becoming more common. While raising any family comes with its fair share of hurdles, blended families have to deal with a lot more challenges.

I don’t have a blended family myself but I have friends who do and I admire the work they put into uniting their families. That’s the whole point, isn’t it? To have a happy family where everyone feels supported, valued and loved.

Sure blended families come with a lot of names depending on the mix involved. All kinds of remarriages can happen, thrusting children from both partners into a world of “steps” and “halves”. You can have stepfathers and mothers, step-siblings and half-siblings. These names might be biologically correct but sometimes they miss the point –FAMILY.

A blended family, regardless of how it came about, is still family. We are human and sometimes we tend to focus on irrelevant things. So rather than spending time worrying about titles in blended families, what you should call each other or how to explain your family to other people, the focus should be on bringing your family together.

Uniting a Blended Family Can Be Challenging

When it comes to families, none is perfect and blended ones can be even more challenging to bring up. Don’t let the Brady Bunch fool you, becoming one united blended family doesn’t always go seamlessly.

It would be naïve to expect your family to meld together right away. Your children will need time to adjust to your new partner and their new siblings. Sibling rivalry will still be there and might even be worse, especially if the number of kids in the family increases and they feel they’re not getting the attention they’re used to.

Parents also need some time to adjust to the changes brought about by blending their families. You’ll have to work together to navigate tricky terrain with co-parenting, discipline issues, dealing with holidays and celebrations, divided loyalties and other headaches that may arise. You’ll find yourselves looking for any parenting tips you can get your hands on and having lots of conversations to work things out.

In spite of these challenges, it’s up to you to give bringing the family together your best shot.

Yes, It’s Worth It

So what if your child has a different biological mother or father? Or maybe they’re not comfortable calling you mom or dad and instead prefer using your first names? Does that make you love them any less?

Ignore the “half” and “step” titles and purpose to unite the family, bonded by love under one roof. Think of it as having been given a puzzle to complete with a bunch of different pieces thrown in. Insisting on making the original picture on the box won’t work. What will work is making a new picture with the pieces you have now.

Purpose not to separate members through titles and proudly say yours isn’t a step or half family, but just a family.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter

 

 

How To Balance Your Child’s Time When Getting Divorced

Parents take decisions and children have to live with the consequences. The decision to divorce may be one of the hardest decisions a parent ever has to make, but the sad truth is, if handled the wrong way, it can be even worse for the children.

The good news is that handled the right way, divorce can be a manageable experience for children of any age. They may never be happy about it, but they can learn to come to terms with it, provided that they still get equal care and attention from both parents.

Here are some tips on making that happen.

Start by working out where children need to be and when   

In this context need means need and as such is non-negotiable. The most obvious example of places children need to be are school and bed. Block out these times and only these times. For the moment, ignore the issue of travel. Right now all that matters is where children need to be and when.

Then work out where parents need to be and when   

In addition to work, parents also need sleep time, plus they may need time for other matters like doctor’s appointments or other caring responsibilities, such as taking care of elderly relatives.

It may be possible, or even desirable, for children to be with them for some of these essential activities and where this is the case, make sure to take a note of this.

As before, ignore travelling time, focus purely on where parents need to be and when and if children can be there too.   

Move on to working out where and when the children have their key commitments 

In this context, key commitments means the places the children really want to be, so their most important activities. This could be anything from after-school clubs, to regular play-dates to being with grandparents. Again, ignore travelling time for now, just look at where children need to be and when.

Finally, work out where parents want to be and when. 

Parents need some downtime too, so acknowledge this and try to make it happen if at all possible.

Map out the best way to join all these dots 

In general, your order or priorities should be as listed above: children’s needs, parent’s needs, children’s wants and then, finally, parent’s wants. While you should, obviously, aim to give your children as many of their (reasonable) wants as possible and certainly do everything you can to ensure that they continue to make established commitments (unless you have reason to believe that they’d prefer to drop them anyway), the fact is that there’s no point in setting an expectation that you will do something if both parents need to be somewhere else and there is nobody to step in.   

Remember to factor in travel time and treat it as travel time 

The reason for ignoring travel time in the early stages was because the first priority was to establish where children and parents needed to be as a prerequisite to looking at the different options for getting them there.

When you actually start to look at ways to turn a set of points on a schedule into a workable routine, then it becomes important to think about the practicalities of getting from A to Z via all relevant points in between.

For the most part, in the real world, these commutes will be contact time with a parent (or other carer) but they will not, necessarily, be quality time, especially not if the trip is by car and the parent has to focus on the road.

In order to be fair to everyone, this reality should be acknowledged and factored into any discussions about how the children spend their time.

Do your best to leave blank space in everyone’s calendar

Life is going to happen and there needs to be some flexibility to cope with this. By leaving some blank space in everyone’s calendar, you give yourself room to manoeuvre when the need arises, which it almost certainly will.   

Focus on the moments rather than the minutes 

While it’s important that children spend fairly equal amounts of both contact time and quality time with both parents, they are not food items which can be split equally down the middle to give each parent an exact half.

Instead of parents worrying about making sure they get their “fair share” of their children’s time, focus on making time with the children precious so that they fully understand that, regardless of what is happening in their parent’s relationship, they are loved and valued by both the key people in their lives.    

Author Bio

Elizabeth Bilton is an accredited mediator and qualified solicitor for Midlands Dove, with a specialism in family law disputes. Elizabeth is one of only a few Mediators in the UK with an appropriate FMC accreditation to sign off on MIAMs required by the Family Court prior to an application being issued.

 

 

Helping Your Child Through Social Anxiety

It will be surprising to many parents that even young children can struggle with social anxiety. We’re social creatures, and our appreciation of key social dynamics begin forming as early as age two.

So, during your child’s formative years, it’s important to both teach them basic social skills and help them get comfortable around their peers. This is so they can develop a healthy social schema and consolidate their emotional intelligence.

Most young children don’t have the introspective skills to know when they’re dealing with social anxiety. So, being educated about the signs of and symptoms of anxiety in children is a must for parents.

What is social anxiety? 

It’s important to define what social anxiety is in children. Many adults confuse social anxiety with introversion or poor social skills. This innocent misconception hurts more than helps because many times parents won’t realize there’s an issue.

Regarding social anxiety, the ADAA states, “the defining feature of social anxiety disorder, also called social phobia, is intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.”

When your child struggles with social anxiety it can make performing day-to-day scholastic tasks like public speaking or reading out loud difficult. It can also present during playtime, making it especially hard to have and keep close friendships.

If your child is dealing with any form of anxiety this can have a negative impact on their social and emotional development. On a personal level, social anxiety can profoundly change the course of a child’s self-confidence.

Signs of Social Anxiety in Children 

Once you understand the characteristics of social anxiety, it’s a good idea to be proactive and look out for the signs. A common theme in socially anxious children in visible fear or panic while socializing. This fear will manifest as outbursts, crying, refusal to speak, or freezing.

You will also notice that their fear is disproportionate to any actual threat. One disappointing social interaction may cause your child to stress in similar situations for weeks or months. So, it’s important to make sure they have realistic social expectations early on.

Some physical symptoms of social anxiety include a stuttering or trembling voice, body shaking, rapid heart rate, sweating, and a pale complexity. These symptoms will vary from child to child, so it’s important to be in-tune with your child and recognize atypical behaviors.  

What Can You Do? 

Empathizing with your child and making sure they know you’re there to help is vitally important. In addition to providing familial support, bringing your child to a licensed child counselor is another great way to get to the heart of their anxiety and work towards overcoming it.

You can also help teach them simple social cues and sills. This could include role-playing and practicing conversations. If your child has a presentation coming up, help them prepare beforehand by practicing in front of you so they feel more confident about their speaking ability.

Dealing with Your Child’s Social Anxiety 

Remember that there are varying degrees of social anxiety, and your child may fall on different ends of the spectrum depending on the situation. In any case, being patient with them is important to remember when helping them deal with their anxiety.

When your child turns to you for help, make sure to be patient with them. Sympathize by sharing a time when you felt anxious and let them know they’re not alone. Keep working with them to get their anxiety under control, and frequently check up on their progress.

Author of this article Alexis Schaffer received her undergraduate degree in psychology and is a registered nurse. In her free time she teaches yoga and writes for various online publications. She’s also the proud dog mom of a beagle named Dobby.

How To Help Your Teenager With ODD Still Have An Organized Life After Divorce

Divorce is often tough on the whole family, more so children and teens. Teenagers already have enough to deal with and most of them experience a cocktail of emotions after their parents’ divorce. They may feel angry, frustrated, sad, confused and lonely.  Such a stressful situation might worsen the behavior of teens with Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD).

ODD teens are not your typical teens. This behavioral disorder is characterized by consistent defiant, hostile and uncooperative behavior towards authority that seriously interferes with the teens’ daily life. The upheaval brought about by divorce can exacerbate an ODD teens’ symptoms and behavior, making things even more difficult for the family.

Part of dealing with an ODD teen involves creating and establishing structure to provide guidance and a positive atmosphere that’s crucial to their healthy development. This shouldn’t stop because of their parents’ divorce. Both parents are still needed to give guidance, love, and support.

Establishing Structure for your ODD Teen after Divorce

Maintaining rules and consequences.

You might feel guilty or overwhelmed after a divorce and that can lead you to let certain behaviors in your teen slide. ODD teens still need consistency so make sure you still uphold the rules and consequences they’re used to. Have a discussion with your teen and let them have a say in coming up with effective consequences and rules they should adhere to.

Cooperating with your ex-spouse.

Co-parenting after divorce brings its own set of challenges. ODD teens thrive on conflict and may enjoy pitting one parent against the other so having clear, open communication channels between the two of you will eliminate a wide range of problems. Both you and your ex-spouse need to have a discussion about your ODD teen and get on the same page about discipline and the basic rules they should follow.

Watch your own behavior.

Parents are behavioral models for their teens so ensure you only model behavior that you want them to emulate. Avoid bad-mouthing your ex-spouse and don’t use your teen to spy, report or check up on them either. Also, work out issues that involve you and your ex-spouse directly with them without involving your teen.

Enlist the help of a professional.

Talking and reassuring your teen can go a long way towards helping them adjust to life after divorce. However, your teen might refuse to talk to you and might feel better opening up to a trusted individual like a therapist. If that’s the case, enlisting the help of a professional might be the best thing to do. The professional might even recommend a behavioral modification program for your teen to help them get back on track.

While focusing on your ODD teen’s behavior is important, don’t forget to prioritize your own self-care. Find ways to keep yourself healthy as both you and your teen cope with the divorce.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter