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Global Guide to Divorce

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Children

Teaching Your Kids Discipline Through A Savings Account

One of the major pillars of developing teenage independence is to have financial independence. In most cases, children will likely never become financially independent while living at home, since there is no real pressing need. However, that will not always be the case.

So, unless you want your children moving back in with you after college because they can’t manage their finances well enough to support themselves, it is critical that they learn discipline when it comes to their money—and it can all start with learning to save.

Learning To Save An Allowance

For most children, saving money can’t really begin until they have some sort of steady income. Otherwise, it can be difficult to persuade them that they should save whatever money they may receive on their birthdays and Christmas. Since I personally don’t believe in paying for regular house chores, my wife and I have opted to give our children an allowance starting when they are five years old.

I’m not saying spoil your children with an unrealistic allowance, as it is far more likely to develop a sense of narcissism in your teen. Instead, you can try something similar to what our family does, which is the amount they receive is a dollar for how many years old they are. So, my seventeen-year-old daughter receives $17 a week while my ten-year-old son receives $10. As the system is based on their ages, it helps my children feel like it is fairer that they don’t receive the same amount of money.

With the steady “income stream” of a weekly allowance established, it can be far easier to help children learn to save.

Helping Children Set Savings Goals

Even for myself, having a goal to save toward makes it far easier to save my money. For us adults, these goals may look like saving for retirement or for a desired home upgrade. But children often have different goals they consider important.

So, no matter if you wish you had started saving for retirement as a teenager, it is not very likely that saving for retirement in 50-60 years will really appeal to your child. And without your kid’s buy-in, the goal will likely be a failure.

Instead of pushing your money-saving goals onto your children, help them set their own savings goals. Some ideas you may want to offer to kickstart their thinking are:

  • Saving up for a high-end toy or game
  • Putting away money for their first car
  • Set aside money to spend when out with friends
  • Saving for a trip or experience

As you can see, some of these money saving goals can span a shorter time period. But that’s okay. In fact, it is a fairly realistic look at how most adults spend their money. The important thing is that you don’t just step in and give them the money to reach their savings goals.

Allowing Self-Directed Savings Provide Discipline

For example, my oldest daughter liked to buy snacks at school with her allowance, then mall crawl on the weekends. She managed to hold onto enough of her allowance until her weekend mall time, until one week, she was completely out of money to spend.

Naturally, in her mind, I would provide more, but to her surprise, I told her no. Rather than have her learn later in life when it was a bill she couldn’t pay, my daughter went with her friends to the mall but felt the sting of being left out of buying a new accessory and food court fare. That, far more than anything I could have said or lectured, taught her the importance of saving her money.

If you want to help your children save more proactively for the long-term, there are several great kids’ savings account options. All of my children have a savings account with their own long-term savings goals that they determined.

Much of what we teach our children involves practicing lifelong self-care, from learning self-discipline to saving for the future. As you go about teaching your children to save their money, I recommend you keep in mind that learning to be independent and self-sufficient is a lifelong process. It may be frustrating for you and your children at times to practice these techniques of self-care, but it can also be ultimately rewarding.

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

Combat Your Teen’s Narcissism By Teaching Them Sincere Empathy

Teenagers are notorious for two things—teen angst and narcissism. In fact, many parents wonder where they went wrong in bringing up their kids to become so self-centered.

The good news is, your teen’s self-absorption is not a reflection of your parenting. They are just going through the normal phases of growing up. It turns out that being egocentric is a normal part of teen development, as it helps them figure out their unique identities separate from their families.

However, normal teen narcissism should not be confused with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). The latter is a diagnosable condition and people with the disorder normally experience difficulties in having normal lives.

Also, those with NPD often struggle to maintain healthy relationships, and the disorder usually affects their education or employment. Teens who are diagnosed with NPD require lengthy treatment and a change of environment like that provided at a therapeutic boarding school.

Dealing With Your Narcissistic Teen

The key to dealing with a self-centered teen lies in building empathy. You will need to find ways to help your teen learn how to understand and share other people’s feelings. Here are some strategies that might help.

Get your teen to volunteer.

Volunteering has several benefits for teens including opening their eyes to what others go through. Through volunteering, your teen will learn how to be a giver, not just a taker. They will come to experience the satisfaction that comes with helping those who are in need.

Help them see other alternatives.

Teens have a way of assuming other people’s behavior is somehow related to them. For instance, your teen might think that the teacher who gave him a poor grade doesn’t like him. So help your teen see that while his conclusion is a definite possibility, there could be other alternatives as well.

Don’t overindulge your teen.

Set limits on how much cash or presents you give your teen and avoid showering them with too many lavish experiences or gifts. Those only reinforce the notion that their self-worth lies in material things and showing off to others. Instead, teach your teenager that self-worth comes from the inside out and help them develop confidence in their abilities.

Limit their social media use.

Social media can encourage your teen to become superficial and obsessed with having perfect looks or material items. Limiting their screen time is a good place to start. You can also encourage them to take up other pursuits and hobbies that will help them become well-rounded teenagers instead.

Don’t shield your teen from failure.

Another excellent way to fight your teen’s narcissism is allowing them to face the consequences of their actions and not shielding them from life’s failures. Allowing your teen to experience disappointment and failure once in a while is actually good for their healthy development. Just remember to equip them with the necessary problem-solving skills to address situations on their own should they get into trouble.

While it’s normal for teens to be a little narcissistic, you should still encourage your teen to change their behavior by instilling the values of empathy in 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

What Are the First-Year Costs That Come with Raising a Baby?

When you feel you’re ready to have a baby, it can be exciting as well as overwhelming. Having a baby means expanding your family, but it also means that you’ll have some logistics to consider. Namely, what about the financial considerations that come with having a child?

There are short- and long-term factors to think about. In the short-term, you’ll have to think about the medical costs related to pregnancy and labor and delivery, as well as maternity and paternity leave from your job. You’ll have initial investments for items such as cribs and other baby accessories. Then, you’ll have to think about health insurance for your new child and childcare when you do return to work.

These first-year costs can add up very quickly, and they require planning and strategizing to manage them effectively.

LendEDU recently surveyed 1,000 parents with a child who was at the time of the research, at least a year-old but not older than three. The goal of the research was to determine what to expect when it comes to raising a child and the costs it requires within the first year of the baby’s life. The survey took place over two days in February 2019 and was conducted by online polling company Pollfish.

The following are highlights of the research.

On Average, a Baby’s First Year Will Cost $13,186

The research indicates that the year-one costs for a new baby amount to an average of $13,186, with a median cost of $6,000. This number represents quite a jump from a 2010 USDA report, that showed the average household would spend $12,000 during the first year of a baby’s life.

  • For around ¼ of the poll respondents, first-year spending for a new baby represented anywhere from 21 to 30 percent of annual income.
  • 13 percent said it was 31 to 40 percent of take-home pay, and eight percent said they had to spend up to 50 percent of their income.
  • Eight percent spent more than half of their annual income on costs related to the baby.

How Is the Total First Year Cost Broken Down?

So, more than $13,000 is quite a bit in a year. What is that spent on? The costs break down in the following way, based on the LendEDU research:

  • Toys, diapers, and gear like strollers was the most expensive category. These costs represented 30 percent of total spending, amounting to $3,965.
  • 28 percent of spending went to food, which was on average $3,692 of the total first-year costs.
  • Next was healthcare, taking up 17 percent of total first-year spending.
  • Childcare accounted for 13 percent of first-year costs for a new baby, and behind that was miscellaneous expenses at 12 percent of the total.

Did Parents Save in Advance?

With such high costs associated with having a baby, did parents plan, save and budget in advance of having a child?

58 percent of people who participated in the survey said they started saving money to prepare, although 42 percent said they didn’t budget ahead-of-time. 52 percent of parents who did say they started budgeting and saving didn’t save enough for all costs.

Many parents also underestimated how much it would really cost. The average parent in the survey expected to spend $9,371 on a newborn, with their estimates being off by more than $3,800.

So what’s the takeaway? Babies are expensive, and it’s important for parents to have an idea of just how expensive and start financially planning and preparing as soon as possible before having a child.

Author of this article is Mike Brown  at  lendedu.com/

Going It Alone: Tips for a Divorced Single Parent Expecting a Disabled Child

Becoming a parent is a time of exhilaration and anxiety. You’re thrilled to bring a new child into the world, but at the same time, you worry about the logistical and financial challenges that come with having a child. However, your job becomes a little harder if you’re a divorced single parent expecting a disabled child. There are questions and concerns about health care, insurance, and living environment that need to be addressed to ensure you’re as prepared as possible for the demands of parenting a disabled child on your own.

Physical Environment

The nature of your child’s disability will determine the modifications that’ll need to be made to your living space. Safety is always an issue where little ones are concerned, so it’s advisable to install safety gates to block stairs and to put in padded flooring that will cushion falls. Remove objects with hard edges, and place padding over the hard corners of your furniture. Safety rails in the bathroom and hallways are generally a good idea for a child with any kind of disability, as is sensor-activated lighting in the bedroom, bathroom, and any dimly lit sections of your home.

If your child has a physical disability that places a premium on mobility and access, widened doorways (a minimum of 36 inches across) and level transitions between rooms will make life much easier for a child who needs a wheelchair or some other mobility assistive device. It may be necessary to hire a local professional to make safety or accessibility modifications, particularly if structural changes are necessary. Always get estimates from at least three contractors if you’ll need a professional’s assistance. The more you can do to address your child’s physical needs in advance, the easier your job as a single parent will be.

Insurance and Expenses

Insurance can be a tricky matter for the parent of a disabled child. It can be difficult to determine the extent of your caregiver relationship (you may be needed until your child is well into adulthood), so it’s important to take out a life insurance policy to provide for your child after your death. If you’re not familiar with Medicaid, be aware that it can help you cover some of the medical expenses (not covered by health insurance) that come with caring for a disabled child.

There may be non-reimbursed medical expenses that can be deducted on your tax return; you’re at liberty to write off those costs once you’ve exceeded 7.5 percent of adjusted gross income. Also, don’t put off estate planning, and consider discussing your insurance and financial needs with a financial adviser or estate-planning expert. As a single parent, you’re the sole source of financial and medical assistance for your child, so don’t overlook long-term planning.

Self-Care

As the single parent of a child with a mental or physical disability, it’s essential that you pay close attention to your mental and physical well-being. It’s difficult to be an effective caregiver if you’re feeling run down and mentally fatigued, so take advantage of offers from family and friends to go out and do something for yourself once in a while — anything that will recharge your mental batteries will help. However, be sure to work in a little exercise every day. Even something as simple as a brief walk can be beneficial.

Yoga and Meditation

Caring for a disabled child around the clock by yourself can be extremely stressful. Consider making time for meditation (especially when you’re feeling out of control) or learning yoga, which is a unique combination of physical exercise and mental discipline.

Parenting a disabled child is a unique challenge when you’re going it alone — you need all the help you can get. Once you’ve determined your child’s safety and accessibility needs, figure out what modifications will be needed to get an idea of cost. And don’t put off seeking the advice of people who know the best options when it comes to health insurance and long-term financial planning for your child’s welfare. The day will come when you’re no longer there for your child, and having a plan in place will give you peace of mind and provide for her.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   disabledparents.org         

Teaching Children About Self-Care

Teaching Kids About Self-Care Childhood is a time of joy, growth and new adventures. Anything is possible, and there is a lifetime ahead of wonders that we can only imagine for our little ones. As they grow, the future begins to solidify itself. Goals become clearer, new responsibilities are taken on, and they begin the process of developing into who they will be as adults.

Through this process, we parents, teach them many things. But are we neglecting a critical lesson? Are we teaching our children how to engage in self-care?

The World Our Children Live In Is Stressful

A landmark study done by the National Surveys On Drug Use and Health found in 2016 that depression in teens was on the rise. Whether that is because there really is a rising number, or if we are just better tracking the phenomenon, is unknown.However, given that experts agree that teen stress now rivals that of adults, it is at least clear that something needs to be done.

Once you have seen the signs of depression in your child, one of the simplest ways to help reduce the risk in your own children is to teach them the value of self-care. Here are some ways to guide them to do just that.

Set Aside Some Off Time

By “off time” that means completely off of everything. No phones, no computer, no TV, no screens at all. No responsibilities, either. Take out a chunk out of every day for everyone to just relax and do something unplugged they enjoy. Maybe that is taking a long bath, or playing some basketball, or settling in with a book.

Have Family Dinners

Did you know that something as simple as sitting down for a meal with your family can wash away a bad day? Maybe it won’t be dinner, maybe it will be breakfast, or lunch, or even just something you do on the weekends. But having that time together to unwind as a family and talk about the day or week over delicious food is perfect self-care for everyone and a great example to set for your children.

Teach Your Children To Meditate

Meditation is not a difficult skill to acquire, even for young children. All it takes is breathing and a conscious calming of the mind. Learning to stop, breath and clear the head is a valuable coping method that can help your child through many difficult situations they may face in life.

Encourage Them To Drop Something

Is your teen overwhelmed? Are they taking on too many extracurriculars, trying to juggle a job on top of keeping perfect grades or just struggling to stay above water? Sometimes they just need you to sit them down and tell them that it is alright to drop a responsibility. It is for their own health.

By both modeling these things and directly teaching your children about self-care, you can help your teen learn how to take care of themselves well into adulthood.

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

 

 

Keeping Divorce Drama Out Of The Schools

Here are tips for parents, and divorce professionals to help keep divorce out of the schools. Children bringing their parents’ divorce drama into the classroom is disrupting. It wastes teaching time and can cause other students to lose focus on their lessons. It is not fair to anyone.

A first step is informing various school personnel of the divorce situation.   School staff cannot be fully supportive if they have no clue what is going on in a child’s life. I worked with students, parents and staff with divorce issues in the schools. Some of the problems were due to lack of communication between parents and staff.

It can be embarrassing for a child to be asked what they did over the weekend with their parents in front of the other students. They do not want to say, I went from’ Mum’s house to stay with dad. The teacher who is not informed, can put a child in an awkward spot. It is up to adults, not children, to explain what is going on at home.

Teachers and the school secretary need to know to send copies of reports and letters to each parent. Then both are on the same page. When I did not realize a divorce was in progress, an uncomfortable student would ask which parent was to receive the test results. It is up to each parent to make sure the school has their e-mail address for newsletters and so forth. Both parents can check the school’s web site for events and updates. A child is not to be told, by a parent that they were not aware of an event at school. Do not put kids in the middle.

A fallout from divorce is that the student does not have all they require for class. Some leave homework at the other parent’s house. One time a sobbing child was in my office while I called a father to bring in an item left behind at his house the prior week.  It was a crucial piece of a project which had to presented in class that morning. Unfortunately, this occurred with other students as well. Get a system, such as a check list which stays with the child between homes.

Parents, do not overshare divorce details with your offspring. That seems quite obvious, however it is not always put into practice. I had to deal with students who were upset or on the verge of vomiting when distressed over the minutia of their parent’s divorce. One boy spent time in my office while his parents were with solicitors, fighting over a shared care schedule. He did not know if he was moving house, or would not see one parent very much. Just say “we have a meeting with solicitors” and leave it at that. Why does anyone need to know what is on the agenda for each divorce session?

Schools often send home a form to be filled out with contact information and any additional notes about the student. If one parent is not allowed to pick up their son or daughter, or is out of the picture, make sure to write that down. I asked a five-year-old which parent should I call, when he was sick in my office. The little guy got upset and said “mum.” Although nothing was put in the official contact form, his teacher later told me that the father had abandoned his family. In another instance, a form had both parents and their mobile numbers. When the little girl was sick, I called her mum first and left a message that I would try dad.   Her father explained that he was out of town at the moment.

Her step-father later came storming into my office and screamed that the father should never be called. I showed him the form which listed the father. He calmed down when he realized that his wife had never informed the school about this situation. He and his wife promptly took care of it.

A ploy of a divorcing parent can be to try and get school staff on their side. We are not going to get caught up in the conflict and choose one parent over the other. Our job is to be supportive of the students and remain neutral about their parents.

If your child is anxious about the divorce and is bringing it into the classroom, consider short term counselling. My two boys met with a therapist during divorce and for a bit afterwards. It helped them to be calmer and more centred, both in and out of school. Talking to a professional or impartial adult, will help kids sort out their concerns instead of bringing them into school.

Originally published in The Divorce Magazine   www.thedivorcemagazine.co.uk/

 

 

A Simple Way To Help Your Child Feel More Loved

simple

If there is anything that you learn right away when you have children it is that kids are all different. They have different personalities, needs and interests. As they age from young children into teens, many parents feel that it becomes increasingly difficult to communicate with their teens. It may even feel as though everything you try to do and say is leading to an argument or making your child feel worse.

When we are already feeling overwhelmed, the entire process can be near insurmountable. But you don’t have to feel that way forever. One option is to adapt to how you interact with your child so you can make your child feel more loved and secure.

The Love Language Approach to Parenting

The first step in this process is knowing your kid’s love language. You have probably heard of the love languages before. Created by Gary Chapman, it is a way of establishing what ways of showing affection and care each of us responds to the most. There are five languages:

  • Word of affirmation
  • Acts of service
  • Receiving gifts
  • Quality time
  • Physical touch

People can have multiple love languages and some will be stronger than others, while some might have a couple be equally important. There are quizzes for the language, apology language and an anger assessment. Each can help you and loved ones better understand one another and even change the way you interact with other people on a professional level.

Families with older children can make taking this quiz a group activity and discuss how each can help use one another’s love language to show they care. For younger children, it may come down to guessing based on what your child appears to enjoy and not enjoy. For instance, if your child likes to be comforted with a hug or enjoys cuddling that provides a clue to their language. If they prefer verbal reassurance that is a better indication.

The Importance of Warmth

A study by the University of Amsterdam looked at what helps to build self-esteem and positive self-image in children. According to their results, lavishing praise on a child can have the opposite effect.

Instead, what has the greatest impact on a child’s self-esteem is the warmth that is shown to them on a consistent basis. Each of the five languages is based on warmth delivered in different ways. You can customize that warmth in a way that your child will respond to most, making it even more effective for their emotional well-being. All of this can help your family to become closer and help ensure you child feels truly loved.

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

 

Travel Tips For The Single Parent

Travel as a single parent gives one the opportunity to strengthen the bond between parent and child, and leave the complications of divorce behind. Taking a vacation does wonders for getting rid of stress and returning rejuvenated. When used to having a travel partner (former spouse), it can be unnerving to go alone with the kids. Having to watch the youngsters 24/7 without a break can be tiring, however there are ways to meet everyone’s needs. Enlist a family member to go with you. My mother went on a Hawaiian cruise with my sons and I at the beginning of my turbulent divorce. I got much needed alone time when she did a few activities with the boys on shore. All of us were happy. Some siblings and their offspring have taken trips together or shared a holiday home. An adult took a turn watching the cousins, so the other one could relax.

What works for many single parents is selecting a hotel with a kid’s or teen club. The wee ones are busily engaged learning songs, crafts and games while their single parents can relax with a book or enjoy the facilities. In Nevis, my boys learned about Caribbean traditions and marine life, while I headed off to the gym. There are resorts with great kid’s clubs globally, in Greece, Mexico, the Caribbean and so forth. A divorced friend likes the Club Meds where the children are occupied in their groups and she interacts with adults. They also do enjoyable activities as a family. She prefers the all-inclusive resorts so there are no financial surprises. This is one reason why I like cruising – I can budget my trips and know what the cost will be.

Cruises are a fun way to see many destinations without packing and unpacking. Most have clubs for the little ones and their teenage siblings. There are numerous activities, sports and shows on board that can be done as a family. After my divorce, my sons and I wanted to start fresh with holiday rituals. The three of us sailed around New Zealand and made several stops in Australia over Christmas and New Year’s. The décor, food and concerts were fabulous and I did not have the usual holiday stress. Ships provide an easy way for us to see the world and experience different cultures.

Various travel companies have tours for families, such as safaris in Africa, with child centered activities. They are slower paced and are also ideal for grandparents. These tours give adults an opportunity to have time without the kids, while they are engrossed in an activity. My teen and twenty-year-old did fine on a regular tour to India. Teens like trips packed with interesting sites, such as ancient stone fortresses, colorful bazaars, and activities that are not available at home. If you can time a trip around a festival or cultural event, that adds excitement. For example, we went to a Hindu Temple in Delhi on one of their holiest days of the year.

Consider only having one or two places to stay on a trip, particularly with very young children. Have that be your hub and plan day trips or primarily see the sights around your location. Changing hotels frequently with much travel is tiring and can be stressful. Going to a Dude Ranch and riding horses for a week can be memorable. There are hikes, campfires and outdoor fun. Kids enjoy farm stays and playing with the animals. A city break such as London, has many kid friendly museums and historical sites, like the Tower of London. My sons loved feeding the ducks in the various large parks and I liked sitting on a park bench reading. Orlando is another example where a single parent and kids can stay put in one hotel and enjoy the many amusement parks in the area. Trying to see too much in a short time is exhausting. On a trip to Burma (Myanmar), I crammed too many destinations and hotels into our itinerary. My young sons got cranky and I ended up sick. Spending a week at a beach, lake or mountain cabin is a lovely way to unwind.

When planning a trip post-divorce, there are practical aspects to remember. Inform your ex-spouse before taking your children across the state line. Get written permission that is notarized by the other parent, when taking youngsters out of the country. You do not want to be accused of international kidnapping, plus the airlines may ask to see this letter. Both parents must be present for a child under sixteen to obtain or renew their passport. A notarized letter giving permission from an absent parent will suffice. Make sure that each of you has at least six months left on your passport before it expires or another country can deny entry.

View travel as an adventure. Yes, things will not always go as planned, so be flexible and pack your sense of humor. Something that goes terribly wrong can be a funny story for years to come. Enjoy your single parent vacations, as your children will grow up too quickly. Bon Voyage!

My article was originally printed in DivorceForce   www.divorceforce.com/   Affected by Divorce? Join DivorceForce, the online community committed to empowering those affected by divorce. Many helpful articles for those facing divorce.   @divorceforce (Twitter)

How To Handle Parental Guilt

We are not immune from parental guilt which can be intensified during divorce. One feels like they could have done more for the children, even when nearly at the breaking point. It is a challenge to juggle so many balls in the air during proceedings and not drop one from time to time. We can be our own worst critic – when in reality our actions were fine.

What helps is to have a conversation with the children and tell them that you are under stress. If you snap at the youngsters or are a bit blunt – it is not about them – but rather your tense situation. This helps the kids to feel more secure when told they are not the source of your periodic angry outbursts. When I was about to lose it, I took a time out. I told my sons to let me read for awhile and then I would be calmer.

When feeling that you have failed a child, talk it over with them. Often my sons did not see that anything was wrong, when I thought they were hurt or disappointed. Getting their perspective was a good reality check for me. Apologize if appropriate. Let the youngsters know that you feel badly for what happened. Both of you will feel better afterwards. This is a good example for them to see when someone has messed up, to say that you are sorry.

Even when some things cannot be helped, we still feel guilt. You may have a mandatory meeting at work scheduled during your daughter’s class play. An obligation may keep you from your son’s rugby match. Express your disappointment and let your child talk about how they feel. Reassure offspring that you still love them when you cannot be with them.

Do not label yourself as a bad parent when it is your choice to do something that you need to do for yourself. I recently had to stop calling myself “A bad mum” since I chose to go to a conference in London when my son would be home from university for spring break. I was torn about whether or not to leave, however decided to take the trip. As it turned out, my son had to work and departed before I did.

Notice where in your body you feel tension when you get that parental guilt. It may be a tightening in the chest or discomfort in the gut. When these sensations start to occur, recognize the need to step-back and regroup. Take deep breaths, go on a walk, do meditation or whatever relaxes you to prevent your stress level from escalating

Going out with friends was my cure. Discussing perceived parental shortcomings with others, can help you realize that you are actually doing a great job. Or your friends may have made a much bigger mistake than you did. Nice to know that other parents are not perfect either.  To read more  www.divorcemag.com/blog/how-to-deal-with-parental-guilt/

 

Communication Through The Arts For Children With Disabilities

fluteLife can be hard for children with disabilities. Athletic activities may be less practical for children with physical disabilities or difficulty balancing. However, the arts can be a safe space where they can express themselves, develop their minds and bond with others through creativity. Frequently, the challenge can be to get your child interested in an artistic endeavor.  Here are some ways you can help your child tap into their artistic side.

How the arts can help children with disabilities communicate  

The arts are important because even if your child has difficulty in academic subjects, you may find that they are naturally gifted in the arts. Engagement with the arts gives children, who may not be able to express themselves verbally, the opportunity to demonstrate their thoughts and feelings about a range of topics. The process of creation, whether it is visual art, music, or a dance routine, is powerful and helps to build self-esteem and confidence. This can lead to an in increased amount of determination to do well in all other areas of life including school.

Each type of fine art can benefit your child in different ways. Drawing, for example, helps to refine motor skills while teaching your child about shapes, shading, contrast, balance and other mathematical concepts.

How to help your child choose a fine art  

Occasionally, your child will gravitate to a particular subject, topic or form of expression on their own. This makes it significantly easier for you, as you will already have an idea of which type of artistic endeavor they will be interested in. In general, even if your child doesn’t have a particular focus of interest, it is relatively easy to tell. During free time, how does your child behave? Does he draw freehand, hum to himself, or move in rhythm in his chair? Also, how does your child act when around people? Is he gregarious and friendly or more withdrawn? Give them the opportunity to break away from established rules and express themselves artistically without any guidance other than their own inclination. Each of these can be indicating factors that can help you decide which fine art to enroll your child in.

Another way to discover your child’s interests is to expose them to different types of art – try playing different varieties of music, taking them to an art gallery, or going to see live theater. None of these activities are too strenuous for a child with disabilities and can be fascinating for children who have not experienced the arts in person before.

How to encourage your child in music  

If your child is musically inclined, the first task is to figure out what instrument they may wish to play. There are two ways to do this: either talk to them about what instruments they hear in different pieces and songs, or take them to a music shop and let them test out different instruments. Woodwinds including flutes, clarinets and saxophones, can be particularly good for children with impaired hearing, as they will still be able to feel the vibrations of the sound in the reed between their teeth as they play. To encourage your child to play their instrument, show genuine interest. Ask them questions about how their current piece is progressing, or even hold a home concert. If you are engaged in their artistic lives, they will be more likely to stick with it as they grow older.

Even if your child has had difficulty in school, becoming involved with the arts may be the way to get them interested in a wide variety of topics as their confidence builds. Showing excitement at each day’s progress will help raise their self-esteem even more.

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org

4 Key Life Skills To Teach Your Son When His Father Is Not Available

thumbnail__4KeyLifeSkillstoTeachYourSonifDadCan'We all wish our kids could have two solid, involved parents. But sometimes that just doesn’t happen. Regardless of the reason why their father isn’t in the picture anymore, it can feel as thought his place in your child’s life falls on your shoulders. That is a lot of responsibility, especially if you have a son. How can you teach him the same lessons that his father should have taught him?

The truth is that you may be able to teach him even better. There are some life lessons that go beyond how to shave, or the right way to tie a necktie. Lessons that are uniquely suited for a mother to pass down to her son, to make him a better man.

Expressing Emotion

Boys are taught from a young age to be “tough”. They aren’t supposed to cry, get too close to anyone, share how they feel…it is a toxic and unfair image that I have tried hard to break in my own sons. But the world is harsh and that message is so prevalent that it can be difficult to reach them.

As a mother, you can instill sensitivity and empathy in your son and show him that it is OK to have and express emotions.

Respecting Women

There is no doubt about it, there is a serious issue in our youth of how women and girls are portrayed. It is a battle that has been fought for many years and will continue to be. Whether because of pornography, modern media or just an incorrect view of a woman’s place in the world, we seem to be going backwards at times.

You can be a champion for respect, teaching your son how to view women in a healthy way and to treat them with the courtesy they deserve.

Trust and Dependability

A man’s word is all he has…that is a saying my dad used to say and I believe it firmly. Your son should know that if he wants to be trusted he has to show that he is dependable. If he lacks a steady fatherly role in his life, this may be an easy lesson to teach him, as he has seen the impact first hand of a lack of dependability and trustworthiness. You can also utilize the examples of wonderful father figures that surround your child to illustrate these key aspects needed in a man’s character.

Education

This one is a no-brainer. The importance of education, especially in today’s world, can’t be overstated. You should work with your son to see this critical idea. Be involved with his education and help him in his goals.

So many single mothers lament the lack of a father in their child’s life. But your son couldn’t be luckier…he has you! You can teach him those critical life lessons and help him to grow into the man you know he can be.

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 |

 

 

7 Tips for Taking On Parenthood When You’re Living With a Disability

7 tipsWhen you’re about to be a new parent, it can be tricky to truly prepare for what lies ahead. But there are a few things you can do ahead of time to prepare. Here are seven steps you can take when you’re going to be a new parent and are living with a disability.

Talk About Parenting With Your Partner  

If you plan on parenting with a partner, it’s a good idea to sit down and really hash out what parenthood means to each of you. Talk about how tasks will be divided and what roles you expect each other to play. Discuss different parenting techniques and make final decisions together. Getting on the same page before your baby is born will diffuse any additional tension during an already stressful time.  

Set Budget Goals But Be Prepared for Surprises  

With a new baby on the way, you’ll want to set a budget. Expect monthly expenses to increase, and factor in new items, such as baby clothes, bottles, and diapers. Try to set aside some savings to cover any sudden financial issues. If you’re receiving any benefits, figure out if there will be changes to your benefits if you’re having a child, and don’t forget to review your health and life insurance as well.

Be Flexible With Your Schedule

If you live with a disability, you may be used to a certain routine. Know that children, and especially newborns, will cause some serious changes to your daily schedule. It may take time to work out a normal sleep pattern, and your life will revolve around feedings and care. Clear out your calendar for the first few weeks and don’t make any other plans except for parenting.  

Max Out Accessibility in Your Home  

Make sure your house is safe and ready for you and your baby. You’ll need to focus all your energy on the new little one, so take steps now to increase accessibility. If you haven’t already, think about replacing steps with a ramp, purchasing expandable hinges for doorways, and even installing skid-resistant flooring. Preventing accidents, like slips and falls, will make life as a parent easier and can make your home safer for a growing baby as well.  

Start Small Practices to Relieve Stress  

Any parent will tell you that nothing will stress you out quite like a new baby. So try to get yourself in the habit of practicing stress-relieving self-care now. You’ll likely be short on time when you bring your new baby home, so find brief, effective methods to relieve tension. Work on a little meditation routine or practice some acupressure on yourself. Minimizing stress will help you parent more productively.

Plan Out Meals for Those First Few Weeks   

Having a new baby will leave you with very little time to cook. So it’s smart to set up some quick, easy meals ahead of time. Prepare some casseroles and throw them in your freezer, or bag up some simple crockpot meals. If you have family and friends nearby, you can also ask them to organize a “meal train” to keep your family fed. Keeping speedy meals and convenient snacks around is a lifesaver for busy new parents.  

Find Help When You Need It  

Every parent needs help from time to time as we settle into our role. If you feel overwhelmed, think about calling a friend or family member to help you out with tasks around the house. You may even want to think about hiring someone to help you out, especially during the initial adjustment period. To a new parent, help can be priceless.

Every new parent feels some anxiety at first. With practice and planning, you’ll start to feel better soon. Know that you are fully capable of taking on this task. Congratulations on your new family member and welcome to the wonderful world of parenthood!

Author of this article is Ashley Taylor   ashley@disabledparents.org