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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

 

 

Renters And Emotional Support Animals: Understand Your Rights

You find the perfect apartment just minutes from work. Plenty of space, lots of windows and a price point that fits your budget. Everything looks great until you discover the rental has a “no pets” policy. And your pet isn’t just any pet, she’s an emotional support animal who’s been by your side for years and there’s no way you’re moving without her, no matter how great the deal or location. Is there anything you can do?

Landlords May Not Know the Importance of Emotional Support Animals

Most landlords who have a “no pets” policy aren’t necessarily not animal lovers, they just want to protect their investment and ensure tenants have a peaceful environment. Help educate your future landlord with this important information about the need for an emotional support animal.

Physical well-being impacts emotional well-being.

Harvard University studies have shown that petting a dog decreases blood pressure, and have correlated dog ownership with lower triglyceride levels. Walking a dog increases physical activity, which correlates with an increase in endorphins. Improving these health metrics creates a less stressful environment which helps to decrease depressive symptoms.

Depression and anxiety can create social isolation.

Exercise, grooming and vet care are necessary elements of owning a pet. These necessities mean getting out and about which can lead to interactions with other people. Dogs, especially, are naturally social and draw people into interaction with their owners. Walking the dog or going to the groomer offers purpose and socialization and makes it easier for the pet owner to start up a dialogue. This decreased social isolation helps reduce the impact of depression and anxiety.

People with depression and anxiety live with low self-esteem.

An emotional support animal helps improve self-esteem which leads to a better quality of life. A study conducted by Dr. McConnell of Miami University revealed that pet owners have higher self-esteem and decreased levels of anxiety than those without pets. Emotional support animals not only help decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety, but they can also be a part of the healing process as self-esteem improves.

When Awareness and Education Don’t Sway Landlords, You Still Have Options

The best option for coming to an agreement with a landlord who isn’t swayed by your efforts to educate should be communicating about emotional support animal laws. Here are some points you’ll need to know to have a productive and agreeable conversation.

  • Emotional support animals provide therapeutic support and are protected under the Fair Housing Act. This means that a landlord can’t require a deposit or free for your pet and can’t require specific training.
  • Service animals perform a necessary medical service and are protected under the Americans With Disabilities Act and these pet owners will rarely encounter any resistance from potential landlords, pet policy or not.
  • Landlords with a “no pets” policy will often require a signed emotional support animal letter from your doctor stating the necessity of your pet. They can also request proof that your pet is parasite-free, immunized and otherwise in good health.
  • Be aware that even with protective laws, landlords are only required to make reasonable accommodations and may deny animals for a variety of reasons.

Some reasons for denial could be the absence of an emotional support animal letter, destructive or threatening animals, large animals, and illegal breeds or species.

Hopefully, a conversation with your prospective landlord about the need for emotional support animals and how they provide support will get you into that perfect apartment. If not, you have legal recourse which should make a landlord rethink their position and be more receptive to working out an agreement.

Author Bio: Heidi is a Thiel writer and content creator who focuses on valuable guides for seniors, veterans, and disabled individuals. You can currently find her work over at TurboTenant, and view the full guide to emotional support animal laws for more information.

Finding a Home After Your Divorce

After a divorce, it can be difficult to continue living in the house you once shared with your partner. At the same time, however, searching for new property in the aftermath of a divorce can be just as tough. Not only are you in an emotionally vulnerable state but may also be experiencing a financial hit as well. The average divorce in America costs an average of $15,000, which is more than most families can comfortably afford. Some families choose to sell their original home to help pay for a new one, but this isn’t always possible when one party keeps the property.

Take Some Time to Think Things Through

After a divorce, most of us are in no sound mental state to be making major life decisions. A new home is a huge investment, and you shouldn’t be too hasty when searching through the listings. If you’re feeling stressed or frazzled, you may be more inclined to accept an unfair offer, or you may accidentally overlook problems with a property.

Instead of rushing into a new mortgage, take a few weeks to a few months of living in a rental property before committing to buying a home. You can use the time to find new accommodation that fits family life, or if your kids have flown the nest, then a smaller space that is comfortable without being poky. That way, you’ll be stepping into the transaction with a clear and sound mind. The emotional aftermath of your divorce is much less likely to influence your decisions, allowing you to set yourself up for success.

Take Stock of Your Financial Situation

Before checking your local real estate listings, you should be well aware of what finances you do (or don’t) have at your disposal. You should record your incoming and outgoing costs, slashing any unnecessary expenditures to increase your net income each month. You should also take into account any divorce-related fees that may impact your bank account, including lawyer costs and alimony payments. 

If you and your partner have any joint bank accounts or shared investments, you should make sure to separate your finances before your divorce is finalized. If you don’t, the actions of your ex-spouse may affect your credit score after the divorce, negatively impacting your ability to find a good mortgage rate. It’s also a good idea to remove your name from the mortgage on your current house so that you don’t end up being responsible for double payments each month.

Raise Your Credit Score

No matter what your mental, emotional, or financial state might be, raising your credit score is a surefire way to find a house at a more affordable price. The higher your credit score, the lower rates banks are willing to offer you on your mortgage. The easiest way to raise your score is simply by paying your bills on time, but you can also whittle down your debt, keep your credit balance low, and call your bank to settle any disputes on your record. You should also keep credit cards open, as closing accounts can increase your credit utilization ratio. 

In the months after a divorce, it can be a challenge to figure out your new living situation. If you plan on buying a house, it’s vital that you do your research before looking at local listings. By taking your time and understanding your finances, you can find your dream property at a price you can afford. 

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.  

Guide For Dealing With Tricky Dating Situations After a Break Up Or Divorce

Dating again after divorce can seem like one is back in high school with the drama it can entail. One may have forgotten what it is like to have a crush on someone and hope that they feel the same way too. Or you feel like running in the opposite direction from an individual, when there is zero interest on your part for a date. Do not  feel coerced into going on a date, as you do not owe them anything. Same with going on a date out of pity. You could get tangled up in a mess when trying to break free down the road.

Have some stock phrases ready for turning someone down. When there was a frequent customer at work on the verge of asking me out, I bounced a few ideas off my girlfriends on how to say “no.” Asking me out did not catch me off guard and I turned him down, kindly, but firmly.

If on the fence about going out with someone, have a coffee date. You arrive separately and can talk for two hours if you hit it off, or make a hasty retreat if you do not.  There is less pressure in this casual setting.  Friends who meet people on Tinder revealed that their first date or two are over lattes. One can get a sense of character over the short time span.  A friend was asked out by a well-travelled, intelligent fellow.  They had much in common and he insisted on a coffee get-together the following week. When she explained that she had houseguests to entertain before work, he said since the coffeeshop was next door to her place of employment he would be there waiting. He hoped she could make it. She did not like that he felt her time should be spent with him rather than with her guests. She was glad  to have only had a quick coffee with tis controlling man, instead of a long evening

A painful part of dating is when only one party feels a strong attraction and the other does not. It is a delicate dance whether or not to share that you are attracted to them. The other person may reveal that they also feel a spark. Or they may look like a deer caught in the headlights with a look of fright on their face. When someone states that they want the relationship as friends only, accept it. You are not going to change how they feel about you. It can be tempting to think “Well, if I lose weight/whiten my teeth/ take up tennis (or whatever), they will find me irresistible.”  In this case it is clear that dating is not on the horizon. Think about if you can have a platonic relationship with your crush or if it is better to cut ties and move on.

One may not be aware that they are giving off mixed signals which can be confusing.  An example is, two male friends told me to stop wearing rings on my wedding finger.  When I protested that the jewellery was ethnic looking, they said “yes, up close, but from across a room they look like wedding rings on that finger. That keeps a guy from approaching you. Or you don’t want the men who are only interested in married women.” This goes for men too.  A woman sees the flash of silver or gold on the wedding finger and assumes it is a wedding band.

Please read more in Divorce Magazine  www.divorcemag.com/blog/tips-for-dealing-with-tricky-dating-situations-post-divorce/

10 Dreamy Places To Visit With Your Partner

Travelling is unquestionably one of the best ways of spicing up a relationship. A romantic getaway with your soulmate is something you probably need to consider to keep that candle of joy burning. Traveling to a new place will definitely go a long way to help you create lasting memories.

But what are some of the places you can visit? There are thousands of places that have a romantic vibe. Some of them may actually be right there in your locality.  In this article, we will unveil ten places that should be on your traveling bucket list and what makes them so special. 

Santorini, Greece   

Santorini is an island in the Aegean sea. And you should definitely try seafood from this places, it’s yummy. This small town is known for its beauty and traditional architecture inspired by the Greek culture. One of the most iconic places in Santorini is Oia. It provides one of the world’s best sunset views you can ever imagine. Imagine watching the orange ball kiss the sea from a cliff on the edge of the beautiful town; isn’t that romantic?

Santorini also houses some of the best beach cottages in the world. They make it a nice destination for a honeymoon. What makes a trip to Santorini even more appealing is the fact that accommodation and hotel services are fairly priced as compared to other similar holiday destinations around the world.   

Bali, Indonesia   

How about a walk on the black sandy beach? You got it right, it’s actually black. This may sound odd and creepy but believe you me, it’s magical once you get there. Karamus Beach in Bali is one of the most beautiful places to visit. A walk on the expansive beach with your loved one in the morning breeze can be quite romantic.

As much as black sands draw your attention, there is a lot more you can do in Bali. It offers a good venue for water sports such as jet skiing and board surfing. You should definitely give it a try sometime.  Bali also houses some of the world’s classiest beach hotels. Imagine sharing a bottle of the prestigious Dalmore with your other half as you watch the subtle sea tempest from a balcony of a hotel just off the black beach. Fancy, right? 

Venice, Italy  

Venice is a city with a rich history. Its history is best portrayed in its prowess in performing arts. You should definitely pay a visit to one of those opera theatres in Venice. You will appreciate how Italy’s culture and traditions are integrated into modern stage performances. The peak of it is the dazzling classical music from the opera’s own live orchestra.

If you are a fan of travel shows on television and blogs, then you have most probably heard about the famous gondola rides. It’s so calming to ride in a gondola through the grand canal and the Po River that literally flows in the middle of the city. Venice literally oozes with romantic experiences.  Saint Tropez, France  

You probably have not heard of this one that much. It is a popular notion that France is the land of Romance. I can’t think of a better place in France to justify this other than Saint Tropez. It is a coastal town and therefore provides all those beach and ocean niceties.

My favorite place in Saint Tropez is its outskirts. It has this nature vibe that you definitely ought to try. Infamously, it is surrounded by beautiful countryside with spanning vineyards. You should try getting a few bottles of wine from there.   It also has really nice roads that you can enjoy taking a drive or a ride on. It won’t be such a bad idea for you and your lover to grab a dr650 and cruise through the hilly terrain of the countryside of Saint Tropez. Don’t forget to carry a tool pouch if you are planning for a bike ride, you don’t want to get stuck in the middle of nowhere in case of any breakdown. 

Masai Mara, Kenya    

Have you experienced Africa’s tropical climate? You should definitely try it for a change. Pay Masai Mara a visit especially in the month of August. You and your loved one should try and go check out the wildebeest migration; one of the wonders of the world. 

Cartagena, Colombia   

This port city in Columbia is a gem in the tourism world. It is one of the most beautiful places you and your significant half can visit. It will be quite enjoyable to walk down history lane and mingling with people of Colombian origin by getting to learn about their traditions. 

Swiss Alps   

Ice skiing is one of the most thrilling activities. The Swiss Alps will definitely spike up your adrenaline. You don’t have to be a protégé at it to try it out. The good news is, you can get experts to guide you through it. You can as well choose to take a retreat in one of those mountain cabins.

Is hiking your thing? If yes, then the hilly ranges adjacent to the Alps are definitely your place. You and your lover can grab the chance to be part of a camping pilgrimage. A wild adventure will definitely give you a chance to put your survival and exploration skills to the test. 

Whistler, Canada  

There is love in the mountains! Add spice to your relationship by surprising your spouse with a trip to Whistler. Rent a cottage and have the experience of having a model home in the lofty mountains.  To add more taste to it, you can visit the Whistler art galleries and gaze upon the artistic prowess that adorns the walls. You will also get to chance to see the trophies of some of the mountain’s almost extinct wildlife species.

Don’t forget to pay a visit to the fire and ice show. You will be intrigued to watch some of the world’s most daring acrobats perform amidst flaming rings. 

Tulum, Mexico   

This is truly one of the most exquisite and exotic places any couple should visit. It’s not by surprise that it is one of the most popular honeymoon destinations. Tulum has a good number of hotels and restaurants that will allow the two of you to try the Mexican cuisine.  A visit to Tulum is not complete without engagement in the Mexican festivities. It is a chance to experience their adorable and intricate culture first hand. Notably, Mexico is known for its cordial and welcoming people. 

Hawaii, USA  

This is one of the most exciting places to tour. Besides its beautiful beaches and five-star hotels, it’s nightlife stands out. If you are a couple that treasures a good party time, then Hawaii is a good choice. It houses some of the most lively clubs. You can also get a chance to attend concerts grazed upon by some of the world’s best musicians.

Truly, love is not complete without happiness and a bottle of Weller bourbon. Make your relationship interesting by visiting some of these places. It will definitely be worth your while. Love is about making memories that you look back at during hard times and see more reason to stick together.

 

 

Top Tips for Stress-Free and Budget-Savvy Family Travel

budget savvy travelFinding ways to stretch your travel budget can be complicated, especially when you’re trying to accommodate different age groups. You want everyone to enjoy themselves, and pleasing members of your whole family can leave you pulling out your hair. Here are some suggestions for making the most of your getaway without experiencing hassles and stress.

Smart Booking Strategies  

Timing can be everything when it comes to travel planning. If you can put it off, the Guardian recommends waiting until the last minute to book your arrangements, as it frequently equates to a substantial discount off advertised prices. Your other best option is to book extremely early to secure the best rates. Discounts for children are something of a rare commodity these days, although some experts note that airlines will allow infants under the age of 2 to fly for free, so long as you hold your little one in your lap.

Another suggestion is to take a respite from parenthood and plan a holiday apart from your children. There are responsible, caring, safe babysitters out there, and with this being the Information Age, you can book a reliable sitter via the web. If you have any concerns about the person you hire, you should meet up before confirming your arrangements.

Family-Friendly (and Budget-Friendly) Lodging   

Putting a roof over everyone’s heads for the duration of your adventure is part of the crux of family travel, particularly when you want to be careful in your spending. You can check in with company internet boards and newsletters for people letting out rooms, or consider a house-swapping arrangement. Sometimes, it pays to take advantage of traditional family-oriented options, such as camping, staying in a farmhouse, or booking a stay in a hostel. Be forewarned: Some experts point out that hostels vary tremendously, from the most pleasant of accommodations to those which are questionable at best. Do some research beforehand and check the ratings and reviews prior to making a decision.

Check Your Dates  

When it comes to saving money over the course of a stay, the Barefoot Nomad points out that you can often come out ahead by lengthening the duration of your trip. Consider adding a day or two at each end of your holiday, and you might find it’s well worth the added expense. Just ensure you can set aside the time from your workplace before making the commitment.

Cut Meal Costs   

Feeding your youngsters can be a traveling challenge, especially if you have any picky eaters in your bunch. While it isn’t always as enticing as eating meals out, consider making a grocery run once you reach your destination. Choose some simple staples you know your youngsters will enjoy, such as favorite cereals and sandwich foods, and aim to partake in at least one meal you prepare each day. Let your kids select the food, and include something special that wouldn’t normally be allowed. It’ll be easier on your wallet as well as your nerves, and you and your children can then venture out for explorations with full bellies and clear minds.

Plan Outings Well   

When it comes to finding budget-friendly entertainment for your holiday, a variety of attractions are free to children. For the best results, plan your days around meal times and the normal napping schedule. You don’t want to be standing in a long queue when your youngster is too hungry or too tired, potentially resulting in crankiness and temper tantrums. Short, simple events are usually more convenient and relaxing for everyone.

Ensure your next family holiday is enjoyable and affordable with good planning. Schedule your trip carefully and make selections that stretch your budget. With a few smart strategies, you and your kids are sure to have a wonderful time.

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

Image courtesy of Pixabay

 

 

The Role of Father Figures in Your Child’s Life

thumbnail_fatherfiguresIn a perfect world, children would grow up in happy, loving families, enjoying the attention of both their birth parents. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect and parenting roles keep evolving. Where nuclear families were once clear cut, parents now have to fit in different roles from step-parents, single parents, co-parents and so on.

As a result, many children are growing up without their biological father’s presence in their lives. Regardless of how uninvolved a father is in the life of his child, don’t fret. There are other men who will ably step into that role to provide the love, support and guidance your child needs. These father figures can include grandfathers, uncles, a trusted family friend, teacher or pastor or even a sports coach. What matters is that they are able and willing to be present and involved in your child’s upbringing.

The Importance Of Father Figures

While there are many single parents who do an excellent job of bringing up their children solo, having a father figure there brings added value. Research suggests that children with active father figures have fewer psychological and behavioral problems. Such relationships have a profound influence on a child’s development, positively impacting their moral, social and cognitive growth.

Father figures step up to the plate and create opportunities to interact with your child just as their biological fathers would- bonding through play, reading stories, fishing, sports, movie nights etc. Other than being a positive and guiding influence in your child’s life, having a strong bond with an affectionate father figure has also been shown to somehow inoculate children against alcohol and substance abuse, making them less likely to end up as troubled teens.

Additionally, the relationship your child has with their father figure can affect their future relationships. The early interactions from childhood can act as a blueprint for other relationships throughout the child’s life, influencing their interactions with others as well as giving them an idea of what acceptable behavior in a relationship is.

Since boys typically model themselves after their fathers, they require positive male role models with good values to look up to. The father figure will provide an example of how a man acts towards other men, women and children and also how to behave in different social and professional situations. As your son grows into his teens, he will greatly appreciate having a man who listens, guides and provides advice and support to navigate tricky situations that teenage boys find themselves in.

Girls on the other hand, will use the relationship with their father figures to form opinions of how men should treat women. A loving, kind and gentle male role model will do a lot to boost your daughter’s self-esteem. As she moves into the dating world, she is likely to pick partners with the same characteristics as her father figure because that’s what she’s familiar with.

So even if your child’s biological father is no longer in the picture know that there are other father figures who can step into those shoes and provide the positive guidance, unconditional love, genuine affection and sincere support that your child needs.

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 | LinkedIn

 

Get in Shape for Free: A Fitness Guide for Single Parents

Engaging in regular exercise is one of the smartest investments anyone can make, especially if you’re a single parent who needs the energy to keep up with her kids. And when we say “investment” we’re talking about time and effort, not money. To show you what we mean, here are several free (or almost free) ways to get in shape. Use these tips to give you the guidance and motivation you need to achieve your fitness goals.

Stick With the Basics 

TV programs love to show images of people with big arms and sculpted abs. The purpose behind most of these promos is to sell you some kind of overpriced product, usually with the promise that it will turn you into a superhero. Sadly, the real world never works that way. Most home fitness machines end up as overpriced coat hangers or yard sale merchandise. So skip the gadgets and start with these four classic routines instead:

  1. Pushups. This one exercise can do you more good than all the fitness products on the market. It strengthens the arms, shoulders, chest, abs, and even the legs. Plus, it costs you nothing. You need only a small amount of space and the motivation to improve yourself. And don’t beat yourself up if you can’t do a standard push-up right away. There’s no shame in starting at the intermediate level by bending your knees. Soon you’ll be pumping them out with the best of ’em.
  2. Situps or leg raises. This exercise will bulk you up without draining your wallet. Some people have trouble doing sit-ups because of neck or back issues. If that sounds like you, then leg raises are a great alternative, according to the fitness experts at the New York Times.
  3. Squats/deep knee bends. Not only will this exercise give your legs a great workout, it’s a perfect way to get cardio benefits at the same time. The burpee is a more advanced variation of the squat, one that combines the benefits of squats and pushups while getting your heart going.
  4. Walking. Yep, you read that right. According to Mayo Clinic, you can enjoy fantastic health benefits simply by putting one foot in front of the other. Start by walking 30 minutes 3-4 times a week, then increase the intensity by picking up your pace or walking hills as time goes on. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes and dress with the weather in mind.

Staying Motivated 

We all know that lack of motivation is the reason why most people fail to exercise. So don’t feel bad if your biggest challenge is summoning the willpower to succeed. You’re far from alone. Here are some proven ways to turn your lethargy into a lust for fitness:

  • Have a workout partner. The two of you can keep each other pumped as you sweat the pounds away. Your children can also accompany you in a stroller, on foot, or even a scooter or bike.
  • Give yourself positive feedback each time you complete a routine. For example, you may allow yourself a new workout shirt in return for week of cardio workouts.
  • Visualize the results. Picturing yourself as the person you want to be can inspire you to get off the couch and get moving. Try it.

After a few months of commitment to the above, you may consider expanding the workouts you try. You can add simple (and relatively cheap) items to your home gym to start incorporating more advanced exercises into your routine. By doing so, you’ll continue to see results month after month.

Get on the road to a new and better you starting today – you’ll look back on the decision as one of the best things you’ve ever done for yourself.

Author is Paige Johnson      Paige is a self-described fitness “nerd.” She possesses a love for strength training. In addition to weight-lifting, she is a yoga enthusiast and avid cyclist.  website learnfit.org/

More outstanding advice for having better workouts and  healthy lives in    Avoid These Workout and Post Workout Mistakes To Maximize Your Results www.massgainsource.com/post-workout-mistakes/   Author is Mark Williams

                

You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating

you could be hindering your teen's dating potential     You Could Be Hindering Your Teen’s Dating Potential  

While some parents may be hindering their teen’s dating potential, I don’t necessarily think it is a bad thing. I am not advocating for overly strict parenting where you don’t allow your teen to date at all, but there are some important precautions I think all parents should consider when their teen starts dating…
Set Clear Curfews

Not too long ago, my teenage son took a more serious interest in girls. He became interested in spending time with girls outside of school for dating purposes or “hanging out” as he calls it. So he wanted to renegotiate his curfew. His curfew changed when he moved from middle school to high school but hasn’t been updated since. I saw no need to change it, as he could stay out until 9:30 pm Sunday – Thursday and 11:30 pm Friday – Saturday. 

He decided to challenge this when out on a group date and came home at midnight on a Saturday. While he tried to argue he was only a half-hour late, he knew the consequence for breaking curfew was a week of grounding with a week added for each curfew-breaking offense.

Tips for parents who want to curtail bad teen dating habits by setting a curfew:

  • Set clear curfew rules.
  • Set reasonable and relatable consequences for breaking these rules.
  • Follow through with punishment or curfew breaking will be a regular thing.Teen Date Nights and Money

Part of teaching your teen how to date responsibly is teaching your teen how to deal with their personal finances. The sooner your child understands basic savings and financial planning, the better equipped they will be later in life.

My teen son knows I won’t play the money tree, being a backup when his personal funds are running low. When he takes a girl out on a date, he has to think creatively and within a budget. Sometimes that just means a movie night at home with some popcorn, which helps me keep an eye on the dating couple.

I have found this has made my son more responsible overall. If there are activities and dates he would like to go on, he has to plan them in advance and secure the finances to do so. He has felt the sting of not having enough money to take a girl out that he likes and it’s a good reminder for him to manage his finances responsibly to obtain the things he wants. I also like to think that by not offering to pay for his extravagant dates, he thinks of creative, less expensive dates and therefor doesn’t rely on flash or funds as a crutch for getting to know girls.  

Everyone On Same Dating Page   

Not only does your teen need to be on the same page with any rules you set up but so does your parenting partner. This can be tricky for co-parents who are divorced but is possible when working with clear communication.

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 designs. 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 | LinkedIn

 

 

Signs that Your Child is Doing Well Post-divorce

It is easy post-divorce to be in the survival mode and not really notice if there are any red flags regarding your child’s behavior. You both are drifting along finding your footing and discovering new routines. What are some indicators that your child may be thriving or struggling during this period? Here’s a list of healthy behaviors that indicate your child is on the right path post-divorce.

1. Being social. He receives calls from friends and keeps up his activities with them. Is he going out to movies and events? Is she wanting to go on play dates or meet pals at the park? If your child seems more withdrawn and not wanting to hang out with peers, then investigate why. Lack of interest in keeping or making friends can be a sign that something is not right.

2. Expressing opinions on the divorce. It does not matter if they are negative or positive, just that he feels free to express his feelings. He may have the opinion that his parents are acting stupid and that’s okay. When he utters one word answers to you or does not want to have conversations with others, he could be feeling depressed. A healthcare provider can be invaluable in sorting out if this is a medical issue.

3. Maintaining spirituality. Finding or maintaining spirituality in the midst of a dark situation is a good sign that your kid is doing OK with the transition.

4. No signs of cutting or self-mutilation.   Self-mutilation is done when someone is in so much emotional pain that they express this in a physical way. Casually look at your child’s arms to see if there are any scars. Does your child who previously liked to swim now refuse to don a bathing suit? Is your child hiding his body in a way he didn’t before?    www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/07/20/kids-and-divorce-_n_5549776.html?utm_hp_ref=divorce&ir=Divorce