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Posts Tagged ‘blended families’

Let’s Fight Fair

January 16th, 2014

Conflict between human beings happens. It happens between adults, between children and even between adults and children. So how do we learn to fight fair?

An article I found from the University of Texas at Austin gives some great ideas on how to have conflict in a ‘fair’ way.

Here are some of their suggestions:

  • Deal with only one issue at a time: Stay focused on only one topic. Focus on that one issue until you have resolved it agree to disagree. Then move to the next issue.
  • Avoid accusations: Like Donna talked about last week, use the ‘I messages’ and talk about how it makes you feel. Refrain from using the word ‘you’ as much as possible.
  • Avoid clamming up: Get the issue out. When you stop communicating about what the issue is it can’t possibly be resolved.  Shutting down or becoming silent doesn’t make the issue go away. Keep talking.  If you need to take a break, do so but commit to coming back and finishing the conversation.

For more suggestions read the whole article from the University of Texas at Austin.

Share your ‘fighting fair’ techniques with us here!

Lori Hayungs

parenting, positive parenting, temperament , , , , ,

Children and Chores

July 31st, 2013

When asking children to take out the garbage or to help with the dishes, we may sometimes feel like we are talking to ourselves. Families are busy, but there’s a minimum amount of work that has to be done at home to keep things going, so do we just give up and have the adults do all the work, or do we involve the kids in helping with daily chores? 

During August, join us as we talk about the benefits and obstacles to children and youth doing chores.

 

 

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Sibling Relationships

July 7th, 2013

Brothers and sisters can seem to be arch enemies one moment and best friends the next. Or maybe you’ve described it as “can’t live with them, can’t live without them”.

The good news is that while siblings fight a lot, they also learn to resolve the conflicts, this is a valuable social skill that translates well into relationships in school. Fast forward into the adult world with personal and work relationships, and you can readily see how living with siblings is a rehearsal for later life.

During July, we will talk about the benefits and challenges of siblings, stereotypes, and how siblings shape each other’s lives.

 

Sibling Relationships

 

brothers, family time, parenting, podcast, positive parenting, siblings, sisters, social-emotional , , , , , , , ,

Fathers are more fun…

June 21st, 2013

Got your attention didn’t I?  Now moms, don’t be mad at me because we can be WAY fun, and trust me I am a really fun mom, it’s just that sometimes I feel like fathers are more fun!

So I was curious. Was I just ‘feeling’ less fun? Or is there was a difference in how mothers and fathers have ‘fun’. Here is what I found.

A summary of Fathers Involvement in Their Children’s Schools shared the following (http://nces.ed.gov/pubs98/fathers/):

  • Researchers are in agreement that mothers and fathers interact differently with their children (Parke, 1995).
  • Fathers spend proportionately more time playing with their children, while mothers spend a greater proportion of their total time with their children in caretaking activities (Lamb, 1986).
  • Because mothers spend a greater amount of time overall with their children, they may actually spend more time playing with them than do fathers, yet caretaking is still what best characterizes their time, while play best characterizes the fathers’ overall time with their children.  Fathers and mothers also play differently with their children, with fathers much more likely to be rough and tumble (Parke, 1995; Hetherington and Parke, 1993).

Whew!!  I’m not less fun!  I just play different than fathers do!  I would love to hear how you play and have fun. Whether you are a mother or a father, spending time having fun and playing is so important. Share ideas here!

Lori

divorce, education, family time, fathers, grandparenting, mother, play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Changing roles

May 14th, 2013

As I pondered this topic I first thought I would blog about what I mean as a mother to my kids (and what does research say  about that key relationship).

Then as I began to search and study I found myself drawn to the information that sent me off into the land of caring for and making decisions for my mother. Although she is young and vibrant and enjoying her recent venture into retirement I found that I already know many people that are facing the many questions I found on the eXtension website.

What I found were so many great questions with fabulous answers in that ‘oh so tough land’ of switching from the role of child to ‘mother’ of our mother/father.

As you enjoy the celebration of a relationship with a ‘mother-figure’ or the relationship of being the ‘mother figure’ please know that there are many resources for you when you become the ‘mother’ of your beloved mother.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts and ponderings on the role reversal.

Lori

education, friendship, mother, parenting , , ,

Mothers in May

May 3rd, 2013

hugMom, mommy, mother, mum — a mother by any other name is still a mother. During May, join us to talk about what mothers mean to their children. 

We’re looking beyond the Mother’s Day cards and flowers, presents and breakfast in bed. There is more to consider than just the ritualized and commercialized recognition of children’s appreciation and love for their mothers. 

We’re taking a look at what science tells us about the importance of mothers. We’ll talk about the types of mothers, the roles they play and the benefits to children. We might even include some of the lessons we’ve learned from our mothers.

 

family time, parenting, podcast , , , , , , , ,

The RIGHT Kind of Play

March 14th, 2013

I admit to feeling like I had a play deficit when my children were little. So much so that I used to make myself feel pretty guilty because as an early childhood educator I felt like I should be better at ‘PLAY’. What I discovered is that I just play differently. And guess what. So do you!

We all play differently. I found that I like play that is active or has action. Others like to play board and/or card games that are more quiet. While still others enjoy the make believe and dress up adventures. There is no right or wrong way to play. There is just play. Pure and simple. Play. Play is face to face with the children in your life. Engaging their mind and body while creating strong relationships. Back and forth communication.  I guess my message really is don’t over analyze how you play or if you play is good enough or right enough.

Just play.

Pat yourself on the back, give yourself credit and tell me how you like to play with the children in your life.

Lori

education, family time, friendship, grandparenting, language development, play, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional, temperament , , , , , , , , , , ,

Overindulgence

December 2nd, 2012

Research shows that children who get everything they want grow up to be greedy, materialistic, self-centered adults. However, parents can raise their children to focus instead on internal life goals, such as learning, developing relationships and helping others.

In December, join us as we offer tips for parents on how to avoid overindulging children and learning when ‘enough is enough.  Overindulgence

education, family time, friendship, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , , , ,

School Success…Let’s get started!

September 6th, 2012

This month we are focusing on how to get the school year started right!

The short podcast gives a few ideas on homework and we are having an evening webinar on Monday the 10th of September to add more ideas to create success!  Listen to the podcast and join us on the 10th!

Lori and Donna

education, homework, podcast, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , ,

Who Gets the Kids for the Summer?

May 24th, 2012

School is out and now the summer fun begins. But if the kids have two homes, it might not be so much fun. There may be family vacations and family reunions and softball/baseball games and 4-H events and camps and – well you get the idea.

So who decides where the kids will be? Last weekend I was at a baseball game and heard a dad talking about vacations. His family, with kids from different marriages, had a summer trip planned. Then he found out one child’s mom had other plans and her wishes ruled. This sounded like the beginning of vacation wars and not the fun that all had in mind.

Well parents, it’s time to revisit the concept of co-parenting. Now is the time to sit down and talk with your child’s other parent about summer plans. Get out the calendar and pencil in all the events that involve your child. Go into the conversation with the idea of making this work. Share any “absolute” dates and explain why you want your child for that time. Be willing to compromise and not insist on your way for everything. Offer to take your child more frequently or be the “taxi” on occasion.

I know you’re probably thinking – “but you don’t know my ex.” And I don’t! But I do know that kids want to enjoy the summer. They want to spend time with both parents and the extended families. They want to hang out with their friends. They want to just “be” and not find themselves in the middle of arguments over who gets them when.

How do you plan summer schedules when two households are involved? What’s worked for your family?

divorce, positive parenting, social-emotional , , , , ,

Storms of life…

May 17th, 2012

A wild ‘Dust-nado’ that sent the town/schools scrambling a few weeks ago and the topic of Divorce made me think about how we cope with ‘storms’ of life.

In a sense we begin coping with all storms the same way. We open our toolbox of what we ‘know’ and begin to apply the skills to the storm. If the storm is small we may have all the tools we need to cope effectively. But as the storm grows we need to be open to allowing others (personal and professional) to help us fill that toolbox with the right tools. You really don’t want to use a hammer when you NEED a screwdriver (well in most cases- HA!).

In the midst of storms it can be difficult for us to determine the right tool to use for the storm we are in because we are in the middle of if surrounded by the yuck and muck. It can be hard to allow others to help us use the right tools – I’ll be the first one to admit I like to solve problems on my own! So I challenge you as I challenge myself – can you let others help you choose the right tool for your storm?

What tools have you found effective for life’s storms? Both big and small?

Lori

Here’s a great E-xtension Article

Coping with Stress

http://www.extension.org/pages/16132/coping-with-stress

divorce, education, money, positive parenting, raising teens, social-emotional , , , , , , , , , ,

Episode 15: After Divorce

May 1st, 2012

How parents handle their divorce affects how well their children will adapt to life with mom and life with dad. This month’s Science of Parenting podcast from Iowa State University Extension and Outreach examines what parents can do to help their children live through divorce.

ISU Extension publications

Related resources

podcast, social-emotional , , ,

Parenting in Blended Families

September 8th, 2010

Parenting in blended families can be challenging and rewarding. Your new family’s transition will be easier if you know what to expect and are prepared to be flexible.

Normal development
Many blended families face similar issues that require making adjustments within the new family. These issues are normal and can affect both adults and children. For instance, adults may:
• Feel guilty taking their partner’s side or their child’s side in a disagreement
• Feel caught in the middle of their partner, their children, and their partner’s children
• Experience difficulty disciplining their partner’s children
• Feel stressed while trying to navigate through the family’s new roles, rules, and values
Children may:
• Feel disloyal if they accept their new parent
• Feel caught in the middle of their parents, new brothers and sisters, or a new partner
• Feel confused living between two households that may contain two sets of rules, different values, and different consequences
• Not get along with new family members
• Resist discipline from a new partner

In order to make the transition smoother, adults should be aware of and respect these facts:
• Children may not like their new family members right away.
• Forming healthy blended families takes time, work, flexibility and patience.
• Disciplining children in a new family may require extra knowledge and patience.

Discipline
Discipline in a blended family can pose some unique challenges.
Experts recommend that adults:
• Discipline their children from previous relationships for the first few months or years.
• Work together to set family rules and consequences.
• Communicate family rules and consequences together as couple, with all children present.
• Communicate to all children that when a stepparent is alone with the children, the stepparent is in charge. Adults must communicate that the stepparent will enforce the family’s rules and discipline all children accordingly.
• Be consistent in carrying out rules and consequences. Consistent discipline includes both adults in the household enforcing the same rules and consequences for all children.

Research shows that the following methods can nurture a healthy, blended family:
• Create new family traditions.
• As a family, decide which family traditions will be continued from prior relationships.
• Build trust with all members of your new family.
• Be patient. It takes time for children to learn to love, trust, and respect a new adult.
• Remain flexible. Children may not wish to call the new partner, “Mom” or “Dad.”
• Let children have some “say” in the new family.
• Communicate openly with your partner. It’s normal to have some differences when families are formed.
• Allow children to express all of their feelings.
• Realize there are stages most blended families typically go through and each family goes through the stages at different paces.
• Seek outside support or help, if necessary. Going to counseling, reading books about blended families, talking to other members of blended families, and joining a support group are often very beneficial.

Parenting in blended families can be complex, but many families have been extremely successful in creating healthy, positive blended families. Remember to be flexible and patient and to seek support, information, and knowledge about blended families.

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