Posts Tagged ‘stepparent’

Information Overload?

May 24th, 2013

Do you have any idea on how much information there is on the internet telling you ‘how to be a mom’?

I realized that I was going round and round and deeper and deeper into the realms of the internet while I was thinking about what to write. I began to be overloaded and confused. What seemed to be such a simple task became overwhelming with so much information.

Isn’t that what being a mom ends up being? A seemingly simple parenting task can become overwhelming because of information from so many places and sources.

So what do we do? Here’s what I did. Pushed my chair back from the computer. Picked up the picture of my girls on my desk. Smiled. Took a deep breath. Deleted my search engines. And went back to the place I knew research was solid and strong.   And then I started again.

Sometimes as parents we have to remember that we need a strong foundation of one or two credible resources instead of a whole ‘favorites’ list of lots of opinions. I hope you enjoy searching the eXtension website as much as I did!


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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 , , , , , , , ,

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 , , , , ,

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 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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