Blending Families #2

I recently worked with a couple that is a good example of the challenges faced in blended families.  This couple, married about 2 years now, each brought two children into the marriage.  His two children (ages 8 and 10) were only there every other weekend and one evening during the week.  Her children of about the same age were always with them as their father was “out of the picture.”  The wife in this marriage accuses her husband of lacking commitment to her and her kids, explaining that every time his children were there “he virtually ignores me and my
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Categories: Children, Divorce, Family, Marriage, Parenting, and Transitions / Change.

Blending Families #1

A reader has asked me to write an article about “blending families.”  In all the years that I’ve written this column I was surprised that I haven’t covered this topic before.  This is an important topic, because currently the U.S. Census indicates that approximately one third of children today are living in blended families. Studies of family structures children in the U.S. are currently living in suggests that a little less than half of all children are growing up in nuclear families.  About 30% of children are living in blended families, and that leaves about 20% of children living in
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Categories: Children, Divorce, Family, Marriage, Parenting, and Transitions / Change.

Effective Co-Parenting

I’ve worked with several families that bring in their child because he or she is not adjusting well to the parents’ divorce.  Most often, the child is doing fine in reality and the parents are the ones who aren’t adjusting well!  Just because the parents have divorced doesn’t mean they don’t have to get along.  They actually have to get along better now than they ever have before – for the sake of the children!  Here is a simple guideline for parents who are having a difficult time talking to each other about their co-parenting relationship.  This is a practical
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Categories: Children, Divorce, Parenting, and Transitions / Change.

Summer: Give Your Kids Some Free Time!

Summertime is upon us.  With summer comes a relaxing of the schedule – more time to lollygag and slow down the pace of life.  At least it used to be that way!  When I was a kid, I rode my bike all over town.  I spent days at the city pool.  Some days I was bored out of my mind, though.  Now that you’re a parent, do you see your kids lollygagging through summer the way you did as a kid?  Probably not. There is a growing trend in middle-class America towards structured activities and programs for children; from sports
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Categories: Children, Family, Managing Media, Mental Health, and Parenting.

Teenagers: Some Parenting Tips

Teens have a developmental stage all their own.  Its called “Identity vs. Role Confusion.”  The main challenge at this stage of life is developing their sense of self, and therefore they are asking the question “who am I?” At the same time, the parents will find themselves asking “who is this kid?”  As a teen, or the parent of a teen, if you find yourself asking these questions – its NORMAL.  In this normal stage, teens will try on behaviors and attitudes like they try on pants and shirts.  Some of the behaviors and attitudes can be quite alarming, and
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Categories: Children, Family, Parenting, and Transitions / Change.

Parenting the Aspergers Child

Parents of children with Asperger’s Syndrome have a particularly challenging role to play.  To begin, the diagnosis is difficult to make.  Asperger’s Syndrome can be understood generally as a severe and chronic impairment in social interaction and the development of rigid behavior patterns, restricted interests, and activities.  While this “label” has become more common knowledge in the last 10 years, the disorder is not new.  There is an increased awareness of the syndrome, which hopefully leads to more effective treatment and support for those who need it.  A label or diagnosis is only useful if it helps secure the support
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Categories: Childhood Disorders, Children, Family, and Parenting.

More About Protecting Your Kids

A Mid-Ohio Valley Parent Magazine reader suggested that I add to last month’s column on protecting children from sexual abuse by discussing some concerns more specific to teenagers. This is a good point.  As children age, the parents become less of a constant presence and the children require less supervision.  This growing independence for teens is natural, but also presents some risks. While we can’t always be present to guide our children safely through life, we can teach them, negotiate with them and provide open lines of communication. First of all, it’s important to establish with your children a “game
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Categories: Children, Family, and Parenting.

Protecting Our Children Against Sexual Abuse

Did you know there are 161 registered sex offenders in Wood County?  The ratio of residents to sex offenders in Parkersburg is 264 to 1.  Because this month’s issue is about healthy and safe kids, I think this is a great time to learn about how to discuss sexual abuse with your children and how to protect children against sexual abuse.              First, rather than worrying so much about “stranger danger,” we need to be aware of the people familiar with our children.  In 85% of reported cases of sexual abuse, the abuser is a relative, close family friend or
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Categories: Children and Family.

Personalities: Understanding yourself and your child

Your personality is your consistent pattern of behavior, thoughts, and emotions.  It’s the characteristic way in which you respond to the world around you.  About 50% of our personality is based on our genetics – the temperament we are born with.  Studies of identical twins separated at birth show surprising similarities in the twins even though they were raised in completely different environments.  Our environment, though, does shape us in powerful ways.  Our family of origin, events and experiences in early childhood, social groups, and our culture definitely shape our patterns of behavior and how we are.  There are so
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Categories: Children, Family, Mental Health, and Parenting.

Should I Sign my Kid up for Sports?

Should I Sign my Kid up for Sports? As a new school year begins, so do the opportunities for organized sports.  Golf, volleyball, soccer, tennis, cross country track and football teams have already started practicing in the middle schools, high school, and community recreation programs.  Basketball, hockey, wrestling, and eventually baseball and track & field will follow (I know I’ve left out some important sports, but I can’t think of them all right now).   The question is, should your child play organized sports?  Could it be helpful, or what if it’s harmful?  The answer to whether it is beneficial for
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Categories: Children, Family, Parenting, and School.