Sharing Custody

The children are the ultimate victims of the conflict between the parents. A good analogy is a child in a boat and the parents are on the dock watching. The poor kid’s boat is sinking and the parents argue about who’s going to help and how are they going to help and accusing the other of not being there for the child. While the parents are arguing over these things, the child’s boat sinks and he is really at risk for drowning now. The same thing occurs emotionally for a child when the parents get stuck in a cycle of conflict over child support, visitation schedules, personal vendettas and who said what.
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Categories: Parenting and Transitions / Change.

The Gift of Acceptance

I see plenty of adults who are punishing themselves because they aren’t someone else.  Most of them started as children who felt punished because they weren’t someone else. This someone else they never were is not even a real person, it’s an ideal.  This ideal was communicated to them by their parents and it is an anachronism, a relic, based on expectations, dreams, and hopes that the parent had for their child.  Parental expectations and visions of the ideal child are formed before the baby is even born.  Every parent develops these hopes and dreams to some extent.  Mostly these
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Categories: Parenting.

Becoming Parents: Challenging Changes

Parenthood is great in many ways.  Becoming a parent, however, is a growth process and it takes a lot of learning through trial and error.  Bill Cosby says “Having a child is surely the most beautifully irrational act that two people in love can commit.”  Those of us who are parents can agree it’s much harder than we thought, but there is also the potential for great joy and happiness as a parent.  When I found out that my wife was pregnant the first time, I had only the slightest idea how my life was about to change.  Before I
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Categories: Parenting and Transitions / Change.

Hidden Keys to Helping Your Teenager

Most parents of teens will tell you their adolescent child is doing well if they have managed to avoid the “Three D’s”: drinking, drugs, and delinquency.  When you think about it, this is a backwards way of viewing the wellness of teens.  I recently ran across an interview with a well-known expert on child development that got me thinking about this.  Richard Lerner, a developmental psychologist specializing in adolescence has recently written a book that challenges the negative mindset about teens called “The Good Teen.” The mindset about teens of “at least they aren’t doing ____” sets us up to
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Categories: Parenting.

Traits of Healthy Families – Part 2

Last month’s column introduced the traits of good communication and valuing family time and conversation.  In this issue, three more of the 15 traits from Dolores Curran’s book, “Traits of a Healthy Family” will be covered.  Traits 3 – 5 have to do with providing every family member with a sense of inclusion and acceptance. Trait three, “affirming and supporting one another”, really starts with the parents.   Happy parents make for happy kids.  Affirming parents have good self-esteem, and work to instill a positive mood in the home.  This positive tone in the home creates a general expectation that everyone
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Categories: Family.

The Challenge of Raising Girls

Last month I covered some of the challenges that are unique to raising boys.  This time, we’ll look at issues and difficulties that occur in the raising of girls.  From birth, differences can be observed in males and females.  I dismissed these differences as rigidly socialized stereotypes until we had a girl and a boy.  For instance, we limited violent media but even as a toddler our son turned twigs and pretzel sticks into guns and swords.  From the time our daughter could grasp, she would reach for dolls.  I’ve heard that studies of babies show marked differences between girls
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Categories: Parenting.