Many times, well-intentioned parents fixate too much on being perfect parents. It can be like they see an image in Pinterest or Facebook, and judge their life against this image.
There always seems to be something that needs to be done - and there is always going to be someone who can do more. Many times, as a parent, you are going to struggle with the idea that you aren't doing enough, and that there is much more you could be doing, if only you had the time.
Superparents seem to be everywhere. They can do it all – work and cook and take care of their children and be fitness models, and they never seem to need or want anything at all.
However, these people aren't really real, and what they are doing might not be the best way to go. The best way for you to be a parent is to simply be the best parent you can be. Only judge yourself by your own criteria – not others. Remember that images are not reality, and that others may idolize your parenting life (as broken as you think it may be).
The first thing that you have to remember as you are dealing with the superparent syndrome is that you are going to run into a lot of barriers. You want to be sure that you are able to take care of your children, first and foremost. Focus on doing your best, and use tools that work for you (calendars, classes, books, downtime) to stay strong.
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What a lot of parents don't realize is that the most important part of being a good parent is not making sure that they get home baked cookies, get to their soccer games on time, and also get everything in the world that they could possibly want. You are going to make mistakes and may have to ask for forgiveness. When that happens, your children will actually be closer to you. It will demonstrate to them how to handle their mistakes in life too. You’ll also find that people can relate to you more, because they are also imperfect.
Take a moment and reflect on what were some of the best times you had growing up – what moments with your parents, teachers or others were really special to you and lasting. Think about what made those moments up. Was it someone who helped you out? Was it achieving a big goal? Was it laughing about a family joke?
Those memories stick with us, and are defined by love, devotion and honesty. They aren’t defined by looking great in social media posts or bragging about achievements.
As hard as this can be for us, doing more for our kids can backfire to the point we are all exhausted and empty. Think of 3-5 simple things you can do with your kids this week. This can be a walk, playing a favorite game, drawing together, playing a board game – simple stuff like this. Do your best to be in the moment during these – no devices, just time with family.
Be kind to yourself and remember everyone is doing their best in the moment. Parenting is not a competition with others.
You’ve got this.
Five Proven Patterns to Create Calm
Tired of your kids going at it? Sibling rivalry can be exhausting. Constant fights and bickering take a toll on any parent. Often, our reserves are already taxed by work stresses, long commutes, and wanting to be a great parent.
The good news is, with a few tweaks, you can enjoy much more calm in your family.
Part of preventing the squabbles from sibling rivalry involves understanding what’s behind the behaviors. While a combination of things can result in jealousy and competitiveness among brothers and sisters, you don’t have to live in this constantly.
Here are five major patterns that can occur with siblings, and some practical steps to achieve peace:
A common cause of sibling rivalry is the loss of attention when a new brother and sister is born. This is natural and normal, and your new baby needs additional care that your older child doesn’t anymore.
Listening and understanding goes a long way here. Attempt to plan some 1-1 time where you can, and find ways for the older child to help you and their baby sibling out. You’ll be extra tired with your new baby, so make sure to forgive yourself for not being perfect here, and just keep leading with love.
Even if it’s not accurate, one child can feel unfavored, and think you love them less.
Sometimes, siblings will try to become the favored child by competing for their parent’s attention.
For your child that seems to struggle, you may simply have a different communication style than they do. Remember kids do well if they can, and if they are struggling, something is in their way. Just hearing your troubled kiddo out and understanding their perspective (listening, not agreeing here), can go a long way.
Later, you can have them present ideas for resolving things, and agree which ones to act on. Yes, you are still in control here. Remember that having them own their own solutions will help in the long term.
Sometimes, one child will seek to get another in trouble. This is typically done for attention and to feel like they have to “win”.
This can be a tricky situation for a parent to navigate. Do your best to focus on what came before the undesired behaviors. Was there a certain situation or event that triggered it? Become a bit of a detective and zoom out to see if you can see any patterns or causes.
When things calm down, involve both children in the resolution, and seek to avoid the triggers or patterns that created this. Over time, this will dissolve this pattern. You can also use an equal consequence (i.e. time out for both of you, no screen time for both of you), so they understand they both “loose” in this situation.
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Some disagreements are normal and natural, and it’s important to let your children learn to express themselves, disagree, and respect others.
Where possible, let them learn to work out conflicts on their own. If you allow them to develop healthy conflict-resolution styles chances are they will develop mature friendships and relationships when they are older. Encourage them to learn how to get along, apologize for mistakes and to forgive one another when hurt has been caused.
One useful apology formula can look like this (modify to what works for your family):
Sometimes parents compare kids to each other, and even complain about their siblings. Avoid this and remember they are not adults or friends – they are your children. Statements like “why can’t you be more like …” can be incredibly damaging. As hard as it is in the moment, remember something is triggering your child to act out. They don’t enjoy feeling this way either.
Do your best to encourage all of your children to develop into the unique beings that they are. If you are reading this, it means that you are a caring parent who is seeking the best for your family. That’s exceptional, and you should be proud of that.
Sometimes you may need outside help. If that’s the case, it means you are brilliantly smart and an even more capable parent for realizing the need and acting on it. Your family of origin or other factors may be at play, and a professional can often help resolve these quickly.
Thank you for seeking the best for your family!
Be Prepared - Four Smart Ways to Avoid Coronavirus
Your top questions answered by an MD
One of our local elementary schools was closed, due to a staff member testing positive for coronavirus. Local events were postponed, and a small community in the Pacific Northwest became more vigilant. When it’s local, it often becomes more real for us than just reading a statistic on the news.
It’s likely much of your social and news feeds are filled with stories about how coronavirus may impact you – and probably plenty of opinions and drama to go with that. We’d like to help you get to the facts, and some practical advice, quickly.
In addition to reading our article on how to talk to kids about Coronavirus, we wanted to offer you advice from an experienced medical doctor.
We give great thanks to Dr. Todd Kelly, to answer the top four questions you have asked us. Dr. Kelly is a critical care doctor who assisted a community hospital system prepare potential Ebola patients.
Q: As an MD, what top three things do you tell your patients worried about Coronavirus?
A: “At this time the probability of contracting the coronavirus for any individual is low. Over 80% of people who do catch the coronavirus are either asymptomatic or develop a few mild symptoms. If you believe that you have been exposed to the virus and develop symptoms, seek the advice of your physician.”
Q: Based on your experience with other outbreaks, do you think Coronavirus will have large impact in the US?
A: “The United States healthcare system is extremely well positioned to manage any significant infectious outbreaks. That being said, there is a distinct possibility that a large number of people in this country will at some point contract the virus. There may be some areas that will need to restrict social contacts by suspending school, restricting mass gatherings, or encouraging people to work from home. There will also be supply disruptions due to manufacturing disruptions in other parts of the world. This might include medications so you should have an extra month or two of all your prescriptions. In other words, you need to be prepared to self-quarantine at home by ensuring that you have at least a two-week supply of food and other essential items.”
Q: Other than hand washing, what recommendations do you have for prevention?
A: “Handwashing is definitely a major component to preventing disease transmission. This needs to go hand-in-hand with learning to not touch your head, face, or genitals without first washing your hands. Take hand sanitizer with you when you leave your home and use it often. Practice social distancing.”
“Social distancing is keeping about 6 feet of distance between you and other people in public, especially if either you or they exhibit symptoms of being ill such as coughing or sneezing. At this time there is no need for anyone not ill to wear a mask. However, if you are ill with a cough or sneezing, you can benefit others by preventing the spread of your illness by wearing a mask. If you are ill try to remain at home to prevent spreading your illness to others. Also, you don’t have a mask, cough or sneeze into the sleeve of your shirt and avoid coughing into your hands to minimize the risk of spreading your illness to others.
Q: What else should we be doing?
“If you have not yet received your flu vaccine go get it immediately. The mortality rate for patients infected with Covid-19 with other comorbid infections or conditions is significantly higher than in those without.
Stay up to date with the recommendations of the CDC and other state or local health authorities. All of these organizations have websites that you should check regularly for updates and recommendations during the coronavirus outbreak. Additionally, these websites provide a wealth of information to help protect you and your family.”
We thank Dr. Kelly for his expertise, and encourage you to stay informed. The following links can help. You can also subscribe to our blog, below.
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Help Your Kids With a 5-Step, Science-Backed Approach
“I’m afraid I may die” my ten-year old son quietly tells me last night, when I asked him about the Coronavirus. He went on to say, “I’m also afraid others might be hurt.”
Your kids may be more scared about the Coronavirus than you know. Along with calming them down and assuring them, you can use this approach to build resilience and problem-solving skills.
This five step approach is science-backed and evidence-based, leveraging work by experts at Harvard and elsewhere.
While subtle, this approach builds more life skills for your child. They are learning how to calm themselves, express concerns, hear others, brainstorm, and take action to resolve. Great job parents!
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News stories and rumors are rampant right now about this virus. It’s one of those times when everyone has an opinion. You may end-up going through these five steps a few times because of this, or just the first two empathy ones.
To gain facts as a parent, we recommend your trusted medical professional or the CDC. If you catch yourself feeling panicked, do your best to identify your concerns. Giving them a name, color and texture can help. When you define it, it doesn’t have the same power. Call a friend or seek out mental health support as you need, so you can be there for your kids.
Remember, as parents, we often jump to protector mode before empathy mode. It’s a natural reaction but isn’t always the most useful in teaching skills to your kids. Do your best and remember to hear them first and then confirm that you understand them. In doing so, you will help build a lifelong coping skill pattern for them.
As my son and I finished our conversation, he was very excited about going shopping and getting a few extra cans of his favorite chicken noodle soup, making sure he knew where our board games were located, and was no longer afraid.
As a bonus - enjoy the recording of my son and I talking below!
Have you ever heard the saying "he's not worth a hill of beans?" Or maybe you have heard "it's not worth a hill of beans."
Just how much is a hill of beans worth in 2020?
Let's find out!
First, let's go over our methodology (for you science, math and geology fans).
For hill size, we went with 20.3 feet tall and 40.6 feet wide. How did we arrive here? According to Wikipedia, the top 13 worldwide man-made hills average 203 feet. We went for 10% of this because it seemed reasonable (not scientific but friendly nonetheless).
And yes, for fun we considered the largest hill size. For the US this is 99 feet (before it's a mountain), while that is 659 feet for our Soviet friends and 1959 feet in the UK. Later we do show the average of these (1205.7 feet tall and 2411.4 feet wide), just for fun. Let's just say you can retire on those hills pretty easily.
Next, we went to find out the cubic feet of our hill (8760) and the weights for this volume of beans - for Navy Beans, Cocoa Beans and Coffee Beans.
We also found the retail prices for each of our bean friends - Navy banes at $0.89/pound, Cocoa Beans at $1.07/pound and Coffee Beans at $8.50/pound. Yes, we can argue these prices and other points, but please remember this is for fun too.
So, where does that leave us and just what is a hill of beans (20.3 foot) worth in 2020?
So, maybe we should aspire to be worth a hill of beans - depending on the beans and hill, of course.
Ready to have some fun? Let's look at what the big hills are worth.
There's a bean-counter joke here somewhere... have a great day!
Knowing that your ex’s new love interest is with your kids (and your ex) can easily release a wave of emotions – anger, upset, jealousy, fear, and even rage. Even if you think you are over her, there’s lots of emotion of another adult being around our kids. Those are normal reactions to have.
Depending on your parenting time situation, this new person may have more time around your kids than you do, which can be especially aggravating. Generally, though, there’s a natural concern about a step parent, and even some subtle competition.
Do keep in mind, that the reverse situation may also be true for your ex in time, as you have a love interest. This is all something you may not have thought about, so it’s normal to feel overwhelmed for a time. Here are seven ways you can get past the overwhelm and best support yourself and your kiddos.
This article will help put all of that in a bit of check and provide seven guidelines to help you out.
“Don't waste time on jealousy. Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind.”
While it’s very easy to get sucked into the drama, don’t. Avoid comparing yourself to this person or your circumstances. Your job is to better yourself and be the best Dad you can for your kids.
Your only concern is if your kids will be treated well by this new person, which they probably are. If you feel your ex-spouse is a good parent (read: you don’t have to like her, just know that she is a good parent) then you shouldn’t have too much fear.
It is extremely unlikely that they will be with another adult who isn’t going to treat the children well. If you do have serious concerns, however, involve professionals and do not take things into your own hands.
It’s simply not worth the energy, and you have other more important things to do. Life is way too short. Your children may pick up on this energy and feel like they must defend you (or your ex). Please don’t put them in the middle – that hurts them and you.
While you don’t want to put them in the middle, listen you your kids and make sure they know they are heard.
Cranking up the empathy is a good idea.
Your kids may still believe that somehow you will get back together with your ex, and this new person is a threat to that dream. They may have fun with this person and feel guilty about it. There can be a lot of complexity that just listening to them can help. Remember though, it’s not your kid’s job to give you a report on the ex and what they do.
For both yourself and your kids, it’s important to be respectful. You want this person to be great around your kiddos for their sake, no matter how annoying it is to you.
While they will never replace your role, it’s normal to feel challenged a bit. If an issue comes up, it’s best to discuss directly, without kids present, as soon as possible. Remember, the focus is on the well-being of your kids. Anything else is noise, and your own issue to resolve.
While you may not be aware of it, you are modeling life-long behaviors for your kiddos, and how they will handle conflict in the future. Keep your primary job as being a Rad Dad in mind. Be such a classy, unflappable, strong, positive Dad that nobody knows what to do.
You can, however, do things in private like write an upset letter or draw a picture, then rip it up, to get your emotions out.
Yes, at some point this new person will probably be there at your kiddo's events. You are likely to see them at sporting events, concerts and the like.
If you can take the time to say hello and be civil on some level it is going to help your kids. At the same time, being overly friendly can be a mistake. For example, avoid telling this new person about issues you had with your ex.
It may be a good idea to plan a vent session before or after, in private, with a friend, to help you cope. At the same time, if this person wasn’t with your ex, and was being encouraging to your kids, you would see them as an ally. As weird as this may be, do attempt to be open to this perspective.
Sometimes this is easier said than done. It may take some time to fully do this, or you may have to do it in layers.
At some point though, you do want your ex to be happy, if nothing else for your children’s sake. If your split was contentious, this can be very difficult. However, the hate and anger eventually only eat you up, not them.
"The cold never bothered me anyway." - Let it Go Soundtrack
When awkward situations like this arrive, a good dose of humor can take the edge off. Make sure you aren’t being passive-aggressive and attacking anyone, of course. Even just laughing inside at the irony of the situation can help you cope.
"My wife's jealousy is getting ridiculous. The other day she looked at my calendar and wanted to know who May was." Rodney Dangerfield
As weird as this may feel, and as upset as you are, these seven ideas can help you cope more easily. Do know that you may have some feelings you aren’t proud of as you experience this. These are normal. Just acknowledge these feelings and let them go (don’t act on them).
You may also want to check-out our LEAP 3+8 program to more easily focus on your life goals and ignore noise that can get in the way.
Keep going for the best for your kids and yourself!
Divorce is one of the largest stresses a child may face. With US divorce rates at nearly 50%, there’s a high percentage of children who need extra support around this. We’ll share four different ways kids will likely experience this, their unique needs, and what you can do to support them.
Perception is Their Reality
Kids of different ages experience the world differently. As their brains develop, they develop social skills and advanced learning, and they will interpret things differently.
Regardless of this – what they feel at their age is very real to them and may be different how we perceive situations. They don’t yet have the coping skills and cognitive abilities we have.
When dealing with divorce, it’s important to remember the special needs of each age group, and how to best love them through this.
Some children are so young when their parents’ divorce that they don’t ever remember them being together. Others are old enough to always remember times when parents were together. They will recall what they were doing when they found out about the divorce and that may be a defining life moment for them.
In addition to their age, all kids learn differently. Please keep this in mind when talking to your kiddos. For some children it’s as simple as explaining dad/mom won’t be living in the same house with them all the time. For others it is viewed as a complete world change. Some may need drawings or to watch a movie with you about divorce.
They will all have questions, and may ask in non-conventional ways, as they process their loss and change. Do your best to answer directly and kindly, and always assure them that this change is not their fault. If they are upset, do not take it personally, but rather confirm you understand that it is difficult, and that you love them.
Understanding the feelings of your children and how they relate to a divorce is extremely important. Here’s a quick guide for four age groups. We go over this in more depth in our Divorced Dad’s Intensive.
Very young children can understand the emotions of people, even if they cannot talk. They can often identify issues such as stress, tension, and they know when their parents are upset.
As a result of this their own behaviors may change. They may cling to one or both of their parents. They may not want to go to strangers. Temper tantrums as well as crying are common. A young child may exhibit changes in their eating and sleeping patterns as well.
Keeping routines as consistent as possible – bedtimes, mealtimes, etc. You may want to keep a notebook to share between houses with observations. Allow them to take a favorite thing (or 3) between houses.
Children from about three years of age to around five will be able to verbalize some questions about the divorce. They will often notice that the other person isn’t around like they used to be. They may pose questions such as why the other parent doesn’t go to the park with them or why they live someplace else.
Answer honestly and openly, ask how they feel about it, and ask if they have any ideas how to make them feel special. If you notice changes in eating, sleeping, or bathroom habits – these may be early indicators of stress.
Children that are from the age of six to about eleven will likely know someone who has divorced parents. They will know what the term means. However, that doesn’t mean they are going to readily accept it. Be ready for some changes in behavior as well as some very tough questions.
Displays of anger are very common with this age group as the children are simply overwhelmed by their emotions. They may lack the skills to effectively be able to handle what has been taking place. Do your best to get them to talk about it even if they aren’t sure what they are feeling or why. Turn up your tolerance to be aware that they are doing the best they know how.
You can also use drawing, acting, building (Legos, clay) or other ways to communicate with them.
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Older children who are from twelve and up often understand more about divorce than any other age group. They may blame themselves or attempt to find more detailed answers as to what was taking place. Chances are that this older age group was aware of some issues in the marriage before the announcement of the divorce entered the picture.
It is very common for children in this age group to be angry at one parent and to want to be a caregiver for the other. Do your best to get your child to see both parents as equals. If you can offer a united front as far as the divorce and caring for the children though it will be easier for them. Children don’t need to be your confidante when it comes to the divorce. Turn to another adult for someone to listen or to a professional counselor. Never ask your child to report on the other parent.
Crank Up the Empathy
Children of various ages will deal with divorce differently and parents need to be aware of it. This is going to be a huge change for them and may be overwhelming. It may take them awhile to identify with these intense feelings. Do your very best as adults to be there for them, validate their feelings and work together for a positive future.
How you approach things with your children during the divorce process will affect them for the rest of their lives. You will demonstrate problem solving, collaboration, creativity and support by your actions.
For the sake of your kids, do your best to have a relationship with your ex on some level. Even if it is nothing more than a hello and goodbye when you exchange the children, the kids will notice it. Refrain from ever bad-mouthing the other parent in front of your kids. This only hurts them.
With this guide, a kind heart, and positive intent, you can you your kiddos navigate through this change, and continue to have a successful life.
You’ve got this!
When you are divorced, your kids go through many new transitions. They now have two households, routines, environments, and more distinct parenting styles. At times, they may even express that they don’t want to go to your ex (during their parenting time).
You may be upset with your ex for a long list of issues. You may also be tempted to help your kiddo build up their case for not going. For your kid’s sake, resist this temptation. Bad-mouthing the other parent, in front of your kids, is a major cause of trauma for them. Please let your kids love you both. It doesn’t take away from your great parenting.
Unless your child is truly facing neglect or abuse, you need to encourage a smooth transition to the other parent. Here are six ideas to make that easier.
Turn up the empathy.
Understand why your child feels this way. Don’t try and fix anything, just listen. Let them voice their concern and make sure they know you heard them. You don’t have to agree – you are just confirming they are heard. This also is not information to harass your ex with or to “prove your case”. You are validating your child’s feelings here and serving them. You can also let your child draw a picture – let them get their feelings out and don’t take any of this personally.
Do your best to put on a good front and not let any anxiety show. If your children feel that you aren’t okay with them going to see their other parent, then they will echo your emotion, which is not good for them. Think about positives for them with the other parent – toys, activities, pets – whatever make sense for your situation. If you know things that are planned for that time, then remind them so they have something great to look forward to.
Keep plans to yourself about what you are doing while the children are gone. If they feel like you are doing something fun without them, they may not want to go see their other parent or feel like they are missing out. If they ask you what you will be doing let them know the basic things such as cleaning, working, reading a book, those types of things that they see you take part in all the time. Also, make sure not to say in front of them anything like “oh I can’t do that, because I have my kids then.” If they think you are missing out because of them, it can be detrimental to their self-esteem.
Allow transition items.
Let your child take items to the other parent’s home. This can be pictures, games, a blanket, or even a stuffed animal to sleep with. Too many parents have set limits that what is at their home or need to remain. Let them take what they want to help them transition easier. If a child forgets something at the ex’s house, let them know this is okay.
Provide visuals for your kids.
If you have set days where you and your ex trade off the children, let your kids know these details. For a visual, you can let them help to mark the days on the calendar that they will be with each parent. This will make it less confusing for them and give them some certainty and predictability. Remember they are kids and don’t yet have adult organization skills.
Help your child to prepare for being with the other parent. You can give them gentle reminders such as telling them that tomorrow they will be going with their mom or their dad. You can also let them know a couple hours before the transition will take place. Try to have a mutual agreement with your ex that the children can call either parent when they want to. This way you can remind them they can give you a call later to tell you how they are doing.
Sometimes it can be difficult to encourage your children to go with the other parent. Using empathy to hear them and have them feel understood will help.
Some children only have anxiety when they are going from one parent to the other. Others experience it with both exchanges, as it is the change that bothers them. No matter when it happens, it is normal and okay for your kiddo to feel this way.
Divorce isn’t easy on kids, and they need the love and support of both parents to get them through it. Remember how important it is for a child to know both parents. If you can, you can even do a simple affirmation to your kiddo like “your Mom is a good Mom and loves you” – or whatever comes naturally. Remember, you are putting their best interests – and future – first.
You’ve got this.
Happy New Year!
Did you make a resolution to be healthier in 2020?
According to Parade Magazine, six of the top ten resolutions made are for health, so you are not alone! Over 100 million Americans make the same commitment.
The first step? Make it easy on yourself and just start.
Seek to to feel a little healthier, look a little better and put a bit of a spring in your step. This is easier to achieve and will set you on a path to continued success.
Here are six easy hacks to improve your well being in 2020. Making these changes can give you the energy and the ability you need to be the best Dad you can. Here's to the health of you and your kiddos!
Recent studies suggest that swapping all your drinks for water can make huge differences to your energy levels, your weight loss and even your mental focus. The reason for this is not only that you’ll be putting fewer empty calories into your body, but also that you’ll be increasing your metabolism to burn fat at a faster and more efficient rate.
If you want more info, consider this article from Healthline.
What could be easier than lying in bed longer? Okay, that's not exactly how it works for busy Dads, but stay with us here for just a moment.
Proper sleep is one of the very best ways to burn more calories. Adequate rest will also help you wake up more refreshed and rejuvenated, ready for your adventures as a Dad!
The earlier you can go to bed, the more restful, non-REM sleep you will have. Yes, that downtime after your kids go to sleep is great - and studies recommend going to bed as early as you can.
Check out this Time Magazine article for more info.
You can burn a huge number of additional calories by walking to and from work, or just getting off your bus a stop later. This will not only burn calories but also help you to increase your physical fitness and to improve your resting heart rate. A lower resting heart rate means that you’ll feel calmer and less stressed and will reduce your chances of developing heart disease and other serious issues.
Even standing and walking around for 20 minutes can make a giant difference in your health. Do it with your kids and make a game of it!
This NPR article shares even more details of how this works for your health.
The stresses of being a Rad Dad can make us anxious, tense, and worried. Finances, parenting time, how to handle snow days and “early release” days is difficult. The compound of this can result is health issues for us and decision making that can be flawed.
The good news? Just 5-10 minutes of basic meditation has proven health benefits. Letting go of everything for a short time, practicing deep relaxed breathing, and being open to positive outcomes (at least as a possibility) is an amazing boost to your health!
This Mayo Clinic article gives you more details on how to accomplish this.
This one is fun and can even involve you growing these with your kids. Microgreens are seedlings of vegetables, and studies have shown them to have up to 40x the nutrient load of conventional vegetables. So, a small handful of microgreens can be the same as many pounds of broccoli.
What’s better, kids love them, and they taste great. While most grocery stores have these now, you can grow them easily (inside or out) and enjoy them. You may also find a local urban farmer who grows them (check Google and Facebook).
Check out this Medical New Today article for more details.
Listen to what your kids say – sad, happy or whatever – and let them know you heard and understood them. For example, if your kiddos say they are sad because someone didn’t sit with them at lunch, say something like “Wow, I could understand how that would be hard. Did that make you sad or angry?” In addition to helping you and your kid connect, and experience calm, this models coping skills for your kid.
Dads who do this regularly have told us that they find themselves calming down too. As natural do-ers, we often want to fix things or take action. With feelings of our kids, the best action to take is to actively listen, understand, and echo back to them so they know you got it.
You can learn about the evidence-based approach from Think:Kids here.
After a divorce one of the parents may relocate. They may need to get away from the place that holds so many memories for them or for a job. They may relocate to have the assistance of friends and family.
While this is traumatic and tough, It is still possible to be a quality parent when you live far away from your children. Make sure they understand you didn’t move to get away from them. They will need to know this from you. Don’t assume they know it because too many children do end up blaming themselves for such factors – and you may need to tell them several times in different ways.
Let your children know where you will be moving to and why. Let them know how they can get int contact with you. Make “dates” to video conference with them. Consider getting an Amazon, Google, or Microsoft device that allows easy “drop ins” to chat and see each other. This way they won’t feel abandoned in anyway. If there is a time change between where you live and where they live, make sure they know about that too. This way they will have the best chances of getting in touch with you.
Do all you can to stay connected to your children. They should feel like they can call you any time of the day or the night. They should have your cell phone number and email. You may want to consider writing them a letter every week and providing them with prepaid envelopes so they can do the same. Do your best to be in contact with them at least every couple of days, even if it is only to talk (and listen) for a few minutes.
Take some time to stay interested in what your children are doing. Find out what is going on at school. and stay in touch with school staff weekly. Ask about their friends and their activities. If they are involved in sports, music or art - then ask them to let you know about the games (and get in touch with their coaches). Send them photos at least weekly via email or text.
It is going to take some good scheduling and planning to see your children when you live far away, and we recommend a formal parenting plan as an agreement between parents. Do remember that your kids may want to spend some of their holidays with the other parent from time to time. Make accommodations when you can for their best benefit.
It may be more cost effective for you to travel to where they are at then it will be to bring them to you. It depends on how far away you are and how many children you have. They age of the children matters too as younger ones often have a difficult time traveling. Most airlines do allow older children to fly alone but this can be hard for parents to accept.
Some parents that live far away from their children feel the only way to show they care is to send expensive gifts. While those are a nice bonus, that isn’t what it is all about. Your children want to know that you love them and that you care about them. They want to know that no matter how many miles are between you, they have a loving and support parent that is always there for them. It’s more valuable to have regular contact, be honest and real, and let them know they are loved.
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