Tag Archives: parenting

Intent of the Day: Savor the Little Moments

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Savoring small moments doesn’t start and stop with an encouraging needlepoint pillow on your couch. It starts with intentional steps to slow down and capture something that might otherwise easily go unnoticed. It’s the extra time you got to stay cuddled up at home because it was raining outside. It’s the way your kids laugh when you know they’re doing something that’s going to get them in trouble. It’s the last minute coffee with a friend you haven’t seen in a while who wants to share good news. In some mindsets, they are distractions, obstacles, agenda items. In a world of mindfulness and awareness, they are moments, pauses, gifts.

We intend to savor the little moments.

You too? Here are 3 things to help: Continue reading

The 4 Letter Word We Need to Stop Treating as Taboo

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That’s right, I’m talking about HELP When my first child was born we had issues breastfeeding. It took two weeks of misery, tears, frustration, including a trip to the hospital for jaundice, pumping to get my supply back up because he wasn’t actually nursing and constant breakdowns before I finally hired a lactation consultant.

She checked everything and let me know he was too small to latch, gave me a plan to get him bigger, a hospital pump to rent, and my piece of mind back. Best whatever money it was that I ever spent.

I asked myself over and over, why did I wait so long? I could have made that so much easier so much sooner and would have been more present for those first two weeks. Instead I reached the point of frustration where I understood why someone would shake their baby (I never did! But I saw how it could happen.) Continue reading

My Daughter’s Trip to Dubai

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Two years ago, my oldest daughter graduated from high school.  As her mother is from Australia, my daughter took a year off between high school and college, and spent the year traveling and working in Australia.   She really grew from the experience in a number of ways, and it gave me a great excuse to travel to Australia to see her.

At the end of this year, another daughter of mine will graduate from high school. Like her older sister, this one has the travel and adventure gene in her, as well, and wants to set off for her own journey, with Dubai as one of her destinations.   As the protective father, I had to do my research on the most populous city in the United Emirates.  To be sure, I have a very good friend who has been there several times, and he has raved about it over and over.   According to him, Dubai has so much to offer, so many opportunities located in one large city; many such opportunities that most large cities simply do not.

So the Daddy in me did my due diligence and began my research.  As one who used to snorkel in Australia, I was excited to see that Dubai offers beautiful waters and awe inspiring snorkeling off their coast.   Indeed, there is the opportunity to really get a fantastic view of the coral reefs, along with a number of wrecks on the ocean’s floor for my daughter to explore.  Yet, what she wants to do most, it seems, is sky dive. Now, I am not that brave. I have experienced just about everything, but that is not one thing I have on my bucket list. It is on hers.   She wants to jump out of a plane and sky dive.   As one who has lived the motto of Carpe Diem in all I do, I admire her desire to do this, and encourage her. I just won’t join her, myself!

Despite the fact that we know people who live in Dubai, and who can help look after her if she should visit, I needed to check to see if Dubai was a safe for my daughter.   The protective father in me was relieved to see that it is.

When my oldest daughter left our small town of 4,000 people, nestled in the middle of rural Georgia, I had many a person ask me how I felt about my daughter traveling the world and being away from my family for an extended period of time.   My response was that I was excited that she had the opportunity to see the world, immerse herself in new cultures and customs, and learn from a global perspective.  I was excited for the chance for my daughter to grow from all of these experiences.   Since her travels, she has come back, and has a greater appreciation not only of the world, but for what she has in life.  For my next daughter, I am just as excited.  Whether she travels to Dubai, or another part of the world, I am eager for her to discover the world, and discover herself.

Countdown to Hotel Bliss: Traveling with Adult Kids

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Processed with VSCOcam with q5 preset

As a mother of two kids who travels for work, our family has experienced a variety of hotels, motels and resorts over the years. My girls are now young adults and it is a very different world when it comes to choosing a great hotel to enjoy during out travels.

We have gone through phases, starting with the classic small, affordable hotel where amenities were not the most important considerations. The kids were small and we didn’t need much.

As they grew older we needed more activities, restaurants and overall space. And finding a location that provided nearby events and things to do was paramount to keeping kids entertained.

However, a major change happened around the ages of 17. Suddenly the typical resort locations became the least attractive option. Hotels became less of a place to sleep, play and hang out to something totally different.

I noticed my kids had 3 primary requirements they had to have in our accommodations and I was surprised to find these factors actually were not difficult to find. We just had to know where to look. Continue reading

The Secret of Life. Pray It Forward.

A photo by David Schap. unsplash.com/photos/W5TJpNKI9c4

All parents are looking for the silver bullet to parenting. We know we need to give our kids continual instruction on honor, truthfulness, integrity, kindness, patience and loving the unlovable. They need to be held accountable for their actions. Learn to restrain their impulses to throw temper tantrums. Be able to resist peer pressure to experiment with sex, drugs and alcohol. But the question remains, “What can we teach our kids that will prepare them for any crisis that is sure to impact them some time in their lives?”

Because there will be days, months even when everything seems lost. When they suffer the inevitable heartbreak. When they fail to make the team. When their friends have deserted them. When they’re rejected by their favorite college. When even God seems far away. And these are just the teen years.

We all know there will often be times in adulthood when money is tight. Jobs are lost. Marriages are rocky. Health is failing. Loved ones leave us. And loneliness collapses souls. Continue reading

The Importance of Laughter and Play for Children in Foster Care

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It was noisy.

The seven year old was laughing. Laughing very, very loudly. Running through the house, the little blond haired boy was chasing our five year old daughter. Indeed, both were laughing, and the noise was echoing through the entire house. It wasn’t long before they begun this game of chase that our three year old joined in.

It was noisy. And, it was beautiful.

For the first time, our seven year old son from foster care was laughing. In fact, it was the first time the seven year old had even smiled in our home. Andrew had been living with us for four months, placed into our foster home due to severe and horrific abuse from the hands of his mother; his mother, the person who was supposed to shield her own son from all harm. Instead, his mother had abused her son so traumatically over a long period of time in his short life that Andrew had never really been given the opportunity to laugh. This innocent seven year old child had never known what it was like to, quite simply, have fun; never given a reason to smile.

The first months of Andrew’s time in our house often saw my other children, both biological and adoptive, try to invite their newest foster sibling into their world of play and imagination. At each invite, and each opportunity, Andrew would instead cling to my wife and I, choosing not to engage with the others. When either my wife or I were in the kitchen cooking, in the bedroom folding clothes, or other house duties, the seven year old would stand closely next to one of us. If either of us were sitting down, the child would sit next to us. Either way, he would never speak, simply cling to us, in his own world of trauma and anxiety.

Today, though, was different. For some time, Andrew was watching some of the other children playing in the lounge room, while my I was in the other other room, taking care of the dirty laundry. Perhaps it was the consistent approach from my children; perhaps it was his curiosity; perhaps he realized that his siblings from foster care were not going to hurt him. Whatever it was, Andrew finally joined in, and when he did, it was as if the flood gates of laughter had opened. I watched in amazement as this seven year old, this seven year old who never once expressed any emotion of happiness, joy, or amusement, was laughing. This seven year old boy was healing.

Laughter and play are wonderful ways for children in foster care to begin their healing process, as they help these children in need cope with their stresses, traumas, and anxieties. Indeed, as children in foster care begin to find a sense of humor, they will find it to be a resourceful tool they can use. As Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. states,
“Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” Continue reading

The Dangers of Helicopter Parenting During Rehab

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Parents understandably want to be their children’s biggest advocates. When a child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction hangs in the balance, that’s never truer. During rehab especially, that natural parental impulse to do anything to help can kick into overdrive. A well-meaning effort to support a child’s recovery, often amplified by a sense of guilt or responsibility for that child’s substance abuse, can feed a strong “over-parenting” reflex to save a child.

“Helicopter parenting” is the term clinical psychologists have attached to this phenomenon. It’s a fitting way to describe unhealthy parental hovering over a child’s every move: like pilots at the controls of a Black Hawk military aircraft, some parents at the first signs of a threat launch a full-scale air assault or swoop in and deploy a quick getaway for their child. And parents of children in rehab are especially vulnerable to this form of parenting, because they know their child’s risks of relapse pose harmful and potentially life-threatening consequences.

But what parents of children in rehab also need to know is that an “interminable ‘swoosh-swoosh-swoosh’” over their child’s every move can pose even greater dangers to that child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Knowing what these pitfalls to lasting sobriety are is key to boosting a child’s chances of success in rehab and beyond.

Helicopter Parenting and “Failure-to-Launch” Children
Helicopter parenting in rehab can result in the following dangers, all of which can account for a child’s failure to launch toward lasting freedom from drugs or alcohol: Continue reading

7 Steps to Create Sacred Space With Your Child At Bedtime

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By Barry Goldstein

Pajamies are put on, yawns are in abundance, teeth are brushed and your child is finally ready for bed.  Every evening you take your child through this ritual, but are you truly ready to create sacred space with your child at bedtime?  Are there steps that you go through so that you don’t bring your daily stresses along with you before you tuck them in or read that beautiful bedtime story?  Children are very sensitive to our moods and emotions.  Let them know this time is special!  Here are some tools to use using sacred sound and visualization that you can create in a few minutes! Continue reading

Congratulations …She’s Fabulous

 

Sunset Party Dancing Girl Silhouette

Life’s lessons are sometimes best learned with an appreciative sense of humor.

As a follow-up to our story, recounted previously on HuffingtonPost, I had written that my spouse and I were ‘expecting’ a boy. While we made our journey through the red tape of the California Foster Care system, we experienced many roadblocks. To our surprise, older kids, whom we thought would be plentiful, were not being presented. We made several attempts and many calls to find out who was available …and where were they?

On one call, I was told to ‘not go shopping online’ to view available kids around the country. Since local county authorities trained us, they wanted their investment to pay off with a local placement.

But instead, after two years, we did do a little shopping and found Avery through the Foster Care placement website, AdoptUsKids.org. David, my spouse, reached out to the social worker about connecting with Avery to provide support to this openly gay boy who was suffering in one of the most repressive social climates possible… Mississippi.

David wrote to him and applauded his ‘fierceness’ and urged him to see himself as an ambassador of the LGBT community to people who probably didn’t even know another openly gay person. Continue reading

Foster Children and Online Technology: A Feeling of Control- A World of Danger

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Curtis was not in control. In fact, he had no control with just about everything in his life. After all, Curtis was in foster care.

Thirteen year old Curtis was placed into foster care after suffering neglect from a mother who was addicted to and sold illegal drugs. The teenager had been separated from his other two siblings, a younger brother and sister, as there were no foster homes in the area able to take in three children at that time. The foster teen’s father had been in and out of the family’s life, just as he had been in and out of jail. When Curtis arrived in his new foster home, he was confused, he was lonely, and he was scared. Curtis had been taken from everything he knew. He had been taken from his mother, his father, his brother, and his sister. He had been taken from his bedroom, his toys, his baseball card collection, his pet dog, his house, his home. The teen had been taken from his grandparents, his aunts, his uncles, his cousins, his neighbors, his friends, his teachers, and his classmates. Indeed, Curtis had been taken from everything that was familiar to him, everything he knew, and everything he loved. Continue reading

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