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Parenting Articles for Other Non Traditional Families

Are you a parent in a non-traditional family? Help for grandparents raising grandkids, stepfamilies, single parent households, and more.
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Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Is Your Child Responsible Enough to be Home Alone? Dos and Don'ts for Parents

Many parents are at a loss for what to do with their older children during the summer months – they may get the summer off, but you probably don’t. That leaves a whole chunk of time to fill each day. How do you know if your child is responsible enough to be left home alone? What if you know he isn’t, but he won’t stop begging to be in charge of his own schedule this summer?

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5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face: How to Handle the Most Challenging Parenting Issues

5 of the Hardest Things Parents Face: How to Handle the Most Challenging Parenting Issues

Watching my child struggle without stepping in to “fix” things for him was one of the hardest things I’ve personally experienced as a mom, even though I knew it was the best thing for him. And the truth is, from the very beginning, being a mother is a balance of taking care of your kids while letting them grow up and learn from their mistakes. Your role of simply loving and protecting your baby from pain and discomfort changes to one of accepting that your child or teen will need to experience natural consequences for his or her actions. The hard part (for them and for us!) is that these consequences almost always include some discomfort, disappointment or pain.

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Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement

Parenting Your Adult Child: How to Set up a Mutual Living Agreement

“I love my son, but things are getting really rough. I never expected him to still be living at home in his twenties. I don’t mind helping him while he gets on his feet, but most of the time he acts like he’s still thirteen – and he’s twenty three! This is not what I pictured!”

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Positive Parenting: 5 Rules to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

Positive Parenting: 5 Rules to Help You Deal with Negative Child Behavior More Positively

Do your kids drive you crazy? If you were asked to describe them, after saying, He's a good kid, but... would you use words like “defiant,” “whiny,” “unmotivated,” “disrespectful,” “angry,” or “demanding,” with a few positives sprinkled in? If the negatives loom larger in your mind than the positives, the first thing to realize is that this is natural. We parents are human after all, which means we tend to look for what’s wrong with our offspring so that we can focus on what we should “fix” in them. Somehow this calms us down; we believe we are improving their chances of long-term survival in an often difficult world.

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Perfect Parents Donít Exist: Forgive Yourself For These 6 Parenting Mistakes

Perfect Parents Dont Exist: Forgive Yourself For These 6 Parenting Mistakes

Guilt and parenthood just seem to go together. Maybe you lost control and screamed at your child today, or perhaps you’re struggling to give your kids enough—or you might be worrying that you’re doing too much. Whatever the cause, most parents experience guilt regularly. I’ve talked with so many people who were beating themselves up over something they’d done, sure they’d failed as a parent. But as James Lehman said, “It’s not about blame or fault; it’s about taking responsibility.”

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The Single Parent Juggling Act: 5 Tips to Help You Manage

The Single Parent Juggling Act: 5 Tips to Help You Manage

There’s a famous quote about Ginger Rogers that says, “She did everything that Fred Astaire did, only backwards.” In some ways, being a single parent is similar, except you’re doing everything other parents do, onlysolo.

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Sandwich Generation Stress: 6 Ways to Cope While Raising Kids and Caring for Elderly Parents

Sandwich Generation Stress: 6 Ways to Cope While Raising Kids and Caring for Elderly Parents

Welcome to the “Sandwich Generation.” There’s almost nothing more draining, stressful, emotional and guilt-inducing than caring for an elderly parent or relative while raising kids. I know what this is like because I’ve been there myself—and my life’s work has been devoted to helping people who are caring for elderly or sick relatives. If you are in this situation right now, you’re probably feeling pretty overwhelmed and alone.

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Raising Grandkids: What to Do When the Honeymoon Ends

Raising Grandkids: What to Do When the Honeymoon Ends

Jan is a sixty-five-year-old grandmother who was given custody of her two grandsons, aged 8 and 15, after her daughter was jailed for drug abuse. “At first, it was a joy to have them in our house,” said Jan, whose grandchildren came to live with her one year ago. “They seemed so happy to be here. But then the real problems started. Now, my older grandson either just plain ignores me or he talks back—and I don’t know which is worse.The younger one is starting to follow suit. I’m starting to wonder where we went wrong.”

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Invite Gratitude into Your Life Every Day

Blogger I love November; a month filled with reminders to be thankful. Itís such a simple concept, yet we always need reminders to be grateful for what we have.† As many single parents know, me included, itís so easy to get caught up in the mantra of wanting MORE. We want MORE money because weíre exhausted from stretching that paycheck until it screams. We want MORE breaks in life because, quite honestly, sometimes just surviving the day wipes us out. We want MORE opportunities for our kids because we feel that living in a single-parent home puts them at a disadvantage. And we want MORE love in our lives because, dang it, it feels good; sometimes I feel like I can go three days just on a heartfelt compliment! At different times in my life, Iíve found that if I donít take the time to recognize and appreciate the gifts the world offers each day, I start to become insatiable: wanting bigger, better, faster, more.† I feel seemingly incapable of being grateful for the all the small things that, in actuality, are the big things. Yet how do we develop ďan attitude of gratitudeĒ that isnít limited to the month of November? I want this practice to become a part of my everyday routine, all year round. Iím a strong believer in the ďfix what you can and let go of the restĒ approach.† Yes, Iíve had to work hard and child support was sporadic, but Iíve been able to support my boys pretty wellóthatís something to be grateful for. While our home has drafty windows and tiny bedrooms, we all have our own space.† Our vehicles are over ten years old, but they deliver everyone safely to school and work. It could be so much worse. But itís even more than that.† Itís not just about appreciating that weíre not at rock bottom.† Itís about valuing what we do have.† I remind myself that I live in a neighborhood so safe that Iíve never even seen a smashed pumpkin.† That my boys were able to attend a very impressive school district filled with teachers who poured knowledge into them; that my children are witty, bright and kind.† And having kids who are healthy and thriving is something to cherish. In my bedside table is a notebook that I have used in the past to list five blessings daily. Reviewing those gems is a delightful way to see all of the riches around me, and to open my eyes to the beauty and love that is always present. I think itís time to make recording those daily blessings a habit again. When my boys were quite young we were big fans of the ďlist three good things that happened to you todayĒ ritual during dinner. I wish I had recorded those moments!† Still, itís not too late to resurrect that routine. I no longer want to take for granted that my cupboards always have enough food to keep my family vibrant and strong; that nature presents such incredible beauty, even in the midst of a snowstorm or cloudy day. I want to smile as I think of how my boys always hold a door open for someone, or ask others how their day is going. I never want to ignore that I have a job that makes me happy, with coworkers who are rooting for my success. How about the fact that we have clean drinking water coming out of every faucet in our homes! This is such a basic, simple thing, yet how many thousands of women in other countries spend their days walking for hours to get their familiesí daily supply of water? What could you do in your home, with your family, to take the focus away from wanting more and place it on learning to appreciate what you already possess? Teaching this lesson to our kids is one of the finest ways we can help them grow into the adults this world so desperately needs. Be grateful! Renee Brown is the tired yet happy mother of two young adult sons, Sam and Zachary. Almost an empty nester, she loves sharing her single parent experiences with the goal of providing hope and encouragement to those struggling on that long and winding road. Renee lives in Minneapolis, works in advertising, and also blogs for Your Teen magazine.
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Accepting the Gift of Help

Blogger When youíre raising kids on your own, you are a downright super hero. Making sure everyone gets to where they need to be, with all of their equipment and paperwork and lunches and gym shoes, is absolutely a Herculean effort. Even an average Tuesday can rock the socks right off of you at times.
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You Can Make Time for Yourself

Blogger I am the type of person that wants it all, and I want it all NOW. This mentality makes me feel like Iím perpetually chasing a bus I cannot catch, no matter how fast I sprint.† Some days, it feels like an enormous task to just get everyone fed and into bed at the end of the day!
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Does My Child Need To See A Therapist?

Blogger Your seven-year-old son, Justin, is so embarrassing.† He approaches adults and asks personal questions that seem inappropriate.† He seems to have no sense of shame, and little interest in conforming to social norms.† You cringe at the thought of taking him to family affairs and public events, where you never know what kind of catastrophe might transpire.† And when you broach the topic, he easily dismisses it and hardly makes eye contact.† You have already heard dubious murmurs regarding your parenting capabilities on several occasions, causing you to feel completely misunderstood.† All this despite the parenting lectures you invested in!
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Foster Parenting: 4 Ways to Help Foster Kids Thrive in Your Home

Blogger

Foster kids often carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. These children have often experienced profound physical or emotional abuse. Such abuse is traumatizing and leaves wounds that are not immediately obvious—or for that matter, easy to address. Many times those wounds have never completely healed, and so they appear again when the child reaches a new home or situation.

Foster parents can help.

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The Easy Part of Raising My ADHD Grandchild: The Moments That Make It All Worthwhile

Parent Blogger When you are in your fifties or sixties or even older and you take on the life-altering responsibility of raising your grandchild, life gets tough. Time for yourself or with your spouse is not easy to find. You tire more easily†and†sometimes feel like you have less patience. You may be on a limited budget. And the grandchild you're rasing may have medical problems or be a troubled adolescent.
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