Monthly Archives: January 2012

Blending Families – Part 2

2012-02-01T15:28:16+00:00

What’s Your Priority?

If the success of a blending family, or any family for that matter, rides on the marriage we have to consistently check our priorities.  Our priorities need to be God first, spouse second and children third.  We also need to evaluate how we are living these priorities out.

One thing we can do is to communicate that our marriage is a priority to our children.  A way to do this is present a united team.  Because of the nature of blending two families together both parents will probably have different ways of doing things.  It is essential to set aside time for parental staff meetings where there is a safe place for disagreements.  Because it is so imperative for children of blending families to see the two parents working as a team, these staff meetings may need to take place daily.

Another way to communicate that the marriage is a priority to the children is verbally.  Children often will act out as a result of their pain. This is called signal behavior.   In a blending family often that pain is taken out on the stepparent.  It is important for children to see their mother or father back the stepparent.  This communicates the importance of the marriage relationship.

 

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on Blending Families.

Blending Families – Part 2 2012-02-01T15:28:16+00:00

Blending Families – Part 1

2012-01-26T16:40:01+00:00

Choosing To Trust Your Spouse

As we begin to head into the Christmas season with all the family dynamics that come along with the holiday, we are going to spend this week talking about blending families.  By blending families we mean a birth parent and that parent’s spouse or a stepparent.   We choose to use the phrase blending family because blending a family together is an action.  It is something that takes consistent effort and communication.  It is not simply a state of being.

There is something that can dramatically affect the success of the blending family and that is the marriage relationship.  The husband and wife of a blending family are not only trying to meld two people together into one unit they are having to work to blend two unique families into one unit.  This means that extra time, care and communication will have to be put into that marriage relationship.   It has to be a relationship that is based on trust because not only are you entrusting your well being to this other person but you are now placing your children’s well being in their hands as well.  Make sure that there is ample time set aside for communication about parenting issues to make certain that you are on the same page.  Making sure that you are out in front of the parenting decisions and are united as a team on these decision will help to breed an atmosphere of trust.

 

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on Blending Families.

Blending Families – Part 1 2012-01-26T16:40:01+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 10

2012-01-23T14:55:46+00:00

Dealing With The “Yeast” of Fear

Many of us, especially in this time of uncertainty in society, allow ourselves to live in fear.  We fear the economic state, the state of our country, and sadly for many even the fear of losing their homes.  But the single parent can have many other very real fears to deal with, such as the fear losing the custody, the love, the affection of the child. We all have to get to a point where we are not allowing ourselves to be run by fear, especially the single parent.  The problem is some of the children’s comments that are made, sometimes simply out of anger, can feed those fears. They will use comments like: “I hate being here. I want to go to dad’s… etc…”  When we allow these comments affect us, we’re giving them power and allowing them to intimidate you and make choices that are not good for themselves.
Do the right thing… no matter what happens in the other house.
Take a courageous close look your motives for the choices you make. Is it really in the best of the kids, or is it out of emotions of fear?
Jesus reminds us in Matthew 6:25-34 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?  Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin.  Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.  If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?  So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’  For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them.  But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” A good reminder for all of us to focus on!

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The Single Parent | Part 10 2012-01-23T14:55:46+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 9

2012-01-23T14:50:55+00:00

Dealing With the “Yeast” of Competition

Another important issue to discuss is how to deal with the competitive feelings if the other parent is in the picture.  It is only natural to want to be the one that is the “best parent” in the children’s eyes as well as those around you.  But allowing those feelings to take root and impact the way you do things is unhealthy. One way to fight this is to know WHO you are and be confident enough, not jealous, to love your kids and be FOR them no matter what they get or experience in the other house. Don’t put the children in a position of having to choose what house they prefer.
Be mature enough to be excited for the kids – even if it’s to the advantage of the ex. They need to feel safe enough to express anything to you without you using what they share to degrade the other parent.
Don’t compete for the love, like, attention or custody of the kids.

 

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The Single Parent | Part 9 2012-01-23T14:50:55+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 8

2012-01-23T14:49:29+00:00

Dealing With The “Yeast” of Anger

For any parent it is important to know how to manage your anger.  The reason for this is if we allow our anger to get out of control we react to our children in a way that we would not intend to.  We can get to a point where if not dealt with we can even take out our anger on our children.  It is extremely important in a single parent home that anger is managed because there isn’t another adult in the home to be accountable to in this area.

The first thing that we need to do in dealing with anger is know what your “anger triggers” are.  Who or what are the things that push your buttons and cause you to become angry?  Secondly what happens when you become angry or how do you normally act/react when you feel angry?  It is important to know both of these things because you will have to put a plan in place to work on any anger issues.

James 1:19-20 can serve as a great reminder to us, “My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”

 

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The Single Parent | Part 8 2012-01-23T14:49:29+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 7

2012-01-23T14:48:17+00:00

Dealing With The “Yeast” of Guilt

We have discussed taking back your mindset,  today we are going to discuss taking back your parenting.  This means that we need to deal with the guilt of the situation. Many times in a single parent home two things can happen, because of guilt the children are dictating a parenting plan or the exhaustion of a parent is dictating a parenting plan.  When this happens it only adds to the frustration and confusion of all because there is no consistency.  Find a plan, a simple plan, and stick with it.  Don’t’ allow yourself to come in exhausted from a day and give in because you just “don’t feel like dealing with it”.  This will only lead to greater problems in the future.  A great series to check out to help with this is called “The Power of No”, click here to check it out.

Remember why you are doing what you are doing.  Long term goal is not to be your children’s friend but to be their parent, their trainer.

 

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

 

The Single Parent | Part 7 2012-01-23T14:48:17+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 6

2012-01-23T14:44:24+00:00

Getting The Right Mindset- Part 2

We can all get caught up in the “tyranny of the urgent” lifestyle but that is not conducive for meeting long -term goals.  Because the focus needs to be on long-term goals two questions must be asked.  What are the goals for the family/parenting? What are things that can derail the goals in my life?

Secondly we need to focus on the hope that is there for us.  We have mentioned before that we are not in this alone.  God is the one who is orchestrating our lives if we allow Him to.  That in and of itself should bring great comfort.  It is also a great reminder that some of the worlds top leaders from the early 1900s, and many today,  had something in common, they were raised by single mothers.

Take the time to sit down and cast vision for yourself and your family.  Then break it down into long term and short term goals.  When you can take a step back and focus on the big picture it helps us in the day to day.

 

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The Single Parent | Part 6 2012-01-23T14:44:24+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 5

2012-01-17T13:51:46+00:00

Getting the Right Mindset

Finally this week we are going to discuss one more choice that needs to be made.  Decide what makes a family and do it.  First is, allowing children to be children.  This may mean setting up some boundaries.  Remind yourself that you are the parent and not their friend.  This may mean that they are not your confidant.  Make sure that you find a friend or prayer partner that you can confide in.  When you place this role on your children, usually the oldest, you put to much on their shoulders.  They need to be allowed to have a childhood.

Secondly when we think of family we think of traditions.  Take the time to have traditions in your home.  Holiday traditions are important but even weekly or monthly traditions can help create the family atmosphere.   Something like a fun breakfast on Saturday or once a month service project are memories that your children will have as they grow up.

Finally remind yourself Whose children they really are anyway.   It is such an amazing thing that God chooses to entrust us with these little lives.  Encourage yourself with the knowledge that you were chosen as the parent of your children.  God doesn’t make mistakes!

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

 

The Single Parent | Part 5 2012-01-17T13:51:46+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 4

2012-01-17T13:50:27+00:00

Dealing with the Viruses that Destroy Your Plan

An additional important step is making the choice to take control over your emotions.  In order to do that we must look at what can be some emotional roadblocks or “viruses” that prevent progress.  Four of these are guilt, anger, competition, and fear.  We also need to be very careful who we give the remote control of our emotions to.  Lots of times well-meaning relatives or friends can hinder us emotionally.  Even interactions with the Ex can cause a downward spiral emotionally.  God tells us in scripture to “take captive every thought”. This means that we do not allow destructive thoughts/ emotions to take root.  Do not dwell on those things.  As we talked about yesterday, we need to focus on the One who will get us through.  He reminds us that He cares for the birds of the air and the lilies of the fields and how much more does He love us?  Make the choice to not allow yourself to dwell on those destructive emotions.  Choose to take them captive!

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The Single Parent | Part 4 2012-01-17T13:50:27+00:00

The Single Parent | Part 3

2012-01-17T13:48:31+00:00

Installing the Parenting Plan

If first comes taking back the right way of thinking, or taking back your mindset and reminding yourself you are not alone, then secondly comes taking back your emotions.  Third would be taking back your home.  This means it is not about the state of the house.  Remind yourself that it’s condition is not an appraisal of your self-esteem.  Our home is not things its family.

It is so easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of things to do especially when there are so many irons in the fire of trying to do things like work, parent, manage finances, and maintain some sense of order.  Again this all starts with a choice. First the choice is that family is the priority not just maintain order in the chaos.  With that being said one way to help have more family time is to avoid the “tyranny of the urgent” and find a plan that works for your home.  We have mentioned many times before that children of all ages can be taught, and should be taught, to do chores.  This takes some of the load off of the single parent.  If each family member is in charge of their own space as well as at least one additional area it helps to even out the load.  Each single parent family will look different in this because of the ages of the children.  There is not cookie cutter solution to a plan to get your family organized but take the time to find one to work for you.  Simple things such as scheduling, meal planning, and chores are easy things to help fight that over whelmed and out of control feeling and begin to bring order to your home and family.

Listen to today’s podcast for more insight on this topic.

The Single Parent | Part 3 2012-01-17T13:48:31+00:00