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Avoid Consumer Culture With Your Children

Avoid Consumer Culture With Your Children

As a parent educator and family therapist, I have seen some poor examples of role modeling fiscal behavior. My belief is that a family that practices balanced financial management will raise children that understand the value of money and effort. The Love & Logic style of parenting has a high value on children earning rewards and the parent following through on consequences.

When it comes to money, encouraging the consumer culture in the home is a poor way to set a child up for success. The long-term planning is important if the family can afford it, college funds and a savings account that the child can earn money to deposit through agreed upon benchmarks. A family that provides rewards for the children without a clear reasoning or an expectation that a standard of behavior is important might be hurting the opportunity for children to practice that grit that is so popular in today’s vernacular for raising successful children.

In general, if it is bad for an adult, it is probably bad for a child. Exposing children to the concept of earning and saving for what we want in life will prepare them when they are out in the world making decisions on their own.

Written for GoBankingRates

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Dating Advice for Single Parents

Dating Advice for Single Parents

I have been advising and researching about relationships for many years. I would advise any single parent to not fear dating and finding a new partner. Protecting our children from people coming in and out of their lives seems like a great excuse to stay on the sidelines, but a happy parent will do much more for the child’s health than a parent that stays home being lonely. Parents need play dates too. Single parents deserve happiness and should embrace dating as a way to get out amongst adults and gain self-confidence.

When there is leftover baggage from our previous relationships, we want to lighten our load as much as possible before we bring a serious new relationship into the family dynamic. If the breakup with the co-parent is fresh, establishing boundaries with communication and visitation is important. You don’t want random visits from your ex interfering with the routine of your child, nor your potential to find a new partner. Establishing rules via the courts or just agreeing to a schedule will keep things predictable. Keeping things friendly as possible with the co-parent will have a positive effect on your children as well. You and the other parent are still the main role model for how to act with the opposite sex for your children.

Setting up a regular date night or a night where you go out with friends is a safe way for you to keep consistency for your child, and allows you to better predict your schedule. Finding open dates is tough when both people in a new relationship have children, so finding a stable day to meet should make it easier on both of you. Just because you have children, doesn’t mean you can’t have opposite sex friends. Don’t be timid to introduce someone new to your child as friends of yours. Your young child doesn’t need to know that you are establishing a relationship, but if you start dating someone, there is no need to hide the fact that you are a parent. If there is no rapport between your date and your child, you can tell that maybe they will not be a good fit for your life long-term. Better to know this early on then after you get emotionally attached. Introducing a new partner to the co-parent might be more difficult to handle for the other parent. After all, they might be taking over their old spot in the family dynamic. Giving advanced notice and talking about it on the phone should help alleviate any surprise emotions and might prevent a conflict.

In closing, dive in and try to make the most out of being in an “adult space” while you are dating. Don’t be afraid to introduce your child when you feel like it’s right. As far as online dating goes, you wouldn’t bring your baby or teenager on your first date, so I wouldn’t advise putting family photos up on your dating profiles. Stating that you are a parent is enough to weed out some of the people you don’t want to meet anyway. When you have a profile full of baby and child pics, potential suitors will be turned off and are unsure of where they might fit into your life.

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Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist and I’m Sorry, You are Not a Disney Princess

 

This article was for Zoosk.com

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Is your debt affecting the family?

Is your debt affecting the family?

Family debt might as well be considered an extra child to take care of for parents. Its needs increase, as it gets bigger, and will be source of anxiety until it moves out of the house. Just like parenting a rowdy child, both parents need to provide a united front in order to discipline effectively. Initial steps after recognizing a debt issue has gotten out of hand are

Agree that spending or lifestyle choices must change for both partners in order to address the debt.

Agree to not blame one another for creating the debt, and that any tension that spending has created should be addressed openly and honestly.

Reassess the family budget to identify large and small items that can be cut out or where finances can be redistributed to paying down high interest debt as the first priority after a minimum amount is allocated for family needs (not wants).

Once a payment plan is agreed upon, the family needs to incentivize their diligence. Reward one another with emotional boosts that cost nothing and use this time of pinched pennies to find new and cheaper sources of joy.

Depending on how old a child is, I believe that introducing budgeting and sharing how the family will work together to be fiscally healthy is fine. Teens can learn about consumer debt and an important lesson about consequences. If we are addressing massive amounts of debt that necessitate moving homes or liquidating assets in the home that affect the children directly (sorry son, no more PS4) then they can be introduced to the concept of morality and ethics of paying what we owe to people that help us buy things when we don’t have money.

When a family finds itself in deep debt, drastic measures to take the pressure off the parents should be implemented for the greater good. Psychologically, a tight year or two with optimistic and creative parents will be blips on the children’s radar compared to parents that ignore the problem until that extra mouth eats the family out of house and home.

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Baby Daddy Avoiding His Family

Baby Daddy Avoiding His Family

The reader 911 of the week:

My best friend got divorced last year, and she has a five year old son that she has custody of. The father/ex husband lives across the country, but for the last few months, people have seen him around our town. He just wrote her an email saying he is thinking about moving back, should I tell her that he has already been here for months? I feel like I am keeping something from her.  

Dear Ms. Back in Whack,

As the best friend in this situation I understand how it seems like your duty to let her know that her douche of an ex husband has been living and working in town and has yet to even see his son, much less come clean to her. Your choices seem clear, in that you can spill the beans, since no one else has done it yet, or you can hold off until someone else does. If you tell her yourself, what would you get out of it? She will be upset of course, and she will vent to you about what a bad father he is to be so close but to not come and visit or take him for a weekend or whatever divorced people do these days. She will wonder why no one else told her earlier, making her relationships with other people worse. If you hold on until he tells her, or someone lets her know in passing that they saw him at the store, you are still going to be the shoulder she cries on, and you can support her without being the bearer of bad news. Other people have seen him, but you haven’t. Until you see him with your own eyes, it is just a rumor. When she finds out, tell her that you heard rumors but you didn’t want to say anything until you knew for sure and you will be in the clear put the focus where it should be, on how he is a sneaky dude. Best of luck, remember that you matter most!

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Author of I’m Sorry, You are Not a Pick-Up Artist

 

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