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Identifying Signs of Domestic Violence in a Relationship

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Sarah Hink

It is surprisingly easy to lose yourself in a relationship. After a relationship begins, a lot of people find themselves focused on their partner, while naturally pulling away from their daily routines and even from friends. Unfortunately, a lot of us are optimists, so when we find a partner we are attracted to—and who seems to reciprocate our feelings—we tend to overlook red flags. For your health and safety, it is critical not to overlook red flags of domestic violence. Control Control is an enormous part of an abusive relationship, and can include controlling where a person goes, who they can talk to, their access to money, what they can wear, and their daily activities. In other words, abusers seek to limit their partner’s ability to make decisions for themselves. …

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Reclaiming Family Dinners

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Teen addiction is a very real problem. Whether your child is binge drinking with friends, smoking, “vaping”, experimenting with K2, marijuana, or hard drugs, parents should be aware of the short and long-term effects that addiction poses on their children. It is a truly dangerous path to start down at a critical stage of their physical, social, and emotional development. In response to the risks of teen addiction, the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse encourages parents to engage and spend time with their children in order to reduce the risks of substance abuse and other self-harming behaviors. Try Reinstating Family Dinners Parents are therefore encouraged to have dinner with their children. This is based on the common sense theory that when children spend more quality time with their …

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Parenting and Healthy Boundaries

In Parenting, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Family dynamics with your parents and other relatives can be incredibly complex. A lot of the parenting decisions and methods that your parents utilized or that you witnessed of extended family—for better or worse—have impacted who you are as an adult and how you raise your own children. When you have children, it can therefore be confusing as you try to balance your own values of how you want to parent your children, versus the unsolicited advice that you receive from your family and friends. When you are a new parent, you will probably experience the gravitational pull that young children seem to have on your parents, your siblings, and your extended family. This is natural as your kids are adorable. However, with this increased exposure and access to family …

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Appreciating Good Grandparents

In Parenting, Relationships by Carly Baker

Grandparents love their grandkids. Aside from all the spoiling and sugar-filled memories, the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren can be a very meaningful and developmentally important relationship in a child’s life. If a healthy grandparent-grandchild relationship is something you are interested in fostering, consider some the following ways to acknowledge the grandparent-grandchild relationship. Let Them Spend Time Together As your parents age—especially if they retire—they tend to have more free time and an increasing need for help. There is a natural role reversal where you, who was once their dependent child, transition into more of a caretaker role as your parents become seniors. If there is a positive relationship, encourage your children to spend time with your parents. Let your children keep them company and be their helper for household …

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Be Kind to Humankind

In Community, Lifestyle, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

We’re living through a rough time in our country. The civil discourse regarding social and political issues has become toxic, with lines drawn in the sand and neither side willing to give an inch to the other. This is really sad, as long term friendships have been tested and fractured as a result. Nevertheless, we should never forget what unites us, which is our humanity and our ultimate desire to leave the world better for our children. “Be Kind to Humankind” is an annual week—celebrated since 1988—that celebrates humanity through exhibiting kindness on a daily basis. This year, it falls on the week of August 25-31, 2018. According to the movement’s official website, each day of the week is designated with its own theme, including: Sunday, August 25th: “Sacrifice Our …

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Anti Stalking Laws in North Carolina

In Domestic Violence, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Stalking is terrifying, dangerous, and sometimes deadly for victims. Beyond the invasion of privacy, stalking creates a virtual prison and constant threat for a victim—possibly leaving lasting psychological damage. Because of the emotional trauma, extreme danger, and the “strong connections” between stalking and domestic violence and sexual assault, stalking is a crime in North Carolina. The Crime of Stalking Specifically, under North Carolina General Statute § 14-277.3A, a person commits the crime of stalking if: the person “willfully on more than one occasion harasses another person without legal purpose or willfully engages in a course of conduct directed at a specific person without legal purpose”; and the person “knows or should know that the harassment or the course of conduct would cause a reasonable person to” fear for their safety …

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Annulments and Void Marriages in North Carolina

In Relationships, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

You’ve seen it in movies for years: people go to Las Vegas for a weekend of fun, get intoxicated, and wake up to find they got married to a complete stranger! Luckily, there is always a narrative device that allows the protagonist a way out of this messy situation: an annulment. This has created a widely-held misconception that annulments are a convenient way for anyone to get out of a short marriage. Unfortunately, life isn’t like the movies, and people are in for a rude awakening if they are relying on an annulment. Annulments are Not Common An annulment is an order from a court that voids a marriage—as if the marriage never existed. Annulments are not common at all. In fact, annulments are not magic erasers that are available …

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International Day of Friendship

In Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Whatever side of the political aisle you sit, it is hard to deny that we are living in an incredibly divisive time. It seems like every time we look at the news, there are three new national stories that seem to fuel peoples’ passions and widen the divide. For the sake of our Country and for the sake of our own mental health, it is important to occasionally step back to look at what we have in common, instead of focusing on our differences. For example, even if we have fundamental disagreements, we should not doubt that every one of us wants to leave the world a better place for our children. With that in mind, July 30th is the International Day of Friendship. Initiated by the United Nations in …

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Utilizing Family as a Support System

In Relationships, Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Separating from your spouse can feel like an incredibly lonely experience. The emotional and physical bond with your life partner has fractured beyond repair. This means the person you likely turned to for comfort in the past is not someone who can help you now. Even if you have children, they are going through their own unique experience from your own trauma. There is also the reaction of the community, your friends, and your family members, which can range from appropriate, to silent judgment, to explicit judgment. Rely on the Support of Your Family and Friends Just because you feel alone, does not mean that you have to be alone. If you have a healthy relationship with family members and friends, use them as a support system when you separate …

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The Many Facets of Independence Day

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Sarah Hink

Independence Day is upon us. With it comes a day off, family and friends, hot dogs, parties, and fireworks. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the many facets of what independence means: the historic independence of our Country from British rule, independence as individual Americans with the rights of equal protection and due process, independence from our parents as adults, and our autonomy to make decisions for ourselves. There is great value in every aspect of our independence, and if you have separated or divorced a spouse, Independence Day is a prime day to reflect on what we have. Financial Independence During your former marriage, you may not have agreed with the way money was being spent or may have been removed from financial decisions. Following your separation …