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It’s National Ice Cream Month! Let’s celebrate with – ice cream!

In Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you and the kids are looking for some fun this summer, why not try ice cream? It’s July, and it’s hot outside. And ice cream is oh so cold! And it’s oh so yummy! And you can make it oh so much fun! Let’s look at a few ways to cool off with this wonderful treat. You and the kids can plan an outing to your local ice cream parlor. The kids will have dozens of choices of ice creams, cones, and toppings. Half of the fun is deciding just what you want. You can eat the ice cream at the parlor or outside in a shady area. Just be sure to bring along plenty of napkins and some wipes for cleanup! Another way to beat the heat is …

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Raising Children in a Home with Two Moms or Two Dads

In Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Non-traditional families are no longer the rarity they were just 25 years ago. Today, it is not unusual for a child to be raised in a family with same-sex parents. These families face most of the same issues that traditional families face. But there can still be added stresses for children with two moms or dads. Not all of society has embraced same-sex marriage, and the children that are raised in such a family can be subject to ridicule, rejection, and discrimination. The children may not experience this ridicule until middle school, when some classmates start learning and exhibiting the prejudices of their parents. It’s important to have open and honest communication with your children. Without that, you won’t know when they may be facing ridicule or discrimination. And if …

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Is it Time for a Child Support Tune-up?

In Child Support by Elizabeth Stephenson

High school graduation is done, summer is now upon us, and a new school year is right around the corner, so this may be the perfect time to review your current child support order or agreement. Why? Because in North Carolina child support generally terminates when a child turns 18 or graduates from high school (whichever comes last). Additionally, with summer and a new school year coming up, you may have increased expenses associated with your visitation or work-related child care. All of these may be reasons to review your current child support agreement and determine if a modification is in order. If there have been changes in your gross incomes, increased expenses related to visitation, child care, or your child’s health insurance, or other extraordinary expenses, click here to …

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It’s Father’s Day and He’s Your Ex: How to Make it Work

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

If you are a divorced mom, you will be facing Father’s Day this weekend. Unless your custody agreement prevents it, your children should spend Father’s Day with their father if possible. Children need to know that they are loved by both parents and are free to love each of their parents without fearing that they will upset the other parent. So encourage your children to spend Father’s Day with their father. Even if you can’t stand their father, don’t make them feel guilty for wanting to celebrate with him. Make the day special for your children. Help them make a card or buy a gift. Better yet, help them make their dad’s favorite cookies as a gift. Help them come up with ideas about how to spend the day in …

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What you need to know about military child custody arrangements.

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

Custody issues can be difficult in any separation or divorce, but they become more complicated when one or both parents are members of the military. Military careers can require permanent or temporary transfers, long-term or short-term deployments, and deployments with little or no notice. If you are separated or divorced, your custody arrangements need to take into account possible deployments or transfers. Military service is not supposed to have a negative impact on custody arrangements. Judges are supposed to award custody on factors that are in the best interests of the child. However, some people worry that the courts will consider military parents as unsuitable for custody due to the nature of their employment. Sometime the non-military parent will sue for divorce or custody while the military parent is deployed, …

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How does separation or divorce affect a child with asthma or other chronic illness?

In Child Custody by Elizabeth Stephenson

May is National Asthma Awareness Month. Asthma is a chronic lung disease in which the airways become inflamed and narrowed. Breathing becomes extremely difficult, and there will be periods of shortness of breath, wheezing, chest tightness, and coughing. An asthma attack occurs when the symptoms become severe. Asthma attacks are dangerous and require immediate emergency care. They can be fatal. Over 6 million children have asthma. There is no cure for asthma, but the disease can be managed with proper treatment and medication. Most people with the disease can live normal, active lives. If your child has asthma, you will want to learn everything you can about the disease. Share that information with family and friends. Even if your child doesn’t have asthma, it would be wise to learn about …

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Are Your Kids Sad or Acting Out? Often a dog can make things better!

In Separation & Divorce by Elizabeth Stephenson

Are you or your kids having a rough time? Going through a separation or divorce is never easy, especially on children. It’s a very emotional time, where the lows often overwhelm the highs. Sometimes a dog can help you and your children through this tough time. Benefits to Dog Ownership Research studies have shown that kids with dogs are less likely to suffer from anxiety. Kids can talk out their problems with their dogs without fear of rejection or criticism. Dogs don’t judge or criticize. They just wag their tails and show lots of love. Just holding or petting a dog provides emotional comfort. The emotional bond between children and dogs is very strong. The loyalty is fierce. Children going through a divorce can feel abandoned by one or even …

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April is Child Abuse Prevention Month

In Community by Elizabeth Stephenson

Did you know that April is child abuse prevention month? Before I received my law degree, I worked directly with families and children providing therapeutic services. Then I left working directly with individual families to help establish an abuse prevention network across the State. I started working for Prevent Child Abuse NC (PCANC) as their program director in 1992 and stayed until I left to attend law school in 1997. It was extremely fulfilling work. And I know, first hand, the people and programs at PCANC are making a difference in the lives of children and families throughout North Carolina. Prevent Child Abuse North Carolina PCANC is the only statewide organization dedicated to the prevention of child abuse and neglect. They invest in innovative programs that are proven to prevent …