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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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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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Blending Your Family: When Your Kids Have Different Moms

In Child Custody, Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

The tender years doctrine was a century-old legal principal that presumed children should be in their mother’s custody. That doctrine was replaced with the best interest of the child standard, which drops the maternal presumption and gives a trial court a broad scope what evidence it can consider when reaching its findings. As a result, fathers more frequently find themselves on the receiving end of custody or ample overnight visits with their children. It is therefore increasingly common for fathers to have opportunities at a blended family with children from prior relationships and children from their current relationship. These children get the chance to know each other, to grow up together, and to truly develop a sibling bond. As sibling relationships are the longest relationships we have in our lives, …

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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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National Reconciliation Day

In Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

Back in 1989, National Advice Columnist, Ann Landers, received a letter from a reader that lamented how “the years are flying by” and how he has grown apart from his parents and relatives, who are all growing old and getting sick. The reader also recalled the regrets of lifelong friendships and relationships that had completely fallen apart based on “the feelings I`ve hurt, and I recall my own hurt feelings-the misunderstandings and unmended fences that separated us and set up barriers.” The reader therefore proposed “Reconciliation Day”, which “could be set aside to reach out and make amends” and when “[e]veryone would vow to write a letter or make a phone call and mend a strained or broken relationship.” It would also be a day “on which we would all …

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“Balancing” Your Work and Your Family

In Lifestyle, Relationships by Elizabeth Stephenson

For a good part of our lives, many of us focus on our educations, attempting to get the best grades we can so that we can get good jobs. Once we find employment in our fields, we work incredibly hard to build careers and to be our best professional selves. However, life does not stand still while we hone our crafts and establish our professional reputations. Relationships happen, marriages happen, and children happen. In addition, separations, divorces, and child custody disputes happen. So as life and work happen concurrently—and not often harmoniously—this begs the question: Is it possible to “balance” your commitments to your work and your family? The answer is: maybe, with some serious planning and a commitment to following those plans. Time Management. Schedule time at the beginning …

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Starting a New Relationship

In Relationships, Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

Divorce is the end of an important, long-term relationship. It is a seismic shift in your life and has even greater impact on your children’s lives. Divorce is also an opportunity for positive change and independence. Further, there may come a time that you decide to begin dating again. When you feel that urge, it may help you to keep the following advice in mind. Be sure that you are ready. While companionship can be wonderful, remember that you are recovering from your divorce, which is a trauma. It is important that your nervous system is intact that you are confident in your capacity to make big decisions. Take your new relationship slowly. It is not healthy to be in a relationship with someone just for the sake of being …

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How Long Will I Have To Pay Alimony?

In Separation & Divorce by Sarah Hink

When it comes to alimony, the two big questions most people have are (1) how much, and (2) for how long.  Neither is a simple question to answer. The law gives heavy discretion to the judge to determine how much and for how long, as it “It is a question of fairness and justice to all parties”, as stated in recent North Carolina caselaw. The general statutes state that “The court shall exercise its discretion in determining the amount, duration, and manner of payment of alimony. The duration of the award may be for a specified or for an indefinite term.” To help guide the court in deciding the amount and duration of alimony, the statute lists sixteen factors for consideration. Three of those factors strongly swing the length of …

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How to Solve the Stress of the Single Parenting Equation

In Parenting by Elizabeth Stephenson

Which formula is easier to solve? A: (E/Fp)-(1-apT+pT2)/(E(Fpm)) or B: Finding the right formula to reduce the stress of being a single parent? Well that’s a no brainer …or is it? Did you know that one of every four American children live in a single-parent home?  That means if you’re a single parent, you’ve got lots of company and lots of experience with trial and error to help you find your single parent mojo. The circumstances may vary (some parents are divorced, others are widowed, and others are single parents by choice), but for many, the reality is that single parenting can be stressful, demanding, and hectic. If you are a single mom or dad, there are strategies to help reduce the stress in your life that can lead to …

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We Interrupt this Marriage to Bring You Football Season

In Relationships by Sarah Hink

September begins with Labor Day weekend trips to the beach, cooler weather, and excitement for the new season as we say goodbye to Summer and hello to Fall.  For many, September is known best for the kick off of football season, a time for tailgates, comradery, and for some, marital stress. The hits to marriage are not only in the living rooms and parking lots of America, but also on the playing field. The reported divorce rate for players of the National Football League is somewhere between 60 and 80 percent. And while this number is higher than the more commonly known average of 50 percent, it is very comparable to other professional athletes. So is football to blame for thousands of American divorces each year?  Don’t throw the penalty …