New Articles for Military Families

I’m the Military Families Expert for, and I post new articles every month

This month, we’ve got a couple of articles on retirement planning, one on the Strengthening Our Military Families Initiative, one on the age old buy-vs-rent dilemma, and one on support groups for servicemembers, spouses, and children.

You’ll find these and dozens more articles for military families at

National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day

ugly sweater

ugly sweaterWhile you scurry about the house trying to hide presents in a spot that the kids haven’t discovered yet, you might come across that sweater. Yes, that sweater. The ugly one that has been tucked away, waiting for someone to appreciate its gaudy reindeer with the light-up nose. Well, with the growing popularity of Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, that sweater will finally have its day in the spotlight. On December 12th, thousands of people will celebrate the cheesy side of Christmas by donning their most garish holiday-themed sweaters. The best part of National Ugly Christmas Sweater Day, however, is its partnership with Save the Children. Those who wear their loud sweaters proudly can also donate to this charity as part of their “Make The World Better With A Sweater” campaign.

Save the Children is an incredibly worthy cause, having provided food, clothing, and education to children both within the U.S. and around the world for over 80 years. They are committed to giving children better opportunities, and have achieved amazing results. Currently, they are working hard to help the thousands of children infected with or affected by the West African Ebola outbreak.
[Read more…]

Parenting During the Holidays after Divorce: Naughty or Nice?

A guest post from Angie Hallier

The holidays can be a rough time for divorced families. Traditions that were established for the family during the marriage inevitably change. One parent may be without the children for a part or all of the holidays, and there may be less money to go around than there was when the family lived in one household. But the last thing you want is for your children to have bad holiday memories to grow up with – memories of fighting, anxiety, stress, and guilt. Believe me, bad holiday memories will stay with children into their adulthood. I recently met a successful TV talk show anchor who told me he never had a happy Christmas until after he was married. His childhood was filled with horrible memories of divorced parents ruining Christmas by fighting every year over who would have the children, and then acting so poorly the children felt horribly guilty going to the other parent’s house. He said he and his siblings actually had to split up once so each parent could have “some” of them.
[Read more…]

The Connection of Sound: Bonding with Your Kids through Music

I’ll never forget the day my mom called me into the living room and as I entered I noticed a recognizable box sitting in the middle… it was her vinyl music collection. We sat down for an hour digging through the old box as she told me all the stories she had about the music of the time.

That day was the day that I fell in love with music; it was also the day that I really started to bond with my mom on a new level because I got to know a lot more about her than ever before. Suddenly there was a “cool” factor to my mom.

Whenever I visit my parents you can bet that music is always one of those big conversation topics.

You see – music is one of those items that can really bond you and your child unlike any other type of activity or interest because music is so personal.
[Read more…]

Dating for Dads

Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve been divorced for almost a year and I’m just getting to the point where I’m thinking about dating again. My kids (8 and 10) and I have a very close relationship and we talk about everything. But when I mentioned dating to them, instead of being happy for me, they were angry. Is there anything I can do to get them to be a little more supportive?

A: Close relationships between parents and their young children are wonderful for everyone. But occasionally lines can get blurred, which is exactly what happened with you. Your social life will undoubtedly affect your children—especially if you get into a serious relationship. But it sounds like you’ve given them the impression that their close relationship with you entitles them to an actual vote in the matter. It’s really none of their business. You’re their parent, not their friend, end of discussion.

Aside from the boundary issue, your children may simply not want to share you with anyone. It’s been just the three of you for a long time, and they enjoy having you all to themselves. Any time you spend with other people—whether it’s going out for a beer with a buddy or dating a woman who’s not their mother—is time you won’t be spending with them. You’re in a delicate spot here, but here are few steps you can take to get your kids on board (or at least to reduce their hostility).
[Read more…]