Small Steps Make a Blended Family

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potted plant-smDear Mr. Dad: I’m engaged to an amazing man with a 9-year old son who’s with him every other weekend. When I first started going out with his father, the boy and I got along great. But the closer we get to the marriage, the worse things get between us. I’ve tried to talk with him about it, but he just screams at me that, “you’re not my mother!” and runs to his dad, whose usual response us to take his son’s side and spend more time with him. That leaves me feeling completely left out and unheard. I’m not trying to replace my fiancé’s son’s mother or interfere with his relationship with his dad. At the same time, I need more attention and understanding from my fiancé. How do I have these conversations?

A: The dynamic you’re describing is incredibly common, but that doesn’t make it any less unpleasant for anyone involved. Think about this from your boyfriend’s point of view: He’s trying to balance being there for you and being a good dad. Because he sees his son only every other weekend, he wants those precious days to be as conflict-free as possible, which may explain why he seems to be taking his son’s side over yours (although there really are no “sides” here). He may also be feeling guilty about not being able to be more involved, which may explain why his response to conflict is to spend more time with his son. Unfortunately, that leaves you out in the cold.
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Teaching Kids to Think + Locking Down Your Personal Info


Darlene Sweetland and Ron Stolberg, co-authors of Teaching Kids to Think.
Topic:
Raising confident, independent, and thoughtful kids in an age of instant gratification.
Issues: The instant-gratification generation; the 5 traps parents fall into that keep them from teaching their kids to think (the rescue trap, the hurried trap, the pressured trap, the giving trap, the guilt trap); what parents can do to keep from falling into those traps.

James LaPiedra, author of Identity Lockdown.
Topic:
A step-by-step guide to identify theft protection.
Issues: What is identity theft and how big is the problem? how thieves get and use your personal information; types of ID theft (financial, criminal, driver’s license, medical, and more); preventing ID theft by protecting your social security card, wallet, mailbox, computer, and children; monitoring your credit card and bank statements; what to do if your identity is stolen.

Making Sense of Your Feelings

[amazon asin=1433811936&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Mary Lamia, author of Emotions!
Topic: Making sense of your feelings.
Issues: Anxiety can improve creativity and productivity; guilt helps you maintain your relationships; showing pride in your accomplishments can help you socially; venting anger doesn’t help; overvaluing happiness can actually lead you to be less happy.

When Anxiety is Your Friend + No More Negative Thinking + How to Wow

[amazon asin=1433811936&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 1: Mary Lamia, author of Emotions!
Topic: Making sense of your feelings.
Issues: Anxiety can improve creativity and productivity; guilt helps you maintain your relationships; showing pride in your accomplishments can help you socially; venting anger doesn’t help; overvaluing happiness can actually lead you to be less happy.


[amazon asin=0738211850&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Tamar Chansky, author of Freeing Your Child from Negative Thinking.Topic: Practical strategies to build a lifetime of resilience, flexibility, and happiness.
Issues: Understanding what negative thinking is and how it affects our children; challenging your child’s mind; helping your child find and apply his or her strengths.


[amazon asin=0345501799&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Frances Cole Jones, author of How to Wow.
Topic: Proven strategies for presenting your ideas, persuading your audience, and perfecting your image.
Issues: Making a lasting impression with a simple introduction; using the 12 most persuasive words in the English language to command any situation; reading non-verbal responses accurately; motivate others; deliver speeches that bring people to their feet.

Dealing with Daddy Stress

My son was born four months ago, and things are starting to settle down. We’re really enjoying our new roles as mom and dad. But every time I sit down to do some extra work on the computer, I feel guilty about leaving my wife to take care of our child since she’s with him all day and I know she would appreciate a break. I try to help, but I also need to get ahead with work. What should I do?

The first thing you need to do is not let your guilt get out of hand. A little bit of guilt is okay, but some fathers (and mothers)–in an effort to make themselves feel better about not being able to spend enough time with their children–end up withdrawing from their kids emotionally. Leaving your wife to take care of the baby is a habit you don’t want to get into (and if you notice yourself doing this, there’s still time to stop). The earlier you and your baby start getting to know one another, the closer and better your relationship will be.
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Can’t you tie you own shoes? Oh, never mind, honey. I’ll do it for you.

We know our kids need to grow up and get more independent. If they didn’t, they’d never be able to move out of the house, get jobs, and take care of us in our old age. So why are we actively encouraging our kids to be more dependent on us?

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