May 2010 Newsletter
In this month’s newsletter:
- Article about summer visitation
- Time for Mom (and Step mom too!)
- Insider’s Look
- Local Charlotte office
It’s spring and although many of you are worrying about allergies and getting the lawn back in shape, a lot of families are struggling to plan their summer child visitation. Here are some tips that will help you with your blended or step family summer visitation planning:
Kids need to spend time with both mom and dad. Don’t force your child to choose between mom and dad- they need the love of both parents. Keep to your visitation agreements and allow your child to visit the non-custodial parent for as long as possible.
Spending more money on your child doesn’t mean you love them more. Although it’s a rare child that
will turn down expensive vacations and lots of gifts- but what’s really in their heart is a desire to spend time with each parent and feel loved and a valued member of their family. Don’t worry if your ex-spouse has arranged an
expensive vacation in a foreign resort. You child may come home with stories of how mom and stepdad spent most of the time on the golf course or at the spa, and they were left alone on the beach. (Hopefully we are speaking of teenagers, not young children!)
An inexpensive camping trip or stay-cation (staying at home- seeing local museums and doing fun things around your city) is fine too. Read the local newspaper and look for festivals or the once a month free day at the museum. Cut out coupons, look for restaurant specials, or scan the internet for specials. You can be a tourist in your hometown and still have a blast.
There’s nothing wrong with an expensive vacation at a resort, or giving your child gifts- but your focus should be on spending quality time with them, making memories and showing them you love them.
Keep to your agreements, and don’t change the schedule unless an emergency arises. Each family should respect the other families, when considering making a schedule change. Vacations require reservations- possibly airplane tickets, or non-refundable deposits. Once you agree on a summer schedule- respect and keep that schedule. If you have remarried, your ex-spouse has remarried, and they each have ex-spouses… you see where this is going….one little change could have a domino effect on many different families and their
Prepare Your Kids
If your child hasn’t spent much time during the year with the non-custodial parent, spend some time talking about their visit. Discuss their fears and concerns. Talk about their non-custodial parent, and how excited they are that the child is visiting. If you have a younger child, sending them with their favorite stuffed animal, or a couple of their special bedtime stories, may comfort them.
Make sure your child has a way to contact you. Supplying younger children with a prepaid cell phone is an excellent way to give your younger child a way to reach you, and yet not commit to giving them a cell phone, full time, until they are older and more responsible. Arrange a time for them to communicate with you, on a regular basis- but try not to interfere with the other family’s schedule.
Sending daily texts to your kids- telling them you love them, and hope they have a great day is a non-intrusive way to communicate with your kids. They can return your call later, when it’s a convenient time to talk, or go a couple of days, having fun with the other parent, and still know that mom or dad, at home, is thinking of
Medicines and Clothes
Make sure you send enough medicine to cover their visit, along with instructions on dosage. Try to send medications in original bottles. Check your child’s clothes, early (not the night before) to make sure he or she hasn’t outgrown their summer clothes and has at least enough clothes to go a week without laundry. Label clothes if they are visiting a home with a similar sized child.
Keep a positive attitude. You can mention to your children that you will miss them when they are gone, but you will be busy doing other things. Tell them about a project you have wanted to work on, but haven’t had time to do. Express your excitement to begin work on this project while they are visiting their other parent.
Remind them it’s O.K. to have a great time on the visit, and you want to hear the wonderful stories when they come back. Then- make sure you schedule projects, activities, your own vacation, or other things to keep yourself busy. Look at the children’s visitation as an opportunity to spend time with your new spouse, or if you’re a single parent- spend some time on yourself! Kids need their mom and dad. Visitation times were scheduled so your child can maintain a healthy relationship with both of his parents.
Time for Mom Online
We have a really great conference planned for Mom, May 21-30th. If you are a mom or step mom and reading this- you deserve to take the time to rejuvenate, laugh and learn some tips on keeping yourself healthy emotionally and physically, how to save time, and how to be true to yourself. If you’re not a mom, this is a great “extra” gift for your mom or step mom, even though Mother’s Day is over. The conference is packed with great information, and all the presenters kept their webinars down to 30-35 minutes (average) to save you time.Conference price is $39.99, but if you register before Friday, you can save $10 off the registration ($29.99 total cost for 10 webinars.) Register now to save!
Also- a list of this month’s presenters and their topics:
- *Maintaining your identity while being a great mom with Kimberly Kick, LCSW
- *Dealing with stress and learning to relax with Amy Hooper, MSW, LGSW
- *Mutts, Moms and Miracles with Andrea Patten, LADC
- *Emotional and physical wellness tips for mom with Dr. Michelle Gannon
- *Do you love TOO well? with Lucy Ann Moll
*How to get inside your man’s head with Dr. Matt Crain
- *But mother always- being who you are with Sweetie Berry, M.ed
- *Using conflict to get closer to your partner with Corey B. Honickman, MSW CLC
- *Understanding why we choose the mates we choose with Amy Sherman, LMFT
- *Time OUT for Mom with Dr. Jaelline Jaffe
Local Charlotte office
Due to numerous requests, I am going to reserve office space in Charlotte, in the south park area. I had moved The Blended and Step Family Resource Center to exclusively online, but realized, in hindsight, that keeping a local office open helps me to keep in touch with your needs better. (I will offer a limited number hours for coaching at this office.)
I will be able to start seeing Blended family couples beginning June 14th. I will also create some support groups for kids (younger kids, ages 8-11) (older kids, ages 12-17) which is something I can’t do online. I look forward to working with the blended families in my local area. Contact me, Shirley Cress Dudley, if you are interested in local blended family coaching, or children’s support groups. Shirley@blendedandstepfamilyresourcecenter.com
Talk with you again soon.
Shirley Cress Dudley
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