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    September Stowe talks webinars

    Stowe talks is a range of support tools including podcasts, videos and webinars, designed to help people going through a relationship breakdown and all the multi-faceted challenges this brings.
    Supporting children emotionally through divorce
    Thursday 22nd September 17:30 – 18:30
    Join Stowe talks webinar with family lawyer Sarah Barr Young and guest Sarah Weller a family relationship coach and parenting consultant as they discuss emotional support for children through divorce and separation including:

    What are the fundamental concepts for children’s well being
    How to talk to your child about divorce and create a positive vision
    What are the main stressors for a children and how you can help them
    Finding a successful co-parenting model even if you aren’t currently parenting on the same page
    What to do when your ex-partner doesn’t show up to co-parent
    Q&A opportunity to ask your questions.

    Book your free place on the Supporting children through divorce webinar

    Supporting male survivors of domestic abuse
    Thursday 20th October 17:30 – 18:30

    Join our family lawyers Jake Mitchel and Sarah Barr Young and they welcome guest Tom Nash, Divorce & Business Coach, to explore the challenges of male domestic abuse, available support for male victims of domestic abuse, as well as:

    The different types of domestic abuse
    The challenges & issues for male survivors
    The signs & red flags of male domestic abuse survivors
    What can friends, family and colleagues do?
    How to access the available support
    Q&A opportunity to ask your questions.

    Book your free place on the Supporting male survivors of domestic abuse webinar

    Understanding economic abuse and how to deal with it

    Wednesday 30th November 17:30 – 18:30
    Join us and special guest Rosie Lyon a prominent campaigner for better financial and banking support for survivors of domestic abuse as they discuss how to:

    How economic abusers operate
    How it can impact your financial future
    Rosie’s personal experience of abuse and how she overcame the challenges
    Guidance on how banks deal with economic abuse
    Practical tips to navigate banking
    Support available for survivors
    Q&A opportunity to ask your questions.

    Book your free place on the economic abuse webinar More

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    The Best Parenting Tips Archives

    Effective parenting tips for toddlers to teens. Information to help you develop good parenting skills. Best parenting tips from a variety of experts on topics such as single parenting tips, attachment parenting, parenting styles, and discipline.

    July 21, 2022 by Scarlet While team-building activities are often associated with workplaces, they’re also beneficial in strengthening family bonds. Spending quality time together is invaluable during the formative years and can spark strong family relationships that last a lifetime. First, I will elaborate on the benefits of team building games. Then I will provide some key considerations to keep in … [Read more…] about Family Team Building Activities: What You Need to Consider
    June 20, 2022 by Scarlet Let’s talk about Mindful Based Parenting. Specifically, what it means and how it can help bring calm to the chaos of parenting. I will share some key mindful parenting strategies to help you incorporate this new practice and a checklist to keep you on track. The idea behind this Mindful Parenting Checklist is to help you adopt some new parenting habits that will make your … [Read more…] about Mindful Parenting Quotes and Checklist
    May 23, 2022 by Scarlet There are a lot of challenges that parents of autistic children face. One such challenge is the fact that special needs children often get pushed aside when it comes to their education. This may happen when their diagnosis information has not been properly shared or when the school district is short on resources. An autism parent advocate is someone who is checking to make sure … [Read more…] about How To Be An Autism Advocate
    May 12, 2022 by Scarlet Congratulations on the upcoming arrival of your new baby. You must be ecstatic about the big day! Yet, do you know which kinds of clothes you should have in your hospital bag? If not, continue reading as we discuss the most vital clothes you must pack for the baby’s delivery. First I will discuss the details of the essential baby clothes for hospital bags. Then I will provide a … [Read more…] about List Of Essential Baby Clothes For Hospital
    April 28, 2022 by Scarlet Date nights are all about enjoying each other’s company.  In the beginning, couples are often so excited to do things together that date is just a formal excuse to see each other.  After marriage and kids, date night takes on a new meaning.  They become a chance to reconnect with just the two of you as a couple and do fun things together. They are no longer about getting to … [Read more…] about 20 Date Night Ideas For Parents
    April 6, 2022 by Scarlet A weekly family meeting is a great way to keep your family bonded. You can discuss family rules, upcoming events, and share information that everyone needs to know. However, unless you have a family meeting agenda, everyone will be off-topic and not paying attention, making it a big waste of time. That is why I have included plenty of family meeting ideas and a sample agenda … [Read more…] about Why A Family Meeting Agenda Is Essential [Template Included]
    March 30, 2022 by Scarlet You set goals for your personal achievements, goals for your work, and goals for fixing up your home so why wouldn’t you set objectives for your family? Goal setting is a great practice that keeps you aiming higher and achieving more. It is hard to get somewhere if you don’t know where you are going. Family goals are worth setting because they help unite everyone under a … [Read more…] about Family Goals [Examples and Goal Setting Worksheet]Next Page » More

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    9 divorce myths debunked by a divorce lawyer

    There are some common myths about divorce that remain steadfast despite being unfounded and incorrect in the eyes of the the law. Stowe managing Partner Amanda Phillips-Wylds debunks the top 9 divorce myths.
    Top 9 divorce myths
    When you decided to get divorced you might have heard or read lots of conflicting stories about what to expect about the process. It can feel very confusing. Based on my years of practice, I have put together a list of the 9 most common misconceptions I hear from my clients to help you reset your expectations and move forward with clarity.
    Myth 1 – Divorce always ends in court battles which leave spouses angry and bitter.It is very rare for spouses to have to attend court. Since the arrival of no-fault divorce spouses can no longer object to divorce proceedings being filed. Court intervention would only be necessary if couples are unable to settle disputes over financial claims, but this is still a last resort and before they get to this stage, they will have had to have tried other options such as mediation.
    Myth 2 – Divorce is always expensive.Costs can escalate quickly when it comes to resolving financial claims, especially if spouses cannot agree and take the case to court. However, they can undertake the divorce proceedings themselves to avoid incurring legal fees, alternatively many solicitors offer a fixed fee to act in divorce proceedings which will not be disputed.
    Myth 3 – Celebrities are special and so get ‘quickie’ divorces.The court processes divorce petitions in the order in which they are received. No divorces are singled out to be rushed through.
    Myth 4 – Assets are always shared equally on divorce.The starting point for division of assets is a 50/50 split, this is known as the ‘yardstick of equality’. However, it will not be appropriate in all cases to share the assets equally. There is no set formula which the court uses to make a decision, rather it has a list of factors it must consider and give weight to before arriving at a fair split. These include:

    the welfare of any minor child
    the income, earning capacity, and property each of the spouses has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
    the financial needs, obligations and responsibilities which each of the spouses has or is likely to have in the foreseeable future
    the standard of living enjoyed by the family
    the age of each spouse and the duration of the marriage
    any physical or mental disability of either spouse
    the contributions which each of the spouses has made or is likely to make in the foreseeable future to the welfare of the family, including contributions in looking after the home or family
    the conduct of each spouse, if that conduct is so bad that it would be unfair to disregard it
    and finally the value of any benefit which a spouse will lose by reason of the divorce e.g. a pension.

    Myth 5 – Once you receive a Final Order that’s it.Unless there is an approved court order dealing with the financial claims spouses have as a result of their marriage, then either spouse could make a future claim against the other’s assets, even several years after they have been divorced. Having a Final Order does not end financial claims. There must be a court order that provides for a clean break.
    Myth 6 – There is an automatic right for the mother to have the children living with her upon separation.Upon separation it is for the parents to decide who the children will live with and how much time they will spend with the other parent. A court will not become involved unless the parents cannot agree, and they ask the court to make the decision for them. If a court does become involved its decision is based upon what it thinks is in the best interests of the child, and it has a checklist of factors to measure this against.
    As society changes, parenting roles are evolving from traditional norms and in more and more cases, fathers are taking a greater role in the care of their children, it is no longer unheard of for children to live with their father upon separation. There is no ‘standard’ arrangement for parents to follow when agreeing how much time children will spend with their father or mother once a relationship has broken down.
    The arrangements may differ during holidays and term time, and they normally evolve over time and as the children grow older. 50/50 shared care is becoming a more common arrangement between separated parents.
    Myth 7 – The parent with ‘custody’ of a child has greater rights than the other.Who a child lives with has no bearing on each parent’s role in making important decisions in the child’s life, or their role in caring for the child provided they each have parental responsibility.
    If both parents have parental responsibility, they both have an equal say in all the important decisions in the child’s life, for example in relation to education, medical treatment, religion, and property. The child’s mother automatically has parental responsibility for the child. The father will have parental responsibility if he was married to the mother at the time of the birth, if he is named on the child’s birth certificate, or if he has a Parental Responsibility Agreement with the mother or an order from the court.
    Myth 8 – If they are not receiving child maintenance, the parent with whom the child is living can stop the other parent seeing the child.There is no legal basis to stop the parent who must pay child maintenance from seeing their child if they stop paying. The remedy is to contact the Child Maintenance Service for a calculation.
    Myth 9 – Unmarried women have rights over property as Common Law Wives.There is no such thing as common law marriage in the UK, and so there is no automatic right to share assets between unmarried couples upon relationship breakdown. If a couple is going to cohabit or buy a property together it is important for them to obtain legal advice on what shares they will each have in that property and how this will be recorded.
    Get in touch
    For more information about divorce or separation please do get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry More

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    Mediation and the Family Courts backlog

    The Family Justice System is currently undergoing significant changes to try and reduce the strain and backlog faced by the family courts.
    The introduction of no-fault divorce and extended funding for mediation for disputes concerning children (£5.38million this financial year, raising the total invested in the scheme to £8.68million since March 2021) demonstrates a continued commitment to resolving matters away from the court arena. 
    The Family Mediation Council (FMC) voucher scheme introduced in March 2021 provides families in England and Wales with a £500 voucher to put towards the cost of mediation. The vouchers can be used by parents attending meditation to discuss the care of their child or children. By enabling divorcing couples and parents to resolve their disputes without litigation, it will enable the court to utilise its limited time on cases that require the adjudication of the court.  
    The emphasis on mediation and no-fault divorce is reflective of the desire for most separating couples to deal with the practical consequences of their separation in a private and constructive way. 
    Since the introduction of no fault divorce, the number of divorce applications have increased; HMCTS received 3,000 divorce applications in the week following the introduction of reforms in April, which is a 50% rise on the weekly average. 
    This demonstrates people’s desire to wait for the law to change, so that they can proceed in this new neutral non-adversarial way.  There is no longer a requirement to provide a reason for the marriage coming to an end, giving people greater respect for their private life, as well as removing the blame element of divorce previously seen. 
    This change in law sets a more amicable tone from the start, and therefore places people in a better position to make decisions about the children and their finances.
    Cafcass statistics show that in 2020/21, there were 97,496 children involved in private children proceedings, an increase of 23.1% since 2016/17. In public law, there were 143,129 children, an increase of 16.4% since 2016/17, with cases taking an average of 45 weeks to conclude. 
    These increases are not sustainable, for the courts or for the families facing long delays. The need to reduce the number of families in the Family Justice system is vital. The focus on solutions achieved through agreement benefits both families, and the Family Justice System, and the court are increasingly robust at encouraging parents to consider alternatives to litigation. 
    Recently in the case of Re B (a child) (Unnecessary Private Law Applications), his Honour Judge Wildblood QC said:
    ‘Do not bring your private law litigation to the family court here unless it is definitely necessary for you to do so,’ he said. ‘You should settle your differences (or those of your clients) away from court, except where that is not possible. If you do bring unnecessary cases to this court, you will be criticised, and sanctions may be imposed upon you.’
    The commitment to further funding for mediation follows research that mediation helps families reach solutions and outcomes that are best for their children. 
    The FMC conducted a survey which showed that mediation is successful in over 70% of cases. The funding enables parents to access mediation in circumstances where it would otherwise be unaffordable, and encourages people to proceed with this option. 
    It has raised the profile of mediation, as FMC research further showed that after an initial meeting, three quarters chose to mediate, and that 
    “This is despite the fact that many don’t know anything about mediation, or think their partner is so unreasonable that mediation will never work”. 
    It should not be surprising to hear that parental preference is to reach an agreement, rather than battle it out in court, and ultimately receive an order imposed upon them by a Judge who doesn’t know them or more importantly their child. 
    Most parents are acutely aware that while their marriage or relationship has come to an end, their relationship as parents has not. And however, hard it may be for them as an individual, as a parent they want to do the best for their child. 
    The option to attend mediation provides parents with the opportunity to communicate, explore the issues, discuss the options and resolve the matters that are important to them. 
    A Judge is unlikely to hear arguments on the appropriate amount of screen time for a child, the choice of gifts each parent buys for their birthday, or how the parents will explain to their child about their new routine now that their parents live apart. 
    All these things can be discussed and agreed upon in mediation. As one Judge said recently: 
    “I cannot order people to be nice. However, in mediation, parents can discuss matters and hopefully improve their communication so that they have the tools to resolve disputes, thus avoiding court now and in the future. The court must make decisions in the best interests of the child. However, court proceedings are often protracted, emotionally and financially expensive, and consequently damaging to the child and their parents. 
    Mediation is not appropriate in every case, nor is it always possible for parents to reach agreements. We need our Family Justice system to work effectively and efficiently for those families. 
    For example, in cases where there are allegations of domestic abuse, safeguarding concerns such as drug or alcohol abuse, parental alienation or protracted disputes. The court is a finite resource, but there must be access to our Family Justice System. 
    Lord Neuberger said access to justice “has a number of components. First, a competent and impartial judiciary; secondly, accessible courts; thirdly, properly administered courts; fourthly, a competent and honest legal profession; fifthly, an effective procedure for getting a case before the court; sixthly, an effective legal process; seventhly effective execution; eighthly, affordable justice.”
    The focus on dispute resolution options, such as mediation, is not designed to take away access to justice, but to create a Family Justice System that provides families with options to resolve their disputes in a way that is most appropriate for their circumstances. 
    The introduction of no-fault divorce and continued funding for mediation enables the focus to move from conflict and confrontation to communication and solutions, and enables our Courts to work more effectively for those who need to litigate. 
    Previously published on LawNews More

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    Family Team Building Activities: Everything You Need to Consider

    While team-building activities are often associated with workplaces, they’re also beneficial in strengthening family bonds. Spending quality time together is invaluable during the formative years and can spark strong family relationships that last a lifetime. First, I will elaborate on the benefits of team building games. Then I will provide some key considerations to keep in mind when organizing family team building activities. Finally, I will also offer lots of fun ideas for developing teamwork skills.

    One of our family team building exercises is to make homemade Chinese dumplings from scratch. It is a great exercise to learn to follow directions and work together. Then we enjoy the fruits of our labor over a nice meal together.

    Benefits Of Team Building Exercises

    There are many tangible benefits of team building exercises. That is why companies often employ team building in order to get a more productive work force with higher retention rates. Team building games can help increase engagement and improve communication between team members. Learning to work together towards a common goal with a set amount of time can encourage creative thinking, problem solving, and allow each of the group members to showcase their own particular talents.

    A team building event can help individuals to make deeper connections. Developing a greater understanding of each other, our motivations, and our strengths can help future interactions go more smoothly. All of these same benefits apply to family team building exercises.

    In modern family life, everyone can get so busy. That is why it is important to schedule in a fun activity for the entire group. This can help to improve communication skills, critical thinking skills, and social skills. It also serves to make sure you have fun memories that cement you together as a whole family.

    Tips For Organizing A Team-Building Activity For Your Family

    This water obstacle course was one of my favorite family team building events. We competed in small groups and my son and I yelled encouragement and tips out to each other.

    Scheduling regular family team-building activities can be as simple as setting aside an afternoon once a week or once a month. Here are a few things to consider when planning your family team building game or activity.

    Age Groups

    The first consideration when planning family team-building exercises is the age groups involved. The activities for a family with young children will look different than a family with teenagers on the cusp of graduation. Finding activities that work for all age groups is a must when planning family team-building exercises.

    Fortunately, there are many shared activities that can help strengthen your family bonds, even if younger children can’t actively participate. Events like sharing meals, playing games, and having conversations model the desired behavior to younger family members so they’re ready when the time comes to take a more active role.

    Small Groups or All-Inclusive

    Another important consideration when planning family-focused activities is whether they’ll always feature everyone in a large group or if you’ll include smaller groups. For example, you might plan a few whole-family activities for one month and one-on-one time during other months. Breaking into smaller groups is a great way to bond with older children after young siblings are born and strengthen individual relationships.

    Scheduling small group activities or one-on-one time does add some complexity. Small groups may have fun competing against each other at the same team-building activity. However, If you have a young child under 5, this could mean looking for childcare and vetting a sitter so you can find out if they’re trustworthy and reliable. 

    Self-Managed or Supported

    Another consideration when planning family bonding activities is whether you’ll be taking a DIY approach or hiring professional services for support. For example, you can plan a scavenger hunt yourself or pay service for a unique scavenger hunt experience. Similarly, you can plan to cook together at home or hire an instructor for a virtual cooking lesson.

    There are pros and cons to each option. Self-managed activities allow you to keep costs low and control the event. Supported activities allow you to delegate some of the planning and learn new skills. 

    At-Home or Away

    Adding a combination of home activities and away activities can help keep things fresh when planning events. If you’re a busy family on the go all the time, planning at-home activities might be more relaxing. Conversely, if you’ve spent a lot of time at home over the past few years or work remotely, getting out of the house might be better for everyone.

    Complexity and Frequency

    Family team building doesn’t have to include an elaborate event or monthly schedule; there are many things you can do every day to strengthen family bonds.

    Sharing a meal from preparation to clean-up a few times per week is a simple way to share time as a family and teach the value of contributing. You can also create simple routines and traditions, like everyone sharing a good thing and bad thing about their day.

    Equality and Buy-In

    As a parent, it’s natural to want to take the reins and plan everything. However, you’ll get more buy-in and commitment if you give everyone in the family a chance to choose an activity. This democratic approach to planning family night teaches fairness and equality. 

    If you plan a monthly “away” activity, let a different person decide what that will be each month. If you have weekly activities like board games or movie nights, let a different person pick the game or movie each time. Setting boundaries and expectations beforehand can also help guide this process.

    Ideas For Fun Team Building Activities

    House of cardsEscape room (especially great for families with older kids)Obstacle course with time limitIcebreaker games (you’d be surprised the things you may not know about your own family members!)Trivia questions night (where you break up into evenly matched teams)Write a family mission statementGroup juggling challengeFamily game nightHuman knot gameDuck Duck Goose (great for families with little kids)Treasure hunt Pictionary or charadesCard gamesBlindfold half of the members and pair off with a direction giver to retrieve an object (practices following verbal instructions)Trust fall (if kids are old enough and safety precautions are taken)A Perfect SquareTwo truths, one lie (Teens love this one. Each family member will tell 3 facts about themselves and the others guess which one is the lie.)Simon Says Red Light, Green LightPuzzlesLazer tagPaint ballDodgeballCommunity service activityEach family member can teach a new skillPrepare a feast with everyone contributing (Example, make a hot dog bar and have everyone provide two favorite toppings)Capture the flagWork together to accomplish an ultimate goal (a clean living room, planting flowers, creating DIY gifts for each other)JengaTandem kayaking or canoeingPut on a play scene together or play a musical piece as a group

    Conclusion

    With these simple tips and ideas, you can schedule meaningful family team-building activities to improve communication, life skills, and family bonds. Getting the entire team involved in fun games, can only produce great results! What is your favorite family team building activity?

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    Mindful Parenting Quotes and Checklist

    Let’s talk about Mindful Based Parenting. Specifically, what it means and how it can help bring calm to the chaos of parenting. I will share some key mindful parenting strategies to help you incorporate this new practice and a checklist to keep you on track. The idea behind this Mindful Parenting Checklist is to help you adopt some new parenting habits that will make your parent-child relationships less reactive. The practice of mindfulness can help your parenting and family time become more purposeful and enjoyable.

    Before, I jump into the Mindful Parenting Checklist, I want to answer the basic question, “What is mindfulness”? According to Jon Kabat-Zinn, Ph.D., who credited with initiating the popularity of mindfulness in the West, “Mindfulness is actually a way of connecting with your life…paying attention on purpose in the present moment, non-judgmentally.” It is basically the idea that we need to be more in the present. We should pay attention to the moment, rather than worrying about the past or the future. It is a way of being focused around awareness of the current time rather than anxiety of the future or depressive rumination.

    What is Mindful Parenting?

    So with that said, “What is mindful parenting”? It is the practice of applying the same principles of attention to the present with our children. It was well put by Jon Kabatizinn in the Huffington Post, “Mindful parenting involves keeping in mind what is truly important as we go about the activities of daily living with our children…For us to learn from our children requires that we pay attention, and learn to be still within ourselves. In stillness, we are better able to see past the endemic turmoil and cloudiness and reactivity of our own minds, in which we are so frequently caught up, and in this way, cultivate greater clarity, calmness and insight, which we can bring directly to our parenting…Just bringing this kind of sensitivity to our parenting will enhance our sense of connectedness with our children.”

    Mindful Parenting Techniques

    If that was too much of a mouthful, mindful parenting, in its simplest terms is about awareness. It brings your awareness to your needs and your child’s needs in the present moment staying focused on that. Mindful parenting is the slowing down of your thoughts and by cleansing your mind. It is about thinking less and panicking less and being there in the moment for yourself and your child more. To begin the practice of mindful parenting techniques, you may find it useful to write a personal mission statement. Doing so can help you determine what is most important to you in your family life.

    Basically, we can all get caught up in the hectic schedules and stress of daily life. However, practicing mindful parenting strategies can help make life calmer, happier, and healthier. We can turn a moment of stressed out panic to get out the door and anger at the kids for not being ready into speaking and moving in a purposeful way that communicates our expectations without panic, stress, judgement, and fear. Mindful parenting will still encounter times of strong emotions and conflicting needs but because of your connection to the present moment for you and your child, your actions and words will likely have more kindness and wisdom in them. This mindful approach breeds more positive behavior and potential benefits for both parent and child.

    Be present in the moment.

    Mindful Parenting Example

    “Say you’ve put a lot of energy into making dinner after a difficult day, and your baby starts screaming and is inconsolable just when you are about to sit down and enjoy it. That’s a perfect opportunity to bring mindfulness right into that moment and see how attached you may be to having a peaceful dinner. What are your options? You can flip out and be immature and not be in resonance with whatever your child is experiencing, or you can realize this it what it means sometimes to have baby or a toddler. Life itself is the curriculum. When you give up your attachment, you won’t relate to your child with resentment.”  –Gaiam.com

    Next time you find yourself in a challenging situation, try responding in new ways. A parent’s ability to help their child with emotional regulation may be limited if he or she has not learned to do so themself. The first step in avoiding negative parenting behavior may be to use a mindful way of calming oneself before demanding that your child is calm. Simple ways include taking a deep breath and trying to breathe out your frustration before responding. Having an emotional awareness to our own reactions will help us be more understanding of our child’s feelings and needs as well.

    Mindful Parenting Quotes To Inspire You

    I read a quote once that I will always remember because I thought, “You know what? That is so true. And my being there fully in the moment and really listening to my child matters.” I hope it inspires you too. Here it that mindful parenting quote:

    “Listen earnestly to anything [your children] want to tell you, no matter what. If you don’t listen eagerly to the little stuff when they are little, they won’t tell you the big stuff when they are big, because to them all of it has always been big stuff.”― Catherine M. Wallace

    Here is another of my favorite mindful parenting quotes:

    “Use anger as a wake-up call to unmet needs.” -Marshall Rosenberg, Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life: Life-Changing Tools for Healthy Relationships

    This quote is so instructional and so useful for all of our relationships. Whether our child is feeling angry or whether we are feeling angry, it is a good time to pause. Take a moment to examine why they (or we) feel that way and what needs are going unmet. This will allow you or your child to communicate feelings and needs in a productive way.

    Another great mindful parenting quote:

    “Getting in touch with conscious behavior we change our attitudes so that we are not ruled by instincts, habits, and someone else’s beliefs.” -Nataša Pantović, Conscious Parenting

    This one speaks to make conscious decisions in our parenting rather than reacting. For example, you child is not doing what you said. You could assume they are defiant and need to be punished. Or, instead, you could question them further to see what is upsetting them and causing them to ignore your request.

    Mindful Parenting Checklist To Help Guide You

    The Mindful website, reports that, “according to new research, children who experience mindful parenting are less likely to use drugs or get depression or anxiety.” It is generally agreed that mindfulness and mindful parenting are successful at promoting well-being in several ways. To bring mindful attention and awareness into your interactions with your child really seems to set the stage for you to be a good parent.

    Here are some ideas to help you become a more mindful parent. I have presented them in checklist format so you print it out and go over it occasionally. Otherwise, we all know that it can be hard to remember everything and to implement new habits. The Mindful Parenting Checklist will help you make the progress that you want to make.

    How To Bring Mindfulness To Parenting

    Establish a daily mindfulness practice for you and your kids such as sitting in simple meditation for  5-30 minutes every day.   During your meditation practice, bring awareness to your breathing and sustaining it over time.Bring more awareness to your mind and body in key moments. This is more easily done when you have a mindfulness routine such as mentioned above. You get better at this with practice.Mindfully manage stress.  Just taking a slow, intentional, deep breath can allow you to pause and refocus your attention on the present.Be mindful of what’s unfolding in your life and your children’s lives.  Honor your needs and their needs as best you can. Don’t get mindlessly caught up in reactions to surface behaviors.See young children as they are, not as who you want them to be. Meet your child with more acceptance.Cultivate kindness and compassion in the moment for yourself and for your child.Be in the present with open-hearted, non-judgmental attention.Be less attached to outcomes.When a conflict or difficult situations occur with your child, pause and take a breath. Ask yourself, “Am I just reacting here or am I responding with purpose?”Mindful parenting should include listening carefully to a child’s viewpoint even when disagreeing with it. Allow them the opportunity to express their own feelings.

    Printable Checklist

    I don’t think you will use this checklist every day indefinitely. However, I do think you will find it useful to use everyday for about a week. It will help you get into a better routine. Then you can reduce to once a week for awhile to help make sure you aren’t forgetting anything.

    Again, this Mindful Parenting Checklist is intended to help you implement new habits into your daily routine. It is not something you should stress over. Don’t try to check off every box, every day.  Rather it is just a useful tool for your mindfulness training. It will cause you to slow down and be present in the moment. When used properly, it should help with stress reduction and managing negative emotions. Mindful awareness in everyday life will lead to positive changes and less anxiety.

    The image above is a partial capture of the full printable Mindful Parenting Checklist.  You can go to google documents and print the whole page there.

    Parenting At Its Best

    It has happened to all of that we find ourselves going through the motions. As your child talks to you, your attention may wonder and you are off thinking about the stuff you need to get done. Wouldn’t you rather be enjoying the experience of being with your child? Be there to truly listen and respond with joy, humor, or just true attention. Mindful parenting isn’t just for when things are going wrong, it is for when things are going right too! It is being there in that moment and giving your child your full attention. It seems so basic but in this multi-tasking, multi-device, over-stimulation world, we have to get back to basics sometimes.

    Your child wants your attention more than anything else. In fact, we all appreciate those moments when a person is truly giving us their full presence. It is the greatest gift. Make your mindful moment awareness for good things too!

    Conclusion

    So tonight, when you tuck your child in, try mindful parenting. Put aside your worries and preoccupations and just enjoy your exchange with your child. When you look at them, really see them. When you listen, really listen. And when you tell them you love them, think about how much you really mean it. I bet you enjoy mindful parenting! It feels good.

    If you are interested in mindful parenting but you feel like you really need some help, you may want to check out MamaZen. It is the #1 mindful parenting app ‍‍for mothers who want to raise happier kids!

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    Travelling abroad with children after divorce FAQs

    While there is much to organise when travelling abroad with your family, if you are a separated parent or you have a different surname to that of your children, there are some additional factors to consider to help ensure you have the appropriate permission and can avoid potential issues. Stowe Senior Associate Zoe Carter has compiled a list of FAQs to guide you through travelling abroad with children after divorce.
    Do I need permission from my ex-partner to travel abroad with our children after divorce?
    Yes. You must have permission from those with parental responsibility for the child, to take them abroad.
    The only exception to this is where the parent travelling with the child or children has a child arrangement order stating that the children must live with them. In this instance, they can take the child aboard for up to 28 days without the consent of the other parent.
    Why do I need permission from my ex to travel abroad with our children?
    Where you have shared parental responsibility for your children, it’s essential to obtain permission to take your children abroad. Failing to do so could lead to criminal charges for child abduction.
    What is classed as ‘abroad’?
    Abroad is defined as anywhere outside of the UK. The UK does not include the Channel Islands or Isle of Man.  There are 4 countries that form the UK: England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Island. However, it’s worth remembering that they do not all share the same legal system. If you remove a child from one legal system within the UK to another legal system, this may effectively amount to going “abroad” such as travelling from England or Wales to Scotland.
    How do I get permission from my ex to travel abroad with our children?
    You can obtain permission to travel aboard with your children directly from your ex-partner or through solicitors if more appropriate. Permission should be given in writing.
    How do I know if I have parental responsibility for my children?
    Parental responsibility is automatically given to mothers and is given to fathers who are either named on the birth certificate of the child or married to the mother when the child is born. Parental responsibility can also be granted via court order or by entering into a Parental Responsibility Agreement.
    If you are the only parent with parental responsibility and there are no orders in place, permission is not needed from your ex-partner to travel abroad with your child.  It is however recommended that you advice them of your plans.
    What documents should I take with me when I travel?
    You could be asked for evidence of your permission to travel with your children and your relationship to them, at a UK or foreign border. So, to avoid unwelcome issues and ensure that you’re prepared it’s advisable that you take all of the relevant documentation. This includes:

    Written consent to the trip from your ex-partner – ideally with a copy of the their passport
    Proof of your own relationship with the child such as their birth or adoption certificates
    Divorce or marriage certificate if your surname is different from your child’s
    Full contact details of the consenting parent
    The specifics of your trip.

    While this sounds like a lot of preparation, and risky carrying important documentation, without the relevant paperwork you may find yourself refused entry into your destination of choice.
    Can I travel abroad when I have a different surname to my child?
    It is common for parents to have different surnames to their children. However, there are still instances where parents with different surnames to their children are questioned by UK or overseas border control and asked to provide evidence that they are legally travelling with their children. Understandably, these checks are to prevent child abduction but nevertheless can cause disruption to consensual family holidays.
    Carrying the right documentation can help to alleviate potential stress, upset, or even a missed flight! Official agencies will need to be satisfied with your relationship with the child, so it’s advisable that you carry:-

    Your child’s birth or adoption certificate
    Proof of name change – if your name has changed since your child was born you may also need to take evidence such as a change of name deed or marriage certificate
    It may also be beneficial to carry an expired passport, if this is in the name you held at the time of your child’s birth.

    Depending on the age of your children, It may also be worth giving them some warning that they could potentially be asked questions by immigration officials and to reassure them that they do not need to worry and should answer honestly.
    Is there a limit on how long I can go away for?
    There can arguably be no limit on the duration of your holiday, provided you have the permission of your ex-partner who also has parental responsibility for your children.
    If you have an order which states that the child lives with only you, unless the court order says you can’t, you can take your child abroad for 28 days without permission of the other parent.
    What if my ex won’t agree?
    If your ex-partner has parental responsibility and does not consent (and you do not have an order confirming the child lives with only you) you will need to make an application to court for the court’s permission before you can travel.
    The court will consider whether the holiday is in the best interests of the child and, in most cases, will grant permission for abroad travel provided there are no concerns about a child not being returned.
    Useful Links:
    UK Gov – Permission to take your child abroad
    Travelling abroad with your children
    Get in touch
    For more information about travelling abroad with your children after divorce or separation please do get in touch with our Client Care Team using the details below or make an online enquiry More

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    How To Be An Autism Advocate

    There are a lot of challenges that parents of autistic children face. One such challenge is the fact that special needs children often get pushed aside when it comes to their education. This may happen when their diagnosis information has not been properly shared or when the school district is short on resources. An autism parent advocate is someone who is checking to make sure their autistic child’s needs are being met. This will need to be on a continual basis over the weeks, months, and years. Autistic children are often not properly taken care of in the public schools education system. This is because they need an educational advocate to help them get what they need. As an autism advocate, it is your goal to create a positive, collaborative relationship with the school system to ensure your child’s needs are met.

    The 3 Ways You Can Best Advocate For Your Autistic Child

    Helping to increase autism awareness is often the mainstay for autism advocates. This is because information and knowledge are one of the best ways to combat ignorance and false perceptions. Knowing what to expect and how best to deal with it makes things smoother for everyone. As ADA says, “Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a developmental disorder. It affects how people communicate and interact with others, as well as how they behave and learn”. Understanding this basic information helps other people begin to understand your child better.

    Because autistic children often have difficulty with communication skills, it is important that they have an educational advocate. The main goal is to develop a partnership with the school and teachers so that you can work as a team. When you have a special needs child, you may need to lobby for them to get their needs met at every level of their education. Unfortunately, without an advocate, they don’t have much of a voice and can sometimes be neglected by school administrators. In this article, we will go over several ways that you can advocate for your autistic child. 

    1 – Be Proactive

    If you have done a free child autism test and then followed up and gotten an official diagnosis, you are now armed with the information you need to help advocate for them. Make sure to share the official diagnosis with the school administration and teachers. Be friendly and learn their names because they will be your partners in this process.

    It is really important to be proactive in getting your autistic child’s needs met and not simply reacting to things. When you have specific concerns or requests, it is a good idea to set up a meeting with the school. This will provide a way for you to express those concerns and get the administrators on the same page. Be as prepared as possible and set the tone of the meeting. Make sure that the administrators understand what your position is and that they will need to figure out how to meet your child’s needs. 

    2 – Be prepared

    Before any meeting or communication, you should have done some research. Find out what your child’s rights are in your state. There are some guarantees that the school needs to give you based on the local regulations of wherever you live. When you know your state laws and rights, you have a better standing to make sure that the school is doing at least the minimum they are required to do. 

    The Autism Speaks organization states that “The Individuals with Disabilities Act (IDEA) … mandates that the state provide all eligible children with a free and appropriate public education that meets their unique individual needs”. Visit their site to learn more about possible early intervention programs and special education services.

    You should also be prepared with any documentation from doctors that will outline what your child’s needs are. This gives you specific things to ask for which have their basis in a clinical standpoint. Have any reports or suggestions for the school done by professionals to bolster your case. 

    3 – Communicate well

    Ambiguity can really hurt your chances to get what your child needs. It is extremely important that you know how to communicate well. Try to make your point understood without any room for miscommunication. With this purpose, you may want to write your ideas down before hand. In this way, you can be sure to present your requests in an organized fashion.

    It’s helpful not to use emotional language, not only to keep things professional, but also to clearly articulate what it is that you need to have happen. Emotions are natural, but will get in the way of proper communication. On the flip side, the school will sometimes use language that is vague or confusing. Be sure to ask for clarification of unknown terms anytime you encounter them. Ask a lot of questions to be sure that you understand what is being said. In this way, you can then clearly articulate what you want to say in return.

    Conclusion 

    Children with autism have special needs and may struggle to communicate well with teachers and parents. As an autism advocate, it is your role to be proactive. Read up on your child’s diagnosis. Be familiar with all the diagnosis information and materials that the doctors provide. Be sure the school has this information as well so they came come up with an individualized education plan (IEP) to suit your child.

    If you encounter any difficulties with the education being adequate to meet your autistic child’s needs, schedule IEP meetings with the school administration and/or teachers. Come prepared with a good attitude to recruit these people as partners to better understand and meet your child’s needs. This may be an ongoing process but have faith. There are so many great teachers out there and you are helping your child progress. If you are struggling with the process you can sometimes hire a special education advocate to help you. Addressing the developmental disabilities will help improve the quality of life for you and your child.

    Related Resources:

    You may find it useful to check out AwesomismMom– a site by a mother of an autistic adult who has been through it all. Building a autistic community with appropriate supports will help you get through the rough times.

    Inspirational Parenting Quotes More