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    Making arrangements for children during Christmas

    Child arrangements during Christmas
    After the past two years, time with loved ones has never felt so important, but for separated parents Christmas can be a time of tension, as plans need to be agreed about where and how children will spend the festive season. So how do you agree on arrangements for children during Christmas?
    We asked our Regional Director for Yorkshire, Rachel Roberts, to share her advice on child arrangements during Christmas.
    Child arrangements and Christmas
    As we approach Christmas, we see a flurry of clients getting in touch for help to try and resolve arrangements for the festive season. 
    Before I turn to my tips on how best to manage arrangements, there are a couple of key points from the Government and family law sector that are certainly at the forefront of my mind when advising clients.
    Last year, a leading family judge made it clear that parties should only be bringing disputes over children to court where absolutely necessary. The judge went on to criticise parents for asking the court to micro-manage children arrangements. The view from the court is clear – where possible you should be sorting these things out yourself.
    The Government have said that further lockdowns are unlikely and have been clear that restrictions do not prevent children from moving between separated parents, provided they are not self-isolating. 
    It seems unlikely that this will change, and CAFCASS (the government body that advises the court on children disputes) has stressed the need for children to maintain their usual routine.
    All that said, it is naive to think that difficulties will not arise, and the following guidance may help avoid unhappiness at Christmas.
    Tips for making child arrangements during Christmas 
    Preparation is key
    With the added uncertainty of another Christmas during the pandemic, trying to put in place arrangements for Christmas in advance is tricky.
    If you do not have plans in place, now is the time to start. Talk to your ex-partner and agree on arrangements that work for you all.
    Some clients I have worked with agreed that the children would spend Christmas Eve at one home and then return to the other for lunch on Christmas Day.
    Other clients decided that they would spend the whole festive period with one parent and the next year spend it with the other, alternating between the two.
    It is a personal choice based on what works for your family, but also the age of the children, location and how amicable you are.
    Be prepared to be flexible as plans may need to change. 
    Focus on the children 
    First and foremost, put the children at the heart of the plans you make. A different type of Christmas can still be a good Christmas. Talk about the positive: two Christmas Days, two sets of presents etc.
    Make sure you share your plans with the children. Depending on the age of the children, ask them what they would like? Older children need to feel they have a voice. 
    Once in place, sharing plans with the children means they know where they will be throughout the holiday, and the routine will make them feel safe and secure.
    Creating a visual plan can help as dates can be difficult for a child to understand. One client created a Christmas themed wall planner for their younger children. A tech-savvy teenager may prefer a joint Google calendar.
    Be fair to the other parent
    If this is your first year as a separated parent, this will all feel very raw and difficult. It is likely that you will both be dreading not spending Christmas entirely with your children. 
    Even though it can be difficult, try to think about the impact of any plans on your former partner. Ask yourself if you would be happy with the proposed arrangements next year? If the answer is no, then maybe they should be reconsidered. 
    Stick to the plan
    This year may require a certain level of flexibility, but where possible, it is important that, whatever arrangements you come to, you both stick to the plan. 
    Last-minute changes can cause feelings of disruption and uncertainty for children. And, whilst flexibility is an essential part of positive child arrangements, it is important to maintain consistency and provide stability.
    Get advice early, if needed
    Christmas is chaotic and organising a co-parenting schedule on top of everything else is never going to be easy, especially if communication between you and your ex-partner is difficult. 
    If you are struggling this year, take advice from a family lawyer who can try to assist in negotiating an agreement. 
    If you cannot reach an agreement, mediation can help as the presence of a 3rd party often eases tensions and result in finding common ground. 
    Mediation is still taking place via video conferencing, and many of our clients have reported that it is easier than being in the same room as their former partner.
    Court proceedings are possible but should be used as a last resort, and, due to the current strain on courts from the pandemic, it is highly unlikely that you have any prospect of a contested hearing before Christmas. 
    Hopefully, these tips, combined with some careful planning, compromise and putting the children first,  will help you and your ex-partner move forward towards a harmonious Christmas.
    Get in touch 
    If you would like any advice on child arrangements during Christmas, or other family law issues, please do contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist divorce lawyers here. 
    This article was first published in 2018 and has since been updated.  More

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    Parenting Teen Boys- 10 Things You Should Know

    The teen years can be a bit challenging for any parent. There is always a push and pull as your child is starting to assert their independence, sometimes through inappropriate, dangerous ways. While teenage boys still very much need your attention, parenting advice and rules, they probably won’t act like they want it. Parenting teen boys has its own special set of challenges.

    As teenagers, boys often start to close up and stop talking to you the way they used to. They are testing things out to see how they work and the response they get. Teens can sometimes be in a rush to try and do new things. They’re starting to find their way in the world and naturally, they will often mimic behaviors they have seen. Some of this exploration is great and some of it may not be so great. The lessons they are learning will help shape them into the good men they will one day be, even if they don’t quite know what that means yet.

    Parents are often left trying to figure out what they need to do to reach their teen sons. Teen Boys need to given an outlet to explore and grow in healthy ways. They should also be encouraged to get plenty of healthy exercise as a way to release stress and handle the extra testosterone that their teen bodies are not entirely used to yet. It is important for teenage boys to have clear boundaries. They also need to know they can come to you to talk about important issues or questions without being shamed.

    These tips for parenting teen boys will help you stay close to them even as they start to become independent.

    10 Tips For Raising A Teenage Son

    Provide Action Oriented Feedback

    According to Dr. Robin Alter, when parenting boys, “we must be more action oriented and less verbal.” He argues that boys tend to respect action more than just words. As parents, we can keep this in mind by demonstrating our own positive examples of the behavior we wish to see.

    We can also use a more action oriented approach­ in asking for the behaviors we want that will demonstrate the quality we wish to see. For example, “Show me by your actions that you are sorry,” instead of a critical, “You are so irresponsible” without instructions for action to achieve being responsible.

    In general, while parenting teen boys, remember you are trying to build them up. You want to show teens the ideals they should aspire to achieve. Don’t shout at, nag, or shame teenage boys. Instead, set clear expectations and offer encouragement. Have rules and do enforce the rules with reasonable consequences. Help them realize they can do better and they can show you that with how they handle the same situation next time.

    Remove Entitlement

    We often give our kids things because we think it’ll make them happy and make them love us more. In reality, it just creates a sense of entitlement and sometimes it even results in low self-esteem because they aren’t working to achieve things themselves. Instead, set boundaries for teens and make them work for what they want. Encourage them to get a part-time job to help pay for the car they want. They should do chores to help out around the house and be part of your family “team.” Working to earn money or even privileges teaches teenagers to have respect and responsibility for what they have.

    Teach Empathy

    Empathy is one of the core values that seems to be in short supply in our world these days. Teach teen boys that they don’t need to experience someone else’s pain in order to relate and understand. Discuss current events and local news stories. Ask them how these stories make them feel. Model good behavior and explain your feelings towards these same situations. Notice when they do nice things like pick up trash they didn’t drop or hold the door open. Commend them when they do things right so they know that their actions are noticed and appreciated. Tell them when they do a good job.

    Don’t Look for Instant Compliance

    Your teenage son is starting to have a life of his own and do things that are just as important to him as your activities are to you. It’s okay to ask him to do something for you, but don’t get upset when he doesn’t drop what he’s doing to comply instantly. Respect the fact that he needs a minute or two to finish what he’s doing. You can say something like, “when you finish texting your friend, please take the trash out.” Showing respect for them will help them to show more respect for you and others.

    Be Flexible

    It may be hard to accept, but your way may not always be the best way, and it is certainly not the only way. Shocking, I know! Sometimes, you have to let your child learn things for themselves. They may end up choosing your way as the best way in the end. However, let them try and fail and figure things out for themselves on small things. Learning that it is ok to fail and to always try again is an important life lesson. Be open to looking at things from a different viewpoint, hearing what your teenage son has to say, and trying to see their point of view. They might even have a better way, on occasion!

    Coping With Emotions And Aggressive Behavior

    All teenagers can be subject to mood swings as they are experiencing new feelings and subject to new hormonal levels. Boys in particular are experiencing higher levels of the testosterone hormone. While this is great for their physical changes it can cause behavioral differences.

    Studies show that “During human puberty, there is an approximate 30-fold increase in testosterone production in boys. This increase is often linked to changes in mood and behavior in adolescence such as aggression, an increase in risk taking, and depression.” It is important to know this is going on and is normal. However, that does not mean that negative behaviors (especially aggressive behaviors) should be overlooked. In fact, it means that we should take extra care to help boys express their emotions find healthy ways of coping with these emotions.

    Stanford research shows that “The rational part of a teen’s brain isn’t fully developed and won’t be until age 25 or so.” Teens tend to process information in the amygdala with more emotional playing into their decisions. Parents ,as authority figures, are the most important role models in a child’s life. They can help by encouraging them and showing them how to think things through in a rational way. Stanford suggests, “Remind your teens that they’re resilient and competent. Because they’re so focused in the moment, adolescents have trouble seeing they can play a part in changing bad situations. It can help to remind them of times in the past they thought would be devastating, but turned out for the best.”

    Talk About The Pitfalls Before They Happen

    We all know that the teenage years have typical pitfalls such as peer pressure, drugs, alcohol, or running with the wrong crowds. It is important to talk about these things before they come up. They should know your expectations and have clear rules. They should understand the possible consequences of risky behaviors and poor decisions. There should be a clear understanding that you will take away privileges if they break rules.

    Talk To Them About Girls

    Adolescence is a time of change and undoubtedly, they will begin to pay more attention to girls than ever before. They need to understand how to treat teenage girls like ladies. They should understand the basics of behaving like a gentleman. Parents also need to have a dating and sex talk with their boys. Do not assume your teenage boys know everything until you tell them. Help them learn what healthy relationships look like. Talk about your expectations, discuss dangers of getting swept away, set limits, and answer their questions.

    Help Them Plan, But Don’t Do It For Them

    When parenting teen boys, it can seem like you need to run the show to make sure the right things happen. If your son seems lazy to you, remember that they are going through a lot of change. They need to be empowered to believe in themselves. Clinical psychologist Adam Price is the author of a helpful book that provides great strategies to reduce your involvement while encouraging theirs.

    Yes, this is a big time for teenage boys. The high school years are important years and they will begin to think about colleges and career paths. Help them with this process BUT respect that they need to be in charge. This is your son’s life and they need to be able to be an active participant, not just sitting in the passenger seat. As they become young adults, you need to be handing over the reins and watching to make sure they know how to use them!

    Just Listen and Notice Changes In Behavior

    Your son probably already knows many of your opinions on the world. Teens already know that you want them to pick up their dirty socks, and what’s expected of them in school. What they really need from you is someone that will just listen. Make time for them, whether it’s early in the morning as you’re having breakfast together, or late at night when the rest of the house is asleep. Take time to ask about them. Ask teen boys what they think about things, what they want for themselves, what might be upsetting them or making them happy. Create a safe space for them to feel heard and understood.

    And while you are listening you are making them feel heard and important. You are showing them you care. You are teaching them how to be good listeners. Furthermore, you are also creating a good baseline on their feeling and way of communicating. If there are sudden changes in behavior, you are more likely to notice them. You can ask about how things are going and make sure they know they can talk to you about anything.

    Parenting Tips For Teenage Boys Conclusion

    My best advice is to make sure you are spending quality time with your teen boys. This sets the stage for close relationships with open discussion. These are your last years with your son in your house. Cherish them. Take the opportunity to impart important life lessons as they come up. This is a good time for parents of teens to stay involved in their son’s everyday life. Yes, they are forming their own identity but they still need your guidance and support during this often stressful time.

    Parenting teen boys can be a challenge. However if you keep the lines of communication open and you show them the same respect you want them to show you, it will become easier on both of you. They need to be encouraged not discouraged. It will make for a better relationship and the entire family will stay stronger and more resilient.

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    5 Tips for Parallel Parenting

    Parallel parenting is a method used by divorced or separated parents who wish to continue to parent their children in parallel, whilst agreeing to limit contact and interaction with each other. This technique is particularly helpful in divorces that involve domestic abuse, high-conflict, or where communication is extremely difficult.
    Luisa Williams from My Family Psychologist explains more.
    5 Tips for Parallel Parenting

    Rebuilding your life when a relationship ends and healing from any emotional trauma you’ve experienced is difficult enough. Even when you’re ex was abusive, sometimes it’s impossible to cut ties for the sake of your child.  
    What is parallel parenting?
    Whilst co-parenting works by cooperation and continued communication, for some it gives your ex-partner the opportunity to continue to mistreat you. Instead, parallel parenting increases safety in challenging relationships by deliberately keeping communication to a bare minimum. 
    While major decisions can be agreed upon together, each parent adapts their parenting method when the child is in their care. It allows you to distance yourself from your ex without depriving your child of a parent and sets clear boundaries that prevent further abuse or conflict.
    The aim is to facilitate emotional healing from the relationship while prioritising your child’s needs and protecting them from conflict.  
    To give you the best start after divorce, here’s 5 tips for parallel parenting. 
    1. Create a parenting plan  
    It’s best to plan ahead to avoid disagreements. The more prepared you are and the more detailed the plan is, the less you’re likely to argue with your ex and the more minimal the contact is. Minimise stress for your child and ensure your safety by agreeing as much as you can in advance, including: 

    Agreeing timing of visits, including dates and start and end times, in writing.
    Establish how to handle cancellations, and when and how they should be communicated.
    Consider how often the child will see each parent?
    Who will attend your child’s functions or doctor visits?
    Agree who will drop them off and pick them up?
    Plan ahead to decide where your child will spend their holidays and birthdays?
    Choose a neutral location or even ask a family member or a trusted friend to pick your child for you.
    Set out financial responsibilities, and dos and don’ts.
    You can figure out logistics using email or another form of communication that doesn’t involve meeting face to face.  

     2. Let yourself heal
    Ideally, after separating from an abusive ex-partner, you’d cut contact and never see them again.  But when there are children involved, this is not always possible to eliminate them from your life completely. When some form of contact must remain, prioritise fulfilling your needs as well as supporting your child. Incorporate self-care into your routine to reduce stress and reconnect with your self. The best way to deal with the situation is by moving forward, so when you’re ready to, concentrate on your long-term goals. Focus on building resilience and reintroducing happiness to your life.  
     3. Accept the current situation
    Parallel parenting, and maintaining some contact with an abusive or difficult ex-partner after you’ve chosen to divorce, can be very challenging. It’s natural to struggle with negative emotions such as guilt, regret, shame and anger, and feeling as though things aren’t fair. You may find it hard to accept that your ex is still a parent to your child. Try to practice acceptance. Things are the way they are and all you can do is make the best out of the situation. Focus your energy on parenting your child and providing them with all the love and support they need. 
    4. Keep communication to the minimum
    Only communicate with your ex when it’s necessary. Agree to contact them via email or use a parenting app, and document every interaction. Keep your communication impersonal and matter of fact, discussing only topics that relate to your child and sharing no personal information or detail. Try not to let your ex provoke you or use your child as a messenger. It can be difficult not to ruminate on the relationship whenever an email pops up or whenever your child is spending time with them. Try to distance yourself and treat interaction with your ex as a business that’s necessary to keep your child happy.  
     5. Appoint a mediator
    If there’s a lot of resentment between you and your ex, or your safety might be compromised, it’s a good idea to appoint a professional mediator. Mediation helps divorced parents to align their intentions and focus on their shared priority, the child. With the help of mediation, divorced parents can make well-informed decisions, reduce conflict, and set out an effective and mutually beneficial plan for all members of the family.
    Parallel parenting can be challenging and confusing, and the details of an arrangement will depend on the individual situation. Consider getting advice from a professional.
    If you need help and support with parallel parenting you can contact My Family Psychologist, who offer specialised counselling services for adults, couples, and children as well as mediation services.
    Family Law Advice
    If you are in an abusive or high-conflict relationship and would like advice on your legal situation, please do contact our Client Care Team to speak to one of our specialist lawyers. More

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    Parenting A Strong Willed Child

    A strong willed child is often regarded in either a very positive light or a very negative light, depending on your preconceptions. So is a strong willed bad? I certainly don’t think so. As with most things, there are positives and negatives to being strong willed. A iron-willed child will be resolute and determined. Those are great qualities in the right circumstances. In fact they can make for great leaders! However, a strong-minded child can also be inflexible and mulish. Those qualities generally result in more negative behaviors. If you are parenting a strong willed child, you may be about at the end of your rope. Don’t fear. Take a deep breath, help is here.

    The Strong-Willed Child

    If your spirited child

    Engages in frequent temper tantrums Doesn’t accept instructions at face valueSeems to enjoy arguing with you over everythingLikes to ask “why” on a regular basisAnd tends to be outspoken and disruptive

    Then you’re probably parenting a strong-willed child. Headstrong kids like to learn things for themselves instead of accepting what others tell them. They want to be in charge of themselves so strong willed children usually test the limits you set. They will often desire to do what they think is the right thing above everything else.

    This can certainly create some difficult and challenging days for parents. It’s good to accept your child’s temperament and encourage them to think for themselves. This can help avoid constant power struggles. On the other hand, they also need to learn that there are boundaries and expectations that they will need to comply with.

    How To Parent A Strong Willed Child

    Some people would say, “how to deal with a strong willed child” but I think that sounds a bit negative. Remove your preconceptions that “they need to be dealt with” and replace them with a more positive framing. What you really want to figure out is how to parent a strong willed child. These tips will help you set boundaries with your strong-willed child’s behavior while also giving them the space they need to be themselves. Consistently working in a loving way to strengthen the parent-child relationship and set clear expectations will help reduce behavior problems.

    1. Establish Family Rules

    Gather all of the family members for a family meeting about the rules you want to set. Explain the expectations and what your kids can expect the result to be if they don’t comply. Welcome feedback from your kids about rules they feel are important or why they feel certain rules aren’t important. Explain that the rules are for everyone and ask your child if they understand the rules and the consequences of breaking them. Once you have this buy in from strong willed kids, it is more likely they will make good choices.

    2. Create Predictability

    Strong-willed children don’t do well when their power is taken away from them. Creating structure helps them to know what is expected of them. And if a day is going to be a little off from the norm, talk to your child about it ahead of time. In this way, they know what to expect beforehand instead of expecting them to adjust at a moment’s notice. Taking time to communicate with them about changes will help avoid their frustration and resulting disruptive behavior.

    3. Forget Ultimatums

    A strong-willed child will see an ultimatum as a challenge and they won’t back down. If they misbehave and you give them a time-out until they’re ready to cooperate, they’ll sit in time-out all day long. Instead, encourage cooperation by working with them. Next time, instead of giving them time-out until they’re ready to clean up their toys, work together to clean them up. This will has the added benefit of helping them learn to work together with others.

    4. Be Patient

    Furthermore, delaying gratification can be a better way of encouraging your child to cooperate than time outs. For instance, they can’t go outside to play or ride bikes until the toys are cleaned up. They’ll be more inclined to do the thing they don’t want to do so that they can do the thing they do want to do. Instead of getting involved in a battle of wills, they will mostly like chose the good behavior themselves in order to get what they really want.

    5. Pay Attention

    Your child may not be able to accurately verbalize what they’re feeling, but they’ll show it in their actions. Pay attention to their frustration and anger levels. When do they feel the most frustrated, what is upsetting them, and how do they handle it? These can be clues to help you figure out how to best help them cope. Remember that younger children are still learning to identify their own emotions and understand how to communicate big feelings. A child’s emotions are sometimes confusing to them as well. However their behavior offers a clue. A defiant child displaying aggressive behavior usually feels something is unfair and they feel angry. If you can find a way to help them express themselves with their words, they will often feel better and behave better.

    More Resources For Parenting A Strong Willed Child

    Want more reading on the subject? Try the very well reviewed book, Parenting The Strong-Willed Child: The Clinically Proven Five-Week Program for Parents of Two- to Six-Year-Olds. This classic by Rex Forehand, Ph.D. and Nicholas Long Ph.D. has helped hundreds of thousands of parents with disciplining a strong willed child using positive reinforcement. They have lots of great ideas for managing the strong-willed temperament in effective ways.

    A strong-willed child can certainly test your patience, but they’re also free thinkers, go-getters, and independent- all qualities you want to encourage! By helping them find the best ways to express themselves and deal with the times they have to comply with rules, you’ll both find some satisfaction. As you help these experiential learners with problem solving difficult situations, you will see their behavior improve in important ways.

    I hope these tips for parenting a strong willed child help you find an effective style of parenting and reduces behavioral challenges. Being a positive parent with happy kids will suit you all better. Which suggestion did you find the most helpful?

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    What Is Helicopter Parenting?

    You’ve probably heard the term “helicopter parenting,” but what is it? And is it okay or is it something you should try to avoid? Today’s blog post will provide a helicopter parenting definition. It will also look at the negative effects of helicopter parents on children’s lives despite the good intentions behind this parenting style.

    What Is A Helicopter Parent?

    The term “helicopter parent” was first introduced by Dr. Haim Ginott in his 1969 book Between Parent & Teenager. In it, teens he interviewed said their parents would hover over them like a helicopter. It become such a popular term that in 2011 it was entered in the dictionary. Merriam-Webster defines it as “a parent who is overly involved in the life of his or her child.”

    It can be hard to find the fine line between being an involved parent and smothering your child with too much attention. We just want to be good parents and protect our children. We want to help them find their path in life while keeping them safe and making them feel loved. But is there a point when parental involvement goes too far, not allowing our kids to learn things through difficult experiences?

    When our kids are young children, they definitely need our help more frequently. It’s our job to keep them safe, protect them from harm, and even do things for them that they’re not yet able to do. But helicopter parenting goes a little further and usually refers to parents of older children; high school or college students. At this age, kids should be able to handle many situations on their own or should be learning how to do so. However, helicopter parents tend to take responsibility instead of allowing young people to make their own decisions.

    Helicopter Parenting Examples

    For instance, a student that gets a poor grade or needs to arrange for a special test schedule. A helicopter parent speaks to the teacher for them. An older student should be able to handle these situations with their teachers or professors on their own and should be encouraged to do so for the life experience. But a helicopter parent might take this opportunity to handle the phone call or email for their child. However, this keeps their child from gaining the experience of dealing with these types of situations.

    Helicopter parents may handle the whole college process for the child. Instead of discussing a plan and guiding the child, helicopter moms might draw up a whole course of action for the child. They will then remain over involved at each step deciding when the child should study what and the extracurricular activities the child should participate in. Intrusive parents may go even further deciding where the child should apply to college and applying for them. While you can see how the impact of helicopter parenting can hinder healthy development of life skills for the child, negative outcomes can be even worse.

    Overprotective parents may play the mama bear card too often “protecting their child” from even the smallest criticism. This can often have the reverse effect making the child even more sensitive to feedback as they are assured it is an attack on them that is unfair and that they need the parent to save them from. When children learn that they should not do things for themselves, they may develop an overwhelming fear of failure and lack of trust in their own ability.

    What Motivates Helicopter Parents?

    Helicopter parents usually have their reasons for this behavior, but they basically boil down to a few:

    Fear – They’re afraid their child won’t handle the situation and it could cause long-term harm. Whether the child is dealing with a classroom situation, a sports team, or a job, parents are afraid if the situation isn’t handled well, it could have a negative impact on their child.

    Anxiety or Worry – Worry in other areas of life can cause parents to overcompensate in other areas. If a parent is worried about a situation in their own life that they can’t control, they look for ways to control other situations. They feel that even if everything is falling apart in their own life, they can at least help their child.

    Overcompensation – Parents who felt unloved as a child want their own child to feel loved. And providing constant attention and support, they think, will make their child feel loved.

    Effects Of Helicopter Parents

    Helicopter parenting often starts out as a parent who is concerned about their child and who pays them close attention. At a young age, this is needed. However, the helicopter parent misses the importance of encouraging independence as the child grows older. They miss the importance of allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes.

    This is when helicopter parenting can backfire. It can leave the child with low self-esteem, underdeveloped coping and social skills, increased anxiety, and a sense of entitlement. These effects of helicopter parenting are ironically all things that parents want to help their child avoid. However, helicopter parents don’t realize they’re causing these emotional problems.

    According to the Child Mind Institute, a new study from the University of Buffalo, “speaks to the issue of whether too much hovering over a child can be bad for her. Researchers looked at people who had been through difficult things, and they found that, on the one hand, going through very traumatic experiences does not bode well for one’s long-term resilience, but, on the other, going through almost no difficult experiences also does not bode well for one’s resilience. Having obstacles to overcome is what helps children to build resilience, to develop coping skills to deal with things that are difficult.”

    Recent research from Florida State University reveals how helicopter parenting leads to lower self-control among young adults. “Self-control allows us to regulate behavior in order to achieve our long-term goals,” said Professor Frank Fincham. When this happens, those students are more likely to experience school burnout. The research also points out that “Dealing with school burnout often spawns more mental health challenges, such as anxiety, depression or addiction, and leads to worse academic outcomes”.

    How To Avoid Becoming A Helicopter Parent

    It can be hard to avoid becoming a helicopter parent, especially when you only want the best for your child. However learning to take a step back is necessary to allow your child become independent. It can be difficult to watch your child make mistakes or struggle. However, they will have to face these things sooner or later. The earlier they are allowed to guide themselves through small issues and deal with the consequences of their actions, the more likely that those repercussions will be small. Learning these life lessons younger will help make things easier for them to cope with later on.

    Take time to reflect on how involved you are in steering your child’s life. Try to look at it objectively. If you would be embarrassed to admit the things you are doing for your child or to protect your child, you may be overly involved parents with too much control. Look for opportunities to support and encourage your child’s independence. Yes, they will make mistakes and they will struggle, but then you can be there to help them (not do it for them!) work through the failure and pick themselves back up. Another important life skill they’ll need to learn.

    How To Deal With Helicopter Parents

    As a teacher, my husband deals with helicopter parents fairly often. The common problem is they assume their child is a perfect innocent little angel. They often think that as a good parent the best way to handle a bad grade is to go directly to the teacher and fix things. While it can be uncomfortable to feel attacked by a helicopter parent, the best thing to do is remain calm.

    Remember, these perfectionist parents are just upset and trying to solve things. Try to involve the child in the conversation when appropriate so that the child gets a chance to speak for himself or herself. Use clear communication to establish the situation and what you think is a reasonable resolution. Create boundaries if needed and seek a third party to arbitrate if things start to escalate.


    In recent years, research has confirmed that the children of helicopter parents have a harder time with self-control skills. They tend to experience more fear of disappointing others and suffer from more mental health issues. There is no question that the parent-child relationship is important. However, being overly involved in the lives of young adult children is detrimental even for well intentioned parents. Instead, allow your child be responsible for their own success (or failure). Stand back and offer them support when they ask for it but don’t guide their every move. I hope this helped answer, “What is helicopter parenting?” I also hope it inspires you encourage independence in your child and let them take the lead in their own lives.

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    Inspirational Quotes About Family Strength and Love

    I love reading inspirational quotes about family strength to remind me that we are blessed to have each other in good times and in bad times. Sometimes words just hit you in a way that really connects with you. I have been searching out and saving up inspirational quotes about many topics and saving them to my Impactful Words Pinterest Board for several years. Today, I thought I would share some of my favorite inspirational family quotes with you.

    These family bonding quotes will help you remember and be able to verbalize the importance of family time. Above all, these family quotes will also serve to remind you that family should be your support network, your refuge in the storm, and your source of happiness. I hope they offer you motivation and inspiration to make your family a priority and to devote the time and effort they deserve.

    Below, I have gathered up 7 great inspirational family quotes into one free printable image that you can print or save to Pinterest for safe keeping. I truly believe that nothing is as important as family. Consequently, we need to make sure that we are there for each other, to always be supportive, and lend an ear or advice when needed. These quotes may offer you comfort when you are down. Good, strong families are the compass by which we navigate life. Families are like a super close tribe or clan that provide meaning and hopefully a firm foundation for us to interact with the world. In conclusion, I hope you enjoy these family time quotes as much as I do.

    The Best Family Quotes And Free Printables

    “At the end of the day, a loving family should find everything forgivable.” -Mark V. Olson

    “The happiest moments of my life have been the few that I have passed at home, in the bosom of my family.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses.” -Joyce Brothers

    “I think togetherness is very important to family life.” – Barbara Bush

    “In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future.” -Alex Haley

    “Having a place to go is a home. Having someone to love is a family. Having both is a blessing.” -Donna Hedges

    “The bond that links your true family is not one of blood, but of respect and joy in each other’s life.” -Richard Bach

    As a parent, I have always known that I want the best for my family and I strive to be the best parent I can be. These seven best inspirational family quotes are on the two images above which you are free to print and post. Subsequently, I hope they serve as a beautiful reminder of how blessed we are to have each other and together we can reach great heights.

    Inspirational Quotes About Family Strength

    I love these inspirational family quotes about strength. Family bonds are some of the strongest bonds there are and this is because we increase their strength as we face challenges together over time and respond with love and forgiveness for each other.

    “Families are like branches branches on a tree. We grow in different directions yet our roots remain as one.” –Pinterest

    “Our family is a circle of strength and love, with every birth and every union, the circle will grow, every joy shared adds more love, every crisis faced together, makes the circle stronger.” -Unknown

    “When everything goes to hell, the people who stand by you without flinching — they are your family. ” -Jim Butcher

    “The strength of a family, like the strength of an army, is in its loyalty to each other. ”  -Mario Puzo

    “In the family, there is strength that all the power in the world cannot undo.” -Unknown

    “When trouble comes, it’s your family that supports you.” -GuyLafleur

    “Families are the compass that guide us. They are the inspiration to reach great heights, and our comfort when we occasionally falter.”    -Brad Henry

    ‘There is no doubt that it is around the family and the home that all the greatest virtues, the most dominating virtues of human society, are created, strengthened and maintained.” –Winston Churchill

    “The only rock I know that stays steady, the only institution I know that works, is the family.” -Lee Iacocca

    “My life is proof that no matter what situation you’re in, as long as you have a supportive family, you can achieve anything.” -Michaela DePrince (She was born in war-torn Sierra Leone and became an American ballet dancer.)

    Which of those family strengths quotes did you find most moving?

    Quotes About Family Love

    Here are a few more of my favorite inspirational quotes about family.

    “In family life, love is the oil that eases friction, the cement that binds closer together, and the music that brings harmony.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

    “Being a family means you are a part of something very wonderful. It means you will love and be loved for the rest of your life.” -Lisa Weed

    “Don’t write your name on sand, waves will wash it away. Don’t write your name in sky, wind may blow it away. Write your name in hearts of people you come in touch with. That’s where it will stay.” –Pinterest

    “Nobody knows you or understands you like family.” -Scarlet Paolicchi

    “I’ve learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you’ll miss them when they’re gone from your life.” – Maya Angelou

    “Having somewhere to go is home. Having someone to love is family. And having both is a blessing.” -Unknown

    “Family is a lifejacket in the stormy sea of life.” -J.K. Rowling

    “The way you help heal the world is you start with your own family.” -Mother Teresa

    “Family is a unique gift that needs to be appreciated and treasured, even when they’re driving you crazy. As much as they make you mad, interrupt you, annoy you, curse at you, try to control you, these are the people who know you the best and who love you.” -Jenna Morasca

    “You can kiss your family and friends good-bye and put miles between you, but at the same time you carry them with you in your heart, your mind, your stomach, because you do not just live in a world but a world lives in you.” -Frederick Buechner

    “A happy family is but an earlier heaven.” -George Bernard Shaw

    “Family is not an important thing. It’s everything.” -Michael J. Fox

    “The family is the first essential cell of human society.”  -Pope John XXIII

    “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you, as you are to them.” -Desmond Tutu

    That last quote is so beautiful. For the love of family, may we always aspire to be gifts to each other!

    Thoughts On These Quotes For Families

    These quotes were selected to inspire you even in difficult times. To recenter you around what is truly important. Further, to help you remember that people are what make this life special. Our job is to treasure our family members for who they are and to help them be their best selves. Our reward is our lifelong relationship.

    Serena Williams said, “Family’s first, and that’s what matters most. We realize that our love goes deeper than the tennis game.” That goes to show, she prioritizes her family over her competitive spirit, over her passion for the game. It makes clear how strong family love should be.

    I would remind you that wonderful as they can be, families are not perfect. Do not expect them to be. We are are all human. We all make mistakes. However, with compassion and love, together we can rise above it all, stronger than before. And that, is a beautiful thing! After all, family is forever.

    As Jane Howard said, ““Call it a clan, call it a network, call it a tribe, call it a family. Whatever you call it, whoever you are, you need one.” We all need a group of people to count on, to trust, to love, and be loved by.

    Marge Kennedy also said it well, ““In truth a family is what you make it. It is made strong, not by number of heads counted at the dinner table, but by the rituals you help family members create, by the memories you share, by the commitment of time, caring, and love you show to one another, and by the hopes for the future you have as individuals and as a unit.”


    Families should support each other. They will suffer hardships and mistakes. However those will be easier to get through when you are there for each other giving love and encouragement. A close knit family takes a lot of work just like anything else. Family also brings so much joy that it is well worth it!

    So which ones of these inspirational quotes about family strength were your favorites? It is pretty hard to pick the best one of these family bonding quotes, isn’t it? Which ones do you think offer comfort to those that are down? Furthermore, which ones remind you that you will never be left behind or forgotten?

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    The adoption process

    As family lawyers, we are experienced in dealing with adoption law and trained to manage the legal process. This national Adoption Week we want to explain who is eligible to adopt and look at what the process involves when adopting a child, to simplify the journey and help you be well-informed from the outset.
    Can I adopt a child in England and Wales?  
    First off, who can adopt a child in England or Wales?  To qualify you must be over 21 and happy to make space in your life and home for a child.  
    Now let us dispel some myths, you CAN adopt if, 

    You are married, living together, in a civil partnership, opposite-sex couple, same-sex couple or single 
    Employed or on benefits 
    Any ethnic or religious background  
    Have children or not 
    Own your home or live in rented 
    Already adopted a child  
    If you are disabled 
    You are not a British citizen (although you must have a fixed and permanent home here and lived here for at least a year before you begin the application process) 

    What is the process of adopting a child?
    To adopt a child, you must go through an agency, either one that is part of your local council or a voluntary adoption agency. (See links at the end of the article).  
    The agency will supply information, meet with you to assess your suitability, explain the process and provide the application form.  
    Once you have applied there will be a full assessment of you (and partner if involved) including: 

    Social worker visits on a number of occasions to assess your suitability to become adoptive parents 
    Police checks (You will not be allowed to adopt if you, or an adult member of your family, have been convicted of a serious offence, for example against a child.) 
    A full medical examination 
    Three personal references. One can be a relative.  
    You will also need to attend a series of preparation classes, often held locally. 

    What is the adoption panel?
    Your social worker will prepare and send the assessment report to an independent panel who are experienced in adoption.  They will make a recommendation based on your assessment.  
    This recommendation will be sent to your chosen agency and they will decide if you are suitable to adopt or not.  
    If approved, the agency will work with the local authority to start the process of finding a child.  
    How do they match you with a child?
    After matching potential adoptive parents with a child, the suitability of the situation for the child and parents will be discussed between the agencies involved. A matching panel will make the final decision.  
    When does the adopted child move into the family home permanently?
    Once a child has been matched with an adoptive parent/s, the process of moving in is taken, understandably, very slowly. There are a series of visits and stays, supported by your social worker to make the transition as comfortable as possible before moving in permanently.  
    How is adopting a child made legal?  
    Before a child moves in, Social Services need to obtain a Placement Order (unless the biological parents have consented).  This order gives Social Services the power as an adoption agency to place a child with a chosen adopter (you). 
    Once the relationship is working well under the Placement Order and the child has been living with you for at least 10 continuous weeks, steps are taken to get an Adoption Order.  
    What is an Adoption Order?
    The effect of an Adoption Order is to make the adopters the legal parents of the child.  The biological parents lose their parental status as a result of this Order, so it is an important step that requires careful thought. 
    If the child has been placed with you under a Placement Order, then their biological parents are not allowed to oppose an Adoption Order without permission from the Court.   
    In some cases, the biological parents may try to prevent the Adoption Order from happening, but you would know well in advance if that was going to be a risk.  The biological parents will be told about a hearing for an Adoption Order even if they are not allowed to challenge it, and so you can be anonymous on your application.   
    In most cases, the adopters do not attend the first hearing in case there are any problems with the biological parents, and instead typically attend when the order is granted. 
    Once the Court is satisfied that adoption is the best option for the child, an Adoption Order is granted and the Court confirms that you are the parents of your adopted child.  
    What are your next steps: 
    If you would like to find out more about the legal process of adopting a child you can get in touch with our adoption team.
    You can also download our Adoption Guide.
    Useful links:  
    Voluntary adoption agency finder:  
    Apply through a local authority agency:  
    The charity Adoption UK runs a helpline:  More

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    Quotes On Follow Through And Why It Is So Important

    Today, I want to share with you some of my favorite quotes on follow through. I think that as a general concept everyone knows follow through is important but sometimes it takes too much time, effort, confidence, or desire. However, following through is part of building trust and confidence in ourselves and others. These quotes will help inspire you be the type of person who pursues and completes what they start. I also have some great insight from author Casey Russell on the art of consistently following through on what you say.

    My Favorite Quotes On Following Through

    “I can give you a six-word formula for success: Think things through – then follow through.” -Eddie Rickenbacker, American fighter ace in World War I, Medal of Honor recipient

    “Character is the ability to follow through on a resolution long after the emotion with which it was made has passed.” –Brian Tracy, Motivational public speaker and self-development author

    “Many people don’t focus enough on execution. If you make a commitment to get something done, you need to follow through on that commitment.” also “For me, integrity is the consistency of words and actions.” –Kenneth Chenault, CEO of a Fortune 500 company

    “Do what you say you’re going to do. Follow through means never having to say you’re sorry.” -Mark Goulston

    “Good thoughts are no better than good dreams if you don’t follow through.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Essayist, lecturer, philosopher, abolitionist and poet

    “Those who only do what they feel like, don’t do much. To be successful at anything you must take action even when you don’t feel like it, knowing it is the action itself that will produce the motivation you need to follow through.” also “When you value your integrity at the highest level, living alignment with your word and following through with your commitments no matter what, there are no limits to what you can create for your life. However, when you make excuses, justify doing what is easiest, and choose the path of least resistance, you will live a life of mediocrity, frustration and regret. Live with integrity as if your life depended on it, because it does.” –Hal Elrod, Author, keynote speaker and success coach

    “When we don’t follow through with what we say to our kids, we are teaching them to ignore our words.” -Casey Russell, author of The Handbook for Life With Little Ones

    “Those who are blessed with the most talent don’t necessarily outperform everyone else. It’s the people with follow-through who excel.” -Mary Kay Ash, Founder of Mary Kay Cosmetics

    “People will follow you when you build the character to follow through.” -Orrin Woodward, founder of Life as well as a New York Times bestselling author 

    “All the time and effort put into networking can be all for naught if there is no follow-through. The same goes for sales. And leadership. And … well, everything.” -Beth Ramsay, Founder and CEO of Brilliant Women

    “It was character that got us out of bed, commitment that moved us into action, and discipline that enabled us to follow through.” -Zig Ziglar, Author, salesman, and motivational speaker

    “words are meaningless without intent and follow through and intent without good planning and proper action is equally meaningless.” David Amerland, Author of The Sniper Mind

    These quotes on following through really make it clear why it is an essential element to success in life and relationships.

    The Art of Consistently Following Through on What You Say

    I am very happy to share with you some wise words from Casey Russell on why it is important to follow through. She is the author of The Handbook for Life With Little Ones:  Information, Ideas and Tips for Birth to Age Five. For more ideas and tips for early parenting, feel free to check out her book (affiliate link below).

    by Casey Russell

    Being a parent can be hard. It’s a big responsibility to be in charge, not only of another human’s basic needs, but to also need to keep that human safe, teach him morals, respect, discipline, help him grow his self-esteem and make sure he learns all his curious mind needs know in this world. It’s especially hard when our kids seem not to listen to what we say. Why, we wonder, is my child whining for more when I’ve already told him that’s all he can have? Why is he not getting off the swing when I’ve already counted to 10 in my “I’m serious” voice?

    Have I been following through?

    The answer to this often lies in a simple question we need to ask ourselves. “Have I been following through on what I say to my child?” Kids are smart. They are learning all the time by observing us. They notice when we say one thing and do another.

    Picture this: You are running errands with your child. He asks for a toy. You say, “No, we can’t buy a toy today.” He starts to whine. You tell him no again. He continues to whine and keeps asking for the toy while you are attempting to concentrate on getting the things on your list. He gets louder. You grab the toy and say, “Fine, but we’re not doing this every time we come to the store.” If this scenario sounds at all familiar, now is the time to ask the question: “Have I been following through on what I say to my child?” And, the answer will be no.

    When We Don’t Follow Through

    When we don’t follow through with what we say to our kids, we are teaching them to ignore our words and keep asking until we give in. This is not only frustrating, it can also be dangerous. If they learn to ignore our words in situations like these, they will also be less likely to “Stop!” when we need them to for safety reasons. They are learning, too, that they do not need to respect the fact that someone has said, “No.” We do not want our kids to do this to us and we definitely don’t want them to do it as adults.

    It seems so much easier in the moment, to give in. It gets the child to stop whining and you can focus on what you need to do. But, by accepting the temptation of this moment’s peace, you are inviting years of arguments, whining and disrespect.

    Following Through Earns Respect

    Luckily, there is a solution. Starting now, and forevermore, follow through. If you tell your child he can have one more cracker. Give ONE more. Don’t give in when he cries. Teach him, through your actions, that you mean what you say. If he starts to whine, you can gently say, “Oh, you know you don’t get what you want when you whine. Those crackers are really good. But, we’re done with them for now. What should we go play?” None of this needs to be said loudly or meanly. You just need to make a small shift to a more serious tone. Your child will quickly learn there’s no use in arguing because it’s not going to get him what he wants.

    Only Say Things You Will Carry Out

    With that said, make sure to say things you can follow through with. For example, if you are at the airport and your child starts acting up, don’t say, “If you don’t stop screaming, we are going home.” Because, let’s face it, you’re not going to go home. You’re going to get on the plane and your child will have learned you don’t always mean what you say. Or, if your child is running away from you at bedtime instead of letting you brush his teeth, don’t say, “If you don’t come to me right now, you are not going to sleep with your teddy bear.” The truth is, he will need his teddy bear to go to sleep and that punishment is too strong. No one needs to be mean. Pick something else that will matter to him but that won’t emotionally wound him or make him feel unsafe. An alternative would be, “Right now you have 2 books for bedtime. I am giving you one more chance to come to me so I can brush your teeth. If you don’t, we will only be able to do 1 book for bedtime.” This is a consequence that will matter to him, but is not mean spirited.

    I think it’s important to say “yes” to kids often. But, when “no” is said, they need to know, and be able to trust, that we mean it. Talk about things. Consistently follow through. Let your child know the boundaries and let him take control of remembering where they are. When the boundaries are clear, kids will most often cooperate because they don’t have to test the boundaries. When a rule needs to be made, just gently let your child know what it is– and why– and then stick to it. And then, when your child does a great job making a choice you were hoping he’d make, thank him! Positive reinforcement works wonders. Kids like to know they’ve done something good. We all do. We like to know we’re appreciated.

    Following through on what you say means you consistently do this for promises you make your child, too. If you’ve said your little one can help you bake cookies after his nap, don’t poop out and let time get away from you. Bake the freakin’ cookies! If you’ve said you’ll go to the park after you’re done paying bills, but it is raining when you’re done, get on the raincoats and go! If you do this, your child’s trust in you, and his sense of surety in the world, will grow. By doing this one thing, you will most likely find you have a child who doesn’t whine or put up fits. He will know it’s not worth whining because he’ll know that you mean what you say. It will help him feel safe because he can trust you and he will know the boundaries.

    Get yourself in the practice of consistently following through and then stick to it. This same principle of carrying through a process to completion will serve you well in all facets of your life to help you be respected and accomplish more.

    Thanks again to Casey Russell for sharing those inspiring word on staying true to what we say and for great examples of how to follow through with discipline in a firm but gentle way.

    Follow Through Synonyms And Antonyms:

    Perhaps the most convincing argument for why follow through is so important lies the definition of the phrase. If you look for a word that means the same thing as follow through and a word that means the opposite of following through, you will know right away which side you want to fall on! See the below according to Merriam-Webster:

    Synonyms for follow through (with)

    accomplish, achieve, bring off, carry off, carry out, commit, compass, do, execute, fulfill (or fulfil), make, negotiate, perform, perpetrate, prosecute, pull off, put through

    Near Antonyms for follow through (with)

    failskimp, slight, slur

    Always Follow Through On Your Commitments

    When you really think about it, following through is probably one of the characters you admire the most in your role models. This is because this quality makes them trustworthy. It also demonstrates that they are hard workers who execute their plans. They make things happen. Whether it is in business, personal life, or parenting, follow through is essential to being reliable and getting things done well.

    I hope you enjoyed the quotes on follow through. Which ones did you think were the best following through quotes? I’d love to hear and additional quotes on following through or any personal stories that illustrate the importance in the comments or on social media @familyfocusblog!

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