Parenting After Divorce: The Bird Nesting Method

In a recently published New York Times article, writer Beth Behrendt discussed the benefits of a relatively new parenting option for divorced families called the bird nesting method. Behrendt and her ex husband have successfully used the nesting method for the past three years to coparent their three children. In the nesting method, the divorced parents each purchase or rent a separate living space from the family’s previously established home. They then choose alternate days or weeks to come and live in the family home with the children while the alternate spouse returns to the separately assigned living space. In this arrangement, children are thought to feel less jostled and displaced by a divorce because they remain in their home with their own belongings.

Behrendt described the living situation as one that appealed to both she and her ex-husband because they desired to place the needs of their boys before their own needs. During a recent speaking event in New Jersey where Behrendt gave a talk about the nesting method, she described her reaction when she first read about the arrangement in a book about simplified divorces. Behrendt stated that she breathed a sigh of relief at the idea that her boys could maintain as much of their original lives as possible throughout the divorce.

Behrends stated that she is frequently asked about her peculiar nesting arrangement by other well meaning parents in PTA groups or school conferences. She advised for parents considering the method to answer a few questions regarding the method. The parents should ask if they can work together to maintain their previously established home, if they can both reasonably find a home to live in during the times when they are not occupying the home, and if they can come to an agreement about the circumstance. If the answer to any of these questions is no, the nesting method may not be suitable. Those open to the nesting method, however, may find it a reasonable solution to their divorce.

New Jersey Holiday Scams Target Eldery

The air is colder, the holiday lights are everywhere, Christmas deals are in full force, it must e that time of year again. Yes, time to scam the elderly in New Jersey out of their life savings by tricking them to kick up a little extra holiday love. People in New Jersey are being warned to speak to their elderly parents, friends, coworkers, and warn them about the latest holiday scam called the Grandparents Scam. Here is a little about how the scam is pulled off.

 

How the Scam Works

The scam is very clever at the core because it works on tugging at the heart-strings of the elderly. The scammer will call the elderly and pretend to be a grandchild, relying on the person not recognizing the voice on the phone. The person will say they love their grandparent, they are in trouble, and they need the elderly to please keep this a secret from the parents. Since they think they are talking to their favorite grandchild, they try to help out any way they can. Many times the caller will say they are in need of immediate funds to get out of jail, to get home from a foreign country, or to take care of a debt. The caller will try anything to get the elderly to break out that credit card.

 

New Jersey Grandma Scammed

This week an elderly woman in New Jersey was the target of the “grandparents Scam”, and it cost her over $12,000. The scammer convinced the grandmother that they were under arrest and that she needed to go around town to a few stores and load $12,000 on to different iTunes Gift Cards. The grandmother was then instructed to read off those numbers on the cards. The scammer drained the cards quickly before any report could be filed. The Asbury Park Press reported the story in their newspaper and issued a warning for the elderly on how to protect themselves against this popular scam.

 

Today, this scam has gotten so effective that Apple Stores are issuing warning to their customers about how the iTunes cards are now only available to pay for goods, not help relatives make bail. Due to the fact the callers are usually from outside the country, prosecution is all but impossible.

 

The Pains of Parenting

The Pains of Parenting

Raising a child comes with some of life’s most wonderful moments. The child’s first words, steps, and laughs will forever be engrained on a parent’s heart. Unfortunately, the task of raising children is not always so lighthearted. There comes a point in which children start seeking independence, and it can be extraordinarily heart-wrenching for any parent to experience.

Young Children

Children and parents have a lifelong bond that only solidifies during those first few years of complete dependence. Most people, however, do not realize that the dependence is a two way street. The parents will become dependent on their children’s dependence, as odd as that may sound. The mom, or dad, will share in their child’s accomplishments, and feel the happiness and sadness of learning new thing. Parents get to experience what life is like as a child, and their innocence is truly heartwarming. Children will often ask their parents if they can help. Sadly, it does not stay that way forever.

There will come a time when a child will start seeking their independence, even at a young age. They will start demanding to choose their own attire for school, as Emily McCombs has experiences with her son. They might not want their hands held, be walked to school, ask for kisses before climbing onto a boss, or be held while falling asleep.

Adolescence

The terrible teenage years. This is when children really start seeking their independence as a ‘person.’ In all honesty, these years might be so ‘terrible’ because that dependence on their parents, and their parent’s dependence on them, is starting to dissolve. It is hard for a parent to let children make their own choices. It is hard for children to make decisions, especially considering that most of their life has been filled with choices made by their parents. This is brand new territory.

Teenagers will not want every choice made for them. They want independence as an adult. The want to feel a sense of self-worth that is separated from their parents. Their choices should be their own, and the consequences should be their own. Parents have to hang on and experience the rollercoaster, let go of their dependence on leading their children through every twist and turn, and realize that the teenager is getting the best resource for life on their own: experience.

Getting Child Care Costs in Writing

Divorce can be a messy affair. There are so many people that want to part ways with their mates and never see their faces again. If there are no children this may be an easy fix. Divorce papers are signed and each party can go on their way. It can be a lot of trouble to break free of a partner if there are some children that are involved. This is never a clean break. It is even much more likely that you will see one another on a pretty regular basis if the child has some after school activities that they participate in.

 

One of the big challenges that divorced couples face is

bill splitting for the cost of expenses for their children. This happens on so many occasions because there is no written documentation to support who pays what. In most cases the mother gets full custody. Sometimes there is a joint custody situation, but the expenses are still not completely discussed. Judges will usually order the father to pay child support. In situations where the wife is not working there may also be alimony. The extracurricular activities, however, are not really addressed. This can cause problems because a dad that pays child support may assume that he is doing all that the court requires. He may not offer a helping hand financially because he is not obligated to do so.

 

In most situations the male moves on with a new wife and sometimes starts a whole new family. This results in a shift in priorities. He focuses less on children from a previous marriage and puts his time towards the focus on the new relationship. This will cause even more strife with the ex-wife if he is paying for activities for step children or biological kids with his new wife. This is why it is better to get everything in writing as the divorce papers are getting signed. This may be the only way to find peace with the issues that may come forth when children decide to play sports or become cheerleaders.

 

Getting things in writing will cut down on financial confusion. It also stops parents that are trying to take credit for something that they did not really help do.

American Academy of Pediatrics Fights Back Against Anti-Vaccine Parents

With the presidential election in full swing, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has been in the spotlight. Recently, he created quite a stir in the New Jersey community with his comments that parents “should have some measure of choice” in the vaccination schedule of their children and, specifically, whether or not their children should get vaccinated at all. In response, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued a series of sweeping statements, very recently releasing a statement that wholeheartedly supports physician practices “firing” parents from their practice, refusing to allow the children of these parents to be patients at their clinic without agreeing to vaccine their kids.

One practice in East Brunswick had a physician that stated that she’s “glad the Academy has taken a stand in support of Pediatricians who do not accept these patients.” She went on to describe the sentiments that many physicians feel. There are many children in every practice who cannot receive vaccines for medical reasons. Sometimes these patients do not have immune systems that can handle the vaccine or are perhaps allergic to some of the ingredients. Ultimately, these patients depend on everyone else to have their vaccines up to date to protect them from these dangerous yet preventable diseases.

For example, there was recently a Measles outbreak in Disneyland, CA. Measles is an entirely preventable disease if up to date on the vaccine. There are major risks to getting Measles, such as the development of brain damage called Encephalitis. If children are properly vaccinated, this is a major risk that can be avoided.

While Governor Chris Christie thrust New Jersey parenting into the spotlight with his comment on vaccine choice, ultimately the American Academy of Pediatrics disagreed with his stance. While there are certain issues that parents absolutely have autonomy over with regards to the healthcare of their children, vaccines should be a non-issue. Parents in New Jersey should absolutely agree to have their children vaccinated. One of the miracles of modern science, dangerous diseases such as Measles and Polio are completely preventable with vaccines. Vaccines even wiped Smallpox off the face of the Earth. With such a powerful weapon against debilitating illnesses, it would be irresponsible not to vaccinate their children. These practices are simply acting in the best interest of their patients by enforcing common sense on vaccination.

PARENTS & GROWING UP

Parenting within central New Jersey, or anywhere for that matter, can be both an internal struggle and a challenge as a whole. The secret lies in learning to overcome and face those challenges head on, be what they be. In Michelle’s Tea’s new novel book, which is called “Black Waves”….she discusses this.

Ms. Tea also discussed numerous factors in parenting which will affect the outcome and overall result of the seeds planted later on in life. Such factors do include but are certainly not limited to: setting and geographical information as it relates to upbringing and birth itself, demographics, age difference, social and gender barriers between parents & siblings themselves, and so much more. The proof truly lies in the pudding, as many say. Some ideas are not directly said or derived specifically throughout the novel piece, yet the message is very clear….and the point is there, whether through a subliminal message or through another form or audience consumer targeting. This author is very clear, and there is no doubt about that….or any room for confusion on that matter.

To whet some appetites in the room just a bit further, I add a quote from a rather interesting online news source:
“Midway through, Michelle leaves San Francisco for Los Angeles, with vague plans to write screenplays, connect with her brother and get sober, or at least cut back a bit. But instead of shifting to an earnest story of self-acceptance, the book breaks itself open.Multiple versions of events….” (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/25/books/review/black-wave-michelle-tea.html, pg. 1, para. 5)
In this sense, one can see how the book is carried through….and what it says about the many unknown things within the minds of parents and families as a whole. They indeed go through many things internally on a regular daily basis, which is certainly not to be ignored here…..as is not in the article and in the book itself. Many fascinating topics as to the dark and exhausted minds of seasoned parents are covered as well, thinking which stimulates certain ideas which one will typically not find elsewhere. Yet they are interesting to note and consider on the whole, making for quite an interesting sub topic on parenting and family struggles within the big cities and those bigger suburb areas.

Affordable College: A Reality Check

I took part in many cocktail party conversations about where our children were setting their sights on college, but as the time came near to finance this looming expense, economic reality began to slap me in the face. I sought the wisdom of a seasoned parent who was putting her second child through college who gave me the not-so-mathematically-based advice, “you just do it.”

There are many resources out there on funding an education, and how to save money in the process (e.g., click here.), but my nightly dreams were filled with dread of burying my child in student debt and not getting return on the investment. I knew I had to separate the emotional side of college admissions (“my child got into Princeton” from the practical side of why pursue higher education in the first place?

What’s a Parent to Do?

– Look into your state school and community college. I am fortunate to reside in Monmouth County, New Jersey. Rutgers University and Brookdale Community College are both within commuting distance. Have that realistic conversation with your child that out-of-state does not always mean better. Weigh the pros and cons of going away with the reality of the cost of room and board.

– Use the free tools available to help you avoid sticker shock. The College Affordability and Transparency Center provides a handy, concise site where you can easily access a college’s net price calculator and College Scorecard provide easy access to comparing schools. Payscale.com helps parents to see what recent graduates are making and helps bring a realistic answer to the question, “is this worth it?”

– Talk to your son or daughter about debt, but realize their teenaged brains are not really processing what that debt will feel like four or five years down the road when they may want to move out or go on for a higher degree. Do your homework and keep the conversations light. Let your child know you support them and communicate that you believe that college is a match to be made, not a prize to be won. Competitive schools are great, but they may or may not be the best fit for your child.

Outrage Over Common Core Testing

The buzz over the past couple schools years has been the curriculum. That trend seems to hold strong to this school years also. According to an online Wall Street Journal article http://www.wsj.com/articles/new-jersey-parents-voice-concerns-over-tests-linked-to-common-core-1422495788. Parents and educators are expressing outrage and are pensive about the new state tests starting in March.

These new online tests are a reflection of Common core; a dirty word for most educators. The standards are tougher for what students are supposed to learn and Parents are anxious about how these tests will make their kids feel. The key arguments against these tests include things such as the tests using up too much class time, the tests will be too hard, the tests will negatively impact students’ self-esteem, and the tests will waste taxpayer money.

Being a father of two children dealing with the same situation, I can empathize with the New Jersey parents. The class material has noticeably changed since I was in school to the point where I have to teach myself this stuff before I can help my kids with their work. A simple subtraction problem has evolved into some sort of half-page monster that makes no sense. It reminds me of the adage, if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it. My kids are still in elementary school, I can only imagine how much the curriculum has changed for high school students. Being a parent, it is our responsibility to help our children succeed in school.

I sympathize with the parents of New Jersey. It is good to see that 45 people signed up to speak their mind in the meeting discussed in the article. I hope the people in charge of coming up with the curriculum realize the folly of their ways and bring things back to the old school way. It’s so much easier that this substitution method our kids are learning today.

Spying On Teens On The Computer

Most teenagers get on the computer or on a phone at some point during the day to go on social media sites or to look at other sites that are online. There are also more parents who are paying close attention to what their teens are doing when they are on the internet. This is something every parent of a teen should do until the child turns 18. The parent is responsible for what the teen does, and if the teen does something to get in trouble online, then the parent should be responsible for not making sure better choices were made. There is such a thing as blocking a website so that teens are not allowed to visit it until they are older or show that they are mature enough to handle the content that is presented. If teens are unable to follow the rules set forth by the parent, then the device should be taken away.

There are many parents who might feel guilty about spying on their children, but if it means making sure the children are safe, then it’s worth spying. Over 60% of parents have admitted to spying on their teens while they are online. They will go to social media sites to look at pictures and read posts or look through the history on the device to see what websites have been visited. Some parents have grounded their children from a cellphone or computer after finding inappropriate content. About 40% of parents know the password to their child’s phone or computer. This is an important safety aspect as parents need to know how to unlock the device to make sure there is nothing hidden.

If more parents take the time to check in on their children while they are online, then a lot of the activity that takes place might not happen. There might not be as many kidnappings or teen pregnancies. Parents might not see an increase in violence among teens or bullying that occurs with some teens if parents would pay attention to what teens do online.

Parenting in New Jersey Made Easier

Parenting is the core responsibility of bringing up children. Although challenging, parenting is necessary for the determination of a child’s character. At times, parents face work related or personal challenges barring them from exercising good parenting skills on their kids. That is why at New Jersey, the Center for Family Services partners with various companies and agencies to assist employees and family members in parenting. Centre for Family Services, through Employee Assistance Program, has qualified parenting staff to help families in dealing with issues like:

Referral Description Intro
The program offers employed parents and children counseling sessions. The courses are necessary for solving parenting issues while making them happy in the end.

Referral Description Details
The Employee Assistance Program encourages employees, and their families acquire resources directed to solving issues hence happy families.

Baby’s Best Start Program
The nine-week program incorporates parents and family members on Saturdays between 10am-2pm for children to acquire the best start up. The sessions are facilitated in English and Spanish. On completing the program, the staff monitors the babies by visiting or making monthly calls. Baby’s Best Start provides the following services:

• Referral Description Introduction
They give children the perfect start through incorporating qualified staff. The open referral program welcomes all parents and families.
• Eligibility
The Baby Best program is open to all families in Gloucester County and Camden. For you to make a reference, mail or fax Parent Resource Center Referral Form.

Funded by New Jersey Department of Children and Families, TAFCAR (Treatment Alternatives for Children at Risk) offers in-home quality education and counseling services to prevent children from neglect and abuse. Therefore, it encourages stable families. Parents acquire lessons on how to communicate with their children while solving issues. They also offer lessons on how to manage their children’s behavior. Referrals from the community, church, schools and human service agencies are accepted after the DCP&P referrals. https://centerffs.org/…/parenting

SASS (Self-Assurance Self-Sufficiency) Program
The SASS program was founded to assist families in developing a high level of self-assurance and self-security. Through the program, parents learn the sense of instilling discipline in their kids. SASS instills unity by creating healthier families for communities. SASS supports families in becoming self-sufficient by providing linkages to treatment resources. A healthy family is a happy family. Family Success Centers are community-based and family-centered established to provide family support on parenting and guidance.