Choose the Best Insurance Plan for Your Child

The major goal of taking a life insurance is to offer death benefit. In the sad event of the death of the insured person, the beneficiaries get some lump sum amount or financial support from the insurance company. As such, they will not have to worry about the expenses. This is particularly beneficial if you have a family or others who are dependent on you financially. As such, most people assume that there is no need to take life insurance for kids. We all love to believe that nothing will happen to our kids, but it is necessary to be practical too. Under sentimental beliefs, most people avoid this.

Taking a life insurance for kids is useful too. It helps cover the expenses of cremation, burial, or the medical treatment bills that are overdue. There are a number of life insurance plans available for kids. The quiz here will help and guide you through this. A whole life insurance plan makes sure your kid’s life is insured at all times. However, you might need some changes and modifications in between. Once your kid has grown, you will need to modify the plan as per the income, or else the amount might not match. There are a number of term life insurance plans as well that could help you out and satisfy your needs.

Along with life insurance, there are other savings plans too that help you during important milestones in the life of your kid. Payouts during regular intervals help in the education, wedding, and all such events. Do not get carried away by sentiments and skip taking an insurance policy for your kid. Like all of us, even your kid requires an insurance plan. You never know what the future has in store for you. So, you must keep prepared at all times. The first step is to understand the importance of life insurance. You will get a variety of information about insurance on Follow us for more updates and tips to live happily.

Ten Points to Reduce the Stress of Parenting

Parenting is the most difficult and most important job we ever do. Unfortunately, despite the degree of difficulty and importance of the work, no one teaches us how to do it. Fortunately, there are many child raising experts who can help. I will mention a few experts; whose work I believe is valuable, throughout this article and I encourage readers to find experts whose work they like.

• Parents must be healthy, physically and psychologically. When parents feel comfortable with who they are they are free to give their children true, deep, unconditional love. Parenting is not about the parents, no child has ever asked to be born. A child’s very existence is the responsibility of the parents, and it is the parent’s responsibility to raise their children using healthy parenting skills. Parents must be able to understand why children behave as they do and not take a child’s (from 1 day old to 18 years) behaviors personally. Jean Piaget made wonderful progress in the understanding of child development. A child’s behaviors are not about the parent, and it’s the parent’s responsibility to help children learn how to manage their thoughts, feelings and behaviors, so they can grow up to be healthy members of society. This takes tremendous self-awareness from parents. Self awareness leads to awareness and understanding of others.

• Unconditional love involves praising children as much and often as possible. This does not mean unrealistic praise, because children intuitively know when they have not earned praise. It does mean age appropriate praise. So, when an infant focuses on someone’s face and smiles at the person, praise is appropriate, because the infant is just beginning to learn how to interact. It is appropriate to praise babies when they take their first steps, because walking is a skill they need to learn. Praising a toddler for making scribbles on a piece of paper is appropriate, because the toddler is just learning how to do this. Victor Lowenfeld defined the stages of art development children go through. Praising toddlers for eating a few bites of healthy food, before they get a sweet is appropriate, because although babies crave sugar, it is important for them to learn how to eat healthy food. Praising a three-year-old for learning to use the potty is appropriate. The human brain is not fully formed until we are in our early 20s. Praising children, appropriately and according to their stage of growth, is important throughout childhood. This builds their self esteem and happier children reduce the stress of parenting.

• Playing with children is another way to give them unconditional love. The more you enjoy playing with your children the less stressful your job will be. Playing with your children is bonding with them, which parents and children need. Indeed, there is a book titled; “Play; How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination and Invigorates the Soul,” by Stuart Brown and Christopher Vaughn. One of the chapters is titled “Parenthood is Child’s play.” Doing some research about play with children will help you use approaches to playing with them that are age-appropriate. Learning about age-appropriate play is an investment in your relationship with your children which will help you feel less stressed. It is also important to play with children using a variety of areas of play so they may become well-rounded adults. If you like using art supplies, it is best to start using those supplies with children, early, during their formative years, because they will grow into enjoying that sort of activity. The same is true with physical activity. If that is something you want your children to learn to enjoy, the earlier you begin to teach them how to enjoy physical activity, the better. Play is not something that can be forced. If you want your children to enjoy swimming, don’t try to force them to do it. If they don’t seem to enjoy doing it now, but see that you enjoy doing it (by example) they may take it up later in life. Music is another area of play that can bring great pleasure to most people. However, if it is forced on children they might rebel against it and never get to enjoy it. Parenting is a balancing act!

• Sharing the responsibility of parenting with at least one other person should reduce the stress of parenting. Preferably, both parents are involved, and both are physically and psychologically healthy and mature. When two parents are involved it is important for them to discuss parenting techniques to learn what they can agree on, and where they disagree and need to negotiate. Children are brilliant at splitting parents, if they know their parents disagree about something. For instance, if one parent does not believe it is important for children to eat their vegetables before they get their desert, the children will do their best to get that parent to make decisions over the other parent. That can cause dissension between the parents, and an unhealthy, stressful situation is set up. When parents are in extreme disagreement with each other, about how to raise children, the stress in the family increases tremendously. Parents must learn how to work with one another.


How Do Parents Stay Informed and Inspired in a Counterfeit Culture?

How do parents obtain relevant information about how to meet their children’s developmental needs and stay the course within a counterfeit culture that uses mass media and screen technologies to amplify misleading information? How do parents get accurate information about their children’s real developmental needs within a popular culture that amplifies trivial desires? How do moms and dads stay inspired to live from their core values and teach their children from their inner wisdom in a society that glorifies consumerism and beatifies things?

In 1998, having spent over a decade traveling the country speaking to educators and parents and writing books and manuals on this subject, I asked this question, along with several others:

• What are the most effective ways to change human behavior in positive directions?
• How do parents, feeling overwhelmed and devalued, and often hopeless, find the energy to make positive changes?
• How do stressed parents find the will and determination within the complex daily demands of their lives to counter larger, cultural messages and to teach their children to do the same?
• How can parents attend to their children’s real cognitive, emotional, social, and spiritual needs if they don’t know what those needs are?
• How can parents be convinced that those real needs are indeed real and that they and their children will suffer if those needs do not get met during the course of childhood and adolescence?
• How do we help parents have more joy in parenting and stop seeing their children as problems or burdens, which happens so easily when children’s developmental needs do not get met?
• How do we help parents implement what we know from the research are the best parenting practices?
• How do we help parents slow down, spend time with their children and enjoy the “small things” that make children feel loved and appreciated when the industry-generated culture keeps shouting messages that buying for children, that new toys, and the latest gadget are the important things?
• How can parents learn to trust their internal guidance, relying more on their own inner wisdom and less on an industry-generated culture’s notion of what they should do for their children?

In pondering these and other questions and doing extensive research for over the next three years, I decided that a coaching model was a most effective way to proactively address these issues, for two important reasons.

First, we often best examine our perceptions of ourselves and others, our attitudes and behaviors, when in relationship with another person. It seems that the more intimate our relationships, the more opportunities they provide for us to grow in new ways and discover important things about our lives and priorities. Friends, spouses, relatives, a caring involved teacher-we all can name specific individuals in our lives that had a significant impact.

Coaching, over time, allows parents the opportunity of a relationship with a professionally trained coach who walks “shoulder-to-shoulder” with them, looking and reaching in the same direction together. Compassionate understanding, non-judgmental listening, and open curiosity are integral to an inquiry process that over time, can have a profound effect on parents. Coaching not only can provide context-specific practical strategies in a timely way, but also an opportunity for parents to reflect upon what is important, choose ideas and applications to try out, and explore what works best in his or her own situation.


Why Parents Should Put Children Before Marriage

We live in an age when love, sex and intimacy seem to be many people’s epitome of happiness. Yes, we seek other ways to find happiness and fulfillment, but the rate of divorce and the percentage of single parent families compared with two-parent families tells me that parenting is either of less importance to parents than marriage or that they are uninformed about the effects of divorce on their children. Parents who leave an unhappy marriage for the sake of their children are not in possession of all the facts or are misguided in their belief that divorce is in the best interest of the children. The best wisdom out there says that children of divorce suffer more than children of unhappy marriages.

Here are 7 reasons why parents should put parenting before marriage.

1. Children need two parents more than they need a perfect home

The influence of both a male and female parent on a child’s development cannot be understated. A good mother, on balance brings a nurturing, protecting and comforting aspect to a child’s life, while a good father brings his child stability, security and strength. Mothers tend to be more emotional, fathers more rational. Mothers tend to be more understanding, fathers more decisive. A good mother may offer her child a shoulder to cry on while a good father may show his child how to get up and move on.

Of course, a good parent possesses all these qualities and shares the responsibility for providing their child with all their needs. But it is in the nature of a male parent to provide a child with answers and solutions and direction while it is more inherent in a female parent to be protective of a child’s emotional well-being and to be a good listener without feeling the need to give her child a logical solution to their problem.

Having both a male and female parent present in the home teaches a child how to explore and develop both the masculine and feminine aspects of their own character. In balanced adults there is a healthy presence of both male and female characteristics. In women, the balance will tend to be more feminine and in men, more masculine. If a child is to have the best chance to develop emotional stability then two parents are needed on a daily basis. Even the slightest change in the balance will have an adverse effect on a child’s emotional and intellectual development.

2. A child has a right to be brought up by two parents

Marriage is a choice that two people make for themselves. It is rarely a selfless or altruistic act. People marry because they find someone who brings them happiness and fulfilment in life. Of course, there is also the promise to live to make the other person happy. Even though the phrase “for better or for worse” is still often said in the marriage vows, more and more this promise is being broken as married couples find it’s a promise they are unable or unwilling to keep.

However, when a child is born into the marriage, it has rights which far outweigh the needs of the parents. Even though a couple desire to be fulfilled in their personal relationship with each other, a child has the right to be brought up by two loving, caring, selfless parents: parents who put their child’s interests before their own.

Parents rarely make a commitment to their children when they are born, but children ought to expect that their parents will do whatever it takes to give them a stable, loving home in which to grow and develop. In a good parent, the rights and needs of their child will always come before their own, whatever the cost to themselves.

3. To be a parent is a moral obligation – not a choice

There is never a time as long as a parent and a child are living when they will not be connected. Even if estranged, a parent will always be the parent to their child. There is no divorcing a child. There is no saying to a child ‘I’m sorry, I don’t love you anymore, this simply isn’t going to work’. But when two parents say that to each other, they are in some measure saying it to their child. Parents may put a spin on divorce by saying to the child ‘it’s better for you in the long run’ but the truth is – it isn’t. A child’s perspective will be ‘you don’t love me enough to stay together and make your marriage work’ – even if only subconsciously. While some may say ‘I’m glad my parents split up – I couldn’t stand the shouting’, what would they have said if their parents had found a way to make the marriage work in order to keep the family home together? Or are they even aware of the effects that growing up in a broken home has had on them?

The love between a husband and wife can wane or even be extinguished, but the love of a good parent is unconditional and unmovable. A marriage can breakdown and be dissolved, but the love that a good parent has for their child can never be diminished and their commitment to their child can never be undermined or broken. The commitment that a parent has to their child is not one based on choice, it’s one based on moral obligation. It would be even better if it were based on unconditional love. What lengths would a good parent go to to provide their child with the very best upbringing they could if they truly loved them more than themselves?

4. A child deserves and expects it

During their formative years, children depend upon both parents to show that they are committed to them. They need to see that they are loved and to know that their home is stable and secure. They need to know that no matter what storms the family has to face together, the foundations of the family home cannot be shaken. Children need the certainty that the love their parents have for them comes above their own personal happiness – that it indeed comes before their love for each other. When a parent puts a child’s interests second to their own it will make their child feel unloved and second-rate. The child will begin to doubt their own worth and their value to the parent. After all, what kind of love puts someone else second?


Parenting Tips For Healthy, Effective Parenting

Many parents are hungry for healthy parenting tips and effective parenting advice. The Responsible Kids Network offers parenting tips to encourage and support authoritative parenting.

I did not expect parenting to be so hard

New parents may be unprepared for the exhilarating, yet exhausting, journey that lies ahead in parenting. It’s important for all parents to realize that just because a person is able to procreate, doesn’t naturally provide the patience and knowledge needed to be an effective and healthy parent. Gaining knowledge about the nature of children and healthy and effective parenting styles, will help parents to be calmer and empower parents to be more effective in raising responsible kids.

I am hoping to parent differently than I was parented

Many times a parent may be aware of times that didn’t go so smoothly in his or her own childhood and wish to parent differently once he or she has children. At all ages and stages of our children’s lives, we may remember back to how our parents may have reacted in similar situations. Prior generations did not have the information that we now have available about healthy parenting. But family loyalties and legacies in each of our families has shown to significantly impact our parenting.

I am nice to my child but then he misbehaves

Parents and other caregivers sometimes hope that if they act nicely to a child, the child will act nicely in return. This is referred to as the “strings attached” approach. Adults (and some older children) can relate to the concept of fair giving and receiving, but most children are not mature enough to respond this way. By expecting this level of maturity, a parent is being unfair to a child. The executive role of parenting cannot be done through love and understanding alone. Effective discipline promotes self esteem, self-respect, self-control and preserves a positive parent-child relationship.

Am I a bad parent when I get angry with my child?

Anger is a natural and inevitable emotion and it’s okay to feel angry with a child. The key is for parents to learn healthy ways to express angry feelings to a child. Anger is usually a secondary emotion, so figuring out what the underlying feelings may be (frustration, disappointment, embarrassment, etc.) can be helpful in managing how to express anger. At these emotionally charged times, parents are role-modeling for a child how to handle anger.

My child and I are so different and we’re always clashing

The make-up of who a child is consists of ages and stages of development, uniqueness, maturity level, and situational factors. The uniqueness of a child (or any person)includes the individual nature of temperament, intelligences, brain dominance, giftedness, and learning styles. If these unique traits of a child do not “match” the unique traits of a parent, then there may not be “goodness to fit” and power struggles and miscommunication may result. When a parent is able to better understand these unique traits in a child, and how it may differ (i.e. conflict) with his or her own unique traits, the parent becomes calmer and more confident in parenting.

Is it okay to spank my child?

Spanking, and other forms of corporal punishment, is not a healthy or effective way to discipline children. The goal of discipline is to teach children proper behavior and self-control. Spanking may teach children to stop doing something out of fear. Despite some underlying attitudes and beliefs that spanking is an effective way to discipline children, extensive research strongly indicates any form of corporal punishment will negatively impact a child’s self esteem and the relationship between parent and child.

My spouse and I don’t have the same style of parenting

Reconciling different parenting styles may be a challenge for many spouses. Consistent messages from parents to children is a key element of healthy and effective parenting. Many times when we court and marry our spouse, we have not even thought about parenting styles, and then we have children and parenting style differences may suddenly surface. Parents should take time when children are not present to work on a consistent “parenting philosophy” that can accept and even honor different parenting styles. Working together, rather than against each other, will help support and nurture responsible kids.

How can I be a good parent?

A healthy and effective parent is an intentional parent, who understands a child’s needs. There are no “perfect parents” just as there are no “perfect children.” Striving for perfection in all areas of parenting can only cause frustration and stress. Parents are given numerous chances each and every day to provide healthy authoritative parenting for their kids.


Three Basic Parenting Styles

Parenting is something that usually comes naturally to people. There are no hard fast how to manuals or rules to parenting. People generally just learn as they go. Most things are just second nature, like feeding, clothing and generally caring for a child. However, as a child grows and other children are born, parenting becomes more then simply handling the child’s everyday needs. Sometimes parents feel they need some help in deciding the best way to parent their children.

There have been many people who have spoken out about parenting and offered advice and assistance to parents in need. Parenting styles are an example of something a parent can do to help them with their parenting. A parenting style is basically a way to describe how a parent parents their child or children. There are 3 basic types of parenting styles.

Some authorities on the subject of parenting will argue that there are many different variations of parenting styles, but they all go back to the three basic parenting styles. Those three styles are authoritarian, permissive and democratic.

The authoritarian parenting style is based on control. With this style of parenting the parent retains complete control at all times. Under this style of parenting there are strict rules and schedules. The parents rule the children with an iron fist. There is no exception to the rules and punishment is given in a very orderly and prompt fashion when it is needed. The down side to an authoritarian parenting style is that it usually does not allow for a lot of affection or warmth. Since children raised with this parenting style are usually not allowed to think freely or make decisions on their own they often grow up to have problems with thinking for themselves.

The permissive parenting style is the opposite of the authoritarian parenting style. The permissive parent lets the child have control. There are usually not a lot of rules and the rules that are made are often very lax. Broken rules often are not even recognized or even enforced. Parents that use this parenting style feel that their children need to be free thinkers and be able to explore the world and learn for themselves without being held down by rules and strict structure. There is often a lot of affection and warmth with this parenting styles. The downside though, is that children do not learn that rules are sometimes necessary. They learn that no matter what they do – right or wrong- that they will not be punished. This can lead to a life long rebellion against any type of rule or structure.

The democratic parenting style is a mixture of the authoritarian and permissive parenting styles. A democratic parent will set rules that are necessary and enforce them, but they will also take each situation as it comes. Punishment is usually discussed with the child. Democratic parents are most interested in making sure their children understands why rules are in place and why some behavior in unacceptable. Democratic parenting is about letting children know when they do good and when they do bad making sure they understand why it is wrong. It is a style of parenting where everyone – parents and children- work together. Children will usually grow up to respect their parents and to be able to handle conflicts and problems in a reasonable manner.

Each parenting style has its pros and cons. Obviously, with the authoritarian parenting style the children are going to be very respectful and very well behaved. The parents will have very little chaos and they will have a low stress level. With the permissive parenting style the parent is free to do whatever they want because they are not constantly policing the children. The family simply does their own thing, which can often lead to a lot of separation over time as everyone develops their own life apart form the family. The democratic parent in style requires a lot of work. Parents must constantly be talking with and dealing with their children in order to keep everyone involved in the family.

Nobody ever claimed parenting was easy. There really is no right or wrong to parent as long as children are cared for, happy and healthy. Parents can choose for themselves how they want to parent their children. Some parents simply fall into a parenting style that seems to fit their own life and their own beliefs. Others make a conscious effort to maintain a parenting style. However, a parent chooses their parent style, it is fine as long as it works for them and their children are taken care of.


Child Behavior Issues and General Parenting Methods

Sensible and reasonable parenting techniques demand for manners and etiquette that should be learned by children positively and convincingly. It is a well known fact that now children are more sharp and active as compared to the old generation. Former and outdated parenting tips and strategies have proved futile when applied on the new generation. Old parenting myths are no more valid and effective on children now. For this purpose certain valuable and effective parenting strategies should be adopted by the parents to get positive influence over their children. Old fashioned parenting methods should be abolished and given up now because of their futility.

To empower the behavior of the children, parents need to apply certain parenting tips in order to grow them up with good manners. Appropriate behavior and proper training on learning the social etiquette nicely is all about parenting tips. Some effective parenting methods on well-mannered children are discussed here for a broader view on this topic. Following and then properly executing these tips will prove helpful for those parents who crave to know about parenting tips and methods.

Basic and root level manners:

Best parenting ideas always initiate with the concept of expecting less from young ones and let them know the etiquette from the root level to avoid later problems. Easy concepts of conduct can be taught to them with parenting tips including sharing and eating properly with a good hygienic system. Exchange of gifts and greetings is also a sign of manners. As child grow, modify your parenting tips according to the age of child and give him composite lessons on manners.


Manners are basic constituent of the personality of a child. It can be a really hard and challenging task for parents to teach the right set of manners and etiquette to their offspring. With the emergence of new generation, the conventional manners are going to be vanished gradually. The rebellious vein running through modern society has taken the place of manners. But still it is possible to imbue the kids with manners from grass level that will go with his personality as he will grow young. Manners shape the person according to the social norms and skills and also serve as a tool in his future life.

Parents are model:

Parents should first set example before the kids as it will not be sufficient to convey message to them and expect for a well mannered child. A child wants to see his parents do whatever they preach. In other words parents should be a role model for the children so that they start reverence for them and want to become like their parents. Children learn quickly and they get the gist of whatever they watch minutely. Manners are acquired naturally so the children just need a push by the parents and formation of their behavior start developing accordingly.

Proper use of authority:

If kids are not showing proper mannerism then use of command by the parents is mandatory. Peer interaction with child is also affective for toning child behaviorism and these are more helpful on initial level. As the child will grow up, he will naturally develop a habit of negative manners and then it will become hard to handle him. So, early childhood is the best time to teach manners to them.

Parenting classes:

As there is no availability on parenting skills worksheets, it is prudent for the parents to go for classes on parenting. They will get sufficient instructions on fundamental parenting styles that will be acceptable by the children when applied.


Importance of Parenting and Gift Ideas for Parents’ Day

Each year the fourth Sunday of July honours parents for their hard work they put into nurturing the family without any complaints. President Bill Clinton founded Parents’ Day in 1994 when he signed a Congressional Resolution into law. This day acknowledges, uplifts, and supports the importance of parents in the bringing up of children.

There are separate days commemorated to each parent and each of these special occasions is an ideal gift giving opportunity. However, a day, which appreciates both the parents together, calls for presents, which mum and dad can share together. Here are some suggestions:

Gift Certificates: Parents struggle too hard to provide an ease of life for the kids. A gift voucher would allow them to buy things, which would give them all the comfort they need.

Recipe Books: If both the parents share their love for cooking and like to experiment with food and ingredients, gift them a big, fat recipe book that includes popular cuisines from all around the world.

Digital Picture Frames: Pre-upload pictures in a digital photo frame, of the best moments you spent with your parents and let them relive moments repeatedly.

Personalized Gifts: Nothing expresses true gratitude and affection like personalized gifts. Starting from mugs to almost anything, choose wisely to personalize a lovely gift and make Parents’ Day memorable.

In these modern times, the number of those taking the traditional route of starting a family, is diminishing by the day. One comes across all sorts of parents these days, which, thankfully, is proving to be blessing to some children. However, being a parent is vastly different from what kind of a parent you are. According to the experts of developmental psychology, there are four types of parenting styles. Understandably, whatever style of parenting you practice, doing it responsibly can be difficult.

A relatively new and thriving concept of parenting is to raise a child single-handedly. Though it is slightly adventurous to bring up kids independently, single parenting is not always a bed of roses. There can be monetary issues, security issues, and psychological issues. However, most importantly, the child never develops a close bond or feelings or even respect for the other parent. Many single parents (whether biological or adoptive) believe that they are enough to rear their kids to a responsible adulthood. They may or may not succeed depending on their parenting style. Nevertheless, one cannot deny that the other parent plays an equally important role in the healthy upbringing of the kid. If the mother is strict with her kids, the father’s easygoing nature feels like a relief to the kids. In fact, the kids grow up watching this balancing act between both the parents that which helps them respect all other relationships.

A Brief Understanding of the Four Styles of Parenting

Authoritarian Parenting: These parents like to run a tight ship; rules and regulations are the foundation of these household. If the kids fail to obey these rules they are punished (in some cases, the punishment is severe). Usually, such parents are unable to give any logical explanation for the rules and are unresponsive to their children.

Authoritative Parenting: Though similar to authoritarian parents regarding following the rules, authoritative parents differ in their approach of raising kids. Sure, they expect the kids to be socially responsible and self-regulated; they also teach cooperation and assertiveness to their kids. They are responsive and nurturing to their children rather than punishing.

Permissive Parenting: These parents are more like friends to their children instead of acting like parents. They may or may not expect self-regulated or mature behaviour and seldom restrain the kids. They are responsive parents who believe in ‘communicating’ with their kids.

Uninvolved Parenting: Such parents feel detached from their children; hence, they do not have much expectation or demands from their kids, are passive to their child’s needs and queries and hardly communicate with them.

Undeniably, the universe believes that it is easy to become parents, but not a mother or a father. On the contrary, the rationale behind celebrating Parents’ Day is that, anybody can become a mum or a dad, but it takes courage and a strong willingness to become parents.


Are Child Support Laws Equitable and Fair For Both Parents?

If support payment is based on a noncustodial parent income, then what happens to the excess of the money that is received by the custodial parent once the child’s needs are taken care of? Most noncustodial parents want accountability for the payments received. I concur. During the divorce process, both parties are required to present a financial affidavit outlining all their expenses, assets and their income. Why then shouldn’t custodial parents outline the monthly expenses of the child or children and present that to establish support payment? If it takes only $500 for a child’s monthly expenses and the custodial parent receives $1200, then the remaining $700 is custodial support. Doesn’t seem fair does it? The question that was presented to both men and women was should custodial parents be accountable for the child support payment they receive?

Child support laws have changed in many states to include the income of both parents, however, it needs to be changed nationwide for child support to be based on the expenses of each child. Most noncustodial parents would then stop evading child support and those that are reluctant to pay child support will pay child support because it will be based on the expenses and needs of the child. In order to make child support fair to both parents, this small change can be easily implemented when establishing the child support order.

Christy is pregnant by her ex-boyfriend and she came to my office for advice on how to proceed with her relationship with the father of her child. She was initially quite angry and disappointed but elated that she was having a baby. She did not want the father involved with the unborn baby and wanted to do it all by herself. I thought how selfish, but I explained to her that her baby would benefit by having both parents involved in his/her life. In another session, we discuss how much child support she should receive. I asked her to write down all the expenses she would incur from having the baby as well as the budget monthly for caring for the baby. She brought the expenses during a follow-up session and I suggested that is the amount you ask for child support and present the father with the budget. When she came back, her relationship with the father had taken a positive turn. Christy informed me that he was relieved that she was fair and equitable in deciding on the financial responsibility of raising their child.

However, the face of child support is changing. Statistic shows that 85% of custodial parents are mothers and 15% are fathers. The fasting growing segment/population of parents are fathers. More and more fathers are fighting for custody and in today’s changing world; more fathers are getting custody of their children.

This is the perfect place to introduce Denise. Denise contacted me last year when her husband, of whom she was separated from, kept her two children when they visited him for the summer. She wanted to know her rights and the rights of her husband. What I told her shocked her. No parent actually has custody of their children unless it is outlined and determined in a divorce decree or in other documentation signed by both parents. I suggested to Denise that when the children come back for the Christmas holiday she could keep the children with her. However, I also suggested that she should have a candid conversation with her children to see where they prefer to live, with mommy or daddy.

At Christmas her two children came to visit, however, Denise did not take my advice. The children went back after the holiday to their father. During her divorce hearing in the following spring, and when the issue of custody was presented, the judge asked, “if you wanted the children with you, why didn’t you keep them when they came to visit?” He continued to say, “if you didn’t think the father was doing a good job with the children, why did you allow them to stay with him for so long.” Denise called me after the hearing and informed me that the father was awarded custody and she should have listened to me.

Denise is not the only mother I know that doesn’t have custody of their children and is the noncustodial parent. I have several mothers that I consult that are noncustodial parents. What happens when mothers are noncustodial parents? Do they have to pay the percentage outlined in child support laws? The answer is yes. What I’ve seen when mothers are noncustodial parents are fathers are more lenient to mothers paying child support and seldom demand that they pay the amount outlined in child support laws. This is the case for Denise. She only pays a small amount per month to the father for the care of her two children.


Parental Alienation Syndrome and How to Counter Its Three Levels of Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation; the programming of a child by a parent to turn the child against the other parent has three levels of alienation mild, moderate, and severe. As the alienation increases the negative behavior of the children towards the targeted parent also increases. The percentage of children having access and parenting time (visitation) with the alienated parent decreases.

In a case study of thirty highly conflicted divorce and custody cases, submitted by the courts involving fifty nine children was evaluated to determine the existence of Parental Alienation Syndrome. This is when the child aligns with the alienating parent, adopts their views, joins in the defaming of the target parent and rejects that parent citing frivolous and irrational reasoning. Countering Parental Alienation Syndrome will take the knowledge of Parental Alienation and finesse.

This must be confronted to increase the chances for the target parent in reuniting and maintaining a meaningful relationship with their children. Janelle Burrill compiled, analyzed and evaluated the data for one year (2000-2001) from the cases that were submitted from a two year period (1998-2000). In the study twenty two children were listed under the mild alienation category, seventeen in the moderate category, and twenty in the severe.

The children listed under the mild alienation category show that eighty two percent of them expressed affection for the targeted parent. None of them had any anger towards or denigrated (disrespect and reject) the parent. Ninety five percent had parenting-time with the target. With mild alienation there is some cynicism of the target parent. This generally arises from a persons lack of restraint in making negative remarks about the target. They tend to react in this manner when they are hurt, angry, and feel personally attacked. For example, when parents first separate mom is feeling anxious and will implicitly convey to the children that their father is a bad person suggesting that it is not safe to be with him. She may say something to the effect of, “If you get scared or are not having fun call me right away and I will come and get you and bring you home.”

Dad may say something like, “Remember to tell your mother that you want to spend more time with me,” Suggesting that their mom is trying to separate them from each other. Generally, this behavior from the parents is done so they can look like they are the better parent to be with and that something is wrong with the other one.

In the scenario with mom the children start to question if they are safe to be with their father. With dad they can start to believe their mother is trying to estrange them from their dad. Usually when you point out the alienation to the alienating parent they feel ashamed that their behavior is negatively affecting the children and that they did not have enough self-control to refrain from distributing alienation.

Parents and children in this category normally have a good relationship. The parents who hands out the alienation usually are unaware they are doing it. It is a behavior that has not been addressed so it can be corrected. These parents are usually willing to modify their behavior to benefit the children. The recognizable denigration traits in mild alienation are sighing in disapproval, rolling the eyes in contempt, ignoring, disrespect, snide or sarcastic remarks, and defaming the target parent. To defuse the alienation explain to the children why people will make those kinds of gestures and bad-mouth another person. Let them know it comes from when they feel disrespected, rejected, hurt by a person, and that they lack self-control and respond in undesirable ways to validate themselves.

In the moderate alienation category the percentage of children who had parenting-time with the target parent drops significantly from ninety five percent down to sixty five percent. The same percentage of children also expressed affection for the target parent with fifty nine percent of them expressing anger towards the target and joining in the denigration of that parent.

With moderate alienation the alienating parents have difficulty keeping their composer when thing do not go their way or feel threatened. Like the belief their counterpart is trying to take the children away from them. They will increase the alienation when their anxiety escalates in an effort to keep what they perceive is rightfully theirs. When they lose control they go ballistic disregarding appropriate boundaries, including the fear their behavior produces in the children.