Current Family Court Laws Harm Parents and Children
Father’s Day is June 18th this year and across the United States, Fathers and children will be celebrating their relationship with each other. For my husband, this is a bittersweet celebration with his kids, since they have to be returned to their mother that evening. We won’t see them again until Wednesday.
We follow a set of guidelines, every other weekend for 48 hours, Wednesdays for 3 hours, alternating holidays, and half of Summer break. Indiana is good enough to lay out their minimum guidelines for divorcing parents. Unfortunately, this is no where near enough time.
My husband is a good father. He tries to get involved in school activities, he goes to see performances when he learns about them, he encourages their interests and he tries hard to help mold them into good people. This is a difficult task for a man who sees his kids, on average, 100 days a year. He is only allowed to see his children for the minimum amount allowed by Indiana because their mother, his ex-wife, feels she should not have to “permit” their father to see them.
She tries to stymie him at every turn, twice keeping the children from programs when she learned he was going to attend. When she learned of his plans to remarry, she made it clear that she was not going to allow the children to attend, despite the children being in the wedding. In the end, their father and I kept the date of our wedding a secret from the kids so that they could attend without fear that their mother was going to keep them away. We paid for it later however. She kept the kids from us for five weeks.
At that point, my husband became fed up and decided to stand up for himself, his kids, and his rights. His initial mistake was a matter of being soft-hearted. He backed away from interactions with his ex-wife because he felt it would be easier on the children. When it became obvious that things weren’t easier on the children and he realized that his ex-wife was taking his distance as an opportunity to tell the children lies and misrepresentations of the truth about their father, he knew it was time to take action. He became informed, he retained a lawyer, and he began to take back his relationship with his children.
In today’s society, almost half of all marriages end in divorce. More and more children come from step-families. However, our court system is still geared towards a time when women stayed at home and cared for the children. They receive more time with the children and they receive a hefty sum of cash. My husband has been ordered to pay over 50% of his salary to his ex-wife in “child support”. And, while I think everyone can agree that money is necessary to raise children, should these children eat at restaurants every week while their father can’t afford food or shelter?
In addition, the child support system is a catch 22. In order to make the money necessary to pay child support, fathers are required to forgo time with their children. This, in turn, raises their child support since they spend less time with the children, requiring them to work even more. In the end, the child support system becomes a punishment for non-custodial parents, relegating them to the status of paycheck instead of parent.
Most mothers will read this and gasp to themselves: “I would never be able to give up custody of my children. I could never spend DAYS away from my …
The Great Outdoors: Family Fun Outdoors
The great outdoors, can hold a different meaning for anyone who thinks about it. It can bring back memories of great fun times with family and friends, or it can bring you back to a time of great solitude and peace. When you think “great outdoors” do your fondest memories take you to a time of childlike simplicities, or maybe the time you planned and trained for the biggest adventure you have experienced to this point in your life?
For most of us “the great outdoors” probably is a combination of both. It can be as simple as our own back yard, or as thrilling as climbing the highest mountain around! There are many opportunities to enjoy the great outdoors in our country. You can spend a day at a local park picnicking and playing, or you could visit one of many state parks for a time of hiking or fishing. We also have many national parks where you can plan quite a few activities. Whether it is for a day or for many days, I think there are many reasons to get out and enjoy nature. One reason could be for relaxation and peace, another reason could be to challenge yourself to achieve a physical goal. We can also use our great outdoors as an educational experience; this applies no matter what our age might be.
When I think about the many adventures in my life, most of them have involved some kind of outdoor activities. I am very glad that I can say that, because I know that some folks do not get that chance. While there are many memories for me to choose from, I would like to share my memories of an area in Arizona, which is the great state where I live. One of my favorite places to visit is Oak Creek Canyon. While there have been many outings to this place, some of my favorites were when we would take our young daughters for some great family fun. We would of course have to travel some distance to get there, so we would try to enjoy every minute of our time together. Sometimes we would go to a picnic area on the south end of the canyon. There are shaded tables and charcoal grills available to use. There is also a nice grassy area to play tag, or toss a softball around. There are a couple of areas to hike around from this location also.
Another favorite thing to do in Oak Creek Canyon is hunt for blackberries. This is of course limited to the correct time of year. It can be quite a challenge sometimes to beat the crowds. Speaking of crowds the official attraction in Oak Creek Canyon is a place called Slide Rock. This is a natural rock chute that you can slide down in the creek, while very popular, my family and I have never ventured into that part of the canyon.
This leads me to what is probably our favorite activity in Oak Creek Canyon. If you head to the north end of the canyon there are many areas along the creek to hike down and enjoy the kind of peace and beauty that sitting by, or in, a gurgling steam can bring. The sound of the water rustling around the rocks and the wind in the pines has brought many a peaceful moment to our lives. Of course the sound of giggles and laughter from our daughters cannot be beaten.
So if you are looking for a great place to hike, camp, fish, or just relax. I think …
Best Purifiers and Humidifiers for Children – How To Choose
There are different types of purifiers and humidifiers available for your children’s room, each one having its advantages and disadvantages. In order to make the right choice, it is important to understand these differences, to know what you want to achieve and of course, the way your children react to the chosen device.
An air humidifier must be chosen considering the size of the room. Each one of them should come with specifications about a maximum surface it can cover. A humidifier using warm air in a small room will definitely increase the temperature. On the other hand, a low-power device in a room that is too large is inefficient, so it will waste energy for nothing. These are also usually the cheapest, but they can be dangerous for children if they put their hands above the hot air current. If you can put it in a safe place where your child can’t reach it, then you can use it with no worries.
When do I need it?
Specialists claim humidifiers are recommended during the summer and winter and in any moment when the humidity in the air is very low. The device is used to regulate the humidity level in a room, and it is an essential accessory for the room of your child. By filtering the air and regulating the humidity, the environment in the baby’s room is a lot cleaner and the air is fresher.
Benefits of air humidifiers
Main benefit of purifiers and humidifiers is that they can be used both during the winter and summer, without changing the temperature in the room. However, using it continuously during the winter might lead to health problems for children. It is why you need to follow the instructions of the manufacturer about installing and positioning the device, and about setting it up for optimal performance and comfort.
It has been proven that babies staying in rooms where the air is purified with an efficient humidifier breathe and sleep better. Moreover, on the long term, they are protected of allergies and dry skin problems.
It is recommended to use distilled water in any humidifier, as they can disperse impurities from the water in the air, which might irritate the lungs of the baby.
Choose a silenced model, as you will want to use them for the whole duration of the night without affecting the baby’s sleep. Moreover, choose a model that shuts down automatically when the water level is too low. This way, you will avoid unwanted accidents. Don’t use flavored water with humidifiers unless you are sure your child does not have any allergy to the substances used.
The best humidifiers are the ones that are able to measure the humidity in the air. This way, you will always know when the humidifier is required and when you need to turn it off. By using it on the long term, you will observe dusts gathers a lot harder on surfaces in the room, and the better ventilation will increase the state of health and mood of your children.…
Outdoor Activities for Your Family
The outdoors is a wonderful place to bring your kids. The sunshine alone can put your kids into a better mood. Also it is a great place to wear your kids out. There are so many options to choose from, the choices are endless. You can plan for an outdoor day at a local park or a weekend at a nearby beach. Local parks offer a great deal of entertainment , from simply playing on the equipment that is provided. or you can choose to bring things from home. Parks are wonderful for getting a game of touch football going, or a game of baseball. If you are a dog owner you can play fetch and throw a Frisbee with your canine friend, just remember to keep the park clean and pick up their mess.
If you are looking for a short outdoor trip you can always inhabit the nearest beach for a day of surf, sand and sun. There are all sorts of water activities that you family could engage in from jet skiing to just lying in a raft letting the water fall over you. To finish the day up just pack a picnic basket or order out ahead of time and have dinner by the light of a bonfire. Be sure to pack smores for dessert.
If you are unable to travel to the beach a great option is the nearest water park. These parks always offer a wide variety of family fun options. From floating in a lazy river, baby pools for toddlers, and thrill rides for the ever daring adolescent and every adult that is still a child at heart.
If you want to keep it nature like just hike up to the nearest trail or lake. Be sure to pack bug spray and plenty of water. Kids will love seeing how nature grows and changes. They will be having fun but also getting a little education. Best of all at the end of it they get to take a nice big running jump into the cool water.
For those parents that cannot really get away the back yard can also be a very relaxing outdoor space. Many of the park activities can be accomplished right there in your yard. If relaxing is in your future you could also just be lazy and lay out a blanket and pick out clouds in the sky. So what ever activity you choose to do with your kids, know that there are a wide variety of options available to you and your entire family all you have to do is go out into the great outdoors and enjoy.
Family Tree (Limerick)
I’m just an old used to be.
My memories will pass on with me.
As time fades away,
And memories decay,
I’ll be a twig in the old family tree.
Family Planning – How Many Children Should You Have?
Family planning is something my husband and I have talked about since we first got married in 1999. I always wanted to have a large family because I am the oldest of 8 children. I grew up with my sisters and cousins under one roof. I loved growing up in a big family. At one time I felt a tremendous urge to have as many babies as possible. Yet, I held myself back for quite a few years because I met my husband in the mid 90’s, while we were in high school. When we got married after high school we felt like we were just too young to start a family, and we wanted to enjoy each other for a few years first. We finally had our first son 7 years after we first got married, and we just recently had another baby in January. Now that we have 2 children our dream of having a large family is starting to fade for many reasons. For now we have decided to postpone making the final decision to have more children, for at least a few more years. To us this is such a hard choice to make, and perhaps it is for many people, which is why I decided to write this article.
Our decision is heavily influenced by so many things such as, our financial ability to care for more children, our ability to give our children quality time, and of course my age. I’m not so young any more and the clock is ticking as I will soon to be 30. I have a few short years left in order to be in the safe zone, and even then there are still risks. For instance, I labored with both of my boys, and yet I ended up having a C-section with both of them for two very different reasons.The surgeries were very hard on my body, and I’m not so sure that I want to endure more surgeries physically or emotionally. Surgery is also very risky. I had to search to even find a doctor that would allow me to try for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). I think if I am to become pregnant again, I will try for a VBAC one more time. If your also having a hard time deciding how large you want your family to be, here a few things to consider, which may help you make the choice that’s best for both you and your partner.
Do you have the time available to give each child quality one on one time? Are you working 2 jobs, and going to school to reach your goals? If you don’t have the time to give your child you may want to wait until things settle down in your life, or change your lifestyle in order to make more time.
Age is always something to consider when you want to have more children. It is much harder going through a pregnancy when you’re in your 30’s as compared to your 20’s. There are also more risks associated with a pregnancy when you’re over 35.
As the cost of living continues to increase you need to ask yourself what sacrifices you will need to make if you want to have a large family. If you’re financially stable and able to provide, there are less limitations on you when it comes to finances. However, some families are struggling to make ends meet as it is with 2-3 children. In some cases more children might mean giving up some things. Still I have …
Family Bonding on a Budget
You’re stressed out from work and looking for a little family R and R but the wallet looks pretty slim these days. Beyond the normal freebies – going for a walk, picnic in the park, trip to the beach – what kind of fun can a family have on a limited budget? Plenty.
1. Our family has recently scored with bowling. On a Saturday afternoon, a couple of games at the local bowling alley can cost upwards of $50 for a family of four, but many locations offer special rates at off peak times like Sunday mornings and after 9pm on weekdays. One place near us charges just $1.50 a game on Sundays from 9am – 12pm, plus they have lightweight bowling balls and bumpers so kids of any age can join the fun.
2. Many museums offer a free day once a month and some are just plain free. You can check http://www.freemuseumday.org/ for free days in major cities or call local museums to see if they have a free day or offer any discounts on admission. Our favorite freebie in the LA area is Travel Town at Griffith Park. Chock full of massive steam engines from the glory days of railroading it is a train lover’s dream! See www.traveltown.org for details.
3. We are fortunate to live in a city with a large Park and Recreation department featuring an Activity Center and gymnasium for public use. The Activity Center features ping pong, pool, Wii, air hockey and various board games free for anyone to use. The gym charges a $2 fee for access to two indoor basketball courts. Check with your local Park and Recreation to see what’s available in your area and get your game on!
4. You can go green for cheap with a trip to a state park. Admission fees vary but are seldom more than $10 and get you a whole day of fun taking in the natural wonders your state has to offer. For not much more, you can enjoy an entire year of fun with an annual permit. National parks are also reasonably priced or even free. Many parks also offer special programs about the park, it’s inhabitants and it’s history. Visit www.nps.gov for national park information and your state Department of Natural Resources website for state parks in your area.
Family bonding doesn’t have to break the bank. Sometimes the best memories don’t cost a dime.
Top 10 Family Outdoor Activities for Great Outdoors Month 2020
The summer solstice marks the astronomical beginning of Summer. With the changing of the season to warmer temperatures, the sizzling heat gives people a reason to escape the stale indoor air and enjoy healthy fresh air. Finding outdoor activities for the entire family that everyone will enjoy can be cumbersome. There are many outdoor activities that can be fun and fit for everyone.
1. Picnics have always been the traditional form of outdoor hobby. For those that would prefer a more laid back activity, a picnic might be your best choice. Picnics are generally centered around your food choice. To even make the picnic extra fun, try having a themed picnic. Choose your theme around your food choice. You can even incorporate entertaining lessons into the themed picnic. For example, if you chose to have Italian food, then come up with topics surrounding Italian lifestyle or history and have discussions or games centered around Italian. You could maybe even discover new words in that foreign language and use them while you talk about the topics. Also, not only can picnics be surrounded by food selection, but perhaps also by activity. For example, you can have a nature trail picnic. Select picnic areas that have natural trails. But make sure it is somewhere were you can leave your picnic items because it would not be enjoyable if you had to lug around your picnic basket.
2. Camping is a great outdoor activity. Camping usually demands a lot of preplanning. To go camping you would need to choose whether on sleeping in a tent or if you will be renting a cabin. Also, depending on the length of the camping trip, you will need to decide what things you will need to bring for food preparation. Building a camp fire can allow fun activities such as weenie roasts and smores. Camping can incorporate many other activities. One popular camping activity is fishing. So, don’t forget your fishing rods and worms.
3. If you don’t have a lot of time on your hand, but would like an outdoor activity that fits your time budget; visiting your local park might be your choice. Many towns and cities have a least one park. If you are fortunate enough to have a choice of parks, it is good to visit the park briefly to determine if it is the park for you. If you have children, you may want a park with lots of outdoor play equipment. If you are a pet owner and want to take your pet, it is important that you know what the pet policy is for that park. A popular park activity is Frisbee tossing. This is fun for both children and dogs. Also, kite flying is fun, but only if the park has a good open area with no trees or power lines.
4. Swimming is an activity that is generally popular with most kids. When the temperatures rise, cooling off in a big swimming pool can be ideal. There are many options when it comes to swimming. If you don’t mind spending money, you can visit a water theme park. Also, most cities have public pools that you can visit. If money is tight, you can always purchase above a ground pool and enjoy swimming all summer long.
5. Volunteer work is a very rewarding activity. Incorporating volunteer work into an outdoor activity is very simple. Cleaning up a park is a great outdoor volunteer activity. If there is not a volunteer group, you can either clean solo or you can form your very own volunteer clean up crew. …
The Duggar Family of Arkansas Has 17 Children – Good Idea or Not?
I admit it; I’m a Duggar-a-holic. I am fascinated with this Arkansas family with 17 children. I first learned about Jim and Michelle Duggar through the TV specials about their family on the Discovery Channel, and I have read eagerly about them ever since. I have been impressed with their wholesomeness and the way they raise so many well-behaved children without government assistance.
But I was recently thinking that however much I admire the Duggars in many ways, I would not want to be one of their children. Why? I cannot imagine that any of the individual children are getting much of Michelle and Jim Bob’s attention. I have a downright puny family of just three children, who are now 10, 8 and 6. However, even these three have challenged me at times. There are many occasions where I feel that I am short-changing one or another of them because I need to give attention to another. When I taught school, I often had about 17 children in my entire classroom. While I tried to give the children somewhat individualized attention, there is no way I was giving the amount of attention a child would need from a parent.
From watching programs about the Duggars, I know that they use a “buddy system” where an older child is paired with a baby, usually when the baby is around 8 months old. The older child is then responsible for much of the baby’s caretaking and raising. I feel sad about this both from the baby’s perspective and also from the caretaker’s. Caring for a baby or a toddler is a lot of responsibility for a child of 10 or so.
Speaking of responsibility, I have been really impressed by the Duggar children’s maturity and behavior, at least as it appears on TV. Perhaps because there are so many of them and because there is an atmosphere of respect in the family, there seem to be no real troublemakers in the bunch. Again though, this makes me sad in a way because I wonder if the kids all have the opportunity to express themselves fully. I am a big believer in responsibility and maturity, but I think kids also need time to just be a kid and make childish mistakes that serve as great learning opportunities. I hope the Duggar children have that.
When I think of having 17 children, one of my first nightmare thoughts is the amount of work: cooking, cleaning, laundry, etc. However, I know that the Duggars solve this dilemma by designating various children to tasks (known in the Duggar family as “jurisdictions”). For instance, one girl’s jurisdiction is laundry. As a mom, I love the thought that someone else in the family is doing the laundry. But again, it makes me a little sad to think of a girl, even if she is a teenager, being responsible for the laundry of 17 people.
For the Duggars and other large families, I believe “the proof will be in the pudding” so to speak. I’ll be interested to see how the children turn out in the years to come. Will they want large families themselves, or will they be so tired of children and work that they seek a totally different life? Will some of the Duggar children opt for the single life?
I would be interested in comments, especially from those who either grew up in a large family or who have a large family now. Do you see large families as an overall plus or minus?
Family Friendly Films
You want to watch a movie as a family but want something you will enjoy as well as your children. Those movies can be hard to find at times and it may be difficult to sit through a two hour cartoon that fails to grasp your interest. The following five films sure to capture your attention just as much as your children. You’ll all be looking forward to family fun night and these films will make excellent additions to your DVD collections.
Finding Nemo (2003) Directed by Andrew Stanton
This is a film about a young clown-fish named Nemo who is kidnapped from his first day of school and taken to Australia as a pet of a dentist. Nemo’s father is a paranoid fish constantly in fear for the safety of himself and Nemo and must travel the ocean in search for his one little clown fish.
Why it’s a great choice:
This is a film you will enjoy just as much if you’re 5 years old or 50 years old. Right from the beginning you get pulled into the story and are worried for the safety of this little clown fish. This film teaches several valuable lessons including lessons on friendship and safety. Your child will want to watch this film over and over, and you wont mind.
The Incredibles (2003) Directed by Brad Bird
A retired pair of superheroes settle down and go into retirement and have two children who were born with super powers and a third infant whose powers have not yet revealed themselves. In this film the family must come out of hiding to save the world.
Why it’s a great choice:
This film is absolutely charming. It’s underlying message is that a family can accomplish anything if they work as a team and have compassion for one another. This film will have you laughing at one turn but will also have you thinking through its complex world dominating plot.
Monsters Inc. (2001) Directed by Pete Doctor
Monsters live together in a town that gets its power by the screams of children. Monsters don’t scare to harm children but rather to power their homes. Human children are not allowed in the town but there’s a breach and Mike and Sully (two hilarious unlucky monsters) must deal with the situation.
Why it’s a great choice:
This movie is both funny and entertaining so you will not be bored. This film could help if your child is afraid of the dark or of monsters under the bed or in the closet. The premise of this film is that monsters are not going to hurt you, that they have their own complicated lives and monster children, but have interestingly enough determined how to harness the fear of young children to power their city ; Talk about eco-friendly.
Shrek (2001) Directed by Andrew Adamson and Vicky Jenson
This is the first in a now trilogy of Shrek films. Shrek is an ogre who keeps to himself and lives in a swamp, but is more misunderstood than scary. No one ever took the time to get to know him and his layers except a loud mouth Donkey who he can’t seem to go away. They work together to save a princess for the Prince of the town Far-Far-Away. Their journey is quite an ordeal but it is an excellent movie.
Why it’s a great choice:
This is by far my favorite family film; I have watched this movie just me and my boyfriend because I love it. It brings out the child in me and it’s …