Family Dinners

family dinnerEating Dinner as A Family

How often this week have you eaten dinner with your family? If it’s like most families, not often.

With so many activities such as after school sports, clubs, lessons, working late, etc. it’s a wonder we have time to eat at all, much less with the rest of the family.

Most of us may feel slightly guilty about not having more family dinners but it’s really not a big deal, right? Wrong.

Eating dinner together as a family is more than just having a meal. Breakfast and dinner are usually the only times a family has to be together for a meal. And breakfast is usually more hectic than dinner.

It’s best to sit down at the table together but even a having a movie night with dinner on TV trays in front of the television once a week will foster family togetherness.

You may be surprised by some of the facts about eating dinner as a family on a regular basis. For example, kids who eat dinner with their family on a regular basis, aren’t as likely to get involved in risky behavior like sex, alcohol and drugs. It even helps teen girls to keep from developing an eating disorder. It seems strange that one of the things that we take for granted can actually help our kids make wise decisions.

So what gives family dinners such special powers?

Well, first, it’s a chance to share about our day with each other. With all the influences of the outside world, having dinner together is a great way for children to reconnect with their parents. They can talk to their parents and each other about what’s on their minds, and what they are dealing with such as teachers, school, peer pressure, etc.

It’s a good time for parents to share about their own day too. It makes the parents seem more “real” to their kids and fosters closeness.

There is something about sharing a meal with anyone, that brings you closer to that person.

The sad fact is that parents, on average talk to their children for less than 40 minutes each week. It’s hard to get to know someone in such a short amount of time. If you are eating dinner with your kids, and having a conversation at the dinner table, you are spending that much time and maybe more each night.

Young kids learn their communication skills from their older brothers and sisters and mom and dad. Dinner time is a great time for hem to learn these skills. It also a time that helps them to feel “heard” and acknowledged.

Kids love to be the center of attention and at the family dinner table, they get their chance to be that but also to share the limelight with others.

It’s a good idea to get your kids to help prepare the meal and set the table. When I was working full time outside the home, each of my kids (ages 12 and up at the time) had a night where they chose the meal and prepared it. The other nights, they helped me or their siblings with dinner preparations.

With all the benefits of eating dinner as a family, it’s really worth the while to try to implement this habit. Try to rearrange your family’s schedule so that you can fit in as many family dinners as possible.

How To Be Friends With Your Mother-In-Law

mother in lawHow to be friends with your mother-in-law is a common concern for many. However, this relationship does not have to be a challenge. Here are a few tips that you can follow that can help you become friends with your mother-in-law.

Learn to understand your mother-in-law’s point of view. In her eyes, you may be taking her place in her son’s life and this may not be very acceptable for her. Always try to put yourself in her shoes.

One of the best ways to resolve relationship tension is to figure out the source of its existence. Continue to have an open dialogue with her and tend not to add fuel to tension or stress. Try not to take anything personal and continue to openly communicate to avoid confusion or mis-communication.

Find ways to compliment your mother-in-law. Really work at this so that it won’t feel or appear fake in any way. Beauty can be found in anyone. By noticing this in her will help uplift her self esteem and make her feel good about the wonderful qualities she has.

Always remember that you cannot change her. How to be friends with your mother-in-law doesn’t require you to make her just like you. Let her be herself in the skin she is comfortable with for the moment. Have patience with her and allow the relationship to blossom without focusing on anything petty.

If your mother-in-law loves to criticize and make your life miserable, before you confront your mother-in-law, first ask yourself, “is this worth the energy?” You have to see where this behavior is coming from. Most people put others down in order to help themselves feel better. Just take a breath, walk away and know that it is not personal.

We are all human. So if you get stuck on your pride and say something you later regret, it’s okay. Just apologize and keep moving forward.

One of the best ways to resolve a situation is by compromising. This way both of you get something out of it and this also empowers her to do it her way. Learn to be flexible. Finding how to be friends with your mother-in-law is not difficult to do when you put the time and effort into it. You will find that this pays off in most situations.

How To Deal With A Controlling Mom

Here’s the next post in our mom series this week  and one I have personally had to deal with.

Most children believe that their parents are too controlling. However there is a fine line crossing into unhealthy behavior. This article will talk about how to deal with a controlling mom and find ways to effectively make choices without letting the behavior control you.

You may be used to your mom trying to run your life or even scrutinize each decision that you try to make. Also consider that single parents (not all of them) sometimes feel like they have less control so they may be a bit overbearing to compensate for this. You can actually learn how to deal with her appealing traits if you learn how to manage the less desirable ones.

older mother adult daughterThere could be many reasons for your mom being controlling, which could stem from childhood insecurities, she had a controlling parent, etc. Know that you will never be able to actually change her. The key word here is learning how to “deal”.

Here are some tips on how to deal with a controlling mom effectively:

  • – Set your boundaries immediately. Find out the aspects of your life that you do not want to share with your mom and then remind her if that boundary is invaded.
  • – Try writing your mom a letter giving specific details on how you wish your relationship to develop.
  • – Learn how to change the subject with love. You can start a sentence like this: “I love you mom, but I wish not to discuss that with you.” And then politely change the subject when she persists.
  • – After listening to your mom, thank her for the suggestions she gives for you and then move on to more inspiring dialogue.
  • – Search for approval from yourself instead of trying to find it from your mom. Your self-confidence will help you not let her controlling tendencies get under your skin.
  • – Screen your phone calls so you can be prepared for any type of conversation that may be overbearing. You can also wait for a message to measure the significance of it.
  • – Promptly call her back when you are ready; at least within the next day. Moms who are controlling heat up if there are signs of neglect. This will help you to avoid any nagging they may come your way.
  • – Learn to appreciate your mom for caring about all things those little things in your life, no matter how small.
  • – Never feel guilty for living your life. This is sometimes a ploy from a bossy mom to make you feel guilty for hurting her feelings. No matter what, do not give in to it.
  • – Recognize the issue this person has and do not take it personally. The problem is rooted deeply within the subconscious and comes from her personality and background.
  • – Again…do not take it personally. You are not the one controlling this behavior in your mom.
  • – If you want more of a peace of mind, do some research on the subject and speak with a therapist about the behavior.
  • – When speaking to your mom, talk calmly about any concerns you may have. People tend to respond better to a calm demeanor than with bitterness or harshness.

Many people nowadays only feel safe when they sense some type of control in their life around all the fear portrayed on television and in the news regarding rape, abductions and the like.

Your mom only needs reassurance that everything will be okay. Many parents who work long hours often feel guilty for doing so. They feel more of a need to control your life than if they were mainly relaxed.

When you learn how to deal with a controlling mom, it is valuable to disengage from any environment that is not conducive to a peaceful state of mind. If you are adult age, leave the situation whenever you can. It is easier to love from afar in this situation, even if that means living down the street.

 

 

 

 

 

For another article on dealing with your mother, check out How to Build a Relationship with your Mom.

I Guess I am a Misfit

This morning was so beautiful but I knew it would get hot later in the day. So after taking my toddler grand daughter over to my mother’s house to do my morning care taking duties for her, I decided to stop off at a park on the way home.

park

MayMay's favorite park

 

I love this park. It has 3 big slides that are safe enough for little kids to play on.

Maylynn on slide

MayMay sliding

It  has a cool climbing thingie.

Maylynn climbing

Maylynn climbing

It also has lots of swings and a sand box area and picnic areas. A little kid’s dream, right?

My grand baby had a great time. There were plenty of other small children around to play with, along with lots of young moms standing around in small clusters discussing things such as swimming classes and when to start potty training.

And that’s where the topic of this blog post comes in. I just don’t fit in with them. I’m in my early 50’s. My own toddlers have long since grown up. But I still am very involved with raising my sweet little grand baby.

Ok, so no one came running over to me to include me in their conversations. I didn’t expect that. I decided I would have to make the first move. So when I would be close to them, like when I was swinging Maylynn and another mom was swinging her child, I would try to start a conversation (which isn’t easy for an introvert like me).

The first conversation went something like this:

Me: This is such a beautiful park;

Other mom: yes

Me: There are so many things for the kids to do here.

Other mom: (says nothing but smiles indulgently)

Me: How old is your little girl?

Other mom: 3

It was clear I wasn’t going to get anything beyond 1 word answers so I just shut up.

After several more attempts with other women with disappointing results, I faced the fact that I just wasn’t the kind of person other moms want to hang out with. After momentarily feeling sorry for myself, I thought about it, and remembered back to the days when I was one of these young mothers.

Would I want to hang around with an older woman? Probably not. It would feel like being with my mom.

So I gave these gals a break, and left them to their own conversations and just enjoyed the morning with my MayMay.

Now, I can hear you thinking. You are wondering why I, a woman in my 50’s would even want to hang around young 20 and 30 something moms.

Well, I guess I don’t really. It’s just my friends who are in their 40’s and 50’s either never had children, or their children are now in college or out on their own.

My friends who do have grand kids are the typical grand mothers who see their grand kids a few times a year or, if they live in the area, maybe once or twice a month. None of them have their grand children living with them. None of them babysit them on a daily basis.

So, they don’t want to hear about the “Sid the Science Kid” show that my grand daughter loves to watch or how she learned how to work my iphone before she was even a year old (she likes to look at the “babies”, which are just pictures of her in the photos section on my phone).

I feel like I have a foot in both worlds but I don’t belong to either.

I know I can’t be the only one out there in this situation. Right?