Monday, December 12, 2011


Step-families can be a royal pain. Let's face it: who really wants to live with a stranger who you hardly know? Who wants to live with someone who is "threatening" your family? This person could change your family traditions. They could potentially turn your parent against you. They might even have different techniques of discipline that you aren't used to.'s just a sticky situation. But, with some "Goo Gone", it is possible to make it the best situation for you and for your step-parent.
Think about this: how do you think the step-parent feels? They probably don't really know how to act. They've never been your parent before. They don't know what you're used to and what you're not. They want to make a good impression, but it's kind of hard when you're probably judging them on every front. 
So, how can we make the best of this situation? I believe the key ingredient is selfless sacrifice. Giving up our selfish wants and needs to make the transition that much easier. We watched a few videos for our class assignments this week that helped display this behavior. One step-family was decorating their Christmas tree. The step-mom was being a bit harsh toward the step-son because he wasn't used to their family traditions. Normally they would get a real tree. This year they purchased a fake tree without including him in the decision. Because of his reaction to the situation, the step-mom got upset--forgetting that it was his first Christmas with the family and that perhaps it was something he wasn't completely comfortable with yet. When she decided to change her view on the matter, it was much better for both her and the step-son because she was adjusting her needs to meet his and he was able to develop a better view because she apologized for not including him in their decision.

This is a picture of my family with my Step-Mom: Carole and Step-sister: Kelsey.

This is me right off the mission with my siblings and both sets of parents.

I feel like situations like the Christmas tree story from above has happened with my step-family before. Things like this are very difficult. A lot of times, people involved like to focus on how the past used to be. They tend to approach situations with a resentful attitude. If everyone involved is willing to take a breath of fresh air and look at both sides, the situation would be less messy and you'd see several smiles rather than frowns or furrowed eyebrows.
Another thing to remember in these situations is that you can't expect things to change overnight. Things that are worth something take a lot of attention and effort--and a LOT of time. You cannot expect immediate results. I believe the text said it takes about two years to adjust at a comfortable level.

The thing that I learned the most from this week (as in last week since I'm posting this late. I'm really sorry Brother Williams!) is that having a step-family takes selflessness and sacrifice of our feelings and our natural wants and needs.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Because I Said So

This week was great! We learned about the different parenting styles that come with having children. I liked the parent assessment that allowed us to see what type of parent we would be. 
Four things we need to remember as parents:

·         Respect
·         Cooperation
·         Responsibility: ability to respond (accountability) = choices + consequences of those choices
·         Courage = Risk – outcome (the ability to step out there and do what is right, even though it may be risking your own well-being). 

My favorite technique from this week's lesson was on active listening. I'm not sure if that was what it was called in the movie, but the scene where the daughter doesn't want to go to school because of the boy that got upset with her from the yearbook council. The mom on her first approach got frustrated and didn't take the time to ask what the situation was--why didn't she want to go to school? What was the underlying issue?
The second approach, she asked if her daughter wanted to talk about it. Instead of getting frustrated and walking away, she asked her what was going on and looked at her daughter's situation. 
So often, parents get into the mindset that their children are being irrational--forgetting that they too may have had similar situations when they were their teenager's age. As children, they see things differently--their minds are still maturing and they haven't had the experiences their parents have to help them understand certain situations. 
Parents need to be merciful and learn their child's needs by talking to them, showing true concern, showing that they trust them to make wise decisions, and showing them respect. 

Parenting can be a complicated task. What kind of parenting style are we going to be? It may change from child to child. It may change over the years as the children get older. It is a continual learning process and we need to remember that it takes time and patience and a little nurturing and loving.