The Issue of Child Support After a Divorce

Child support is an amount of money that one parent is obligated to pay the other after a divorce. The money is used to pay for the cost of the expenses relating to the children. This includes basic living expenses, clothing, food, and extra items that we all know kids ask for on a regular basis. The amount of money that has to be paid out for child support will depend on many factors.

If the couple can agree upon a set amount of money to be paid each month that is the best route to go. The calculations in the courts are time consuming and very complicated. You will also be paying an attorney to take care of such matters for you. Still, many individuals aren’t willing to pay a dime more than they should so they want it done legally. You also have others who want every dime they deserve so they want to make sure they are getting a fair amount.

Generally the parent who has the children the majority of the time will be receiving the child support payments. If the custody is shared equally then no child support may be required. In some states though that doesn’t matter. The decision to have to pay child support depends on the amount of money that each party is making. If they have other children from another marriage to consider that has to be calculated in as well.

The specific laws that apply to child support will depend on what area you live in. You can get the details from your attorney or you can look them up online. There is a great deal of controversy surrounding the issue of child support though. It seems to be one of those bitter issues that continues to affect the relationship of the adults long after the marriage has ended.

Some individuals refuse to pay the court ordered child support. They don’t think their ex spouse uses it for what it was intended for. They also do it as a control issue that affects their ex spouse. They want to make it financially difficult for them to get by. This is often a form of retaliation for getting a divorce.

Others simply can’t afford to pay the child support for one reason or another. They may have too many other bills. The cost of paying for all the living expenses for yourself can be very hard. When you have a huge amount of child support to pay on top of it, you may find it almost impossible to make ends meet.

Changes in a person’s finances such as changing jobs, getting laid off, medical problems, and even getting married again can really affect the amount of disposable income available. Millions of dollars in unpaid child support are owed to parents all over the world. Some locations go to extremes to get people to pay what they owe at any cost.

For example a parent may lose their right to drive, to hunt, or to obtain an income tax refund if they owe child support. This is due to the fact that so many people are relying on public assistance due to not getting the amount of child support that is owed to them. For many divorced people, child support can be a financial burden.

As a result they may try to get the courts to change things in their favor. For example they may ask for more parenting time so that they can pay less in child support. There are those that don’t get to see their children very often as it is. So they choose to terminate their parental rights as part of a deal with the other parent. They agree not to have any say in their children’s lives in exchange for not having to pay any child support. This can leave children feeling like they weren’t wanted as they don’t see the financial severity of the issue. 

Parental Tips on How to Teach Your Kids About Money

In these difficult economic times, now is a good time to begin teaching small children about money in a manner they can appreciate and absorb.

Here are some tips:

* Sit down with your children and talk about money and its value. Use coins to show examples of how money is earned and spent.

* Talk to your children about the importance of saving. Use tools such as a piggy bank or the family jug to illustrate the point.

* Explain to your children the difference between the items you need and the items you want.

* As they grow, show them how to use a checkbook. Explain what the checking account is for and then take them to the bank and explain its function. Let them see how you deposit money into a savings account.

* When they are old enough, take them to the bank to open a savings account of their own.

* When you take them grocery shopping with you, explain why you choose one item over another.

* Have weekly discussions about the family budget.

* Explain why it is important to save money, especially now. Give them a clear picture about the current crisis so they can understand why family spending has to be cut down.

* Take out the Monopoly money and use it to illustrate how the family budget works.

Experts from Family Education advise that it is never too early to teach children about money. From ages six through ten is a good time to begin discussing what money is, how it is used, and the importance of being responsible as well as understanding that everything costs money.

From ages eleven through thirteen, you can begin the process of opening up a savings account, how to shop in an appropriate manner, and the importance of giving to those less fortunate.

Teenagers from fourteen through eighteen will be learning about getting a job, saving for college, budgeting, the pitfalls of credit cards, and the meaning of taxes.

Allow young children to ask questions and answer them honestly. Utilize repetitive learning and give them small tasks they can perform to ascertain if they fully understand its meaning.

 

Finally, lead by example. Children learn from their parents and if they notice that the family is utilizing money in a responsible manner, they will begin to make the connection and become financially responsible as adults.

When the Teacher is Mom

There is an army of teachers in this country and around the world that get no pay, do not show up at a classroom and get no recognition for the work they do. But they are doing the job of teaching young minds and getting them through a year of academic work. These are the minions of home school teachers who are quietly doing the job of education of the next generation. And we have learned from studies into home schooling, they are doing a pretty good job because home schooled students often rank high in college preparation exams.

If you are considering becoming a teacher in the limited scope of home schooling your own children, the task is not as intimidating as it seems. And the potential benefits to your children are great. Public schools are notorious for taking bright young minds and snuffing out that fire for learning that they were born with.

The reason this happens is simple. Public schools are mandated to teach a very large body of kids so because of the volume of kids they must pass through each grade, the emphasis much be on discipline and order and the priority for high quality academics has to slide so that every child can get through.

That is why the focused and specialized environment of a home school situation is perfect for a bright mind such as your child has because you can customize your curriculum to fit your child and to accelerate as fast as they show an aptitude to go. You don’t have to put a big emphasis on being in their seat when the bell rings and being in school uniform down to their underwear. There are no bells in home school and they can come to school in their underwear if they want to. As long as they learn, that is the emphasis in a home school environment.

When you set out to becoming a home school teacher, you have a huge amount of flexibility in how you structure the learning environment. If you have a room you can set aside as the “classroom”, that is a nice set up because you and your child know that when you go into that room, learning will happen here. But because the goal in that room is to complete one step along the way to finishing a curriculum, your young student knows that class will be over when they achieve their goals, not when the bell rings and that encourages productivity and focus.

It is also a myth that home schooling will become expensive. In fact, you can virtually set up a perfectly valid year long curriculum for very little cost. By logging into the public school’s system, you can find the curriculum for the grade your child is in school and what must be learned to finish that grade. In many cases, local public schools and many private schools have programs to help you get started so that your child follows a similar educational path that is going on down the street in the public schools. This is an advantage to you and the school because should you decide to send your child back to public school the next year, they are not out of step with the program.

Materials can often be had for very little expense as well. Many times a textbook that is being used for a particular subject will come out with a new edition. When that happens, you can pick up copies of the previous edition, now out of date to the public schools, for very little cost and often for free. The topics in the text book are just as valid in the previous edition so you can conduct full year of classes using that textbook and not face any serious cost investment at all.

 

By looking for ways to take advantage of public facilities like the computers at the public library and of programs offered by churches, public schools and other institutions to help home school teachers like you be successful, you can set up a program at home that will help your child succeed as a student in this educational setting. It will be an adventure for you. And you will see a new appreciation come in to your child’s eyes when he or she suddenly realizes that mom is still mom but she is also an outstanding teacher as well.

Organizing the Kids’ Toys

As your children continue to get more toys with each passing birthday, Christmas and other special occasions, space becomes a premium, and clutter can begin to take over. So how do you keep it in check and still enjoy giving them new things? You have to balance “out with the old and in with the new”. If there are toys that are broken, or games and puzzles with missing pieces, they can probably be thrown away.

Why not set aside different times of year that you go through all of the toys and decide what needs to be given away? This can be a month or so before birthdays and Christmas. However, if you wait until after they get new things, they might be more willing to part with the older toys. It is important to talk to the children about it beforehand, if they are old enough to understand. Let them help decide which toys they might want to give away.

As the children go through their toys, let the younger siblings see if there is anything they’d like to keep from their older brothers or sisters, but if they do they have to give up something from their toys. Try to keep it even with how much the kids are getting rid of, as you don’t want them to feel like they are sacrificing more than the others.

If the weather is nice, you could even encourage your children to participate in a family yard sale. They get to keep the money for any of their things they sell. This takes a bit more thought and organization. First, they have to make sure that what they are selling is in good enough shape to sell, and that all the pieces are there.

One important thing to keep in mind, especially with the younger children, is to give them time to adjust to the idea of giving things away. Young children can often be generous with their things, but then later realize they gave away a “favorite” toy. Let them practice for a few days, or even weeks. Put the things away in a box where they can’t get them. If they realize they don’t miss the toys, then they should be ok with going ahead and getting rid of them.

 

It is also good to encourage sharing their blessings by donating some nicer toys and games they’ve outgrown. There are many charities that take gently used books, toys and games, including hospitals and shelters. This is a great way of not only reducing the clutter in your home, but also helping someone less fortunate.

Kid’s Bedrooms – Fun and Organized Can Coincide

A challenge every family with children faces is keeping the kids’ bedrooms organized. Between toys, clothes and school things, it can seem impossible. However, there are ways to get the kids’ things organized and have fun at the same time. There are many styles of storage units available. Bright colors and cartoon characters from your child’s favorite show is sure to be a hit. By combining different units, you can have a place for everything.

There are many different styles of storage. There are the standard under-the-bed boxes, storage that can be hung on the wall or doors, or closet organizers. First, you need to decide what kind of storage will work best, not only for the amount of stuff in the room, but the age of the child as well. Once you decide what type of storage you need, let the kids help choose the style.

Once the new storage is purchased, this can be a time to rearrange the bedroom. Let the kids have a say in how they would like their room (within reason, of course). By being involved, it gives them a sense of ownership and makes them more likely to want to keep things nice.

To help your child get the dirty laundry organized, one of the simplest ways is to set up a basketball hoop above an open hamper. By attaching one to the wall above the hamper, clean up turns into a game. There are hoops that have suction cups, so you can attach it to any smooth wall and not damage it.

Many things that are designed for storage in a child’s room serve a dual purpose. There are desk and chair sets that have storage in the desk and the chair. There are also seats that have a cushion attached to the lid of a round barrel-like container. The container is perfect for stuffed animals or other large toys, and gives the child a comfy place to sit while reading or relaxing.

A cute storage unit is the collapsible bin. These are fabric bins built around a large spring that can collapse into a flat circle for easy storage. The bins are decorated to look like animals or people. Some have a lid for the head, which is attached at the back like a hinge with velcro at the front to keep them closed, while others (like an alligator) have an open mouth. The bin is the body and they have things like flippers, wings, paws and hands on the container to add details. They come a wide variety of styles in bright colors. There is sure to be one that any child will love. They are perfect for either dirty clothes or light toys.

 

Once you get the room organized, find creative ways to help the kids keep their rooms organized. If you have more than one child, maybe make it a contest to see who can keep their room the neatest for the longest. Let them earn points toward a special treat for every day they clean up their room without being asked. Find what works for your family and the work won’t be as hard.

When is Lying a Serious Problem?

Parents try to do their best to teach their children to be honest, but the fact is many children lie anyhow. If this tendency isn’t dealt with while the child is young, parents may soon find they have a teenager that lies for any reason. You may be asking yourself, “When is lying a serious problem?”

Most people know what lying is. For those who don’t, according to Webster’s Dictionary (1913) lying is defined as the act of uttering “falsehood with an intention to deceive; to say or do that which is intended to deceive another.”

Some parents feel lying of any kind is a serious problem because it could mean there is a deeper character issue. Lying in teenagers could mean they are involved in drug or alcohol abuse, problems at school, or even worse, crime. Here are some guidelines to let you know if your teen may need the help of a professional psychologist to deal with their lying problem.

Young children can’t tell the difference between fantasy and reality and therefore appear to be lying. Older children begin to understand the difference between truth and a lie, but may lie to avoid punishment. They may also lie to protect the feelings of others. Teens are expected to know the difference but when they lie continually your concerns may be warranted.

If your teen does any of the following, you may decide they have a serious problem:

* Lie to get attention
* Lie to take advantage of others
* Lie to avoid dealing with demands of parents, friends, or teachers
* Lie to hide drug or alcohol use
* Lie as a means to manipulate another

When you catch your teen in a lie, you may have a serious discussion with your teen about lying. You’ve probably explained the importance of honesty and how lying can erode your trust in them. You may have also given them consequences for lying. It could be that talking and consequences haven’t had an effect on them.

Does your teen resort to telling lies whenever they want to avoid something? Do you catch them telling lies about where they’ve been and what they’ve been doing? How quickly does your teen cover up one lie when they’re caught by telling another? If these are common occurrences, your teen may have a chronic lying problem which requires professional intervention.

What type of health issues may cause a teen to be a chronic liar? Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, bipolar disorder, or learning disabilities are some conditions your teen may have which hadn’t been diagnosed in the past. Psychological counseling may help determine a course of action to combat your child’s problem.

 

If you find your teen lying too often, try not to take it as a failure on your part. You know how you’ve taught them, so you’ve done your part. Maybe you haven’t known when lying is a serious problem before; now you’ll have a better idea and a possible course of action for the future.

Plant Your Own Vegetables Family Day

Gardening can be a great activity to share with your family. In fact, if you have a “plant your own vegetables” family day, not only can you spend quality time together, before long you’ll also have “fresh from your own garden” vegetables to enjoy and share with others. Maybe you’ve never gardened much; don’t let that stop you. With everyone in your family’s help, you can get a garden planned and planted.

If you’ve never gardened, there is quite a bit to learn before getting started. First, you’ll need to find out what planting zone you live in. This is easily done by asking at a nursery or by looking online. You’ll also want to know what type of soil you have in your yard. This will let you know what nutrients will need to be added before you can begin planting. You may want to visit someone who has been gardening for a while to learn from their experience in regard to how large a garden you need, what vegetables would be best to plant, and how many of each plant you’ll need to get the harvest you’d like.

Start with a plan. Vegetables won’t grow in the shade so you’ll need to seek out a place in the yard that gets full sunlight. When you have chosen the area, you get to pick out the vegetables you’ll plant. If this is your first garden, don’t go crazy. You may want to try spinach or lettuce, green beans, corn, and several varieties of tomatoes. For a family of four you would want to buy two packs of lettuce plants, two packs of green beans, a package of corn, and three to four tomato plants per variety.

There are two ways you can lay out a garden. You can plant everything in rows of a single vegetable per row. You can also create square foot gardens where you break the total size of the garden into squares of one foot or more. Find out more about this type of gardening by getting a book from the library or checking online.

For the number of vegetables you’ll be planting, an 8’ x 10’ or 8’ x 12’ garden would be perfect. You don’t want to make the garden so large that you’ll be frustrated caring for it, but you do want it to be large enough to accommodate the plants as they grow.

Spread the work out among each family member, keeping in mind each one’s abilities. One person can run the rototiller, another can pick up the rocks, and another can dig the holes for the plants, and another can water the plants in. The old saying “many hands makes light of work” can certainly pertain to a family working in a garden.

 

When you plant your own vegetable garden, be sure to have fun. Gardening doesn’t have to be a dreaded task that no one in the family wants to do. Encourage everyone to chip in and then the fruits of their labor at harvest time will taste all that much sweeter.

Get Closer to Your Teenager

At a time when it seems like families are being torn apart, it’s important to get closer to your teenager. How on earth do you do that when they’re changing every day? The following ideas and tips may be just what you need to get closer to your teen and realize that they really are wonderful.

As pre-teens reach their teenage years, you may feel like you’re revisiting their toddler years. They try to run from you and assert their independence; however, now they’re not merely seeking independence but also learning about who they are and what they have to contribute to the world. Even though they run away, the will still come back – although it may not be permanent. That’s why it’s so important to get closer to your teen now while you still have time.

Regardless of how busy you are, make time to spend with your teenager. This could mean taking off to the mall for a day of shopping, attending their extracurricular activities, or inviting their friends over for a day of movies and fun. You may also want to plan family activities that everyone in the family will enjoy. This could include miniature golf, going on a hike, or even ice skating. Pick an activity, or activities, that everyone can participate in and have a great time.

Doing chores together can also be a means to get closer to your teen. You may not think so, but standing at a sink full of dirty dishes and soapy water can actually be one of the best places to talk. You don’t have to concentrate too hard on the task at hand, but it can allow you to talk about things in a non-threatening way.

Cooking is another way to grow closer to your teenager while at the same time teaching them how to cook. You can show them how to plan a meal, cook it, and then serve it. This task may not seem very enjoyable, but it really can be a way to have fun with children and teenagers alike. You may even want to go so far as to help them go shopping for all the ingredients they need for the meal, but that’s entirely up to you.

Take time to laugh with your teen. Try to stay playful with them, much like you did when they were children. If nothing else, you can make an attempt and possibly get a smile out of them.

Be sure they know that you love them. They may balk at you trying to hug or kiss them on the cheek but they need your touch as much now as they did when they were smaller. It’s true, they might not reciprocate, but it’s important to convey your love to them in some tangible way. When you say “I love you” they may respond “Oh, Mom.” You’ll probably want to say it anyhow.

 

You can use chores like cooking or washing dishes to help you get closer to your teenager. Let your guard down and be transparent about some of the struggles you had as a teen. They may be more willing to talk realizing that you do understand what they’re going through. Then learn to listen to what your teen has to say rather than doing all the talking. Who knows, you may get closer to them and be on really good terms when they leave home and you can know you helped to raise this wonderful person.

How to Encourage Your Teen to Eat Healthily

Healthy eating habits begin when your child is a baby. Unfortunately, as they grow older, those healthy habits don’t always remain. If your teen is eating more junk than you’d like, here’s some tips on how to encourage your teen to eat healthy again.

Since most teens have a growth spurt during this time, it’s important to encourage them to eat foods that can help during this time. Teens may gain about 20% of their adult height during this period, and as much as 50% of their adult weight. Their need for vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and iron, also increases, so it’s even more important to encourage your teen to eat healthy meals and snacks.

Eating as family for as many meals as possible will encourage your teen to be more choosy in what they eat. If they know you cook meals and generally eat at the same time each night, they’ll do what they can to be home. Obviously, eating meals together is more than providing physical nourishment; it’s also about reconnecting at the end of the day and knowing they’ll have an opportunity to talk with you.

Another way to encourage healthy eating habits is to ask your teens to help in the kitchen. If they have a hand in preparing the food, they may be more likely to eat foods that are good for them. Of course, you have to be serving healthy foods for them to eat them.

If you eat in front of the television, you and they could be more likely to overeat or choose unhealthy foods whenever food commercials are shown. Advertisements are made to elicit a response to purchase what you see in them. Quite often, however, the ads merely encourage you to eat whether you’re actually hungry or not. In fact, leaving the television off as much as possible can go a long way toward helping everyone in your family eat more healthfully.

Keep healthy foods in your house at all times. This means having plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grain snacks, and healthy beverages available and easily accessible. If your teen can quickly grab some grapes, an apple, or vegetable sticks, they’ll be less likely to seek out snacks that aren’t so good for them. Not bringing the junk food into your house will mean they don’t have much of a choice when they’re hungry, so they’ll have to get the stuff that’s better for them.

Be a good role model for your teens. If they see you consciously making an effort to eat foods that are good for you, it may encourage them to follow suit. If all they do is see you eating chips, dips, and sweets they’ll be less likely to eat healthy foods.

Refrain from eating at fast food restaurants too often. Although some fast food places now offer healthier choices, if you eat there often your teen may choose non-healthy foods instead. If they must eat a hamburger, encourage them to get the smaller portion rather than the super-sized portions.

 

The teen years will see your children grow toward adulthood and independence. If you’ve encouraged your teen to eat healthy foods while they’re at home with you, they’ll be more likely to continue eating well when they move out of your home. 

Taming Toddler Tantrums: Tips that Really Work

Young parents get scared when they hear stories about the “terrible twos.” Take courage, though, you will survive the toddler stage. It’s not easy to understand why your toddler has a tantrum but at such a young age, a child is consumed with thoughts of themselves. Everything is about them and how they feel. Until they are taught how to share, every toy or piece of food they see automatically belongs to them.

Toddler temper tantrums can have a variety of effects. Your first thought might be that everyone is focused on you and your screaming child, but getting embarrassed won’t diffuse the situation. Besides, as a parent, you have many more years of embarrassing situations to look forward to courtesy of your children. So worrying about what others think during this situation is simply going to stress you and make you feel worse.

Every parent has their own way of discipline. Some parents prefer to use time outs, while other parents prefer the old fashioned spanking. Neither is wrong and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. What works for one child might not work for the next child or the next one and so forth. Remember that you are the parent and you know what’s best for your child and you know the best way to discipline your child.

Here are a few tips to help you cope during tantrums:

1. Ignore the tantrum. This technique works best when at home. In public places, you don’t want to ever leave your child unattended as a form of punishment. Good behavior in public begins at home. Ignoring a toddler is not harsh. If your child is squirming on the floor screaming for a cookie, continue to talk to them as if you never noticed. Eventually, they will get the hint and stop screaming.

2. Avoid instant gratification. In public, toddlers throw tantrums when they are denied something that they want. Some parents give in to keep their child quiet but a child learns quickly. Tantrums will continue if they know you will cave. Simply tell them “no” and keep moving.

3. Don’t get angry. When you scream and they scream the situation is wildly out of control. You’ll end up crying and your toddler will still be screaming. In any situation, raised voices mean civilized conversation has ended in favor of basic primal instincts. Don’t revert back to the days of early man. Keep using the same calm voice you use when they are behaving to get your child to calm down as well.

4. Praise your toddler when they behave well. Positive reinforcement is better than negative. In the absence of positive attention a child will behave badly just to get some attention at all. Acting out and throwing tantrums may be a cry for attention. Don’t let it get to this point. Clap and celebrate when they go to the potty successfully and when they put away their toys. Good manners such as saying “please” and “thank you” deserve a smile and a hand clap as well.

5. Run errands after nap time. Kids get punchy when they get tired. A toddler misbehaves more often if they are dragged around when they are tired.

6. Carry snacks with you. Low blood sugar can lead to tantrums. If you are out longer than anticipated and lunch or dinner time is close at hand, let them eat a healthy snack to keep their hunger pains at bay and sugar levels stable.

7. Be consistent in your punishment. Whether you use time outs or spankings, be consistent. At home, you might use “time out” to deal with a tantrum for bad behavior. In public do the same. Sit your child on a bench for five minutes or take them to the car. Eventually they will learn that you are not a pushover and they will begin to behave.

 

You will survive the toddler years. Nip temper tantrums in the bud with the above tips.