How do You Handle Step-Kids Who Don’t Like You?

How do You Handle Step-Kids Who Don’t Like You?

From time to time readers send me some complicated issue they are dealing with to see if I might be able to help them through it. This is one such question from somebody who is having struggles with alien creature children who have married into her life, and they don’t like her. So ya, that never happens right? Here it is in her own words: What do you do when your step kids don’t like you? They don’t like rules. They don’t like change. They want to be entertained every second of the day and won’t free play. They and their mom blame me for there being rules and tie behaviour to identity and behavioural corrections are seen as character attacks. They want to go back to visiting only their dad at their grandma’s house and not participate in the family we have that’s been in place for over a year. They think they can choose where their dad lives. They did the same to their mom but it was not tolerated but this is being indulged because she is mad her ex isn’t miserable. Signed: The Stepmonster Wow lady, you are fighting a war on many fronts, which any military strategist will tell you is akin to a battlefield disaster. Fear not however, it isn’t your fault. Honestly, you could be any new partner for your dude, and they would hate you because their Mother is clearly being an asshole and feeding them the bitterness of her cold black heart. More precisely, she, or even possibly your dude, may be the suffering from a low EQ and is bestowing that on the kids. As for the former wife, maybe she can’t get over herself (which often comes with the whole EX anything situation). Sadly, the children have bought in, and everybody is locked in their own funk. All troops have taken their positions, and your ass is hanging out in the wind as the only reasonable person who will inevitably take a bullet in the butt. So now that we kind of have the dynamic figured out, what to do? I will start with advice that I get from my own circle of friends, who are far nicer people than me. They always say not to go to my “scorch the earth” default, and try reacting with kindness instead. What they aren’t putting into words (because they are kind) is this: “Don’t be an asshole when you are mad.” Huh. OK so now I try it, and although sometimes responding with calm kindness feels a bit like I am attempting to contain a spiky cactus in my mouth, I do make the effort to respond to strife and drama without using a flame...
Moved the website and other wonderfulness

Moved the website and other wonderfulness

Hello loved ones… I know… so dreary to think that the winter is not quite over. I feel that a bit of snow is pretty, in December and am so glad it doesn’t really come back. This post will be super short because there are things I need you to know. 1. Did I mention I write for Huffington Post? So funny and yet I somehow get away with my sense of humour. 2. I continue to enjoy writing for and editing Blunt Moms. I am so freakin’ proud of our writers and I love them with kisses…. well fake kisses because internet. 3. The “about to be famous” writer anthology is almost out, so pre-order if you can. I just want to be alone will be famous… it just will and I own five damned pages of it. 4. Have I mentioned that the world famous, ultra amazing Erma Bombeck Legacy site put up my funny bit? I know… I don’t care if I never do another thing… I just loved seeing me and my words on her site. 5. And finally, I am on this new website. Apparently I have been correct in moving over all the followers, but in the end I have no real idea what I am doing. If you get this post, leave me a little comment saying “Ablurb” or something. Just let me know you got it so I can sleep at night. Loving you so much…...
Should I teach my child a second language?

Should I teach my child a second language?

  This reader question is an interesting one. To get the best answer, this guest post is from rather an expert on the topic. Meet Olga Mecking, author of The European Mama. She has some experience with languages… and children, so I tapped her for the perfect answer: My husband and I are raising our children to speak three languages. Mind you, none of these languages are “cry”,” whine” or “scream”. Notice English isn’t one of them? Although my eldest daughter learned to count to ten and sing, “Happy birthday boo you” in this language while I wasn’t looking. Instead, I teach them my native Polish, my husband speaks German and we live in the Netherlands where our whole family is learning Dutch. I was raised to speak Polish and German, and later learned English, French and Dutch. I love thinking, speaking, reading and writing in multiple languages. So if you asked me me whether you should teach your child a second language, my answer would be: “Whaaaat? You haven’t started upon conception? Didn’t you know that your child won’t become the genius he is created to be?” Please excuse me while I run around in circles, screaming. No, relax. I promise I won’t do that. Instead, let me tell you that bilingualism has many benefits for you and your child. It can make you smarter, postpone or prevent Alzheimer’s disease, allow your child do better at school, give them the pleasure of appreciating different ways of communicating and thinking. It is actually great exercise for the brain. But if you want to do it, at least do it right. The best dual language immersion school will do nothing for your child if he or she doesn’t feel well there. Don’t choose a language because it is useful or it will give your child a head-start. Choose a language that you feel a personal connection to. That you think it’s beautiful. Or your family used to speak but stopped, wanting their children to become fully integrated. Choose a language you speak. If you’re pregnant or have just had a baby and if you speak a language really well, you can use that language while speaking to your child. Your husband will then speak in English. Or the other way round. If your child is older, look for playgroups, babysitters, au pairs, daycares or schools that offer good quality language input. Never be ashamed of speaking a different language with your child and don’t let anyone tell you that it will confuse your little one. Do not let anyone tell you that the Polish/Chinese/Arabic you speak is of less importance than English. Don’t listen to people who will tell you...
My teen has his hands on his gear all the time! What do we do?

My teen has his hands on his gear all the time! What do we do?

Magnolia, my preteen has his hands down his pants all the time. I can ignore it or talk to him about it in a healthy way, but my husband makes a bigger deal out of it. What do we do? Ah. Don’t you miss the days where the grossest thing he did was pick his nose? The single most fascinating thing to a male of his age is his own junk. As a parent, you have read all the books, you knew that was the deal right? However, none of those nicely worded advice tomes really prepare us for the “yuck” that is this wanker fascination do they? It is cute when they find it in their diaper, not so much now. The fact that you are mulling over a way to talk to him about it tells me you are likely a gentle soul who considers parenting choices carefully. I have a bit of news for you. In this particular arena, he just needs to hear it straight up. Really straight up. It’s a simple message to the boy. It is gross to touch your bits when other people are around. He needs to learn that. Simply ignoring it means that when he is momentarily distracted in a public setting, he will be so used to just touching it whenever the urge takes him, and will be nailed by somebody…maybe even a mean girl. Think of the therapy bills to undo that little bit of inter gender trauma. His Dad has likely told him that fapping is ok, which is about the only thing you can tell him. I mean really, how successful has the “you’ll go blind” message been anyway? You as Mom should point out the social niceties of at least pretending he isn’t always thinking about touching it. If you guys don’t deal with it, somebody else will and maybe not so nicely. Also, this is the time of life where he should start doing his own laundry. Just because it is normal and healthy and all that crap, he should learn about natural consequences of being… um… messy. (Hey… did this post make you think? Share your thoughts by leaving a comment) Also find me on Blunt Moms and Huffington...
Help! I have the client from hell!

Help! I have the client from hell!

Magnolia, I don’t know what to do! I am the girl behind the scissors and have this client who has become increasingly piss-taking over the last few years. She pays late, asks for deals, wants me to bump other clients and is so fussy. What do I do? Oh my sweet Tress Goddess. What a dilemma you face. I know your struggle with this issue has brought you to me. I read it and wept for you, truly. http://girlbehindthescissors.wordpress.com/2013/06/07/i-need-your-advice You might want to sit down, because you aren’t much going to like this next part. This woman will always seek out people like you. It is you, not her. Don’t get me wrong, she is a weasel and human detritus. However, like all parasites she needs a host. You have let her in and now she has latched on. Something in you has given her permission to treat you this way. This isn’t so much about her strength, but she smells some kind of weakness in you. People like that are very finely tuned, although they pretend not to be. She knows ABSOLUTELY that you get all jammed up about her, and she doesn’t care. After all, you keep accepting her business. You have tacitly agreed to the relationship. Like the removal of any leach, it isn’t going to be easy. Fortunately, this is not a marriage, or a family break up. She is a client and her money, when she does remember to pay you, isn’t worth it. You have talent, and customers don’t care what people say about stylists, they care about the skills they have. The best way to prepare for something uncomfortable is to have a script. Here are five things you can say in response to her next request for a hair service (even if she walks in). They are in order of decreasing subtlety. I am sorry Griselda, I won’t have time to get you in for what you need this week. You know how I love doing your extensions, but I am booking shorter procedures right now to fit in some more clients. Of course you understand. I am fully booked, sorry. The last little while I feel I haven’t really been that motivated for you. I think it might be time for you to get a fresh perspective on your hair. I am going to refer you to “so and so” at  ____ Salon. Here is her card. I feel that our business relationship has run its course. I am going to refer you to  ___ Salon. “So and so” is there and she is great. Two main tips with this Scissor Girl, you DO NOT have to justify your statements with  rambling...
Help? Our families are eating up our vacation time.

Help? Our families are eating up our vacation time.

Help Magnolia, I need advice! My husband has LOADS more vacation days each year than me. Our families live far away and so we feel obligated to travel to visit them each year. And then they also want to come and visit us, expecting that we will be able to take time off to spend with them . Are you starting to see my dilemma? How do we balance our own needs and let our kids know their grandparents? Any suggestions? (And please feel free to provide alcohol-fuelled advice here. I like out of the box/bottle thinking). LOVE YOU! Oh my dear, that is a tough one. A theme in most of the advice I give is all about boundaries. Knowing them, setting them and saying them out loud to the people who need to respect them. This situation of yours with the mismatched holiday time and the long distance family exists in my house too. So first and foremost, let’s turn things around a bit. You need to make yourself the priority. Yes YOU Mother, are the priority. (How is that a shift of perspective?). Your needs and wants should be paramount in the minds of everybody on the stage. Mom needs to be well, and happy and beloved in order for you to continue delivering the high quality services your family has come to expect. To be clear, it is time to go all diva on their asses. From now on, husband can take the children to visit the relatives once a year on his own. When the grommets get old enough, send them on their own. And by old enough I mean out of diapers. Let the flight attendants deal with them but send snacks. The relatives happy to visit you? Excellent, write them a to do list when you leave for work in the morning. Scribble a recipe and pin it to the dirty laundry with a $50 bill so they can get dinner ingredients. Day trips out are fine, they can take the kids along, and pick up the dry cleaning while they are out. Clearly you have been too accommodating in the past that they would expect you to take time off when they visit. It is high time to change what the visit looks like. Another idea: If you want a nice vacation somewhere other than back home where the family is, offer them the chance to meet you for PART of your time at a holiday destination. Built in child care arrives and you can go out for dinner with your man. Set up cots for the babies in Grandma’s room and you can even get your groove on. Women are always too nice, putting everybody else’s needs first. T’is the season...