His Number One Girl

teen girl

The family had just finished Sunday dinner. I clanked dishes in the soapy water, while everyone else sat around the fireplace enjoying reruns of The Cosby Show. Ten minutes later, I joined the group in the family room.

“Daddy, aren’t I your number one girl?” The hairs on my neck stood at attention. Our blended family consists of four boys and one girl. Our thirteen-year-old daughter, my husband’s oldest biological child, jockeyed for her position on a regular basis. I cocked my head to the left and with my eyes fixed on his mouth, waited for his reply.

“Baby, you’re daddy’s number one girl,” he said as he stroked her hand. My upper lip curled. “But Valerie is my number one lady.” He caressed my back and smiled. My contorted face relaxed a smidgen. The opportunity to affirm me presented itself and he wimped out. Later that evening, I expressed my contempt.

“Babe, why did you tell her that she was your number one girl?”

“Because she is my number one girl,” he said as he slapped some Colgate on his toothbrush.

“I know, but her motive for asking was to force you to choose between me and her.” I slipped on my pajamas, stomped into the bedroom and plopped on the bed. “Why didn’t you correct her?”

“I didn’t see a need to correct her. She didn’t do anything wrong.”

“See, that’s what I’m talking about. You miss all the subtle things she says or does to get under my skin.”

“So why do you keep exposing yourself?”

“Good night, Craig.” I snatched the covers and rolled over. No kisses tonight.

While compiling Blended Family An Anthology, I interviewed Brenda McKinney, a licensed social worker and family therapist. I shared the event with her.

“Can you believe that? His number one lady,” I said, with my head shifting from side to side. “What a cop out.”
“Actually, your husband gave the best possible reply.”

“Really? How’s that?” Curious George walked into the room and jumped on my back.

“His response validated both of you. He acknowledged her position as daughter and yours as wife. He put a stop to the game without creating chaos. I’m really quite impressed.”

“Wow. I wish I had known that seven years ago.”

Consumed with the princess’ attempt to dethrone me, I failed to realize that my queendom was never in jeopardy. She believed that if she lost her place as daddy’s number one girl, then she would also lose his love. Her statement was not an attack against me, but a call for reassurance that their relationship was still solid.

So after eating a full-course meal of shame salad, meathead meatloaf, stir-fried stupid, topped off with humble pie for dessert, I apologized to my husband. Kisses tonight.

Valerie ColemanThe bestselling author of Blended Families An Anthology, Valerie J. Lewis Coleman has helped thousands of families navigate the challenges of child support, visitation, discipline and more. With over twenty years of experience in family and relationships, this expert has given advice on varying issues including baby-momma drama, defiant children and disapproving in-laws. On her journey to assist others with building strong families, she shares her personal testimony and practical tools to help you stop the stepfamily madness in your home! To learn more about Valerie, her books and overcoming relational matters, visit PenOfTheWriter.com.

Photo credit © Paul Simcock

(Visited 24 time, 24 visit today)

Praising Your Child for Good Grades

girl doing homeworkIt’s no secret that children thrive on praise. It is an immediate boost to self-confidence and praise is a great motivator. The highest reward for good grades is praise. When a child does well in school praise is a way of encouraging them to “keep up the great work” and it helps assure them that their hard work is worth the effort.

From day one in kindergarten it is essential for parents to encourage good grades and hard work in school. Let the child know early on that working hard in school is expected of them but being rewarded for good grades is a benefit of their hard work. Giving praise to a child for a job well done is seen as something worth striving for.

As a former reading tutor for kindergarten students, I would often praise my students with a heartfelt hug and a “great job,” which the kids loved. I also saw many eyes light up when given a cute sticker for doing well on their reading assignments. After earning five stickers the student was then able to choose from an assortment of pencils, erasers or crayons as their “great achievement” reward. It was a perfect motivator for the children to want to do their reading—everyone wanted their pencil on Friday!

As parents, your reward doesn’t have to be an object or money but can simply be genuine praise. Kids loved to be praised and to hear mommy and daddy tell them they did well contributes to the emotional and psychological wellbeing of a developing child. Know the difference between genuine praise and excessive flattery, though, as you don’t want to create a false ego or bravado in your child.

If your child’s grades are not up to par help them by working with them on a daily basis. The greatest gift you can give to your child is your time. If your child is struggling with a particular subject be sure to review the schoolwork with them each night and help answer questions—but never do the work for them!

As your struggling child advances in school you may find that you are no longer able to help them. Speak with the teacher about possible in-school tutoring that may be available. Nothing is more debilitating to a child than struggling in the classroom so getting help early will benefit your child the rest of their school career.

Praise a struggling child as you see their work improving as it is a wonderful incentive to keep striving for better results. Praising a child for achieving a goal does wonders for their self-esteem and they’ll want to do it again and again. If the child falls short, encourage them to keep trying. Don’t get frustrated but be supportive and praise those baby-steps in the right direction.

Rewarding a child with praise is an incentive for them to set goals and strive to achieve those goals. Your child will see that an achieved goal brings about pride and satisfaction in their own accomplishment. This alone is motivation enough to always strive to do well.

LaDeneLaDene Mayville is the author of
Hallie the Harvester Ant
She is a freelance writer and has three grown sons.

Photo credit © Les3photo8

(Visited 17 time, 17 visit today)

5 Ways to Minimize the Impact of Divorce on Your Children

girl on beach

Communication with our children is always important, but never as essential as when they are impacted by separation or divorce. Children are vulnerable and easily frightened by changes in their routines. The more you talk to and comfort them, the less stress and anxiety they’ll experience. This is the time to reassure your children that […]

[Continue reading...]

Bullying Isn’t Cool!

Bullying definition

With school starting up, there is a pretty uncomfortable topic parents don’t want to think about as their child heads to school: Bullying. Some children are unfortunately faced with bullies as they enter into school, or they my experience this issue throughout their school years. Not only is bullying just at school, but it now […]

[Continue reading...]

Parents: Be the Leaders of Team Happiness

family

The marital relationship is the most important factor in raising children well.  When the marriage is working, parents can lead Team Happiness. My wife and I failed to achieve a great marriage, so we were mediocre parents most of the time and often worse than mediocre. Married at 17 and 18, we didn’t know much […]

[Continue reading...]

Having a Good Day (Even When It Isn’t)

dreaming

Anyone who is breathing and maintaining operational body temperature has a bad day now and then. How we manage those bad day does matter, doesn’t it. And it matters especially when our children are watching, and, of course, they are always watching! Against the Wall I’m proud to be a member of the National Speakers […]

[Continue reading...]

Hygiene for Kids Can Be Easy

hands

Learning about hygiene is important for children of all ages. Teaching proper hygiene to kids not only prevents germs from spreading, but also prevents body odor and other unpleasant incidents. Here are tips for keeping up with personal hygiene for kids from preschool to high school! 1. Washing your hands. Making sure your child has […]

[Continue reading...]

5 Best Apps to Keep Your Kids Healthy and Active

fitness

Teaching kids how to live a healthy lifestyle is often a frustrating task. Exercise is tiring, vegetables don’t taste good, and going to the doctor is scary. It’s no secret that kids love apps though, and there are many entertaining and informational ones that help teach kids the importance of a healthy lifestyle. With a […]

[Continue reading...]

Ten Ways to Save on Back to School Shopping

dreamstime_2992627_0436

by Stephanie Nelson, CouponMom.com 1.  Inventory so you won’t overbuy. Go through drawers and closets to inventory your child’s current wardrobe. Sort items that are too small or never get worn at all and donate them to a local charity.  Older children’s acceptable outgrown clothes can go to a younger sibling, if possible.  After determining […]

[Continue reading...]

Easing Back to School Jitters

dreamstime_13538100

School bells are ringing and kids are everywhere. As you drive slowly through school zones, you can see and feel the excitement in the air. Kids are walking to school, getting out of buses, and being dropped off on the curb. Some of them look excited and are laughing, while others look confused, withdrawn and […]

[Continue reading...]

Returning to School After Divorce: How To Help Your Kids!

sad child

Returning to school after their parents have separated or divorced can be difficult for any child. You can ease the transition, however, by making the school your ally. This will open the door to the many resources available to you through the school. The key here is in forming a cooperative relationship with key personnel. Making your […]

[Continue reading...]

Study Habits For Your Kids

HealthySnacks-300x199

With school starting up, it’s important for your child to keep up with their work at school and even more importantly their homework. Your child is responsible for their grades, not you. It’s time to teach them good study habits early, so that later, they will not struggle. We’ve compiled a few techniques that you […]

[Continue reading...]

5 Things to Consider When Buying Your Teen’s First Car

teen in car

Let’s face it- buying your teen’s first car can be a terrifying thing to think about. It’s completely natural for you to feel a bit nervous over the thought of your child hitting the roadways. But with a little planning and open communication, you may just find the experience a bit less harrowing than you […]

[Continue reading...]

Calming Back to School Jitters!

Back-to-school-list-glad-I-found-it

It’s official… Summer is winding down and school will be starting before you know it! Parents, you might be ready for your children to start school, but your children might not be so ready. Starting a new year of school can be intimidating.  Each year brings new milestones and a bit of nervousness for kids […]

[Continue reading...]

Cool Clothes For Your Cool Kid!

slide_3

School is almost back in session! You know what that means? It’s time to gear up your child with clothes that make them look and feel cool! But of course we wouldn’t steer you in the wrong direction! We have the deals that will help keep you from breaking your bank! We, at JBFSale.com, are […]

[Continue reading...]

Back to School!

schoolchecklists

Summer is almost over, so you know what that means…it’s back to school time! Of course back to school is filled with shopping for clothes and supplies and coping with your little ones going to school, but we have a few tips that will help the preparation for school seem like a breeze! First, compile […]

[Continue reading...]

Picky Eater Friendly

Old-El-Paso

Do you have a picky eater? Many children are picky eaters. If the food is green, looks healthy or isn’t tater tots, kids aren’t having that! Picky eating may seem innocent, but if not handled in a good amount of time, children can miss out on vital growing stages. Have no fear parents, because here […]

[Continue reading...]

Rainy Day Games & Crafts

balloonpingpong

Summer rain can really bum the kiddos out, but with some cool inside activities, they won’t even miss being outside! Here a few rainy day games and crafts that will occupy even the most energetic kid! Ping pong is usually suited for outside play, but with the revamped balloon ping pong, kids can enjoy playtime […]

[Continue reading...]

Tips to Eliminating Summer Allergies

summer

Allergies can be a pain, and with summer allergy season in full swing, many adults and children are suffering from the “wheezes and sneezes” of the season. And while you can’t control the outside environment, there are simple and natural solutions for creating a no allergy zone in your home! Healthy space designer Robin Wilson, […]

[Continue reading...]

Helping Kids Get Enough Water

PicMonkey Collage fruit

With these summer temperatures soaring, it’s important for your children to stay properly hydrated. Keeping your children hydrated will prevent scary incidents of heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Water is the most important element of preventing dehydration but it can be a hassle convincing kids to drink enough water. Instead of just drinking […]

[Continue reading...]

Under the Sea Crafts for Kids

Octopus

Still missing that fun, family vacation? No worries! Whether you and your family are hitting the beach, staying home or reminiscing about your family getaway, here a few sea crafts to bring the sea to your home! Your kids will love these and you’ll have a blast making them too! Over at KidsActivitiesBlog, Michelle and […]

[Continue reading...]

The College Curse: How to Pay Your Student Loans Without Going Broke

college students

Attending college and earning a degree has become more than just an adventure that a high school graduate experiences for four years. It’s an adult responsibility that can weigh your pockets down until you’re permanently slumped over and depressed. As if eating Ramen noodles in between classes wasn’t enough, now you’re in the workforce and […]

[Continue reading...]

SUNsational Summer!

child on the beach

Dr. Kara Beair, DO & Kim Beair, MS, LPC, NCC Inspiring Strategies for Success by Friends and Experts You Can Trust Keep yourself and your kids burn free this summer by taking a few tips to heart. No one is immune from sunburn and skin damage; even those with darker skin tones need to be […]

[Continue reading...]

Munchkin LATCH Baby Bottle Giveaway

giveaway

LATCH has an accordion-style nipple which moves, pumps and stretches like the breast. The three key features that aid in the transition from breast to bottle and back are: o   Stretches for a Better Latch: Accordion-style nipple designed to stretch like the breast all the way to a baby’s soft palette, affording babies an easier […]

[Continue reading...]

Help Your Kids Eat Healthy With A Simple Chart

Peter Rabbiit

Having a hard time with a picky, little eater? Having trouble making sure your child is actually getting their wholesome fuel? How about using a simple chart? While nutrition plays a huge role in a child’s growth and development, as children grow and begin to develop their own tastes, foods with nutritional value are usually rejected, […]

[Continue reading...]

Summer Cyber Safety

kids with a computer

Dr. Kara Beair, DO & Kim Beair, MS, LPC, NCC Inspiring Strategies for Success by Friends and Experts You Can Trust Times have changed and summer for kids isn’t what it used to be. In the age of computers and cell phones, kids who are normally in school all day now have many more hours […]

[Continue reading...]