Q: I'm a newly single parent with three kids and financial concerns. I could use some helpful insights -- any thoughts?
Jim: I'm sorry to hear about your situation. You'll need to consider three key questions: 1) What do I need to do and when? 2) How can I meet my needs and my children's needs? 3) Most importantly, whom can I trust for advice?
Newly single adults often make major changes -- financial and otherwise -- much too quickly out of insecurity. Whether you're divorced or widowed, I suggest you seek out a personal adviser who you can trust to have your best interests at heart. This individual doesn't necessarily need to be a professional financial expert. Nor do they have to be a family member or friend. You can find someone to help with money management later; what you're really looking for right now is somebody with experience and wisdom.
It's possible that another widowed or divorced person might turn out to be the best candidate for the role. If nothing else, they could be in a position to direct you to other helpers. You might also ask your pastor for recommendations. And it could be a very good idea to enlist more than one personal adviser.
Whatever you do, remember that you're still the decision maker. You cannot abdicate that responsibility -- ultimately, it's up to you to sift out bad advice from the good. So, seek out the best counsel you can find.
Finally, whether a person loses a spouse through divorce or death, grief can impair one's ability to make prudent decisions -- especially within the first year following the loss. If possible, defer major decisions for the first 12 months or so.
Our staff counselors would be happy to offer encouragement and insight. I invite you to call 855-771-HELP (4357) for a free consultation.
Q: We try to start new chores and rules in the new year, but nothing seems to stick. How do I help my kids follow through?
Dr. Danny Huerta, Vice President, Parenting & Youth: For many families, the beginning of the new year renews a common parenting struggle: The Chore Wars. Each family is unique, especially when it comes to teaching responsibility through chores.
An important factor in a child's ability to successfully complete chores is his or her personality. As a family therapist I've developed my own distinct labels to describe the four major personality types in society: Leaders, Talkers, Thinkers and Peacemakers.
Here are some tips for working with each personality type:
Leaders like to be in charge, so delegate and give them opportunities to lead in conquering chores as a family. Demonstrate to your leader child how they can be patient with tasks and work together with their siblings.
Talkers love socializing or listening to music while completing a task. They can help make chore time fun for the whole family. Encourage your talker child to experiment with organization or consistency using a chore chart.
Thinkers appreciate structure, organization and completing tasks in ways that make sense. They can help create charts and structured plans to get chores done. Help your thinker child see that imperfection is OK and encourage them to work together to get things done.
Peacemakers usually take their time and prioritize relationships over following through with tasks. Help them see that chores are a way to love others. Have them plan a relational activity you can do together once the chores are done. Your peacemaker child might tend to procrastinate, so help them take initiative with their chores.
To learn more about teaching your kids how to take responsibility with chores this year -- and to access a handy personality quiz -- go to FocusOnParenting.com.
Jim Daly is a husband and father, an author, and president of Focus on the Family and host of the Focus on the Family radio program. Catch up with him at www.jimdalyblog.com or at www.facebook.com/DalyFocus.
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