Open-ended families

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As families become more diverse, there’s a growing recognition that extended family type activities are not only for biological family members. It’s a vital function linked to inter-generational relationships. Mature women and men can play a “grandparent-type” role with a young friend, a niece or nephew, or even a newcomer to Canada. You can become quite important in the life of any child. Show them you care.

Whether you are nearby or live at a distance. The ways you show them may differ, but reach out to a young person to let them know you are available to them. Everyone needs someone to count on. Let it be you. The rewards can be immeasurable.

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Toast your siblings

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Do you wish you were closer to your siblings who live in another city? Your siblings have the longest shared history with you in this world. OK – technically, it may be your parents, but you did not tell your parents as many secrets as your brothers or sisters, right? Your parents were often in the dark, as your siblings and you covered for one another, to squeeze more fun out of those younger years!

Do you know the saying, “Home is where our story begins”. Our siblings understand us in the context of our background. They can confirm or deny our family stories. They may have different perspectives, but we lived through the same experiences. They often share the family humor and stories that some friends just can’t understand.

How much energy do you put into these relationships? Could you grow the relationship with your brother or sister? I lost a brother to a sudden heart attack when he was only 50 years of age, and know that sometimes, you don’t know what you have ’till it’s gone. Although miles can create distance in your sibling relationships, it does not have to stay that way.

Reach out to re-capture some of the closeness you shared, and create some new memories together. Make a pact to discuss personal things. It’s easier than ever to stay in touch, with technology today. Send a text or an e-mail to arrange to have a hot or cool drink over Skype!

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Breaking up is hard to do….

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When a couple is going through a separation or divorce, the children involved are going through their very own drama. It can be tough for the parents to be there for their children.

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This is a perfect time to reach out to a child in the family to make sure they know that you are an available and sympathetic ear. With a young child, you may want to text them with positive messages, to let them know that they are stronger than they ever imagined.

With an older child, it’s a good idea to set up a time to play an online game or talk about their a favorite sport or hobby. It may be a good time to mail them some collector cards. It’s important to provide some quantity time to let the quality time happen, naturally.

And, if you’re a parent of a child who is going through this with you, invite a friend or a few family members to reach out to your child. Welcome any support they can offer at this time of transition. The old adage is true; “It takes a village to raise a child.” Time will smooth over the rough spots. In the meanwhile, welcome a friend or relative to support your children.

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Online Treasure Hunts

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“Every week I give my nephew an ONLINE treasure hunt. I ask him one question a day and then he does some research. He usually has to GOOGLE the answer and at the end of the week, he presents (verbally or with a poster) the most interesting answer to me online. An example would be: I asked him 5 questions and the one he chose to do a presentation on was: “What’s the tallest free-standing building/structure in the world?” He presented, with a poster and his thoughts about it. It was amazing! He felt proud and then he shared all his new found knowledge with the kids at school and his teacher commented during the parent/teacher interview about the amazing facts that my nephew shares with the class. It made me feel proud as well. Note: My nephew is 7 years old now, and I hope to continue sharing this joy of learning with him.”

Our thanks go to: Anesh

 

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“That’s what she said last night”

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Did you have some favorite sayings with childhood friends that have special meaning for the two of you or your group of friends? Text those “lines” back and forth. One of our favs was “I’ll give you two guesses and the last one don’t count” when someone asked us why, and we thought they knew the answer.

Text one of your sayings to a friend and ask which sayings they remember. You may be surprised at how long this text thread continues. There may even be movie lines or music lyrics that pop up…”that’s what she said last night” was one we had fun with, as newlyweds.

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