Viewing category ‘communication’

Committed: The Ties that Bond

with Angella Dykstra

I'm a mom of three, a professional accountant, and an amateur photographer and writer. I am not a marriage expert. But my husband and I take "Til death do us part" seriously, and here I'll be sharing how we keep our marriage strong while we both do that insane work-life juggle.

Check out my Work It, Mom! profile and my blog, Dutch Blitz.

How To Talk To Your Kids About Cancer

Categories: children, communication

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We’ve been very (VERY) lucky that nobody in our family has had to battle cancer.

(*Knocks on every piece of wood in her house*)

There have been others we know — or know through others — who have been diagnosed with cancer. A good friend of mine has Thyroid cancer, but I haven’t shared that with my kids because (She’s kicking its ass, and) I don’t want to burden them unnecessarily. Others we know here in our small town have been battling cancer and one little boy lost his fight, which brought the conversation into the open.
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The Difference Between Motivating and Nagging Your Kids

Categories: children, communication

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We all want the best for our kids. We want them to grow up being the best people they can be. We also want them to be contributing members of society, even if “society” at this point in their lives means “our house.”

Kids are kids and don’t always get the bigger picture. Not that you should expect them to, of course, but sometimes it would be great to speak to them in a reasonable voice, explaining how life works, and have them respond proactively. Seeing as that is only a dream, there are a few things that you can do to motivate them to contribute without resorting to nagging.


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Budget-Friendly Date Night Ideas

Categories: communication, dating

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as those of you who have been reading me here for the past five years know, I’m a huge proponent of making “date night” a priority. It’s far too easy to be caught up in work and in school and in diapers and in after-school activities and in LIFE. You and your spouse could be doing all you can to keep your family running smoothly, but in doing so, you may easily neglect the foundation on which your family was built. You look up from the dishes only to see that the person who is your “partner” is someone with whom you no longer feel connected to.

One of the key things to keeping that connection is to spend time with your spouse, without your kids. The hours you are fast asleep do not count. You need time to talk without interruption, and time to remember why you said “I do” in the first place.

Going on a date doesn’t have to break the bank. Here are a few ideas for a budget-friendly date night:


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How To Talk To Your Kids About Drugs

Categories: children, communication, discipline

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I have three kids, the oldest of whom is in middle school this year. Middle school is grades six through eight and when I think back to my grade eight year, there were kids who dabbled in drugs. That was many years ago now, and I know that drugs are not just more easily available, there are much scarier drugs than there were when I was in school.

Last year, his fifth grade class had a speaker come in to talk about drugs, and the issues that surround using them. It was a springboard for us to start the discussion at home, and I’m glad we can have an open conversation about it. Alcohol is included in the conversation because that’s something else that can get kids into trouble at such a young age. My husband and I have beer and wine in the house and our kids know that it’s for adults only.

Here are a few things to consider when talking to your kids about drugs:

1. Be honest. Neither my husband nor I have ever done drugs (Truth!), but we know people who have addiction problems. We’ve talked to our kids about addiction and how it can ruin your life.

2. Be open to mistakes.
When the time comes and our kids are old enough to go to parties where there is a risk of drugs or alcohol being available, we plan to make sure that they know they can call us.
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How Discipline Works In My House

Categories: children, communication

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One of the first words each of my kids learned to say was the word “no.” They would say no even when they meant yes. “Would you like a cookie?” “No!” It’s very cute when they are two, or at least I thought so.

As they got older, I found that they would go through stages. They still do go through stages. There are different stages they go through — one being where they have great attitudes and work together with us with minimal complaints. Then there are stages where they seem to defy every request, expectation, and even reason in general.

We’ve also got one child — our oldest — who is on the cusp of becoming a teenager. The hormones have started and our usually laid back and compliant child will act totally out of character. We’ll ask him why he did or said something and his response will be “I don’t know.”


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Happy Marriage = Happy Kids

Categories: communication, family, marriage

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My parents divorced when I was three, and the memory of my Dad driving away is one of the earliest memories that I have. My parents have been divorced (and married) a few times each, for different reasons, and I pass no judgment on them for their choices. That said, as a child, I wished that we could all be together as a family and hated that my Dad lived in a town three hours away from ours. He got us for holidays and summer break and random weekends, but it wasn’t the same as having him a few minutes away.

When I was single and wondering who I would marry, I prayed that I would find a man who was in it for forever. I met that man, and we’re still together over thirteen years later. While we state that divorce isn’t an option, that doesn’t mean that we plan to suffer together until we die. Our kids make faces when we hug or kiss, but we know they love it. They also know that they’ll have the two of us, together, for the rest of their lives.


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What does it mean to be married?

Categories: children, communication, marriage

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I’m sitting here trying to think of what to talk about, relationship-wise. My kids all swarmed me for a snack and a light bulb went off. I told them that I’d like them to answer the question “What does it mean to be married?”

My ten-year-old son replied, “Well, I can’t answer that. I’m not married.”

I clarified that I wanted to know what they thought being married meant, based on what they see between their Dad and I.


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5 tips for communicating without conflict

Categories: Uncategorized, communication, marriage

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My husband and I have a lot in common, which is how we ended up being married (Thirteen years this May!). We also have a lot of differences. He is in introvert and I am am introverted extrovert. We have similar, and also different, love languages.

There are a few things I’ve learned over the years about communicating without conflict.


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5 Bad Words Kids Shouldn’t Say

Categories: children, communication

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My husband and I aren’t ones to cuss (much). He’s a pastor at the church we attend and there isn’t a lot of cussing that happens in our circle of friends. There is the occasional stubbed toe, etc. that can see me muttering something blue, but I (usually) keep it under control if the kids are around.

Classic curse words aside, there are a number of words that are off limits in our house for both my husband and I, as well as our kids.


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Do you know what your love language is?

Categories: communication, love, marriage

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Once upon a time (seven years ago), my husband and I attended a marriage course once a week for six weeks. One of the weeks covered love languages and it was a great learning experience. People are wired with different “love languages”, which affects how they feel loved and how they show love. If your love language is, say, “gifts”, receiving presents makes you feel loved and you will tend to show love to others by giving them presents.


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