Marriage and Family

3 Ways to Better Relate to Your Teenager

3 Ways to Better Relate to Your Teenager

The children who hid behind us in public now take desperate measures to avoid being spotted with us at all. What happened? Many parents struggle to hold tightly to the relationship they had with their kids before they became teenagers. Follow these 3 easy steps to better relate to your teen.

Routine Bonding

An easy way to stay connected to your child is by implementing an opportunity to bond. You can plan a game night, a trip to the movies, or an outing that revolves around your teen’s favorite interest. If you want emphasize conversation, try a shared dinner or a walk through the neighborhood instead. These routines can be weekly, or even nightly. Set ground rules. If you want your child’s undivided attention, try a “no phones” rule. If being uplifting is a priority, try a “no negativity” rule. Your bonding time should be personalized to meet the needs of your relationship with your teen.

Creating a ritual of quality time will lay the groundwork for a solid, lasting connection. Teens need to know that no matter how challenging growing up becomes, they will always have opportunities to talk to their parents and spend time with people who love them. A lot of change is happening and it can be difficult to work through. Having at least one element that is constant, and reliable can be a safe place in the midst of all the change. Keep in mind that sometimes teens will want to skip a week or may not be up to socializing. In that case, be flexible and supportive, but always reschedule as soon as possible so the ritual of quality time doesn’t fall by the wayside.

Take Interest in Their Interests

The teenage years mark the beginning of experimentation. At this age, kids start wearing different clothes, making new friends, attempting new hobbies, and listening to new music. Teenagers are desperately trying to figure out where they fit in and who they want to be. We’ve all been there. While we were busy “finding ourselves”, our parents watched from the sidelines and expressed their concerns! Most didn’t understand our need to suddenly be different. Some parents did understand, but still vocalized their disapproval. In both cases, we felt judged and started to pull away. But now that you are a parent, you can change the narrative. Break the cycle! You have a chance to do things differently. Embrace the new parts of your teen’s life. Be open to your children’s changing interests and let them know that it’s okay to keep you in the loop. Remember that no one wants to share their opinions with someone who is going to be critical, instead of celebratory. So, however “out there” their new interests may be, do your best to happily join in. Doing so will help you bring you closer together, instead of further apart.

Change Your Perspective

In the eyes of a parent, teens can come off as moody, ungrateful, or dramatic. This portrayal causes division in the family because teens don’t think of themselves in that light. The issue lies in perspective. As adults, we tend to view our life problems as more serious than our children’s. We have bills to pay, marriages to maintain, and careers to manage. When we hear our teens complain about life being unfair, it’s difficult to assign the same weight to their complaints. While teenagers know their issues are different than an adult’s, they don’t think of their problems as any less stressful. When we minimize their stresses, they feel misunderstood and go elsewhere to seek the validation we withheld. This problem can be solved with a change of perspective. The next time you are tempted to be dismissive, step back and try to empathize. Remind yourself that stress is relative, perspective is adaptable, and support goes a long way.

Being a teenager is tough. So is being the parent of one. Your importance in your child’s life hasn’t changed, but how you connect with him/her will. As teens struggle to become more independent, they will you’re your guidance and love to make the journey a bit easier. Stay united by offering support and understanding and your bond will last the test of time.

Trevor and Lexi Baker3 Ways to Better Relate to Your Teenager
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Be a Better Husband by Following These Simple Tips

Be a Better Husband by Following These Simple Tips

Upholding a pleasing balance between kids, career and general life is without a doubt tough to do. With societal improvements such as increases in technology and epic travel capabilities, it’s almost too easy to be able to work around the clock or be mentally absent from daily interactions. With these changes to become a better provider, fun dad or cooler friend, the last thing you want to do is drift apart from your wife in the process. Here are a few free and easy pointers to become a better husband.

Speak Up

When couples feel distance beginning to grow in the relationship, one of the major things the wife attributes it to is a decline in conversation. You may feel that you communicate with your spouse frequently throughout the week. But take a minute to reflect on the topics. The majority of conversations in a marriage tend to be about the kids, the bills, or things that have gone wrong. Think about when you first started dating, what did you talk about then? Most likely the spark wasn’t created by deciding who’s going to drop the car off for repairs. The easiest way to have more meaningful conversations is to ask her about her day. When she reciprocates the question, replying with a “Fine, yours?”, isn’t good enough. Be detailed in your response. She genuinely wants to know! Simple conversations like these can help you be more knowledgeable about your wife’s life. Being more in-sync with each other is a key to a healthy relationship.

Sit Together

When you’re at home together, do you tend to sit near each other, or are you in different rooms? Even if you’re not doing the same thing, simply sitting close to one another can heighten feelings of attraction and improve your relationship. The physical distance between couples can both reflect and fuel the level of emotional distance between them. Couples who naturally gravitate towards each other often more affectionate and closer emotionally in their marriage. Whatever you both happen to be doing, watching TV, reading, or socializing at a dinner party, be in close proximity to your wife.

Be a Team

Acting as a team is an essential part of any marriage. Pay attention to the way you and your significant other speak to one another. Couples that use the word “we” rather than “I”, “me”, and “you”, are better at resolving conflicts and making difficult decisions together. Always having your husband or wife by your side and on your team, makes you feel stable and less stressed. Being a team will make your life easier and your marriage stronger.

Do the Dishes

Nowadays, men and women work just about the same amount hours and have equally stressful jobs. That being said, odds are the vast majority of the household duties are completed by the wife. Doing some things around the house is incredibly helpful. Now, before you grab that dusty list of “Honey-Dos”, there’s one more thing. Don’t wait until your wife asks you to do something. That’s not the same! You know the usual things need to be done. Pick a couple and do them on your own. A man’s willingness to do household chores is a major predictor of a happy marriage according to women. So, wipe down the counters or get the kid’s lunches ready, your wife will appreciate you.

Making a conscious effort to incorporate these simple tips to becoming more mentally present in your marriage can do wonders. The best part is that being a better husband doesn’t require drastic changes or extra money. Remember that the little things in life can add up to make a monumental impact on the relationship with the one you love.

Trevor and Lexi BakerBe a Better Husband by Following These Simple Tips
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How to Remind Your Neighbors You Are Thinking of Them During the Holidays

How to Remind Your Neighbors You Are Thinking of Them During the Holidays

When it comes to gift giving during the holiday season, our list starts with family, close friends, and coworkers. But what about the people you see on a daily basis? The elderly couple that lives around the corner from you? Or the young family you see walking down your street on Sunday afternoons? You see these people regularly, but perhaps you just don’t have that personal interaction with. Your neighbors may not be the first people you think of when you think of holiday gift giving and celebrations, but sharing your holiday spirit with them will surely make their season brighter because there is nothing better than knowing that people are thinking of you.

Deliver holiday treats

Holiday baking is one of the most enjoyable ways to spend time with your family and spread the Christmas cheer to those you love. Consider breaking out the family cookbook one more time to whip up a batch of your Christmas specialty to deliver to your neighbors. Everyone is super busy around this time of year, so your neighbors will be sure to appreciate the time you took for this thoughtful gesture.

Show them small acts of kindness

There is nothing that says “Merry Christmas!” like showing small acts of kindness to the people in your life. Go out of your way to let your neighbors know you are thinking of them during this holiday season. After you finish shoveling your driveway, walk over and start on theirs. Offer to pick up their groceries, walk their dog, or deliver their mail if you know they are having an extra difficult time for whatever reason this year. The season is all about giving and showing kindness to each other.

Send them a handwritten Christmas card

There is nothing better than sending Christmas wishes in the most authentic and genuine way possible. Take some time between shopping trips, gift wrapping sessions, and holiday celebrations to sit down with a pen and paper and write a nice holiday card to give to your neighbors. There is something about a handwritten card that will never go out of style.

This year make an effort to stay mindful of the people you may easily forget about it when it comes to spreading holiday cheer. Try these 3 easy ways to remind your neighbors you are thinking of them during the holiday season.

 

Trevor and Lexi BakerHow to Remind Your Neighbors You Are Thinking of Them During the Holidays
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3 Things You Should Know About Establishing Family Values

3 Things You Should Know About Establishing Family Values

Family values are a must in order to raise children who understand the meaning, importance, and purpose of living a moral life. These values you establish for your family help influence decisions and behavior for a lifetime, and they also can provide your family with a source of identity and a foundation to build and develop character. In fact, family values might just be the most important thing to remember when raising a family and interacting with others. Read these 3 things you should know about establishing family values.

There are different kinds of family values

Values look different to every family. That’s what creates diversity and teaches other people to learn about and interact with people who are different from them. So family values are by no means a one size fits all kind of deal. What works for one family might not work for the next. That’s why it’s so important carefully consider what is important to you and your family when establishing your family’s core values.

Family values can change relationships

There are some people in life you will meet for a reason, some you will know for a certain season in your life, and some people you will know and love for a lifetime. Family values become especially important in relationships with others because they can provide the foundation as to how these relationships grow and develop over time or how they eventually disappear. Teach your family members how to recognize others’ values and to understand that values for different people can change over time.

Family values should be applied daily

Whether you’re at work or your kids are at school, the family values you have established should be applied relentlessly day in and day out. Be sure to communicate to your children that family values are not just a requirement at home. The home is where morals are grounded, but they should be applied in school, work, with friends, with strangers, during extra-curricular activities, and the list goes on.

Make a point to sit down with your family and discuss the importance of establishing and maintaining values and what your values mean to your family. Taking the effort to be sure everyone has a solid understanding of what’s important to your family is one of the best things you can do to raise children with integrity and character.

Trevor and Lexi Baker3 Things You Should Know About Establishing Family Values
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The 4 Best Ways to Live Out a Mindful Marriage

The 4 Best Ways to Live Out a Mindful Marriage

It’s no secret. Mindful relationships are the most fulfilling relationships, and this is no exception when it comes to marriage. It’s so easy to get distracted by work, paying bills, and dropping kids off at soccer practices and baseball games. Somewhere along the way your relationship with each other somehow takes a backseat. But this doesn’t mean you don’t still love each other. All it means is you have to pay a bit more attention to making sure you stay aware of what is happening between the two of you.

By remaining mindful of what is happening in your relationship on a daily basis, you’ll know what needs work and what is already working. At its heart, a mindful marriage is one that is lived out with intention every single day––no ifs, ands, or buts about it. So try out these suggestions to live out your most mindful marriage.

Continually learn about each other

Embrace the fact that everyone changes over time including the two of you. Make sure to ask questions and be interested in actually learning about your spouse––even if you’ve been married for decades. Ask about their day. Learn something you didn’t already know. Continue the fascination.

Do something new together

Sharing experiences together is hands down the best way to continue improving and building upon your existing bond with each other. Take a cooking class. Learn a new language together. Go dancing. Just go out and do something for the two of you to broaden your shared experiences and make new memories.   

Compliment each other

Never underestimate the power of a genuine compliment. Express appreciation for your partner and a very visible and bold way. Tell them what you love about them in public and private. While complimenting their looks is never a bad thing, try complimenting them on things you can’t see. Tell them how you love the way they interact with your kids. Or how you love how they always make time for family dinner even on their busiest work days. Let them know you appreciate their daily efforts to make your family what it is.

Plan something together

It can be anything from a date night next weekend or a family vacation to how to achieve your life goals together. Recognize the importance of pressing pause to figure out what your relationship needs and plan how to achieve it together.

We know life can get crazy sometimes, but making sure your marriage is filled with intention should always be a top priority. Follow these tips to make sure you’re living out your most mindful marriage.

Trevor and Lexi BakerThe 4 Best Ways to Live Out a Mindful Marriage
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How to Teach Your Kids About the 4th of July

How to Teach Your Kids About the 4th of July

Watermelon, fireworks, and parties are just a few reasons why kids love the Fourth of July. Unfortunately, many kids don’t know the true meaning behind the Fourth of July, so this weekend is a perfect opportunity to teach your kids why we celebrate this great holiday. Before you pull out the fireworks and light the grill, make sure you discuss with your child why we celebrate Independence Day and what it means to you. It’s never too early to teach your children about patriotism. Here are some ideas to help you teach your kids about the Fourth of July.

Discuss the American Flag

The flag is one of the most important symbols of America. Create an edible flag snack with your kids and discuss what the colors of the flag represent. Go for a walk and have your kids find as many flags as they can. They will be excited every time they spot a flag. Make sure your kids understand how the flag should be treated and displayed. Let them help you hang the flag. If they are old enough to fold, you can teach them how to fold the flag.

Honor Our Protectors

It’s important to teach your kids that there are men and women that sacrifice every day to keep us safe. Explain to your kids that soldiers, police officers, and firefighters are just a few of our protectors that protect and help us. Have your kids help you pick out some items for a military care package or have them make a card to say “thank you” to the troops.

Sing Patriotic Songs

There are tons of great patriotic songs to teach your kids. “The Star-Spangled Banner,” “You’re a Grand Old Flag,” “I’m a Yankee Doodle Dandy,” “God Bless America,” and “This Land is Your Land.” After they learn the songs, let them put on a concert and show off their patriotism.

Keep things lighthearted and don’t forget to let them enjoy the day. While it’s important to celebrate the United States, it’s also important to enjoy the day and treasure our freedom together.

 

Trevor and Lexi BakerHow to Teach Your Kids About the 4th of July
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3 Small Changes That Can Have a Huge Impact on Your Marriage

3 Small Changes That Can Have a Huge Impact on Your Marriage

Marriage isn’t always a picnic; it certainly isn’t always a walk in the park, either. When the honeymoon has come to an end, both literally and metaphorically, it can be difficult to bounce back and remember what made you commit your life to that person in the first place.

Luckily, there are some small, easy changes that you can make that can have a huge impact on your marriage.

Plan At Least One Date Night Per Week

Speaking of picnics and walks in the park, there’s no better way to regain that honeymoon feeling than by planning at least one date night per week.

The dates don’t have to be extravagant. Five-star restaurants don’t have to be a part of the plan every week. You just have to set aside a night or an afternoon for you and your spouse to have alone time to reconnect. This may be difficult, especially if you have kids. But, it’s worth every penny you’ll spend on babysitters to be able to save the most precious asset of all: your relationship with your husband or wife.

Get Rid of Distractions During Alone Time

On the topic of alone time, it’s important to note that distractions should play no part in your date nights. As much as possible, try to unplug from your phone, computer, or tablet and enjoy being present in the moment.

Because modern life is so hectic, and technology makes everyone feel as though they must be connected at all times, it can understandably be a challenge to follow this rule. You don’t have to unplug all the time—just be conscious of the amount of screen time you’re indulging in around your spouse. Your husband or wife is the most important person in your life; treat them as such by turning off the TV and putting your phone away for at least an hour a day.

Remember That Your Spouse is On Your Team

Again, your husband or wife is the most important person in your life. You should treat them as though this were the truest statement you’ve ever heard. As the saying goes, “Happy wife, happy life.”

All too often, people take their husband or wife for granted. They forget that a spouse should be a best friend, and most people treat their best friend better than anyone else they know. Your spouse is on your team; you should always try to be on theirs.

Trevor and Lexi Baker3 Small Changes That Can Have a Huge Impact on Your Marriage
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