The Role of Father Figures in Your Child’s Life

thumbnail_fatherfiguresIn a perfect world, children would grow up in happy, loving families, enjoying the attention of both their birth parents. Unfortunately, our world is far from perfect and parenting roles keep evolving. Where nuclear families were once clear cut, parents now have to fit in different roles from step-parents, single parents, co-parents and so on.

As a result, many children are growing up without their biological father’s presence in their lives. Regardless of how uninvolved a father is in the life of his child, don’t fret. There are other men who will ably step into that role to provide the love, support and guidance your child needs. These father figures can include grandfathers, uncles, a trusted family friend, teacher or pastor or even a sports coach. What matters is that they are able and willing to be present and involved in your child’s upbringing.

The Importance Of Father Figures

While there are many single parents who do an excellent job of bringing up their children solo, having a father figure there brings added value. Research suggests that children with active father figures have fewer psychological and behavioral problems. Such relationships have a profound influence on a child’s development, positively impacting their moral, social and cognitive growth.

Father figures step up to the plate and create opportunities to interact with your child just as their biological fathers would- bonding through play, reading stories, fishing, sports, movie nights etc. Other than being a positive and guiding influence in your child’s life, having a strong bond with an affectionate father figure has also been shown to somehow inoculate children against alcohol and substance abuse, making them less likely to end up as troubled teens.

Additionally, the relationship your child has with their father figure can affect their future relationships. The early interactions from childhood can act as a blueprint for other relationships throughout the child’s life, influencing their interactions with others as well as giving them an idea of what acceptable behavior in a relationship is.

Since boys typically model themselves after their fathers, they require positive male role models with good values to look up to. The father figure will provide an example of how a man acts towards other men, women and children and also how to behave in different social and professional situations. As your son grows into his teens, he will greatly appreciate having a man who listens, guides and provides advice and support to navigate tricky situations that teenage boys find themselves in.

Girls on the other hand, will use the relationship with their father figures to form opinions of how men should treat women. A loving, kind and gentle male role model will do a lot to boost your daughter’s self-esteem. As she moves into the dating world, she is likely to pick partners with the same characteristics as her father figure because that’s what she’s familiar with.

So even if your child’s biological father is no longer in the picture know that there are other father figures who can step into those shoes and provide the positive guidance, unconditional love, genuine affection and sincere support that your child needs.

Author of this article, Tyler Jacobson, enjoys going to the mountains near his home in Draper, Utah to connect with his wife and children through camping, hiking, and quality time together. When he isn’t rebooting in the outdoors, he shares his fatherly experiences with the world through writing and creative work. Tyler shares the ups and downs of family life and the solutions he’s found through lengthy research and involvement in the industry and his own experiences to help parents everywhere. Follow Tyler on: Twitter | LinkedIn

 

5 Steps Parents Can Take to Improve Their Family’s Financial Health

5 steps

Raising a family is expensive. If you have kids or are expecting your first, that’s not news to you. Some days it feels impossible to afford the bare necessities of food, clothing and a roof over your head. However, as a parent, you also need to think about your family’s overall financial health.  

If you haven’t given serious thought to financial planning, now is the time to start. The sooner you get a handle on your finances and start saving for the future, the more financially secure your family will be. Here’s where to start.

1. Assess Your Income

Does your current income allow you to live comfortably and achieve your financial goals? If not, increasing your income should be at the center of your financial plan. While you can always cut expenses to save money, a higher income is the best long-term solution to financial security. Start thinking about ways you can earn a raise, find a higher-paying position, or pivot your career to increase your income.

2. Examine Your Debt

Most families have some debt (about 80 percent, according to USA Today). That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if your debt is preventing you from achieving other financial goals, you’re using credit cards to spend money you don’t have, or you’re struggling to make headway due to high interest rates, you need to take action about your debt.  

List all your debts including outstanding balances, interest rates and minimum monthly payments. Putting it all out in front of you allows you to assess the state of your debt and devise a repayment plan that lets you get ahead. If you find it difficult to keep track of all your accounts, consider debt consolidation. Consolidation combines unsecured debts like student loans, credit cards, and medical bills into a single monthly payment so they’re easier to manage. However, debt consolidation isn’t guaranteed to work in your favor. It’s important to understand the process and how it will affect your debt before choosing to consolidate.

3. Create an Emergency Fund

Everyone needs an emergency fund, but it’s particularly important for parents. An emergency fund enables you to cover minor emergencies without fretting over the bill and remain stable if your job situation changes. Calculate how much money you’d need to cover three months of expenses and set aside funds each paycheck until your emergency fund reaches that number. If you’re a single-income household, aim for six months instead of three.

4. Budget for Childcare

According to Care.com, one in three families spend 20 percent or more of their income on child care. This makes childcare one of the biggest household expenses that parents face and affording it requires careful budgeting. Even when one parent stays home to care for children, there’s a loss of income to account for. Examine your budget to find areas where you can cut expenses and consider flexing your work schedule to reduce the amount of paid childcare needed. Parents can also save money by signing up for a Flexible Spending Account or using the child-care tax credit.

5. Prepare for the Unknown

Life throws a lot of curveballs. When you’re a parent, it’s up to you to be ready for them. Life insurance and a will are two things every parent needs to protect their family from the unexpected.  

Life insurance pays out a death benefit if the policyholder passes away. With a life insurance policy, your family has money to pay for a funeral and stay afloat following a loss of income. However, life insurance alone isn’t enough. You also need a will that names guardians to care for your children if you pass away. Writing a will is complicated, so it’s best to consult with a lawyer.

Author of this article, Tilda Moore, researches and writes about educational resources for openeducators.org. She is passionate about helping parents and teachers in providing kids with the best education possible. She works directly with teachers and other public education groups to ensure they are working toward our vision of constructing a reliable database of verified information

 

Supplementing Your Income When Going Through A Divorce

The average cost of a divorce in the US is $20,000, and that’s if it goes smoothly in arbitration. For couples who need to battle it out in the court room, a two-day trial alone can stretch into the region of $25,000 before any settlement figures are reached. There’s no denying that divorce is an expensive business, and many ex-spouses struggle to stay afloat financially. If this sounds familiar, you might benefit from making a passive income – earning an additional stream of money without trading too much of your time. Consider the following ways to give your cash flow a boost during this difficult stage in life.

Renting Your Space

Space is a hot commodity, and the digital age makes it easier than ever to match up people needing extra additional room with those who are looking to make some money. Take a look at your property and assess if there are any money-making opportunities to be had. Do you have a garage that you could offer as a storage space? Or a parking space that you don’t use all the time? If you’re happy to welcome guests into your home, then you might even consider letting out a spare bedroom either on a semi-permanent basis or in an AirBnB-style arrangement.

Crowdfunding Real Estate

Another way to make money from real estate requires a small upfront investment. Starting with as little as $500, you can crowd-invest in a specific property and watch your pot grow so long as the market is looking strong. It’s a fantastic way to gain knowledge of the industry without requiring too much risk. With the right investment, you should be able to enjoy consistent  returns, without the responsibility of being a direct property owner.

Use Your Phone

With increasing numbers of consumers becoming attached to their smartphones, perhaps it’s time for your favorite device to get to work for you during your divorce. Some companies will pay you to display an ad on your smartphone lock screen – all you have to do is download an app. It’s also possible to make money by calling up companies as a mystery shopper, asking basic questions that customers need to know and then recording your experience of the call to be used by marketing departments.

Blogging

If you have access to a computer, and you love to write, then this is a great way to generate an additional income stream. If you have a hobby, skill or just a subject that you feel passionate about, then set up a blog and become an expert on the topic. Blog about everything to do with it, providing informative content which offers value to the reader and shout out about it on social media to gain a band of loyal followers.

Once you’re hitting some decent traffic figures, you’ll be able to make money from advertising and affiliate revenue. This option does require a little more effort than some passive income ideas, but once you’ve carried out some initial groundwork, you should be able to sit back and make money in your sleep.

These are just a few ways to generate additional funds, and of course there’s nothing to stop you having several streams of income running at once. The important thing to remember is that there are plenty of opportunities out there, and that will continue to be the case long after your divorce is settled.

Author of this article, Lucy Wyndham, is a freelance writer and former Financial Advisor. After a decade in industry, she took a step backward to spend more time with her family and to follow her love of writing.