1. Tell us a little about yourself and your books about families.
My name is Michele Sfakianos and I am a Registered Nurse families– Life Skills Expert and the award-winning author of “The 4-1-1 on Life Skills” and Combine families.
“The 4-1-1 on Life Skills” is about those basic families life skills.
(such as cleaning (how often, where, why, etc.); cooking safety; finance; buying a home/car; nutrition; etiquette; relationships; etc.), needed by adults of all ages for everyday living.
“The 4-1-1 on combine families” is for those that want to build a well-blended step family. It covers step parenting, step grand-parenting, step parent adoption and much more.
2. We see a lot more of combine families now, why is that?
Statistics tell us that fifty percent of couples divorce each year and sixty-five percent will remarry. Of that 65% that remarry – 40% bring children into the new marriage.
3. Give us some tips on how to be a father when your child is living with his mother and her husband families.
a) One of the biggest tips is to have regular visits with your child and do not cancel on them unless it is an emergency. If you cancel, reschedule immediately. Children need to know that they can count on you.
b) Do not fight or argue with your ex-partner in front of the children.
c) Do not try to “buy” the children when they visit. Spend quality time with them instead.
d) Do not give your children messages to give to your ex-partner.
e) Reassure your children that although you don’t live with them anymore, it doesn’t mean that you don’t love them. Encourage open communication to see how they feel about every situation, but don’t question them about what happens at the other home.
4. Handling the history of families.
When you divorce your partner, you don’t actually divorce the extended family members (grandparents, aunts, uncles, etc.), which will still be a part of your child’s life. Children need those other members of the family for support, encouragement and love. Whether your breakup was civil or not, you need to put aside your feelings and do what is best for the child.
5. Setting Values-defining your expectation and goals for the families.
What’s the difference between core families values, families rules, and limits? Core families values are a general set of behavior guidelines applying to everyone in the family: “We solve our problems with words.” Family rules are more specific: “Homework must be finished before TV is allowed.” Limits are specific behavior boundaries for each child. “Aaron cannot cross the street without a grown-up.” When deciding on your family’s approach to discipline, ask yourselves this question: “How do we want this family to function, and what should we do about it when things break down?” Rules and limits are more specific than values. Rules are how the core family values, which are general, are expressed. In a family, but especially in a step family, kids need to understand specifically what is expected of them (the rules), and they need to understand their boundaries (the limits).
6. Top biological parent complaints-Top step parent complaints.
Top Biological Parent families Complaints:
My partner is too harsh on my kids. Kids are not perfect—they are kids!
- My partner knew I had kids before we were married. Why does he think the expectations on our time together should change?
- My partner wants to take over. I did fine when I was by myself.
- My partner is so jealous when I talk with my ex-partner. I have to. We have to be able to work together for the kid’s sake. He does not understand how hard these meetings are.
- My partner wants the kids to love her like their own parent. Children should not be pushed so hard.
Top Step Parent Complaints
No one appreciates or respects me for how much work I do for the families. I feel like a third wheel.
- All our decisions about money and vacations have to be cleared with the ex-partner. I want to be head of my own household.
- When the kids are here, I feel neglected. When the kids are away, I have to comfort her because the kids are missed. When do we get to be a couple? Where is the romance?
- There is no privacy around here.
- I want a baby, and my partner does not.
7. Tips on Home and Money management for the families.
- Change air conditioner filters (vacuum filters and any other appliance filters) once a month as dust and dust mites are a major contributor to allergies and allergic reactions.
- Know the difference between organizing, cleaning and disinfecting (sanitizing). Organizing is finding a place for everything; cleaning is removing the dirt, dust and grime; and disinfecting is the process of removing the bacteria and germs to a safe level in your home.
- Know your credit score. There are websites that offer free annual credit scores.
- “Pay yourself first”. Establish a savings account and put 10% of your wages in it each time you are paid.
- Balance your checking account every month to make sure that you are not being charged additional fees.
8. Cleaning your families home-give ideas on this guide.
- Divide your home into areas. Clean 1-2 areas each night and by the end of the week you will be done and have the weekend free.
- Limit where you eat and rinse dishes thoroughly (until ready to wash) to decrease the amount of bugs and pests. Do not allow dishes to remain in the sink overnight.
9. Taking care of you, how important is this when it comes to handling families.
If you cannot take care of yourself, how will you be able to take care of others? You need to rest and relax and take time for your body to regenerate. You must also be yourself around others and love yourself above all others. When you get stressed out, ask yourself if it will matter in five years. If the answer is no, let it go. If the answer is yes, find a solution, and then let it go.
10. Final comments: What’s on your business “Bucket List?” Top 5 things you’d still like to do?
- Create and conduct seminars.
- Build a speaking platform for our subject matter.
- Enrich the lives of teenagers with more content.
- Publish many more books!
- Make the New York Times Best-Seller list about combine families.