Parenting Resolving Conflict Teens and Tweens

Teaching Our Kids the Value of Friendship

Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

As a stay-at-home mom turned work-at-home business owner, I don’t meet a lot of people. Since Dave works from home, too, it’s difficult for us to make new friends. The only people who come to our door that we don’t know are the Mormon Missionaries. Luckily, the friends I do have are ones to cherish. Dave is still friends with his best friend from grade school, Ed; and I’m still friends with my first friend, Rachelle.

Friendship is such an important aspect of motherhood. I’m still friends with a few friends from high school. And I’ve made great friends with some of the mothers of my daughters’ friends (cheer practice and dance lessons used to get me out of the house). These friendships are important, not just for me but to show my children how important friendships are.

According to research (Ferrer & Fugate), “Friends are vital to school-age children’s healthy development. Research has found that children who lack friends can suffer from emotional and mental difficulties later in life. Friendships provide children with more than just fun playmates. Friendships help children develop emotionally and morally. In interacting with friends, children learn many social skills, such as how to communicate, cooperate, and solve problems.”

Friendships last when the people in the friendship know how to be good friends. Kids learn that from the friendships they see. Do you treat your friends with respect? Are you there for them when they need help? Do you do thoughtful things for your friends? Are you a loyal friend?

Parents can foster friendship skills in children through (1) positive parent-child interactions; (2) parents’ roles as supervisors, coaches, and advisers during children’s play; and (3) parents’ roles as providers of social opportunities.

It takes time to build friendships and establish and maintain that sense of trust. It is important for children to understand and develop the skills for building and maintaining different types of friendships and relationships with their peers as well as other people in their environment. When our kids see us behaving in a way that demonstrates the power and value of friendship, they will model that behavior in their own friendships and relationships.


Let's Talk Travel

MomsGetReal Roadtrip Day 3: Connecting with Old Friends

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

In 2005, Derek graduated from high school and headed to the Army and I graduated from college with a long-awaited bachelor’s degree in Economics. While I had been accepted to Cornell University with a $20,000 fellowship and we tried every which way to make living in Ithaca work for our large family, the overwhelming cost and the draw to be out West again and near my ill mother was too much. I declined Cornell in favor for my hometown university’s offer and we set out for Reno, Nevada.

Reno is a great place to gamble, a great place to visit…but for us, with a special-needs child, not a great place to raise a family. The school district was difficult at best and monstrous at times in their willingness to provide even the most basic services to Kyle. Reno may have been my hometown, but it would never be home to my family.

One of the best things to come out of my short time at UNR, however, was the connection I made with a fellow TA, James. We were on the same teaching team and spent a lot of time together. Away from school, to clear our minds of students, papers, and studies, we would all meet up at the Pub n Sub to share beer and pizza each week. That’s where Dave met James. Dave and James hit it off – they were both from New York and they both really did not like living in Reno.

Over time, we got to know James and continued to remain connected to him after we left Reno six months after arriving. James came to visit us in Boise, and after we moved to New York, we stayed in close touch, following along on his adventures in finishing his doctoral degree (in Latin American History) and as he traveled through Mexico completing research.

He lives in Trinidad, Colorado, now, and the opportunity was perfect for us to connect. He met us in Pueblo (our alternative to the burning Colorado Springs where we intended to go – our hearts are with all the people there) and we spent an evening together. THIS is what this trip is all about – reconnecting with the people who have had an impact on our lives, made a difference in who we are, and who have become, in a real sense, a part of our family.

It was pretty amazing – and now I really feel like the trip has started.

P.S. Kansas is a really boring state to drive through. SO glad to be in Colorado.

Let's Talk Making a Difference


Showing appreciation for our friends and family is one of the most important things that we can do for ourselves and those we love. When we show someone how much we appreciate who they are and what they do it makes everyone feel so good. In our busy lives it is so easy to take the special people in our lives for granted, it is more important than ever to put in the extra effort to let people know they are appreciated. The more positive things we do and express to the people in our lives the more positive the energy becomes all around us.

Our attitudes and how we express our feelings can play a huge role in our personal happiness and the happiness of those around us. I really believe it is all of the little things that really count. I always try to start the day with a smile, especially when I greet my husband and children for the day. I think this small effort on my part makes a big difference in the way our days begin! Trust me, it is not every morning that my children wake up with big smiles on their faces but when they see me smiling it makes it a little bit harder to greet me with a frown in return.

I want everyone in my life to know how much I appreciate the fact that they are a part of my life. I don’t ever want to lose someone that is important to me and wonder if they knew how much I appreciated them. I think when you lose someone close to you it makes the importance of appreciation of the time that you have had with them and others in your life become much clearer. If everyone, every day, tried to do something to show appreciation for someone in their life I think everyone would be much happier. Show someone you love an extra bit of appreciation and see what a difference it can make!

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Giving Thanks

This time of year has always been one of my favorites. I have so many wonderful memories from my childhood of being surrounded by family and friends. We always ended up with a house full of people that brought so much joy to an already wonderful time. Thanksgiving time is such a wonderful reminder of how much we truly have to be grateful for. I am so thankful for all of the amazing people that are in our lives. We have some great friends and an extraordinary family.

This year is going to be a little different for us. We will be missing the extended family that we are so used to having around at the holidays. It will be a much quieter holiday than we are used to and hopefully will be one of very few that we have to spend alone. We will miss having family with us but plan to make the best of a quiet holiday weekend……Ok, so I hope that was a lot more convincing to read than it felt as I was writing it. I am dreading spending the holiday alone! I guess it is instances like these that make us even more grateful for the time when we are able to spend holidays with family.

So this holiday season, although it will be a little quieter than we are used to, I still plan to celebrate and be thankful for all of the wonderful things and people that we have in our lives. Thank you to all of you who have made our lives more fun and interesting and full of love. Without friends and family we would not have nearly as much to celebrate!