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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.

 

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Let's Talk Travel

MomsGetReal Roadtrip Day 5: Exploring Montrose and Black Canyon

Getting Real With Shadra Bruce

We didn’t have to drive today. No waking up to an alarm to make sure we had time to get the hotel room packed up and the car loaded and the maps we need to the next hotel. In fact, no staying in a hotel. Thanks to our friend Pete, we’ve been staying in a real home, and thanks to Pete’s daughter, we’ve had a comfortable bed with sounds of a fountain and a cool breeze to make each night enjoyable.

So today was truly the day the vacation began. Anika spent time playing on the tree swing; Parker curled up on an uber comfortable couch and read. Kyle watched Spongebob and other favorite Nick programs and we enjoyed not driving.

But we’re in Montrose, Colorado…a town that is filled with natural beauty and only 20 miles or so from the most recently designated national park, Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. We spent some time exploring the area, which even has wheelchair accessible paths so that Kyle could enjoy the absolutely astounding views.

We had dinner at a fabulous local favorite called the Horsefly, whose deep fried pickles and micro brews are to die for.

The only problem with traveling the way we are is that tomorrow, we leave. It had been ten years since we shared time with Pete, and it’s hard to leave wondering when we will get together again, but knowing that ten years could go by and we could still feel as connected as we all do, I’m not too worried. Some friendships are designed to last.

This trip is more than just an adventure for me, though…it is a soul feeder. I’m connecting with the people who mean the most to me outside my immediate family, and I’m reliving fond memories and making new ones with very special people. I highly recommend the experience!

Categories
Creating Balance Let's Talk

Monday Nights Are For Making Friends

by Shadra Bruce

I grew up for the most part in Boise, Idaho. Not the biggest city in the world, but big enough that there was always plenty to do, and plenty of people I knew. Most importantly, it was where my mom and my sister lived, which meant I had a built in support system and social group that fulfilled me.

When we moved to Bath, New York in 2001, I was a stay-at-home mom with three school age kids and an 18-month old. Dave worked, the kids left for school, and Parker and I spent the days together. There’s only so much of Barney and Dora a person can take, though. I knew only my mother-in-law and my husband’s best friend’s wife (who today is as close to me as family). I was lonely, though, and desperately missed my friends and family out West.

Making new friends was really tough. I mean, how do you make friends when you only leave the house to go grocery shopping? The person I talked to most was the checker at Wal-Mart in line number 5 who was always working when I was there. Pathetic, I know.

Then, Kira got interested in cheerleading. I started taking her to practices on Monday nights and met the other moms who were there. Before long, I’d made a few new friends. When we moved back West to care for my mom while she was ill, we were only gone for a few years, but everything had changed in that time. I was closer than ever to my husband’s best friend’s wife, and we bought the house across the street from theirs, but the other friends I’d made had moved, divorced, disappeared…and Kira was grown and doing her own thing.

Then last year, Anika started taking dance classes. Every Monday night, she gets dolled up in her ballerina outfit and can hardly wait to head out the door to dance class. The truth is, I look forward to it as much as she does, if not more. Monday nights are MY nights. Anika heads into the dance studio for her practice, and I sit in the lobby and visit with my new group of friends.

I’m not a stay-at-home mom with a baby anymore. Now, I’m a work-at-home mom with no kids at home. I find myself talking to the birds – or to myself – because a lot of the work I do is quite solitary. So Monday nights are my solace, my escape, my night out. I worry that the moms I meet up with those nights are just bracing themselves for me because I save up a whole week of girl talk for that one night, but it is wonderful.

I spend far too much time far away from the people who mean the most to me, and while Facebook and texting and email allows us to stay in touch, I miss face time – sitting across from the women in my life and talking. Women need friends, and we need to cherish them and treasure them and make time for them.

Categories
Let's Talk Stress Management

Friendship

Friends are important in everyone’s life but I think it is especially important for women to have friends to help put things that happen in our lives in perspective. We need to feel connected and have someone to commiserate with about life. Talking with close friends has always helped me work through various different stages in my life. I have friends that have been through so many things with me, from divorce and becoming a single mom, to entering the dating world that I had never previously experienced prior to my marriage at such a young age. Friends truly make the world a better place.

I don’t believe that I ever took my friends for granted, but when I moved to another state I realized the important role that they have always played in my life. Relocating my entire life has brought about so many changes. Almost all of them being amazing and great, but changes just the same. The one drawback has been leaving my friends and everything I knew as my life. I have met a few great friends here as well but it is not easy to build new friendships after being in the same place for so many years. I had friends at work, in my neighborhood, and I rarely went somewhere that I didn’t see someone that I knew. There was always someone ready to go shopping or out to lunch. So many friends and so little time!

Regardless of gender, age, or location, developing and maintaining solid friendships is important to our health and well-being. Having good friends, as we all probably know from experience, helps lower stress levels and promotes overall good health. It may not always be easy to forge new friendships but it is a necessity to achieve the happiness and sense of belonging that only true friendship provides. And the payoff is immeasurable!