Children and Kids articles catalog
 

 

Empty Nesters: What Should You Do Once the Children Leave? - By Mary Guarino, Ph.D.

 

What will you do with your time once your children leave the nest? The years of parenting are spent focusing on other people?s needs, often with little time for self-reflection. Career exploration is a wonderful opportunity for self-discovery and personal growth. It is a time to reinvest in you and learn about the resources available to you.

Here are a few exercises to get you thinking about what you have to offer and ways you can expand your options.

CAREER INTERESTS

Over time you have developed opinions as to what you are ?good at.? These personal opinions are relevant but rarely do we give ourselves enough credit. It is time you think outside the box. Think about the activities and job categories that interest you, regardless of whether or not you currently have the skills, or even have experience in those areas. Write down your responses to the following questions:

Action Steps: 1) Think about the following If you could do ANYTHING, what would you do?; 2: What are the characteristics of your ideal job? Examples - working with children, being outdoors, independence, etc.

SKILLS INVENTORY

It is helpful to take inventory of the skills you have that will be useful across a variety of work settings. Think about all the invaluable experience you have accumulated ? parenting is itself a highly-skilled ?career.?

Personal traits ? attitudes and characteristics such as empathy, diplomacy and ability to delegate.

Knowledge-based ? technical knowledge or job-specific information that you have acquired through paid and non-paid experiences, such as bookkeeping, child development and scheduling.

Transferable skills ? skills that you?ve acquired through experience, such as planning, organizing and writing.

Action Steps: 1) List 7 achievements you have experienced in the past few years in the context of parenting, work, volunteering, hobbies, coursework, travel, or special projects. For each achievement, list the skills, abilities and personal traits that were most important in making each of the experiences meaningful for you; 2) Once you have completed this list, look for patterns in terms of skills, settings, or types of people involved.

NETWORKING

It is always important to build and maintain your social networks, especially when you are contemplating a career change. Your existing social networks can be invaluable in helping you during this process. Do you have friends, family or acquaintances who have been through similar transitions, or who might know about the fields you are considering? Perhaps they know someone who does.

Action Steps: 1) Nurture your existing network. Schedule a get-together with one friend or acquaintance per week. It?s a great way to keep in touch and it will give you a chance to talk about what you are working on and learn about other people?s experiences; 2) Expand your social networks. Look into local networking and volunteer opportunities, as well as membership in professional organizations related to your fields of interest. Join online networking communities, such as Ryze.com and Company of Friends, which offer free membership, special interest groups and real-life monthly meetings.

By taking inventory of your many existing resources and building new ones, you will be better prepared for any career path you choose. Now that you have time to focus on yourself, you have a great opportunity for self-discovery.

Enjoy the journey!


Dr. Mary Guarino is a life coach who specializes in helping people evaluate and improve their lives, particularly in the areas of life transitions and interpersonal relationships. Dr. Guarino is the author of ?>?It`s Your Time Now: What Will You Do With It? An 8-Week Plan for Figuring Out the What`s Next In Your Life" and owner of The Art & The Science Life Coaching. She holds a Ph.D. in Lifespan Developmental Psychology and a coaching certificate from the Institute for Life Coaching.

Are You Placing Your Child in Danger? - By Linda J Alexander, ESQ.

 

More than ever before it has become absolutely crucial for people to pay attention to their surroundings and the people they meet. There are now hundreds of organizations and websites dedicated to the safety and welfare of young children and yet, children are being abducted every single day.

The Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics reveals more than one third of America`s children are being raised by one biological parent who very often has a live-in boyfriend or girlfriend, or eventual step-parent. Statistically speaking, children raised in these settings have a forty percent greater chance of being abused than children living with both biological parents. Always scrutinize people before allowing them access to your child! If you are considering a live-in housemate of any kind, you may benefit from the information available from WhoisHe.Com or WhoisShe.Com before they move in.

Conscientious and caring parents can benefit from programs that take DNA samplings, and fingerprints of their children to keep on file in case they are ever needed to help find or identify their youngster. All parents are busy parents, yet they need to MAKE the time to plan ahead to safeguard the children who depend on them.

One of the best ways to protect children is to take regular photographs of them as they grow. This information can then be provided quickly if ever it becomes necessary to issue an "Amber alert", or any other search for a missing child.

Though we live in a very busy world we ought to train ourselves and our families to pay attention to details so they can be remembered and reported if needed. Consider the events surrounding the kidnapping of Elizabeth Smart who was forcibly taken from her bed in the middle of the night. Her sister, who slept in the same room, was so terrified it took hours before she could wake her parents and tell them. Elizabeth was missing for nine months. Her little sister`s traumatic experience of an intruder awakening and abducting her sister delayed her ability to realize that she could identify the kidnapper. When she finally was able to recall the name and description of the person who took Elizabeth, the entire family was horrified to learn he was someone they had innocently brought into the home as a day laborer. Their compassion for a stranger cost them nine months of their beloved daughter`s life.

Still, the Smarts were among the very few fortunate families to reunite with a stolen child after such an extended amount of time. Sadly, statistics of children taken by strangers show that being gone for as little as three hours severely diminishes the chance they will be seen alive again. The Smart family strongly supports a nationwide "Amber alert" to help find missing children quickly. If they had required background searches on people who worked in their home, they would have discovered criminal records on not one, but TWO of those they hired! Just asking questions is not enough when you realize that a USA Today article states fully sixty percent of people lie about who they are! The loving Smart family would never have jeopardized their children. Instead they were being kind in an attempt to help strangers who very nearly destroyed the Smart family`s happiness.

Sometimes children disappear when taken by some relative or family "friend" who may or may not intend to harm them. The White House issued a grim press release in August of 2002, stating that that each year. "More than 58,000 children are abducted by non-family members" and "Many of these children are returned home quickly, but some are not." There are heartbreaking horror stories of children abducted and murdered, seemingly by random, at the hands of strangers. Yet too many times children are abducted, molested, or killed by a neighbor or someone else known to the child or the family. These are agonizing betrayals since children may so easily be lured by a predator they know and might even like. Consider the case of little Danielle Van Dam whose neighbor, David Westerfield, was convicted of kidnapping and killing this trusting child who knew him from her own, supposedly "safe", neighborhood!

We cannot wrap our children in a bubble of absolute protection and still allow them the freedom to grow and explore life. We can, however, commit our parenting skills to prevention, assuring our children and ourselves that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe. Certainly we can keep an up-to-date file folder on each of our children with all of the personal information that would be necessary to identify them. We can, and must, carefully consider all people we allow to have contact with our children. There have been far too many cases of children molested, abused, kidnapped or killed by a boyfriend of the mother. Perhaps along with child support payments from non-custodial parents, we might start a trend toward using background checks when either custodial parent allows a boyfriend or girlfriend to share a dwelling with their child.

Statistics show the standard of living after divorce often decreases, especially for women who become head of the household. It is not surprising then that a mother who is struggling financially might be tempted to rush into a live-in arrangement with someone to help with the responsibilities. Many times predators look for just these types of situations.

Seldom, however, do these single parents stop to think that they may be putting their child in harm`s way under their own roof! Situations like this beg for background checks before handing over the house key, and the safety and well being of an innocent child.

Children depend on the parents who are there to love them and tend to their needs. Background checks through organizations such as WhoisHe.Com and WhoisShe.Com are an affordable way to learn the history of the person you are expecting your child to allow close to them. You are your children`s first line of defense. Don`t let them down!



Linda J Alexander, ESQ is an attorney and the President of WhoisHe.Com / WhoisShe.Com a professional web service which provides comprehensive background, criminal and civil record checks on prospective mates, future step-parents, Nanny-checks, employment screening, in-home workers since 1997.

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