Mediation/Coaching Is…

Some of you still wonder how I can help your family, your marriage.

I’ve explained my program a few times before, but here is a little video excerpt from a movie that pretty much shows what I do for my couples. Whether you’re in a painful relationship or muddling through the difficult mission of parenting together after a divorce, I help with that.

In this video, I would be the coach, and the two young athletes can represent any couple I work with – married, divorced, or just trying to keep life together.

If you need help getting your relationship and family running smoothly … or just running again, email me. I’ll be happy to talk to you about your situation.

I am open for any and all questions after you watch this.

STEPcoach Bob Collins

Published in: on April 16, 2012 at 11:59 am  Leave a Comment  

Words That Damage

[NOTE: This is a short excerpt from my guidebook for divorced parents, “Guiding Your Children Through Divorce;” full information is HERE
[Page 20]
Expressing anger felt toward the other spouse,
that is, criticizing, cutting down, attacking, or disrespecting the children’s other parent, either directly to the children or where they can overhear you talking to someone else or to the other parent. Problems caused by one parent attacking the other parent can go deep; and usually leads to the following effects:
1) It Causes Confusion — This is harmful first because it confuses children about which parent to believe (“Daddy says Mom is a liar and mean, but when I’m with her she seems so sweet and kind, so who’s lying, Daddy or Mom?”). Once a child’s innate trust of a parent is gone, it is hard to rebuild.
2) It Causes Loyalty Conflicts — which parent to support. Children have a tendency to see things as black or white, good or bad, his side or her side. Due to this viewpoint, when a child sees his parents separating in a divorce, he immediately perceives a two-sided issue. Which means the child is either on Mom’s side or Dad’s side. 

This mentality can cause a excessive stress for a child who wants the love and approval of both his parents. All to often, these children begin to show signs of feeling pulled apart and torn between two “sides” in a conflict. The child feels they must choose between Mom or Dad, which leads to internal conflicts of being “against” the other parent.
3) It Causes Authority Damage — causes children to disrespect the attacker. As we’ve seen before, a child resents anyone who attacks her parent, even her other parent. Criticizing or badmouthing your ex damages your own standing in your children’s eyes, causing them to lose respect in your authority.
So, what’s the solution: determine to never fight again in front of children — The obvious solution would be to never, ever be guilty of attacking your children’s other parent. Unfortunately, due to emotions and a lack of self-control, many divorced parents find they don’t have the will power to behave in an intelligent, mature manner toward the person their children loves. In some cases, these parents honestly try to control their words and behavior, but are simply too weak to do so.

In most cases, however, parents who belittle and criticize the people their children love are simply unconcerned for their children’s feelings. They plead they are “just too mad” at their child’s other parent to choose to control themselves. They act out their selfish needs to retaliate and ruin their relationships with their own children, and often damage their children in the process. Some feel that ignoring the needs of their children is child abuse. 
[NOTE: This discussion is continued in “Guiding Your Children Through Divorce;” full information is HERE]
Published in: on April 6, 2012 at 4:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

A STEPparent’s Job

Dear [stepparent],

Regarding your question about your particular responsibility about your husband’s kids, here’s how that lays out:

1) the stepparent is not legally or morally or physically responsible for their stepchildren. If a child gets into some sort of liable trouble (causing expensive damages to someone else’s property, for example), the biological parent is legally responsible for reparations for that damage. Not the stepparent. Morally, God places responsibility for raising a child and teaching that child how to be an adult on the biological parent. Not the stepparent.

2) The stepparent has the opportunity to bless the stepchildren; to teach them by example how to be a kind, loving, forgiving person. The stepparent also has the opportunity to demonstrate to the stepchild how to react, in a Christian manner, if they are insulted, ignored, or even harmed by the stepchild. The stepparent does have the responsibility to show the stepchild Christ in a very real way through daily living and lovingkindness (just as any child or person). Yes, this can be hard. I remember when my own stepdaughter slapped me in the face in public, (once physically and many times with her mouth and hateful attitude) in front of others, to embarrass me and to challenge me. As a Christian who just happened to be married to her mother, my responsibility was to demonstrate to her how a Christian would deal with a personal attack like that. (Remember what Jesus said about if someone slaps you on one cheek? Forgive and get over it and love them, He said)

So the stepparent, you and I, has no legal responsibility over the stepchild – but the Christian has a responsibility to witness Christ’s love and forgiveness to everyone, ESPECIALLY those in our household.

One more point; Just because a stepparent does not have the responsibility for their stepchild, they are family. And, as family, they have a relationship with those stepchildren. You and I, as family members to our stepchildren must be careful not to shun those children, but to reach out to them as family members. When Dad and the kids are doing something, a family member should show an interest and care about that they’re doing. If the stepkids reject your attempt, that shouldn’t make any difference in your actions. We are still family members with those children of our spouse, and as such we need to show the same care and consideration as we do toward our spouse’s parents, brothers and sisters, or their grandparents. Reach out with patience and love and respect because of who they are related to … your sweetheart.

It is a balancing act: love without having to, care without being forced to. But so is every other relationship we have – with our spouse, our parents, our siblings, etc, etc. It may not be the easiest, but it’s the right thing to do.

STEPcoach Bob Collins

Helping stepfamilies succeed since 1996 – STEP-Carefully! is just for you!

Published in: on March 21, 2012 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Blessings of Being A Stepparent

1) I married my high school sweetheart after we’d both been divorced upon by our spouses, so new life, new hope;
2) she brought a daughter, sort of a curse AND a blessing;
3) she then had a son, my step-grandson – a definite blessing!

Here is a journal entry I wrote about a day with my grandson, back in 2002:
February 2002

What a perfect day with Michael!
I never could have believed (and now I speak with faulty memory, because his presence has altered my mind so much) that I could be so completely taken by a baby boy! I think of him far more often than anyone else, and wonder about him whenever he is not with me. When he runs to me and wraps his arms around my leg, either to hug me or in an attack, I just feel all poured out for him. What I mean is that he seems to take over my full emotions. To make him giggle or even to scream with delight makes me feel like the most successful man in the world.

Today was a Monday, which means that I have promised to set all else aside to care for Michael. It’s definitely a foolish thing by the world’s standards, but I’m afraid I’m completely foolish when it comes to this little boy. After dropping Jo (Nana) off at her job, I came back home to find Jennifer almost ready to leave for her job and Michael still asleep. I puttered with home chores – dishes, trash, etc. – until I heard him call o ut. I called to him, “Hey Buddy, Grandpapa’s here.” In a few minutes, he toddled into the living room, tilted his head ‘way to the side and grinned at me.

We spent the morning playing and watching some cartoons, then while watching Bear in the Big Blue House, he started getting drowsy, so he got up and stumbled over to the couch, climbed up, and scooted over onto my lap! He laid his head back on my chest and stuck his bottle in his mouth. He could only sit still for so long, lest he fall asleep. So he hopped down and sprawled on the carpet, propping his chin on his fist, while his feet were propped up in the air. I couldn’t resist … I laid down beside him, adopting the same pose. He snuck a look at me out of the corner of his eye, then got up on his knees and flopped on my back to watch TV from there. I rolled over so that he fell off giggling, and got on my hands and knees looking at him. He charged toward me, butting me in the head with his head. I dropped my head and burrowed into his belly. He squealed and grabbed my shirt, wrestling with me. I fell back on my back and he pounced on me.

We wrestled like that until we were tired (really I tired much more quickly than he did!) and we sat back on the couch. His mommy came home then for lunch. He had a sandwich with her, and when she left I laid him down in his play pen with a bottle of milk for a nap. He never made a sound, just looked up at me with sleepy, bright eyes. After his nap time, I had gotten us ready for a trip to town, so I went in to wake him. I leaned over his bed and whispered, “I love you. I love you, Michael.” He slowly opened his eyes and then jumped up when he saw me, and held out his arms to be picked up. I got him dressed and we left the house.

We then went to Wal-mart. I took Michael in to get Jo’s medicine refilled. After getting the pills, we played some. I’d push the cart out in front of me, crouch down and growl, “I’m gonna get your belly!” while running up on the cart and tickling his tummy as he squealed. We did figure eights, and drove through the too-tightly-packed clothing aisles, the shirt sleeves ticking his face. If anyone was paying attention, surely they thought I was nuts! Or maybe they envied me getting to play with such a wonderful baby. We bought some supplies for my new office and check ed out.

Then we went to get Jo. I took Michael upstairs to let her show him off. As we started in the front door of the clinic, I said, “Let’s find Nana, OK? Nana?” He perked up and said, “Nana? Nana! Nana!” looking around for her. In the elevator, I sat him down and he walked out, holding my hand. Jo was delighted to see him (of course!)

After we dropped Jo off at college, Michael and I went by the office to get a phone number about tomorrow’s appointment. Michael again captured everyone’s attention. He sat on my lap at my desk … and knocked pictures off the desktop. Leaving there, we went back to my dad’s apartment.

Michael picked up a package of gum Dad had laying on a table. Dad said, “Oh no, Michael, let me have that before you lose it.” Michael grinned and took off with the gum! I said, “Oh you little fart! Gimme that gum!” He fell on the gum and hung on for dear life. I pried his little fingers off the now crushed gum sticks and started chewing on his belly. He just flopped back and grinned at me as if to say, “Go ahead, Papa, get me. That’s why I started the trouble anyway.” So I picked him up and (carefully) tossed him on Dad’s bed, then dove on top of him, pinning him under my chest. He screamed and started kicking. I got up and he charged right at me, hitting me in the chest with his head. I tickled his back and knees as he tried to squirm away.

We left Dad to get Jo from Westark and head home. I laid down for a much needed nap. When I woke up, it was to a happy little boy laying across my chest, hugging me awake. Before he went to sleep that night, in bed with his mama, he leaned up from the covers and patted me on my arm, his way of saying, “Thanks for a good day, Papa. I love you.”

What a great day!

Published in: on March 5, 2012 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  

Making Memories

Have you heard of Spotify? I have recently discovered this gem on the web – all the music in the world (they claim) to listen to for free. I’ve created playlists of my favorite 80s hits (ELO, Huey Lewis, Starship), Rocking Country (Sawyer Brown and Kentucky Headhunters), classic gospel (Keith Green and Amy Grant). It makes for great background music. But just today I remembered my very first love … The Archies! I checked and sure enough – there it was, my first album – Everything’s Archie. Wow.

As I started listening to Melody Hill, Kissin’, and, of course, the staples: Sugar, Sugar, and Jingle Jangle, my mind was rocketed back to days when I was a little boy, listening to The Archies on the stereo (think of an antique CD player) while laying on the couch or dancing in Mom’s living room. I could feel the water cooler (an early air conditioner) blowing, smell Mom’s burgers cooking in the kitchen, and I was there.

All the memories came rushing in – sweet Summer days with Mom and Dad at the lake, building G.I.Joe and Tonka cities in the back yard, my first dog, Tippy, and the sense of belonging and peace. The funny thing is, home wasn’t always very peaceful.

Try as she might, Mom had a tough task making a happy home with Dad’s penchant for drink (sure, and we ARE an Irish family!) and Mom’s absolute disdain for drunkenness. There were many long loud nights when I would lie in my bed, fearing the worst as they fought out their bitterness. I was terrified they would hurt each other or Dad would leave again or that he’d stay and they’d never stop fighting.

Memories are a mixed bag for most of us – some beautiful, idyllic scenes of being a relatively carefree kid, mixed with being a scared little kid who had pretty much no control over anything in my world. But one thing seems to be true for all kids I’ve talked to or read of: they love having family and being part of a home. Doesn’t matter if that home has periods of yelling and anger, it’s still Home.

Yes, many families fight a lot. But most kids – after they’ve grown and can look back clearly – admit they loved their parents no matter how they acted toward each other. The excuses I hear for many of the divorces I mediate are that the parents are convinced their own marital dissatisfaction is making their children miserable, too. Study after study show this to be false. Kids want Home.

Back to memories (The Archies are still playing in the background) – why do I automatically leap to the happy memories of my long-past youth? There were plenty of sad/angry/scary memories, too. But we lean toward the happy memories. Most of us do, anyway.

So my question to you is, what kind of memories are you building for your own children? What about your stepchildren? What memories will a song bring back to their minds someday, complete with sounds, smells, and emotions of these days? What are you planting there?

I teach consistently that stepparents are not responsible for their stepkids – that’s the job for the biological mom and dad. And the bio-parents will build most of the good and bad memories of their own children. But you and I have a hand in our stepkids’ present past, too. We have the opportunity to help these tender hearts grow into sensitive, loving, understanding adults. (Yes, even the surly teens have tender hearts!)

Every time we yell at their parent; every time we sulk and withdraw to “punish” them; every time we make demands out of a sense of responsibility that isn’t ours instead of accepting and guiding them, we are making memories that will shape their whole lives. Because, you see, WE are teaching them about love and forgiveness and patience and kindness in ways their own parents cannot. Mom and Dad “have” to love them … it’s their job. But when we overlook the snotty attitudes, the shunning, the rudeness and love them anyway, we have made an impression on that young heart that will never be forgotten.

Well, my album is ending, so I need to get back to the present. But please think about the impression you are making on your stepchildren, who are yours by the grace of God and the permission of their parent you’ve married. You and I really can be heroes if we take the challenge to plant good memories in our stepkids.

God bless your whole family!

STEPcoach Bob Collins

[Here’s my Archies playlist: The Archies – Everthing’s Archie]

Published in: on February 22, 2012 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Why so many divorces?

A question on Quora recently got my juices flowing. The question was, “Why can’t most people be satisfied in married life? Why are divorce rates so high around the world?”

I’ve developed my answer to this particular question over 16 years of intensive work with divorcing couples, dissatisfied married couples, and re-married couples (“blended families”), as well as my own divorce and second marriage. I honestly believe that some couples should not have married in the first place. I agree, generally, with Jan Mixon that marriages are entered into too lightly, with too little clear, logical thought. Marriages like these are NOT true marriages, they are couples playing house on a temporary basis. 

Marriage is a lifelong commitment. A sincere, legal, moral, and often religious vow is taken to never leave or forsake each other through any difficulties that may arise. If this vow is not a flippant lie, divorce is impossible. I’ve never heard vows (though I’m sure someone has made up some) that allow for escape possibilities – “till boredom do us part,” “as long as you remain interesting to me,” etc.

Divorce is always damaging. Period. Even when the couple “is cool with it.” To have failed at a solemn vow degrades the personality and the soul. It makes the vow breaker think less of him/herself and makes all future commitments much weaker. When there are children involved, divorce is akin to abuse. Ask any child whose parents have divorced and they will tell you they wish their parents had resolved their differences and remained married. The statistics of what damages are done to children of divorce are many, and all tell of children whose quality of life and happiness has been severely reduced.

But, the question is why people can’t be satisfied in marriage (someone said correctly that divorce rates have dropped in the US dramatically in the last decade). My understanding, again based on 16 years of working intimately with divorced, divorcing, and remarried families, is that their understanding of commitment is flawed, often by parents who taught them and society which reinforced that they could have whatever they want, they have an innate right to be absolutely happy all the time, and because they have selfish desires for new adventures despite what effect satisfying those desires will have on others.

Unpopular ideas, I know … but I’ve had far too many divorced/remarried people tell me those ideas are correct to doubt them. We want everything perfect and when our marriage relationships or home situations are not, we whine and run away. Society supports this dangerous behavior because the majority of society wants to keep that same option open for themselves. 

Should some marriages be ended? Yes, but very few. I have successfully helped many, many couples rehabilitate their relationships who had experienced what society calls “deal breakers” – adultery, drug addiction, abuse, and betrayal of many sorts. These are only deal breakers if one or both sides are determined to give up and run away and abandon their vows.

Christians, in particular, have very few true reasons for divorce, and those are still excuses to lie. Yes, yes, yes, a woman (or a man) who is consistently abused by their spouse should get away from him and protect herself. But there are often alternatives to divorce. When children are involved, they must certainly be protected, but divorce of their two parents is not always the best, and certainly not the only solution. I’ve witnessed far too many families brought back to peace who were convinced divorce is the only solution.

Published in: on January 12, 2012 at 9:56 am  Leave a Comment  

Your Opinion, Please

I’d honestly like to hear your opinion on this question which recently came up in a discussion group for stepparents of difficult children … 

Which is worse (or, conversely, which is better) – 

1) no physical discipline, but plenty of verbal; or 

2) calm, physical discipline?

This question came up after a rather passionate discussion of how parents and stepparents handled hard-to-control children. Some were vehemently opposed to any sort of “physical violence” such as spanking, slapping, or bodily lifting and placing a child in a chair. Their reasoning was that violence begets violence. If you teach a child that hitting is acceptable, that child will fall back on hitting when he or she is excited.

The negative side of this group was that they admitted to far-too-often succumbing to the temptation to scream at their children to get their attention. Instead of grabbing Junior up from the TV and making him get moving, the tended to steadily increase from telling, to yelling, to screaming at him to move. They confessed they “lost it” at least once a week.

The “spare the rod, spoil the child” group first categorically insisted they had specific guidelines regarding corporeal punishment: when, how, and why to spank or slap, and usually had a follow-up strategy. Their method is generally to avoid emotional outbursts and to administer fair amounts of physical discipline, from bottom swats, to hand slaps, to lifting and removing the child.

Both sides were solid in their belief that theirs was the best way, and both had many examples of how well their own program worked for their children. 

But this was a fairly small group – only 6 couples. So I decided to expand this question. I’d like to know how most families deal with discipline/guidance for their unruly children. Please answer using the anonymous option on the comment page so there is no question of anyone getting in trouble. 

Other stepparents and biological parents are facing the same issues you are. I know they’d like to hear your opinions and your reasoning for your side.


STEPcoach, Bob Collins

Published in: on December 20, 2011 at 9:59 am  Comments (3)  

25 Ideas that might make Life Easier…

A chum sent this along in an email. Don’t know where it came from originally (sorry I can’t give credit where credit is due), but I thought you’d appreciate some of these brilliant tips. Merry Christmas, y’all!

Why didn’t I think of that?!
We guarantee you’ll be uttering those words more than once at these ingenious little tips, tricks and ideas that solve everyday problems … some you never knew you had!

(Above: hull strawberries easily using a straw).
Rubbing a walnut over scratches in your furniture will disguise dings and scrapes.
Remove crayon masterpieces from your TV or computer screen with WD40 (also works on walls).
Stop cut apples browning in your child’s lunch box by securing with a rubber band.
Overhaul your linen cupboard – store bed linen sets inside one of their own pillowcases and there will be no more hunting through piles for a match.
Pump up the volume by placing your iPhone / iPod in a bowl – the concave shape amplifies the music.
Re-use a wet-wipes container to store plastic bags.
Add this item to your beach bag. Baby powder gets sand off your skin easily – who knew?!
Attach a Velcro strip to the wall to store soft toys.
Look up! Use wire to make a space to store gift wrap rolls against the ceiling, rather than cluttering up the floor.
Gotcha! Find tiny lost items like earrings by putting a stocking over the vacuum hose.
Make an instant cupcake carrier by cutting crosses into a box lid.
For those who can’t stand the scrunching and bunching: how to perfectly fold a fitted sheet.
Forever losing your bathroom essentials? Use magnetic strips to store bobby pins (and tweezers and clippers) behind a vanity door
A tip for holiday packing. Store shoes inside shower caps to stop dirty soles rubbing on your clothes. And you can find them in just about every hotel!
A muffin pan becomes a craft caddy. Magnets hold the plastic cups down to make them tip-resistant.
Bread tags make the perfect-sized cord labels.
Bake cupcakes directly in ice-cream cones – so much more fun and easier for kids to eat. Definitely doing this!
Microwave your own popcorn in a plain brown paper bag. Much healthier and cheaper than the packet stuff.
Brilliant space-saver: install a tension rod to hang your spray bottles. Genius!
Win friends at breakfast with this heart-shaped egg tutorial. Aww shucks!
Turn your muffin pan upside down, bake cookie-dough over the top and voila – you have cookie bowls for fruit or ice-cream.
Freeze Aloe Vera in ice-cube trays for soothing sunburn relief.
Gutter garden: Create a window-box veggie patch using guttering.
Use egg cartons to separate and store your Christmas decorations.
Published in: on December 20, 2011 at 9:36 am  Leave a Comment  

A Buying Guide for Your (STEP) Daughter

Does the following conversation sound familiar?

“What should we get Debbie for Christmas this year?” 

“I don’t think we should get her a phone yet. Other parents have bought their girls phones at her age, but it just seems too early.” 

“Yeah, I agree …” 

(Usually followed by dead silence.)

If you have a teenage daughter or stepdaughter in your home, you’ve probably had a similar discussion. Or you will before too long. As your daughter is growing up, you don’t want to give her too much too soon. 
Maybe this is a good time to start thinking: what does our daughter need? It’s easy to buy what our daughters want … they usually tell us! But what do they need?
Working with stepfamilies who have teens has taught me a principle: Giving your teen too much may equal giving her too little. Some of the most disturbed girls I have known have been the most spoiled. We spoil our daughters when we give them things they just want instead of things they really need. 
Girls who don’t get what they need from their fathers demonstrate a hunger in their heart. This hunger is often revealed in at least four ways: boredom, self-involvement, becoming boy crazy, or becoming demanding.
What can a father do to feed the hunger in a daughter’s heart? What can we do to keep her from becoming a demanding, self-involved, boy-crazy girl?  Answer: feed the genuine hunger of her heart. Give her what she really needs.
I believe there are three things a daughter needs from her dad; 
1. Connection
A daughter needs to feel special. she needs to know we consider her valuable. She needs to know we like her—that we want to spend time with just her. One-on-one time is an effective way to show your daughter she is very special to you.
Another way to connect with our daughters is with meaningful touch. They need it the most when it’s the most difficult to give. When our little girls become teens, we’re tempted to back off with our physical affection. “I wouldn’t want to do anything inappropriate,” we dads or stepdads reason. And that’s good, but our daughters still need  dad’s affection. Just because she’s beginning to look like a woman doesn’t mean she doesn’t still need your meaningful touch. Sure, it will be different from when she was younger. Instead of wrestling on the living room floor, now it’s a quick hug.
Time and place are important, too. I have noticed that my teenage stepdaughter is open to more affection when our family is all together in the privacy of our home. When watching TV for example, we often snuggle close with popcorn, laughs, and affection to share.
Some dads have found it helpful to have a daddy-daughter date every so often. Whether it’s once a week or once a month, the consistency of a focused time together strengthens the relationship and shows you care enough to take time out just for her.
2. Communication
Have you noticed your daughter is different in some ways from her mother? Every woman is unique. Become a student of your stepdaughter. Ask yourself: What is her favorite kind of music? What makes her happy? What makes her angry? What’s she hoping for? Who are her friends? Part of becoming a student of your daughter is determining her language of love. Does she seem to appreciate it more when you do things for her … or with her … or when you present her with a gift?
Regardless of the dialect, try to figure out what speaks love to your daughter. Then practice communicating love the way she “gets it.” Develop a strategy to communicate love….
One strategy is letters. She probably doesn’t want to listen to a lecture, so why not try writing her a letter. List the topics you want to share with her and begin. You may start with one letter a week. You could write about how proud you are of her dedication to band practice, or your concern over her sad mood lately, or the sweet way she sings along with the radio while doing her homework. Find something positive to lift her up and let her know you are paying attention. Even though communication and writing letters (not emails!) may be difficult for you, it’s worth doing.
But if you think verbal communication is sort of overrated, try non-verbal communication. I try to come up with creative ways to communicate with my stepdaughter. I might place small notes on her mirror, in her textbook, or hide them under her pillow during the day. You might buy yours her favorite ice cream flavor, put it in the freezer, and leave her a few written clues to find it.
Or try talking with built-in distractions. Teens often don’t communicate the way adults do. the aren’t as confident as we are. If they have a built-in distraction, they may feel more secure. For example, you might have noticed that some of the best conversations occur in the car. That’s because at any given moment, if the discussion gets uncomfortable, your daughter can say, “Hey, look at that!” and easily change the subject. It’s safe.
One dad likes to go to restaurants that have crayons and coloring sheets and grab one for everybody. He’s found that his stepdaughter really opens up when she is coloring, sipping on a shake, and chatting with someone who listens … even if it’s just him. Dads, make sure you take the time to communicate how you’re feeling. Let her see that you have emotions. For many females, the only emotion they see in a male is anger.
Prepare your daughter for a healthy marriage and a healthy relationship with you by letting her know how you feel. If you are feeling stress from work, admit it. If you are worried about her, tell her. Open your heart to the little girl still inside your teen.
3. Commitment 
Some dads have the zeal and the information, but if they’re lacking the commitment, it won’t happen. 
How does a father demonstrate commitment to his daughter? By loving her when she is the most unlovable. Unconditional love reflects commitment … “I will always love you; no matter what.” Those teen years provide ample opportunities to test your unconditional love. Maybe that’s why God designed it that way. When our daughters need it the most, they make love the hardest to give. If you’re like me, sometimes I just don’t feel the unconditional love I need to show. I have to first go to my heavenly Father. That is part of His design.
Show your commitment by affirming your daughter. or stepdaughter. Affirm her distinctiveness. Accept and affirm that she is different from you. Accept and value her perspective. A practical way to affirm your daughter might be to give her a gift that says, “You are special.” You could give a book or Bible with your note of affirmation written inside; something like: “May God’s Word guide you as it has me. It is my prayer that you will continue to grow as a woman of God. Your mother and I are proud of you.
We need a generation of women who are loved, confident, understood, and valued. As fathers and stepfathers, we can be shapers of the next generation of women. The challenge is to give our daughters what they really need.
STEPcoach, Bob Collins
Published in: on December 9, 2011 at 12:56 pm  Comments (1)  

Out of Africa — Truth

[This interesting article is respectfully borrowed from]

Akumaa Kicks Against Sex Before Marriage

Ace radio sex educationist and presenter, Akumaa Mama Zimbi, born Joyce Dongotey-Padi, has started what can be described as a campaign against those who find delight and believe in the idea of having sex before marriage.

For several years, the veteran actress has been noted for promoting a good sex lifestyle. But this time, she seems to have shifted her attention to the appropriate time to have good sex; and according to her, that is after marriage.

Mama Zimbi has hence been begging young girls and unmarried individuals to stay away from sex prior to marriage. She implored ladies to close their thighs and be watchful of men who were always s ready to have sex, pleading with men to flee the temptation of women until marriage.

Mama Zimbi, who has been hosting ‘Odo Ahumasuo’, an adult education sex programme on Adom FM, has taken her cause to social network, Facebook. She recently posted, “How many guys have toasted, tested and tasted you and promised that they will marry you? Close those beautiful thighs of yours, and save the rest for the best person who will honour you. No marriage no sex…medaase…”

“Let her know that you are a changed guy now and you refuse to always give in to her temptation. Flee and let her know that no marriage no sex,” she said to the guys. Zimbi’s comments have generated a lot of varying opinions on Facebook. While some supported Akumaa’s call against sex before marriage, others kicked against it.

“Mama Zimbi please don’t pollute the minds of our ladies let them enjoy themselves,” one Adjei Augustine commented. “No tasting no buying. If you won’t allow me to taste then how can I know the palm wine is flesh and taste nice?” another guy, Danny White questioned. A lot of couples say they live together before marriage to see if they are compatible as they don’t want to divorce later.

Unconfirmed statistics however show that those who live together before marriage are more likely to get a divorce than those who do not. Mama Zimbi was last in the news for telling Beatwaves that she witnessed live a couple having sexual intercourse.

Akumaa is also the CEO of a widow’s organization called Widows Alliance Network (WANE) which has over the years focused on sustaining the economic development of widows and educating them as well.

Published in: on November 1, 2011 at 2:53 pm  Leave a Comment  
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