Blog: Other People's Children®

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Parenting TechniquesOctober 21, 2021

What It Means To Recognize Our Children Have Agency

I have been reading through a federal review of Missouri’s foster care agency. The headlines are alarming, proclaiming that Missouri lost track of many children in its system. When I read the review, however, it became clear that the vast majority of the missing “children” actually are teenage...

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Childhood TraumaOctober 19, 2021

Our Children's Trauma Does Not Control Their Future

“No,” my foster daughter patiently explained. “I can go to college without getting good grades. I can write a killer essay about how my dad deserted us, my mom is a drug addict, and now I live with you old people who don’t understand me. I have more than enough victim points to make up for...

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ResilienceOctober 14, 2021

One Important Way to Show Children How to Resist Bullying

When I was a young adult, I got a letter from an old schoolmate apologizing for some of her behavior during our school days. The letter surprised me, mainly because I had no memory of the incidents that she described. I realized that I probably had been the victim of her bullying, but it didn’t...

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BullyingOctober 12, 2021

How to Teach Empathy to Children with Trauma

One common theme in advice about how to respond to a child who is bullying another is to concentrate on teaching empathy. That task is easier said than done, and it can be particularly hard with a child who has suffered trauma. If you find yourself in that situation with one of your children...

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Parenting TechniquesOctober 7, 2021

How to Respond When Your Child Is the Bully

Another problem that we can face with traumatized children is that they can become the bully in a given situation. Children who have suffered trauma, particularly violent trauma, can learn the message that they have to be the one in power to avoid abuse. Or they can unconsciously...

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Parenting TechniquesOctober 5, 2021

How to Help When Your Child is Being Bullied

October is National Bullying Prevention month, so we will hear a lot about the topic over the next few weeks. If we parent children who have suffered trauma, our children are at high risk of being bullied. Their trauma makes them vulnerable, and vulnerable children are at much higher...

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Parenting TechniquesSeptember 30, 2021

How To Reduce Burnout By Letting Go of Decisions

While we are talking about the importance of not trying to be perfect, let’s consider a common problem of deciding on consequences for rule violations, particularly when you and your spouse don’t agree. It’s a common area of conflict between parents, but I have learned that it also...

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Parenting TechniquesSeptember 28, 2021

One Key Reason that We Burn Out as Parents

One of the common themes I hear, and have experienced, about raising other people’s children is how exhausting it can be. Parenting any child is difficult but stepping into a child’s history has its own sets of stressors. I have long thought that a big part of the problem is the high standards

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Step-parentingSeptember 23, 2021

Another Reason That Step Parents Are Important

 One of the principles that I constantly encourage is to realize that, while we as stepparents are not the people who are supposed to be in a child’s life, we should never apologize for the fact that we are the people who are there. We are making a commitment to our children, and we should...

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Media AppearancesSeptember 22, 2021

Listen to My Conversation with the Aging Out Institute

Check out my visit to the AOI podcast, which concentrates on preparing foster children for independence and adulthood. We discussed such topics as how to let teens safely learn from their mistakes, the importance of logical consequences, and how to give kids a glide path to becoming...

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ResilienceSeptember 21, 2021

Ways to Build Resilience in Young Adults

Young adults recover from childhood trauma through a combination of supportive relationships and self-reliance, according to a survey of 13 previous mental health studies. The total sample size was small, only 277 young adults, but the small population allowed researchers to ask...

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ResilienceSeptember 14, 2021

Less-Than-Perfect Parenting Is Good For Our Kids

I often wonder what some of my now-adult children think about my blog posts, given that they lived through many of the mistakes that I have made. I imagine them rolling their eyes and saying, “It would have been nice if she had done that way back then.” And they are right. It would have been...

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ResilienceSeptember 9, 2021

Ways to Help Build Resilience

As we look at resilience this month, some mental health articles offer some interesting data about how we can help children exposed to adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). An older study of sexually abused girls had a small sample size, but gathered information from in-depth interviews...

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ResilienceSeptember 7, 2021

Building Resilience by Building Relationships

September is National Suicide Prevention Month, an important issue for those of us who work with children who have suffered trauma. To help long-term with depression and anxiety, we need to find ways to help our children build resilience. Life is going to throw hard things their way in the...

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Parenting TechniquesSeptember 2, 2021

Why I Look for Low-Maintenance Consequences for Children

In my last post, I discussed the doctrine of logical consequences for motivating kids. In this post, I want to discuss the importance of low maintenance consequences that impact your child more than you. I have always had jobs that take a lot of my time, and many popular parenting...

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Media AppearancesSeptember 1, 2021

Listen to the OG Inspiration Podcast

Check out my wide-ranging conversation with Dr. Odell Glenn about my book and the life lessons I learned from my foster children and stepchildren.

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Parenting TechniquesAugust 31, 2021

How to Use Logical Consequences with Children

Sometimes it’s hard to motivate kids to develop good habits and follow house rules. The technique that is easiest for us, nagging and lecturing, only works (at best) for a short time. Our instinctive response to just lecture longer and louder doesn’t help and can make things worse. To make any...

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Childhood TraumaAugust 26, 2021

How to Help Our Children Untangle Their Emotions

One of our dogs is a rescue, and her early life experiences have left her a bit anxious and high-strung. Whenever we come home, she spins in circles, vocalizing her displeasure that we left without her in the first place. One afternoon, my youngest stepson was watching her antics and...

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Parenting TechniquesAugust 24, 2021

How to Respond to "You Are Not My Parent!"

One of the hardest things to hear from one of our kids is “You are not my parent! You can’t tell me what to do!” Stepparents and foster parents usually hear that in the middle of an argument about house rules, boundaries, or advice. I never heard that reaction from my stepsons, but I heard...

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Media AppearancesAugust 19, 2021

Join Me On The Other Side of Potential

Check out my visit to Sharon Spano's podcast, The Other Side of Potential. We discussed childhood trauma, how to be a Plan B parent, balancing responsibilities, and many more themes from my book.

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Media AppearancesAugust 17, 2021

Keeping It Together . . .

I enjoyed my podcast visit on Conversations with Toni, whose motto is "Keeping It Together, One Podcast at a Time." Check out our conversation...

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Childhood TraumaAugust 12, 2021

The Trap of Blaming Other People

The first Friday-the-13th of every year is “Blame Someone Else Day.” This year, that day is this week. I love these made-up holidays because they give me an opportunity to think about things that I usually overlook. This humorous day is a good reminder...

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Parenting TechniquesAugust 10, 2021

Don't Forget About the Quiet No-Problem Child

This Thursday is National Middle Child Day, a good time to think about the children in our families who tend to get overlooked. Now, I don’t know that middle children really do get overlooked. Dr. Alfred Adler’s famous theory about birth order...

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Foster ParentingAugust 5, 2021

Important Principles of Accommodating Childhood Trauma

Finding good educational accommodations for children with trauma requires thinking outside the usual box. The techniques that teachers and administrators are used to implementing often do not help our kids. We have to explain that trauma can cause children to feel unsafe and to be on...

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Media AppearancesAugust 4, 2021

Radio Show Appearance

I spend an enjoyable hour talking to Donna Seebo on her radio show. Listen to it in her archives here. Search for Show #2841 on July 22, 2021.

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Childhood TraumaAugust 3, 2021

Insisting on Accommodations for Children With Trauma

The school year will start soon, or already has started. Children with trauma have a very hard time fitting into routines, and we need to be prepared to advocate for them with whatever schools they attend. I have never recommended being a helicopter parent, but...

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Media AppearancesAugust 2, 2021

An International Podcast

I participated in my first international podcast a couple of weeks ago, talking to Grainne O'Kane with Divorced or Separated Parenting. Check out the series (look for 3 shows) on Google or Audible.

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 29, 2021

Why It Is Important to Build a Family Team

One technique I’ve stumbled across to help build relationships in step families is to think of the family as a team. A lot of parenting sites and advisors talk about family teamwork, and I’ve learned that it can help step families even more...

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Media AppearancesJuly 28, 2021

Stories of Inspiring Joy

Join me on "Stories of Inspiring Joy," where I talk about what I have learned from my foster parenting and step parenting journey...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 27, 2021

Knowing that Someone Somewhere Cares About You

“Hey, Debbie.” The voice on the telephone was a little strained, but very familiar. Alicia had been placed with me when she was sixteen and had lasted about six months before she ran away for the final time. It had been almost a year since I had heard from her...

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Media AppearancesJuly 26, 2021

Listen to the Blended Family podcast

I had a wonderful chat with Melissa Brown of the Blended Family podcast. Check out our conversation here, or subscribe on your favorite podcast player.

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Foster ParentingJuly 22, 2021

The Challenges of Parenting Gifted Foster Children

Gifted children pose a unique challenge for foster parents. By definition, they have suffered the trauma of losing their biological family, and that trauma may have led to other emotional or developmental problems. Add giftedness to that mix, and we have to...

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Media AppearancesJuly 21, 2021

Being a Plan B Parent

Check out this video from my law firm about the lesson in my book that being a child's Plan B Parent can be pretty wonderful...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 20, 2021

Maybe Your Problem Child is a Gifted Child

I read on the Internet (so it must be true) that this week is National Parenting Gifted Children week. I can’t find any current celebrations, but it was still a good reminder of an often-overlooked explanation for behavior problems. Our difficult child may not...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 15, 2021

More About How to Respond to "It's Not Fair"

Sometimes a child’s complaint about fairness is just not liking a rule or not understanding what being “fair” actually means. Sometimes, however, the core message of “that’s not fair” is that the child doesn’t think we love him or her. If this is the message...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 13, 2021

How to Respond to "It's Not Fair!"

Last week, we discussed what we should tell ourselves when our kids claim we are being unfair. So this week, let's talk about what we say to our kids. Responding to "it's not fair" is particularly difficult when we are trying to blend step-siblings or transition a foster...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 12, 2021

Don't Forget This Free Parenting Summit

Do you want to learn how to break unhealthy generational parenting cycles, up-level your parenting skills and parent with confidence? Find out how are in the “Chaos To Calm Parenting Academy”- and oh by the way, I’m a guest speaker! This free Masterclass Series is...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 8, 2021

More Thinking About "It's Not Fair!"

As we are thinking this week about being fair to all of our children, let’s first recognize that being fair is an illusion. Rather, we need to be just and that trait requires responding differently to each of our children’s unique needs...

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 7, 2021

Chaos to Calm Parenting Academy

If you want an in-depth online course about breaking the cycle of frustration and discouragement in raising other people's children, check out the upcoming "Chaos to Calm Parenting Academy." It's free and I'm a guest speaker.

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Parenting TechniquesJuly 6, 2021

How to Think About "It's Not Fair!"

One of the most common complaints our kids throw at us, and one of the hardest to handle, is “it’s not fair.” Children often see us as treating another child as “the favorite.” Even biological children will accuse us of...

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Step-parentingJune 24, 2021

Why Quality Time is Essential to Stepparenting

An essential component to forging a solid relationship with our stepchildren is to spend quality time with them. There as many theories of how and when and what to do as there are researchers, therapists, and dictionaries. For this post...

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Media AppearancesJune 23, 2021

Join Me and SoloMoms! Talk

I enjoyed talking to the delightful J. Rosemarie Francis about my experiences as a single foster parent...

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Step-parentingJune 22, 2021

Why Sacrifice Is Crucial in Stepparenting

Taking care of other people’s children requires a lot of sacrifice, and our stepchildren often don’t recognize our efforts for quite a while. But, just like biological children, if we hang in there long enough, our children eventually will develop the...

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Parenting TechniquesJune 17, 2021

Foster and Stepfathers are Uniquely Important

This week before Father’s Day is a good time to look at the importance of stepfathers and foster fathers in families. If our children have biological fathers involved in their lives, we need to do what we can to encourage that relationship...

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Media AppearancesJune 16, 2021

Catch this Podcast to Learn How to Step Into Our Children's Lives

Check our my interview with C.J. Peterson at “The Journey is Real.” We had a wonderful time discussing how to step into our children’s lives.

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Step-parentingJune 10, 2021

How to Be a Weekend Bonus Parent with Full-Time Step-siblings

Having your stepchild in your home only part-time can be a challenging situation. It can be particularly difficult when one group of children primarily lives with you, but their step-siblings are there only part of the time. How do you meld...

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Media AppearancesJune 9, 2021

Empowering Resilience Podcast

Join me and my friend Rhonda Sciortino as we talk on her podcast, Empowering Resilience, about the lessons I've learned and recounted in my new book, Raising Other People's Children...

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Step-parentingJune 8, 2021

How to Be A Weekend Bonus Parent

One common dilemma for stepparents is how to handle rules when your child lives with his/her other parent most of the time. How do you handle being only a weekend parent? My experiences as a foster parent taught me a few important...

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Foster ParentingJune 3, 2021

The Need for Foster Parents to Have Enforceable Rights

I was happy to see this article about my friend, Gaile Osborne, and her work for a foster parents' Bill of Rights in North Carolina. Relatively few states give foster parents any status in the system. Most jurisdictions treat foster parents as...

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Media AppearancesJune 2, 2021

Conversation with Foster Care Nation

Jason Palmer is fascinating and experienced, and I had a great time comparing notes with him...

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Media AppearancesJune 1, 2021

Happy to Join "Everything Always"

I had a great conversation with Summer Mulder on the Everything Always podcast about blended families and my new...

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Parenting TechniquesMay 27, 2021

Seven Tips for Less Stressful Vacations

As we head to the end of the school year, many of us start thinking about a family vacation. Our family loves to travel, and we have always taken a collection of younger relatives and friends along with us. Here are some techniques that we have learned over the...

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Media AppearancesMay 26, 2021

Podcast Visit

I had a great time talking to Dionne Sanchez with Words of Heart...

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Parenting TechniquesMay 25, 2021

Four Ways to Lessen Chaos in Your Family

This time of year is always busy, with the end of school and trying to plan for the summer. This year we have the added stress of navigating the ever-changing and contradictory advice about recovering from the pandemic lockdown...

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Foster ParentingMay 20, 2021

How to Care for Foster Parents

One of the questions that I often hear is how the community can help foster children and foster parents. My immediate answer is to consider becoming a respite care provider. Those families provide care to a foster child for only a few days

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Parenting TechniquesMay 19, 2021

Can You Make The Necessary Commitment?

The foundation of raising other people's children is being able to make a one-way commitment to a new family and to children who may or may not like you.

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Foster ParentingMay 18, 2021

A Story of Unfair Accusations Against Foster Parents

It’s every foster parent’s nightmare — being accused of abusing a foster child. I read a story this week of one happy ending after new medical evidence cleared a foster mother of breaking a 6-week-old baby’s leg. I understand her...

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ResilienceMay 13, 2021

Historical Study: Children with Stepparents Lived Longer

We have all heard the fairytale stereotypes about evil stepparents. The common expert explanation was that parents have a natural evolutionary tendency to favor their biological children over stepchildren. An interesting new study...

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Parenting TechniquesMay 11, 2021

How to Live in Peace With Your Teenager

Teenagers generally are the toughest audience for a stepparent or foster parent. Younger children are at a developmental stage where they are more likely to want a relationship with you and will accept you more readily.

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May 6, 2021

How To Navigate Mother's Day with Different Sets of Children

One common problem with Mother’s Day and Father’s Day that I don’t see discussed often is what to in complex stepfamilies where different sets of siblings have different biological parents. The usual result is that one set of...

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May 4, 2021

How To Be The Person Who Is Not Supposed To Be There

Today is National Foster Care Day, the first Tuesday in National Foster Care Month. It also is always a week or two before Mother’s Day. This year, because of the way the days landed on the calendar, the two events are only a few...

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Parenting TechniquesApril 29, 2021

What to Do When You Hate Mothers'/Fathers' Day

When raising other people’s children, it’s easy to start hating Mothers’ Day and Fathers’ Day. It’s a bit like being single on Valentine’s Day. All of the attention goes to biological parents, and foster parents or stepparents are left on their own...

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Parenting TipsApril 27, 2021

Don't Let Mothers' Day Sneak Up on You

It’s time to start planning ahead for Mothers’ Day (May 9) and Fathers’ Day (June 20). Those days are always difficult ones for those of us raising other people’s children. Even if we want to ignore both days as mere “greeting card”...

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BullyingApril 22, 2021

Family Resilience Traits May Help Prevent Bullying

In my quest to find good anti-bullying programs, I ran across a survey analysis concluding that family resilience factors may help. We know from other studies that if our children have suffered numerous Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), they also have a high...

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BullyingApril 20, 2021

Can We Find Anti-Bullying Programs that Work?

As I’ve noted before, helping our children avoid bullying is a complicated question. Sometimes, what our children face is not bullying, but just plain old conflict that our children need to learn how to face. Negative feedback is a normal part...

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Parenting TechniquesApril 14, 2021

The Importance of Sibling Connections in Foster Care

In continued honor of National Siblings Day, I want to talk for a bit about one of the biggest losses that our foster children face, which is losing track of their siblings. It is hard to find statistics, but I have seen estimates that anywhere from one-half to two-thirds of...

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Parenting TechniquesApril 13, 2021

How to Help Stepsiblings Get Along and Keep the Peace

I am late recognizing that Saturday, April 10, was National Siblings Day. It reminded me that one of the most difficult parts of blending families is helping our kids get along with each other. I didn’t have biological children when I married...

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Media AppearancesApril 12, 2021

A Conversation about "Raising Other People's Children"

I had a great conversation with Shelley Tyson on her podcast, Cultivate Legacy, and you can hear it here. We talked about the similarities between foster parenting and step-parenting, and my stories of lessons learned in my upcoming book, Raising Other People's Children.

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Parenting TechniquesApril 8, 2021

How to Handle Different Rules for Different Homes

“My mom doesn’t make me do that!” We’ve all heard it. Our child’s biological parent has different rules, and our child likes those rules better than ours. It is very easy to get into a battle of wills or to criticize their parents’ rules. Those...

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Parenting TechniquesApril 6, 2021

Embrace the Power of "And"

Being a foster parent or stepparent can be a complicated task and there are few simple and easy solutions to the challenges we face. Several years ago, however, I stumbled across a simple technique that transformed my approach...

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Podcast InterviewApril 1, 2021

Podcast Interview About My Upcoming Book

I had a great time talking to Jen Rogers on her podcast, Blended on the Bluff...

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Mental HealthMarch 31, 2021

Using the ADA to Help Our Children Cope with the Pandemic

As parents deal with the effects of various lockdowns on our children, we need to consider whether we can harness the power of the Americans with Disabilities Act to help them as they return to school, camps, and youth organizations...

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Adverse Childhood ExperiencesMarch 30, 2021

How to Respond When Our Children's Memories are Wrong

I ran across an outstanding article that describes how children can form actual, real memories of things that they never witnessed. In this article, the memories were benign and positive (activities with a deceased grandfather), but the...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 25, 2021

"The Supreme Efficacy of Pity" and Kindness

It’s Tolkien Reading Day, set for today because in The Lord of the Rings, the heroes managed to overthrow the villain on March 25. In allowing his characters to triumph, however, Tolkien underscores another continuing theme in his books...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 23, 2021

"This Task Is Appointed for You"

This week we celebrate Tolkien Reading Day. I have been a fan of J.R.R. Tolkien’s work since I discovered it in college. I started The Lord of the Rings, like many projects, because the guy I was infatuated with at the time liked the book...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 18, 2021

Dealing with the Effects of Coronavirus Lockdowns

The pandemic and ill-advised school lockdowns have taken a toll on our children, and another survey adds more detail to what we know. The University of Michigan recently conducted a survey of parents nationwide, who reported significant...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 11, 2021

Strong Commitments Require Strong Boundaries

In this series, I’ve talked about how our commitments to our children have to be strong and one-way. It is easy to conflate that truth into believing that we must unconditionally commit to our children. In reality, no emotionally healthy...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 9, 2021

Making a Strong Commitment Requires That We Know Our Limits

In this series, we’ve talked about the importance of making strong commitments to our children, and that we have to be willing to make one-way commitments. However, one-way does not mean unlimited. Each of us has different skill sets...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 4, 2021

Our Commitments Have to Be One-Way

I was really irritated. It had been a long day, my foster daughter had pitched a fit because I wouldn’t take her shopping, and now my dog was missing. I knew the dog was inside the house, just as I knew that I had been right in the...

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Parenting TechniquesMarch 2, 2021

Commitment is Stronger than Love

One night shortly after my marriage, I went to tell my new stepson good night. During the conversation, he asked, “Debbie, when you and Dad split up…”. I interrupted him to say that we wouldn’t be spitting up. “OK,” he resumed...

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ResilienceFebruary 25, 2021

Building Resilience by Connecting to Family Stories

I recently found an article about an intriguing study at Emory University finding that children who knew more about their family history show higher levels of well-being. I cannot locate the original 2010 study, and while I have found related...

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Parenting TechniquesFebruary 23, 2021

How To Be The Mentor Rather Than The Villain in Your Family Story, Part 2

This post is the last (for now) in a series about how we can be the mentor in our blended families’ stories rather than the evil stepparent. If we can start displaying some of these characteristics, we will have a better shot at developing a...

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Parenting TechniquesFebruary 18, 2021

How To Be The Mentor Rather Than The Villain in Your Family Story, Part 1

In my last post, I discussed how children think in narratives, and how the only slots available for us as stepparents or foster parents are either the villain or the mentor in their story. In this and my next post, I want to look at more...

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Parenting TechniquesFebruary 16, 2021

Where We Fit In The Stories Our Children Tell Themselves

One of the hardest parts of raising non-biological children is fitting into their narrative. Humans are story-telling animals. For thousands of years, we have used stories to teach, learn, and make sense of our reality. Our children have done...

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Parenting TechniquesFebruary 11, 2021

The Importance of Balancing All of Our Commitments

As we move toward Valentine’s Day, it is a good time to remember the importance of keeping all of our commitments in balance. It is easy as parents to make our children our only focus, and to forget that those commitments are not the...

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Parenting TechniquesFebruary 9, 2021

Why You Should Make Your Marriage Your Top Priority

This week before Valentine’s Day is a good time to remember why those of us with bonus children need to make our marriages our top priority -- even more of a priority than our children. As parents, we know that we need to put our...

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Adverse Childhood ExperiencesFebruary 4, 2021

Resilience and the Power of Connections

Another major factor in helping children develop resilience is helping them make connections with other people. We are social animals and are hardwired to be part of a community. Many studies have noted the importance of support...

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ResilienceFebruary 2, 2021

The Importance of Resilience and the Power of Plan B

As rates of depression and anxiety skyrocket during the pandemic, helping our children develop resilience is more important than ever. Putting external guardrails in place is important in preventing suicide, but the only long-term...

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Mental HealthJanuary 28, 2021

Student Suicides

The New York Times has published an outstanding article about the increase in student suicides during the pandemic. Although it is impossible to definitively link the increase to locked-down schools, there is a very strong correlation...

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Mental HealthJanuary 26, 2021

Swedish Study: Adults Who Spent Time in Foster Care Fared Worse than Non-Fostered Siblings

A recent study from Sweden raises serious questions about how foster care impacts children. Most studies of the foster system suffer from the problem that children placed in foster care are unlike non-placed children in so many ways that...

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Parenting TechniquesJanuary 19, 2021

How to Set Healthy Boundaries in Your Family

One of the hardest balancing acts in building a new family is setting healthy boundaries. We know that vibrant relationships require some level of self-sacrifice, but if we sacrifice too much of ourselves the relationships become...

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Foster ParentingJanuary 14, 2021

Three Things Not To Worry About This Year

According to the Internet, January 17 is “Ditch Your New Year’s Resolutions Day.” I have no idea who created the day or why. But it’s on the Internet, so it must be true. Because I like the one resolution I made this year (to be more boring)...

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Self CareJanuary 12, 2021

My Resolution for 2021: To Be More Boring

Now that our children are adults, we have the luxury of enjoying our empty house. Of course, my husband and I always will have projects. We both have jobs, and I (ahem) have a new book coming out in May (available for preorder now!)...

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Foster ParentingDecember 10, 2020

How To React When Your Children Ignore You During the Holidays

In the crush of taking care of our families during the holidays, we need to take care of ourselves as well. An important part of that is to be prepared if our kids overlook us. The first few times my foster children ignored me in the...

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Foster ParentingDecember 8, 2020

Why You Should Worry About Presents for the Other Parent

One controversy that surprised me after I married was buying presents for my stepchildren to give to their mother. As a foster parent, I never questioned that I needed to help my children strengthen whatever relationship they had with their...

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Parenting TechniquesDecember 1, 2020

How to Parent Children Of Different Faith Traditions

Those of us parenting a child who started life in another family already know the challenges of navigating the holidays this time of year. Another minefield some of us face is the many different winter holidays for different faiths. If one of...

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Parenting TipsNovember 24, 2020

Why You Shouldn’t Worry About Teaching Gratitude

This time of year, I read and hear lots of questions about how to teach children gratitude. Parenting magazines and websites are filled with suggestions and techniques, all adding yet another thing to our lists of what-we-are-supposed...

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Foster ParentingNovember 19, 2020

Surviving — And Thriving — During the Holidays With Foster Children

In my last post, I discussed some ways to meet the challenges that blended families face during the holidays. If you are a foster parent, you will face the same challenges, only more so. With step-children, they are with at least one of their...

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Step-parentingNovember 17, 2020

Surviving – And Thriving – During the Holidays

November and December can be stressful times for blended families. The Norman Rockwell holiday ideal surrounds us, and our favorite traditions inevitably clash with someone else’s. What is supposed to be a season of gratitude and...

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ResilienceOctober 20, 2020

We Cannot Let Our Children’s Trauma Define Them

In this season of COVID and demonstrations, I have been struck by the continual insistence on treating people as victims of “the system.” I first encountered this philosophy when I was in law school, where I learned about Critical Race Theory.

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