March #AskGretchen: Moving & Kids, Gratitude & God, Divorce & Dating with Kids

#AskGretchen - Let's Get RealDear Gretchen: I am a mother of four, and we just moved to Studio City from San Jose, CA. My two older kids are not transitioning well. They miss their friends. They hate their new school. And, they may even hate me. What can I do to make this easier for all of us? – Miserable in Studio City, CA

Dear Miserable: Transition is hard. Fear of the unknown triggers almost everyone, no matter the age. Your kids will come around. They are adjusting, and so are you. They are powerless over their situation and frustrated that they didn’t have any say in the move. Give them some of their power back. Let them make choices about things they would like to try, places they would like to go, and activities they would like to get involved in. If they don’t want to do anything, don’t push too much. Give them some time to adjust. – Gretchen

Dear Gretchen: I have a great life. I am married to a wonderful partner, I have three kids who are doing well, I have a good job, a nice home, and money in the bank but I don’t feel as grateful as I think I should. Any suggestions? – Hollow in Tucson, AZ

Dear Hollow: My gratitude is directly proportional to my spiritual connection. For me, I connect with God each morning. I get up before the rest of the house is awake, and I do some spiritual reading. Then I journal and ask God what He wants me to know about the day. I follow it up with prayer. My routine so inspired my kids and husband that they started getting up to join me. We pray together now as a family, and it sets the tone for our day. I feel more connected. When I feel more connected, I can get out of myself and be of service to others and see all (or most of) the good in my life. I also write a daily gratitude list. Sometimes it is basic and includes things like my washing machine and dryer, food in the refrigerator, and my bed and other times it includes so much more. But it always helps me to refocus. If God isn’t your source, figure out what is and learn how to connect to it. You will feel much more fulfilled. – Gretchen

Dear Gretchen: I recently got divorced and have met a man who I like quite a bit. I have two kids, ages three and seven. When should I introduce them to my boyfriend? – Head Over Heels in Tacoma, WA

Dear Head Over Heels: Give your new relationship some time to see if it sticks before getting your kids involved. While a new relationship offers a hefty dose of self-esteem after a divorce, it can also be a Band-Aid covering up a host of unresolved feelings that will surface soon enough. If you are still together in a year and feel that the relationship is building into something healthy and stable, then introduce your kids. As a child of divorced parents, I can say from experience that there is no need to bring your boyfriend around if he isn’t a keeper. It will just cause uncertainty in your children and it will also give them ideas about what “love” looks like. Make sure the ideas they pick up from your relationships are the kind you want them to carry into adulthood, because they will. Your relationship patterns will be the model on how they behave in their relationships for years to come. – Gretchen

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