News Filed Under Family Dynamics
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- On the heels of a heated political season, make family peace a priority during the upcoming holidays.
Alisha Hardman, an assistant professor in the Mississippi State University School of Human Sciences, said holidays offer opportunities for family members to enjoy one another and make memories to last a lifetime.
"Some families have more trouble than others when it comes to controversial or sensitive subjects," Hardman said. "If something cannot be discussed in a constructive manner, it may be best to avoid the topic altogether."
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Family service providers know that parenting is never easy, especially when the children are not your own.
The Mississippi State University Extension Service is teaming up with the Mississippi Department of Human Services Division of Family and Children’s Services to provide workshops on topics such as parent/child communications, helping children cope with change, and coping with stress, depression and anger.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- The foundation of a healthy marriage rests on the solid ground of communication.
Karen Benson, an agent of the Mississippi State University Extension Service in Neshoba County who conducts family life programs, said couples are able to grow closer emotionally when they open up about their hopes and needs.
“Conflict is inevitable, but marriage does not have to be a struggle,” she said. “We learn to negotiate and learn more about ourselves when we work out solutions to conflicts.”
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- One of the most difficult tasks a parent or provider will face is guiding children through the grief and instability brought on by tragedy.
Natural disasters, terrorism, mass shootings, deaths of loved ones, or acts of domestic or physical violence are traumatic for everyone. When faced with these events, children and adults alike experience feelings of fear, helplessness and anxiety. However, children have very little, if any, experience in properly dealing with those feelings.
STARKVILLE, Miss. -- Grandparents provide a loving, low-cost and flexible alternative to center-based child care for many families across Mississippi. The benefits to the parents, children and grandparents in these situations are significant for many reasons.
Nearly 11 million children under the age of 5 in the United States go to some type of child care for an average of 36 hours each week. Some children are in multiple child care settings because of their parents’ nontraditional working hours.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Most spouses know to give romantic gifts on Valentine’s Day, but the gift of time spent developing a healthy relationship is one that will last much longer than a box of chocolates or bouquet of flowers.
Cassandra Kirkland, family life specialist with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said strong marriages are built on common-sense, positive habits.
JACKSON – An elaborate ceremony punctuated with a white dress and gift registry is no longer reserved for couples marrying for the first time.
“With about 40 percent of couples remarrying, our society has become more accustomed to second marriages,” said Carla Stanford, a Mississippi State University Extension Service agent in Pontotoc County. “In the past, if either member of the couple had been married before, there was not a lot of pomp and circumstance surrounding the marriage. But today, people may go all out.”
JACKSON – Family gatherings, marathon cooking sessions and shopping trips induce waves of anxiety instead of moments of joy for some.
“Some families feel a lot of pressure to create the perfect holiday experience by buying the latest toys for the kids, traveling to visit extended family, and attending every party,” said Cassandra Kirkland, family life specialist with Mississippi State University’s Extension Service.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – In the rush of parties, shopping and decorating, families can enjoy traditions that bring some predictability to the craziness that often comes with the holidays.
Carla Stanford, Pontotoc County agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, said a tradition can be almost anything, but smaller is sometimes better.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The best way to avoid an infamous wedding disaster is to have a supervisor who is able to anticipate factors and think fast when the unexpected occurs.
Karen Benson, an area family and child development agent with the Mississippi State University Extension Service, has been on both sides of wedding challenges. After directing several weddings for other couples, she gained planning experience last fall as the mother of the bride.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Many Americans resolve to improve their physical health each new year, and experts at Mississippi State University suggest it is also a great time to focus on healthier relationships.
MSU Extension Service family life specialist Cassandra Kirkland said the new calendar year brings opportunities for fresh starts in many areas of life, including marriage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- As news shows bombard the public with reports of senseless violence, young eyes are also watching as adults struggle to handle the information.
News of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Connecticut will receive tremendous coverage throughout the holiday season. Families may need help as the entire country recovers from the tragedy.
MISSISSIPPI STATE -- Recognizing the expanding career fields related to families, Mississippi State University will offer new graduate studies in the upcoming fall semester.
MSU’s School of Human Sciences will offer advanced degrees in Human Development and Family Studies, an interdisciplinary approach to the study of children, youth and families. The program encompasses specialty areas in infant and child studies, youth studies, family studies, family resource management and gerontology.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Valentine’s Day is supposed to be about love and romance, but gift exchanges can leave some sweethearts feeling anxious instead.
Susan Cosgrove, area family resource management agent in Newton County with Mississippi State University Extension Service, said homemade gifts are an inexpensive option and can be even more meaningful than store-bought ones.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Couples who want to avoid one of the most common argument topics should begin their relationships with total financial honesty.
Joe Wilmoth, assistant professor of human development and family studies in Mississippi State University’s School of Human Sciences, said many surveys reveal that finances are the No. 1 source of conflict in a marriage.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – While wedding receptions are intended to be a time of celebration for just-married couples, the event might not be so enjoyable for younger guests.
Jennifer Russell, Leflore County child and family area agent with Mississippi State University Extension Service, suggested offering kid-friendly activities and accommodations at the reception. When planning the reception, consider how many children will be in attendance and the ages of the children.
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Stepfamilies face unique challenges during the holidays, but with a little effort and a lot of patience, families can create memories instead of mayhem.
Joe Wilmoth, an assistant professor in Mississippi State University’s School of Human Sciences, said people come into the holiday season with high hopes. These are compounded by the unrealistic expectations stepfamilies often have for their relationships.
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – Planning a wedding can be stressful for any couple, but when the bride or groom has divorced parents, the process can be even more challenging.
By Cheree Franco
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – In the chaos of organizing a wedding, brides and grooms sometimes overlook how tough the transition may be for their furry, feathered and hoofed friends.
Blending pet families can be stressful for both humans and animals, but foresight and attention to detail help ensure a successful adjustment.
By Karen Templeton
MSU Ag Communications
MISSISSIPPI STATE – The pressures of the holiday season can be challenging for anyone, but for divorced parents and their children, this time of year can be particularly stressful.
“Divorce is tough on the whole family, and issues that it causes can get amplified during the holidays,” said Cassandra Palmer, a professional counselor working in Starkville. “Parents generally do not want to miss any time with their children, and the children can pick up on negative feelings the parents are experiencing.”