3 Parents, 1 Baby…New Canadian Law Is Game Changer

When a child is born, and parents are filling out the birth certificate, there are normally two lines; one for the mother and one for the father. But, it’s 2014 and family dynamics are not necessarily as black and white as two lines suggest. With so many different possible scenarios for what constitutes a family, a change in Canadian law now provides for multiple parents to be recognized as the legal parents of a child.

The couple always wanted the donor to be more than just a donor, and that’s exactly what they now have. The three spent time before the child was conceived writing up the parenting contract and making sure all three knew the roles they would play in their child’s life.

“Both of us, from the beginning, wanted to have a father that would actually be a participant,” said Wiley.

“I know a lot of other lesbian couples don’t want that. They want an anonymous donor. But both of us liked the idea of somebody who could actually be involved, and who could be a father figure to our children.”

Kangro, an old friend of Richards, seemed like the obvious choice.

“When Anna and Danielle approached me, I think instantly I thought I was going to say yes, even though I had to debate a lot of things in my head first,” said Kangro.

Before Della was conceived, the three started creating a written contract, outlining how their family would work.

Wiley and Richards would have custody of Della, as well as financial responsibility.

Kangro would be a guardian, with rights to access.

To read the full article, click here.

Perspective From A Stay At Home Dad

Being a stay at home parent is not an easy task. For some, it’s a completely new transition from a traditional career to a career as a parent. Staying home is work, and like or not, it’s just as much as a “job” as going to an office and working 9-5, in some cases, harder. Stay at home parents have traditionally been women, but men staying at home shouldn’t be overshadowed, because there have always been dads that took the role seriously and who enjoyed being home to raise their kid(s) while their spouse or partner was being financially responsible for the family.

With so many unique parenting situations that are being the norm in our society, men are stepping up and wanting to fulfill the stay at home role. In a parenting perspective blog we found, a stay at home dad opens up about his comfortability in his role-reversal with his wife. This is an example of a tradional heterosexual married couple, but we thought his insights to being a man that stays home to raise his kids were cute and on-point. The parents were able to negotiate switching roles back and forth. The full blog can be found here.

As a stay-at-home dad, I have learned not only patience but also the guitar, not only how to juggle priorities but also how to roll spheres on my body as a street performer in downtown Fargo.

My wife has been busy as well, adding writing and birth work as a doula to her professional bag of tricks.

There are noses (and butts) to wipe, but there are also games to play, books to read, and social skills to develop. The dishes, the sweeping, the drudgery and the joy appeared to be never ending.

Yet as all things must, and this too has passed.

Last summer, after several rounds of spousal negotiations, we decided to switch roles once again. I would seek full-time employment of the paid variety, freeing Janelle to pursue her work as a doula and writer (on top of the myriad cares and concerns of being a stay-at-home mom to 6-year-old Dylan and 4-year-old Julia.

A good friend asked me a while back if it was hard to be working full time again, and I laughed and laughed. It is so much easier than staying at home!

For one thing, people arrive on their own in the morning fully dressed and presumably having eaten a healthy breakfast. We can only wish for such amazing self-direction from our children. I never have to ask anyone at work if they need to use the restroom before we leave for lunch. So easy!

New Parenting Trends; Hit or Miss?

New “parenting trends” are always emerging and although some might be useful or inspirational, others are just plain silly or fun. With trending being the new trend, for lack of a better description, we share with you some upcoming new parenting trends for the new year. Do you think any of these will actually take off? Let us know via twitter or our Facebook page.

Postpartum corsets: Celebrity post-baby body stories seem to be fueling a new trend — mom corsets. New moms are very interested in these old-school body shapers to shrink hips and tummies after a baby, even if some of them come with a pretty hefty price tag.

Baby teeth jewelry: Discussions are popping up about commemorating the big moment when their grade-schoolers lose their first tooth by turning it into jewelry, such as a rings, pendants, charm bracelets and necklaces with crystals. According to the site, listings have popped up on Etsy.com offering an array of different ideas of ways to turn baby teeth into wearable jewelry.

Preconception pineapple core and/or pomegranate juice: Women trying to conceive have long looked for different methods and even tricks to speed up the process. The pineapple core and pomegranate juice trend is based on the idea that both aid in implantation.

Skull theory: New moms are buzzing about skull theory, in which people guess the baby’s gender based on its skull shape. The increase in early ultrasounds and the growing interest in gender reveals have certainly influenced this trend.

Birthday boom: Half-birthdays are shaping up to be the “it” milestone of 2014. Parents are sharing their baby’s milestones with a wider audience, and celebrating in increasingly creative ways. Considering the rise in half-birthday celebrations, there’s also an increased use of birthday crowns — from simple leaf garlands to elaborate handmade creations — to accessorize and personalize a child’s birthday.

via BabyCenter.Com

Parenting Style Linked to Kids’ Internet Addiction

New York (Reuters) – Recollections of strict, unaffectionate parents were more common among young adults with an unhealthy attachment to Internet use, compared to their peers, in a new Greek study.

Young adults who recall their parents being tough or demanding without showing affection tend to be sad or to have trouble making friends, and those personality traits raise their risk of Internet addiction, the researchers say.

“In short, good parenting, including parental warmth and affection, that is caring and protective parents, has been associated with lower risk for Internet addiction,” said lead author Argyroula E. Kalaitzaki of the Technological Education Institute (TEI) of Crete in Heraklion, “whereas bad parenting, including parental control and intrusion, that is authoritarian and neglectful parents, has been associated with higher risk for addiction.”

Research on Internet addiction is still relatively new, and there are no actual criteria for diagnosing the disorder, though there are many inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities in the U.S., Australia and Asia.

Some of the studies done to date suggest that kids who have trouble relating to others in person might be at higher risk for a problematically high level of Internet use. Those who are socially withdrawn or lonely might also be more likely to spend excessive time online.

Kalaitzaki’s team predicted that the way kids bonded with their parents would predict aspects of their personality as young adults, which in turn would predict their likelihood of Internet addiction.

For the study, more than 700 young adults at technical schools, all around age 20, filled out questionnaires during class time. They answered questions about their feelings of loneliness, sadness and anxiety, and about their Internet use. They also answered questions about how they recalled being brought up during their first 16 years of life.

In Greece, previous studies have found that between 1 percent and 8 percent of teens are addicted to the Internet. The current study classified almost 2 percent of the men and 0.6 percent of the women as severely addicted, according to the results published in Addictive Behaviors. The authors did not find a link between anxiety or loneliness and Internet addiction, nor could they directly link any particular parenting style with addiction. But Kalaitzaki and her colleagues did find indirect connections. The kids who remembered their fathers as controlling and not affectionate tended to have more trouble relating to others as young adults, and those who had trouble relating to others were more likely to be addicted.

Those who remembered their mothers as just not being very good parents were more likely to report sadness as young adults, which was also linked to Internet addiction.

“Parents should be made aware of the harmful impact that a potential negative parental rearing style may have upon their children in later life,” Kalaitzaki told Reuters Health.

Kalaitzaki studies interpersonal relationships and psychotherapy in the Department of Social Work at TEI. Other international studies suggest that Internet addiction may harm a person’s mental and physical health, she said. Those who go online excessively tend to be distressed, tense, nervous and irritable, and to have trouble sleeping and fatigue.

“This discussion is of large interest for the technological society at large, given that Internet addiction is related to a medium present in virtually all homes and not regulated, like drugs of abuse,” George Floros, who studies the emerging addiction at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki in Greece, told Reuters Health.

“Parents would do well to examine the kind of model they present,” said Floros, an adjunct professor of medicine. “Being preoccupied with technology to the detriment of social contacts is something we are seeing more frequently in young parents and this offers a negative model for their children.”

Problematic parenting can go one of two ways, both of which might up the risk of Internet addiction in theory, he said. Overly permissive parents might use the Internet early on as a way to give up responsibility for the kids – an unattended child in front of a computer requires less effort from the parents than an active, present child. On the other hand, overly controlling parents can end up with kids who rebel or turn inwards, which might also lead to excessive Internet use, he said.

“Parents that identify their children to have some symptoms of addiction, like excessive time spent online or need to spend increasingly longer periods online, inadequate sleep and fatigue, apathy, nervousness, or irritability when offline, impairments in relationships and schoolwork or employment, should contact a health care professional as soon as possible,” Kalaitzaki said.



NY Landmark Court Ruling For Parenting Partnership Adoptions

Two friends in New York who have known each other for over a decade have been attempting to become parents together. The friends are not in a romantic relationship, nor do they live together. Their ideal situation was to be in a committed parenting partnership. After attempts at pregnancy, the friends were unsuccessful in getting pregnant, and decided to adopt. After a long process of waiting, one of them was granted a child from Ethiopia. Since the friends were not a couple or living together, only one parent was able to legally adopt the child. This is where it gets interesting.

When they returned to the U.S., the pair petitioned Manhattan Surrogate’s Court to have LEL named as a second legal parent, even though they don’t live together and are not romantically involved.

Manhattan Surrogate’s Court Judge Rita Mella ruled that a couple who are not romantically involved are legally allowed to adopt a baby, the first ruling of its kind in New York.

In a landmark ruling, Judge Rita Mella did so. (For the privacy of all involved, names were shortened or changed)

“From the moment they met G,, more than two years ago now, KAL and LEL have functioned as her parents,” the judge wrote in a decision from last month.

“G. calls KAL ‘Mommy’ and LEL ‘Daddy,’” and “although they live in separate households,” they “have created a nurturing family environment for G., including a well-thought-out, discussed and fluid method of sharing parenting responsibilities between their homes.”

Mella agreed, and used a 2010 state statute allowing “intimate partners” to adopt as a basis for allowing the couple’s the adoption to proceed, noting that the phrase can mean a close, long-term relationship.

She also cited the findings of the social worker who observed the family in action, and determined that “even though their relationship is not based on what many consider a traditional family, they exhibit a love and respect for one another and clearly cherish the family they have created.”

Techno Parenting

It’s 2014 and new technology is only going to keep coming at us, at a rapid pace. It seems like every day there is a new gadget being introduced to the world. And the realm of parenting is no exception to the tech world. New devices and products are being aimed at parents, and parenting styles are changing and adapting to the ongoing tech trends. There are devices that allow parents to monitor breathing, skin temperature and even the body position of the child. There is even live streaming audio from baby monitors to mobile devices now. Parents using them are obviously wanting the best for their children, but is having an abundance of technology assisting you while raising a child helpful or harmful?

What do you think? Click here to read the full article.

Things Not To Say To Your Kids

We have all been over to a friend’s house and heard them talking to their kids. At times we might have questioned why some of our friends were saying certain things to their children. We might have even played out the scenario in our heads, changing the way the dialogue went. But how do we know if what we are saying to kids or intend to say to them, is right or wrong?

We came across this great blog post by Shelly Phillips. In the post, she lists common phrases that should never be said to a child, and has her alternatives to use instead. Are we thinking way too much into this, or does what she say have some validity? Below are a few of the phrases she recommends not saying to your child.


“Good job!”

The biggest problem with this statement is that it’s often said repeatedly and for things a child hasn’t really put any effort into. This teaches children that anything is a “good job” when mom and dad say so (and only when mom and dad say so).P

Instead try, “You really tried hard on that!” By focusing on a child’s effort, we’re teaching her that the effort is more important than the results. This teaches children to be more persistent when they’re attempting a difficult task and to see failure as just another step toward success.P

“Good boy (or girl)!”

This statement, while said with good intentions, actually has the opposite effect you’re hoping for. Most parents say this as a way to boost a child’s self-esteem. Unfortunately, it has quite a different effect. When children hear “good girl!” after performing a task you’ve asked them for, they assume that they’re only “good” because they’ve done what you’ve asked. That sets up a scenario in which children can become afraid of losing their status as a “good kid” and their motivation to cooperate becomes all about receiving the positive feedback they’re hoping for.P

Instead, try “I appreciate it so much when you cooperate!” This gives children real information about what you’re wanting and how their behavior impacts your experience. You can even take your feelings out of it entirely and say something like, “I saw you share your toy with your friend.” This allows your child to decide for himself whether sharing is “good” and lets him choose to repeat the action from his internal motivation, rather than doing it just to please you.P

“What a beautiful picture!”

When we put our evaluations and judgments onto a child’s artwork, it actually robs them of the opportunity to judge and evaluate their own work.P

Instead try, “I see red, blue and yellow! Can you tell me about your picture?” By making an observation, rather than offering an evaluation, you’re allowing your child to decide if the picture is beautiful or not, maybe she intended it to be a scary picture. And by asking her to tell you about it, you’re inviting her to begin to evaluate her own work and share her intent, skills that will serve her creativity as she matures and grows into the artist she is.P

Stop it right now, or else!”

Threatening a child is almost never a good idea. First of all, you’re teaching them a skill you don’t really want them to have: the ability to use brute force or superior cunning to get what they want, even when the other person isn’t willing to cooperate. Secondly, you’re putting yourself in an awkward position in which you either have to follow through on your threats—exacting a punishment you threatened in the heat of your anger—or you can back down, teaching your child that your threats are meaningless. Either way, you’re not getting the result you want and you’re damaging your connection with your child.P

While it can be difficult to resist the urge to threaten, try sharing vulnerably and redirecting to something more appropriate instead.“It’s NOT OK to hit your brother. I’m worried that he will get hurt, or he’ll retaliate and hurt you. If you’d like something to hit, you may hit a pillow, the couch or the bed.” By offering an alternative that is safer yet still allows the child to express her feelings you’re validating her emotions even as you set a clear boundary for her behavior. This will ultimately lead to better self-control and emotional wellbeing for your child.P

“Don’t cry.”

Being with your child’s tears isn’t always easy. But when we say things like, “Don’t cry,” we’re invalidating their feelings and telling them that their tears are unacceptable. This causes kids to learn to stuff their emotions, which can ultimately lead to more explosive emotional outbursts.P

Try holding space for your child as he cries. Say things like, “It’s OK to cry. Everyone needs to cry sometimes. I’ll be right here to listen to you.” You might even try verbalizing the feelings your child might be having, “You’re really disappointed that we can’t go to the park right now, huh?” This can help your child understand his feelings and learn to verbalize them sooner than he might otherwise. And by encouraging his emotional expression, you’re helping him learn to regulate his emotions, which is a crucial skill that will serve him throughout life.

How To Prevent A Bully

A huge fear for parents is sending their kids off to school. They can’t be there to protect them from other kids or situations that may hurt them. With bullying being so talked about on the news and media, which it should be, parents are now fearing that their child may be the victim of bullying at school. But what if your child is the bully? That thought is just as scary to parents, or even more so because the damaging effects bullying can have on a child can last a lifetime. So how do you prevent your child from becoming a bully?

In her book Bullied: What Every Parent, Teacher and Kid Needs to Know About Ending the Cycle of Fearauthor Carrie Goldman draws from the work of several scholars and shares information on parenting practices that can help prevent bullying – as well as those that can actually foster bullying behaviors. Here are a few examples of risk factors and protective factors that Goldman shares in her book:

Risk Factors  Kids who bully others are more likely to experience:

  • Frequent and inconsistent punishment
  • Harshness, rejection or neglect from their parents
  • Cruelty, maltreatment and domestic violence
  • Low parental warmth
  • Low family connections and cohesion
  • Limited parental involvement in school

Protective Factors – Parents of well-adjusted kids tend to:

  • Use effective monitoring
  • Communicate warmth, love and a sense of belonging
  • Get actively involved in their child’s school activities
  • Set appropriate, consistent boundaries
  • Have expectations for their children
  • Communicate regularly with their children’s teachers


A Thanksgiving Thank You

It’s almost Thanksgiving! Wow, this year is coming to a close. What are you thankful for this year? We are thankful for a wonderful year of FamilyByDesign. A year where more and more of you were introduced to us and the concept of parenting partnerships. It’s been an enlightening year for some on the topic, and we couldn’t be happier to be spreading the word. We were fortunate this year to be featured on several television segments, radio shows, as well as print and online newspaper and magazine articles. We even had a segment about FamilyByDesign on a Brazilian television news show. Nothing makes us more proud than to provide a forum for future parents to meet and get to know each other, and potentially form a parenting partnership. We have an amazing community of experts who are available to answer questions for members and help guide anyone who is considering entering into a partnership with someone.

As the year comes to an end, and new goals and resolutions are made, maybe it’s time to make your future parenting resolution to yourself?  Is next year the year that you truly focus on finding a parenting partner. Or maybe it’s the year that you begin the process of becoming a parent. Whatever your goals and resolutions are for the upcoming year, we wish you nothing but the best and hope that we can always be a resource for you to use.

We want to thank our members for being a part of our growing community. We have lots more coming in the next year and look forward to sharing it with all of you.

Happy Thanksgiving,


‘Generation Cryo’ Premieres Early

MTV has released the first episode of the new dock-series, Generation Cryo, a week early via the MTV app. The network’s app is available on iPhone, iPad and Xbox 360 for Xbox Live Gold members in the U.S. Generation Cryo, a six-episode, one-hour docu-series, follows the journey of 17-year-old Breeanna, who recently learned that she and at least 15 half-siblings were fathered by the same sperm donor. The new effort explores the issues faced by young people conceived through anonymous sperm donations.

The series is garnering attention from critics as it deals with a very real subject and the potential results of anonymous sperm donors. Next year, Vince Vaughn will take the lead in the film Delivery Man, an adaptation of award winning Canadian film Starbuck, which portrays a man who discovers he has fathered 533 children as a result of his anonymous sperm donations.

More from THR below.

According to MTV, the early effort is paying off. The MTV app saw a 47 percent increase in installments week over week when the network launched Wait ‘Til Next Year on the app exclusively. An initiative tied to the Miley: The Movement documentary, which unlocked two clips from the film that debuted on the app, pushed app installs to increase 82 percent week over week. VH1 also placed the TLC biopicCrazySexyCool: The TLC Story on the VH1 app during the week following its TV launch and generated 1.4 million streams of the film and other content related to the girl group.

Generation Cryo will also air on MTV’s international channels in March 2014.

The series is produced by Off the Fence, with Michael Lang, Ellen Windemuth, Marshall Eisen, Nomi Ernst Leidner, Betsy Forhan and Dave Sirulnick executive producing.