This can be a difficult and uneasy situation to be in. First, we would calculate the gestational age of your pregnancy based on the first day of your last menstrual cycle, and then verify the age by ultrasound. Some women have been able to determine paternity just by figuring out the date of conception.
If that is not helpful, there are both pre-natal and post-natal tests available to determine the father of your baby. Most tests can be performed by your OB or hospital.
No matter what the result, please remember: You have value. You are worthy. You matter. And so does the precious life growing inside of you.
If you need someone to talk with or even just someone to listen, please reach out. At Clarity, we know that every pregnancy is unique, whether planned or unplanned, and we want to get to know you and your unique situation. Visit or contact the center nearest you.
Raising children is an exciting time in the lives of parents. There are a multitude of happy, fun filled first events that occur such as first birthdays, learning to walk, losing the first tooth, going to school for the first time, etc. But there are also challenges that parents will be faced with during the formative years of their child’s life. Raising healthy, happy children doesn’t happen by accident. It takes diligent effort on the part of loving, persistent parents to face the good challenges as well as the not so good challenges as they walk down the paths of life with their child.
One defining skill that parents would be wise to teach is that of good communication. According to Merriam-Webster.com, communication is defined as, “a process by which information is exchanged between individuals…” Good communication skills practiced by parents not only sets an example that a child can learn to pattern in his or her own life, but also becomes critically important during the teenage years to help keep the lines of communication open and clear between parents and teens.
Just as all people have different personalities, all people also use different styles when it comes to communication. These various communication styles include:
- Passive Communication: a person is hesitant to communicate and express their true feelings because they want to be pleasing to others.
- Aggressive Communication: a person overpowers the conversation and states exactly what they are thinking without giving any thought to those to whom they are speaking.
- Assertive Communication: a balance between passive and aggressive communication
Assertive communication skills are not always easy to implement, but children of all ages can be taught this method of communication. This is especially important to aid children and teens in setting their own personal boundaries and helps empower them to speak up for themselves. Learning assertive communication skills also helps children and teens to say no to things that could cause harm to their holistic health such as drugs, alcohol and pornography.
Here are a few ways to help children and teens strengthen assertive communication skills as outlined by Protectyoungminds.org.
- Identify the communication style that you are most often modeling in the home. Make a conscientious effort to model the assertive communication style in order to set a positive example.
- Teach kids to put a label (i.e. frustrated, angry, happy, sad) on their emotions by giving them vocabulary to use when they are communicating their feelings.
- Teach children to communicate with I-statements in order to communicate directly, honestly and respectfully without blaming others.
- “I feel ___________when you________. Please___________.”
- “I feel frustrated when you want me to hurry up, but I can’t find my shoes. Please help me.”
- Let kids practice speaking for themselves. Let them voice their opinions over the dinner table, order their own food at a restaurant, talk to their teacher about a missing assignment, etc. All of these experiences will help them to build confidence when it comes time for them to be an assertive communicator when it comes to “saying no” to peer pressure scenarios.
- Explain to children that they are valuable and help them to learn to set personal boundaries by role playing situations that they might find themselves in where they need to use assertive communication skills. Take turns being on different sides of the issues and then discuss if their responses were too passive, aggressive or assertive.
Remember communication is a key concept when raising children. This becomes increasingly important as they grow into the teenage years and spread their wings of independence. Be a proactive parent by modeling assertive communication skills in the home. Teach kids to speak up for themselves and learn to say “no” to those situations that verge on crossing their personal boundaries. You can do this, and we are here to help!
We live in a culture where most are constantly plugged into digital devices. There are few, if any, individuals that are not connected to social media in some manner or another. What first appeared to be the cutting edge of technology has grown into a massive monster that now monopolizes our thoughts, time and energy.
No longer can parents, teachers, coaches, counselors and others that are influential with children stick their heads in the sand and ignore the growing problems involved with social media. Even those that were in on the ground floor of creating this new technology at its onset have recognized the eventual pitfalls and have started to rally cry the dangers that exist*. Open and honest discussions about the dangers of social media must take place to safe guard the hearts and minds of the youngest consumers of this ever-growing product. Here are just a few topics you can discuss with children to help aid online safety in the enormous world of online media:
- Stanger Danger-Communicate with kids that many people that they interact with online may not be who they say they are. Predators are out there looking for victims, and children are highly susceptible to falling for their tricks. Be wise and monitor your child’s Internet usage!
- Cyberbullying-Talk to kids about the act of cyberbullying and how it can be harmful to others. Some kids may not even realize that they are participating in this activity. Cyberbullying is defined as, “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices”. This includes sharing private and/or personal information about someone that causes shame or embarrassment for someone else and commonly occurs via social media sites such as Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter, etc. It can also occur via SMS (short message service) text messaging, email and instant messaging via apps. Repeated acts of cyberbullying can have lasting and irreversible effects on the self-confidence of a child’s heart. Make sure your child understands what cyberbullying is and encourage them to refrain from participating in this activity.
- Electronic Footprint- Remind kids that everything that they post online can be viewed by friends and foes. An online presence creates a public record (also known as an electronic footprint) which is accessible by schools, employers, colleges and anyone else that is actively researching a person. Whatever is posted online is permanent and can be retrieved from the cyberworld if it is ever needed. Children need to understand that an inappropriate picture snapped today can have lasting consequences down the road.
So, what’s the solution to living in this new age of technology? Is merely talking to kids about the dangers enough? How does one use technology, but not become obsessed and addicted? How does one prevent their kids from becoming isolated in a world of apps? The start of the solution is to simply unplug. Taking a break from digital consumption can open up a world of possibilities for rest, rejuvenation and exploration not only to kids, but also to adults.
While unplugging long term may be an unrealistic goal in this modern day, intentionally unplugging for a span of time can serve to help the physical, mental and social health of individuals. A good way to start this process is to participate in the National Day of Unplugging. In 2018, over 60,000 people from across the globe intentionally unplugged from their devices for a 24-hour period from sundown to sundown. As a result of unplugging for just 24 hours, many reported positive responses. According to the National Day of Unplugging website, “over 90% reported that their participation increased their awareness about their personal digital consumption and that the NDU raised their awareness about the importance of reclaiming time to connect with loved ones.” While unplugging for 24 hours may not solve all the problems associated with the dangers of social media, it is a good way to start to learn the practice of self-discipline. It also allows people time to spend time with other people face to face and focus on things that really matter. How about giving it a try before the next official day and see what unplugging can do for you and those that you love?
*Common Sense Media is a not-for-profit organization that promotes safe technology and media for children. Check out their website to learn more about how this organization is attempting to reform the tech industry to help improve the digital lives of children.
Pregnancy and planning for a baby can be stressful, and not having a strong support system can add even more stress to your situation. Clarity Pregnancy Services is here to help with emotional, physical and moral support as you go through your pregnancy and that help will continue after your baby is born. At Clarity, we have a large network of individuals, churches and businesses that provides support that allows us to be able to provide that support at no cost to you.
We can help with maternity clothes, a safe place for your baby to sleep, car seat, baby shower in a bag and other material assistance. Our staff and volunteers at Clarity are here to support you throughout your pregnancy and after the birth of your baby.
In addition to the services offered at Clarity, there are other area agencies that we can connect you with to help you have a safe and healthy family. Among others is Embrace Grace, a local pregnancy support group offered through Tuesday Connections here in Columbus. (They actually have a new group beginning Tuesday, August 28th! Check out the Tuesday Connection site for more details)
You can stop by a Clarity location, call or email us, and you will reach someone who cares. No matter your circumstance, Clarity is here to help provide material needs as well as emotional support!
As parents, guardians or mentors, we often desire to guide children to healthy and bright futures. In this high tech, social media-focused age, we are competing with so many voices and influences speaking in children’s ears. So, what can we, as parent/guardians or mentors, do to encourage children to seek us for open and honest answers to their important questions?
It may be helpful to know what Clarity’s I Decide For Me program, teaches students to look for in a “Go-To” Adult:
- This person must be age 18 or older.
- This person has the student’s best interest at heart
- The students spends time with this person on a regular basis
- This person is making healthy life choices
As parents, guardians or mentors, applying some of the following practices may encourage youth in your life to identify you as their “Go-To” Adult:
Model healthy choices:
- This would include food and exercise as well as tobacco and alcohol consumption. How our children see us behave, will give us credibility to advise them.
Balance family and work:
- Involve kids in weekly planning
- Sit down for family discussions at least twice a week
- Set aside at least 10 minutes at a time to have a one-to-one conversation with each child
- Have a device-free dinner
Model community involvement:
- Plan family activities to give back to the community
- Participate in community events
- Have children observe you treat others with respect, dignity and kindness
Our society desires a healthy, strong future. Our children are that future, so it is critical that they are not only physically healthy, but mentally healthy as well. Parents, guardians and mentors play an imperative role in this process.
The following websites are great resources for families and parenting:
Just thinking about “the talk” brings so many thoughts and emotions to the surface. You may be thinking, “It seems like just yesterday he/she was born!” The truth is, children are growing up quickly and learning things at an earlier age than ever before. The idea of children learning about their bodies and other intimate topics from peers at school or even the media can be frightening. Children are curious, so let’s do more than hope and pray they come to us when they have questions.
Parents are the most reliable source for trusted information for children. A perfect time to begin important conversations is when changes happen to their bodies. We can approach body growth changes positively and with understanding. Puberty is such an amazing part of growing up, so empowering our children to love the person they are becoming is important. Using resources such as kidshealth.org can help parents explain the changes that are occurring and reassure children how normal it is. This resource specifically aids parents in talking to their children. It even offers articles for kids to read for themselves. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services also has a great webpage to help cover some of the physical changes bodies go through during puberty.
Once the topic of body changes has been introduced, a natural pivot in conversation to more intimate topics is possible. Let’s face it, we should have lots of talks throughout the teen years on the topics of respect, relationship building, boundary setting, etc.
No matter the timing of the talks, we need to remember to keep having them! Teaching our children to respect themselves is so important, particularly in today’s culture. We unfortunately live in a time where pornography is widely accepted as being the norm. Pornography degrades body image and teaches a false sense of intimacy. The following source will prepare you for a conversation that will hopefully keep pornography out of sight and out of mind. Covenant Eyes
The I Decide for Me program offered by Clarity teaches children the value they have and how to make healthy choices that will positively impact their lives. It provides education about the importance of abstinence and establishing safe and healthy boundaries. Not only is it a wonderful resource for our children, but it can also be used as a tool to further conversations about sexual health at home.