Parent’s Corner – Me & My Stepson




Dear Sue Ellen,


I got remarried last year and my 12-year-old stepson moved in with us a month ago.  He is a total brat when he’s with me and acts angelic when he is with his dad.  I tried to talk to my husband about it but he doesn’t believe me when I explain how his son behaves when nobody else is around. What should I do?




Dear Pat,


You are in a very difficult situation.  Did you know what you were getting into when you married your new husband?  Never mind; it’s too late to undo things.  The easy answer is to get family counseling, but I know it’s not likely for you because your husband is in denial.


The best of blended families deal with daily stress in their lives.  Research shows that children growing up in blended families are at a much greater risk for abuse than children that grow up with their birth parents.  But in your case, it sounds like you could be the one at risk for abuse.  To resolve this will take time and cooperation between the three of you.  This kind of situation can destroy families.   Are you willing to commit to building a relationship with your stepson?


This 12-year-old in your home is still just a little boy and you are a new parental unit in his life.  Do you love him?  If the answer is yes, then there is hope.  Even if you don’t especially like or love him right now, there is still hope if you are willing to open your heart to a confused child, even when he is being a brat.


Would it be possible to sit down with your husband and stepson together and express your concerns?  You could come from the point of view that you want your new family to get along.  Ask them if they have any suggestions for ways to make it better between you.  I hope things work out for you.



Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner- Christmas Magic Lost and Found


Dear Sue Ellen,


Last week our 10-year-old son told my 5-year-old daughter that Santa isn’t real. I think it has ruined Christmas for her this year. It has taken the fun out of it for all of us. I would like to find a way to bring back the Christmas spirit.




Dear Cheryl,


You can bring back the Christmas spirit to your family this year.  Here are some things to think about.  It’s the celebration of a miracle birth that is the most precious gift we will ever receive.  During the Christmas season, we hear beautiful holiday music, we see dazzling lights nearly everywhere we look, and people reach out to each other with assorted gifts and talk of peace and goodwill toward men.  Who doesn’t love the smell and taste of Christmas cookies and holiday cuisine?


We all experience holiday stressors: squabbling kids during the school break, the holiday shopping frenzy, weight gain, and concerns about spending too much money.  In spite of all the demands on you, do something special for yourself.  After a long day of holiday busyness, take a moment to walk outside.  Look up and see the wonderment of the night sky.  If you just relax and stand quietly, you will feel something in the air.  The hustle and bustle of the day has surrendered to an air of calmness and peace.  That is pure magic.


Don’t limit your family to Santa as the reason for the season.  Search for the magic.

This is your opportunity to teach your kids to love Christmas beyond Santa.  The holiday memories you make with your children will last them a lifetime.  When they are grown up, with families of their own, your children will (hopefully) laugh about the year your daughter was told Santa wasn’t real.


Dear readers, if you’ve experienced a Christmas miracle, would you be willing to share it with us?  Please email your Christmas miracle to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.  I look forward to hearing from you!


Merry Christmas!

Family Violence Unit Experience Significant Hike in Calls

BELL COUNTY – Aware Central Texas works with victims of abuse and violence in central Texas. Their Family Violence Unit, which started in 2012, works directly with abuse victims to help them out of their situation.

The Family Violence Hotline number is 254 813 0968.

While the Family Violence Unit is always busy, they see a significant spike in the summer, and during the holiday season.

“We see about a fifty percent spike,” FVU Director Ednalyn De Dios said. “It has been going on for at least three years now. We know there is definitely a pattern and we prepare for it.”

De Dios said the pressure of family expectations in the holiday season, pressure to provide presents or spend money even when things are tight, can make already struggling relationships turn abusive or violent.

De Dios also said there are different types of abuse and it does not have to be physical. Some abuse can be via manipulation. It can also be verbal.

Those stuck in an abusive situation have several options to get out, however.

According to AWARE, there are more than seven shelters in the area where those fleeing violence can go.  De Dios said there are programs such as Crime Victims Compensation which pay for three months rent for the victim to relocate.

The victim may also protect themselves through a protective order, which will require the abusive individual to stay away from them. To do this, the victim has to file an application with the local district clerks office. The Family Violence Unit can help with that process.

Abuse does not always have to end in separation however. The Family Violence Unit can also refer families to domestic violence classes where they can work to form healthier relationships.

If you or someone you know needs help from the Family Violence Unit, contact them at the number at the top of the article.


Parent’s Corner – Christmas Makes me Sad


Christmas Makes me Sad



Dear Sue Ellen,

I wish I was different, but Christmas makes me sad.  My family doesn’t get along and I don’t have the money to buy my kids the things they want.  What is the point of it all?



Dear R.K.


To hear that you (and others) are sad during the holidays makes me sad too.  I wish there was something I could say or do to eradicate that emotion from everyone battling it during this season of expectations and celebrations.


Since I can’t accomplish what I wish to do, can we reflect on the point of it all instead?

Retailers all over the world would say the point is spend, spend, spend.  Teachers and students would agree it’s about the winter break. People of faith would say it’s a religious celebration.  Neighborhoods would claim the most important thing is determining who has the best holiday lights. Musicians would maintain it’s about the music, and artists would say it’s about the art.  Friends would uphold the expectations of holiday parties.  It seems to me everyone has expectations of what the holidays should be.


What are your expectations for the holidays?  To be sad?  Have you considered changing your expectations?  Your children may not remember the presents they did (or didn’t) get for Christmas, but they will remember if you are sad or not.  If your sadness during the holidays prevents you from baking cookies with your kids, or putting up a Christmas tree, or singing carols with them in the car; you might be more than just sad about unmet expectations.  If you struggle with navigating through the season in a positive and productive manner, you might be depressed. Perhaps you should seek mental health counseling; there’s no shame in it.  A good therapist will give you a new set of coping skills for times when you feel an overwhelming sadness.  Depression is a common problem for lots of folks during the holidays.  Is that you?


Give yourself and your family the gift that keeps on giving all year long.  Get help.





Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Parent’s Corner – How Far Should We Go?


Parent’s Corner




Dear Sue Ellen,

My kids are teenagers now and they have everything they need, but they act like my husband and I don’t do enough for them.  We love our kids, but I think we may have gone too far with giving them everything they want.  I am thinking about skipping Christmas this year.  Do you think they would get the point?

Curious Mom


Dear Curious Mom,


I’m not sure I get the point.  We all have different expectations of Christmas; usually based on family traditions, or time with friends and loved ones.  I don’t think kids having stuff (or not having stuff) is bad, but what we teach our kids about the holidays is important.  We teach them by our actions, rather than what we say.  If you give your kids everything they want and you feel guilty about it, what are you teaching them about giving gifts?


Some people think shopping and gift giving is a lot of fun.   Others would prefer to avoid it altogether.  Here’s a suggestion. Shift your focus to doing something special together instead of giving (or not giving), gifts.  Your kids may love the idea of taking a cool family trip as an alternate way to celebrate the season.  Okay, I get it.   They could hate the idea, so here’s another thought.  Do it anyway.  Let them pout, bow up, roll their eyes or sulk.


I have met families that dote on their kids and give them everything they want.  Are you and your husband like that?  (Be honest with yourself.)  The kids of those parents end up being self-centered brats that everyone dreads seeing.  Of course, we are all too nice to tell those parents to their faces what we think about their over-indulgent parenting, so we shake our heads and let out a heavy sigh of relief when they leave.


You want your children to be more grateful for the things you and your husband give them.  How far are you willing to go to make that happen?  Take all their stuff away, sell your house and move off the grid?  Just think…you and your kids could build your own outhouse and have family bonding time during the construction.  The holidays are what we make of them.  Whatever you decide to do, please make happy memories doing it.  That is what your kids will remember about the holidays; not the stuff piled high in their rooms.


Please email your parenting questions to and put “Parent’s Corner” in the Subject line.

Sponsorships for 2016 Christmas on the Farm!

Without these guys, we couldn’t offer COF as a low cost event to the public. Thank you and please utilize their services or buy their products. We are so thankful for our sponsors!!

Seton Medical Center Harker Heights  

Brett Pritchard PC 

Carlson Law Firm 

Baylor Scott & White 

Belltec  Industries

Metroplex Foundation 


Texell Credit Union –

Texas A & M Central Texas – .

Connell & Associates –

Don Ringler Chevrolet – Texas Best Chevy Dealer –

Bradfield Properties – .



Hugh & Debbie Shine –

Wire Rope Industries


Beechem Equipment –

Strasburger Enterprises –

Bill & Michelle DiGaetano-

R.T. Schneider Construction –

Progressive Protective –

Belton Feed & Supply –

Salado Methodist Church –

Armed Services YMCA –

Wings, Pizza & Things –

DWM First Christian Church –

Extraco Insurance

Temple Founder Lions Club

Special thanks to Jersey Mikes, Coufal Prater & Bragg Trailers & Walmart Distribution!