Ultimate List of OVER 50 Family Board Games- Family Bonding, Survive the Winter, Learn Life Lessons, Endless Fun, and Great Gifts!

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This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

I LOVE board games and card games!! Love, love love them. So much.

Not only are they a ton of fun, but they teach all kinds of life skills to kids. 

In my time working with children, I have spent countless hours playing board games and card games- as an intentional therapeutic technique. During these games, I taught children skills including but not limited to:

  • Cooperation
  • Winning Graciously
  • Loosing Graciously
  • Perseverance
  • Strategy
  • Creative Thinking
  • Problem Solving
  • Social Skills
  • Following Rules
  • Numbers, Shapes, Colors, Letters
  • Patterns/Matching Skills
  • Eye-Hand Coordination
  • Fine Motor Skills
  • Verbal and Nonverbal Communication
  • Sharing and Taking Turns
  • Waiting
  • Focus
  • How to Have Safe and Clean Fun
  • How to Be Excited without Being Crazy
  • Planning Ahead and Consider Consequences
  • Learn from Previous Experiences

Obviously, board games and card games are wonderful for children!

boy playing jenga

Now, all this learning doesn’t just come without a little help from a parent. It’s your job to:

  • Point out these lessons so that the child is cognitive of them. It’s easy to let life lessons slip by! Don’t let that happen to you. Make sure you are actively and intentionally teaching the child through the natural play experiences that come from board games.
  • Help the child. Most games will be tough for a child at first, but as the child gets better and better at the game he will become more independent. Make sure you slowly withdraw your help as the child learns more and more.
  • Remind the child of previous experiences to aid recollection and strategy.
  • Work through emotions with the child. Winning and losing is highly emotional.
    • It is stressful and frustrating to lose. Kids don’t naturally know how to handle tough emotions like that. They will need mom or dad’s help to learn how to cope.
    • On the flip side, winning can cause pride and boasting. There is a balance here- it is good for kids to feel pride when they accomplish something that they worked at, like winning a game. Guide the child to win in a gracious way, without making others feel bad. 
  • Teach the rules. Every game is different, and it’s not easy for kids to keep the rules straight. This can be a cause of contention among children if they disagree on what the rules are.
  • Set up social experiences. Provide your child with play dates, time with friends, family night, and other awesome social experiences to practice all these great skills taught by playing board games!

It’s SOOO fun and SOOOO beneficial to kids to play board games and card games.

white and blue car toy on top of orange game board

And an added bonus—- Board games and Card games make AMAZING gifts!

  • Don’t know what to get your teenager?? There’s something on this list for him or her!
  • Don’t know what to get your family friend? Check here!
  • Don’t want to spend a bunch of money getting something for each person? Get a gift the whole family will love!
  • Don’t know what to get that random cousin whose name you drew for the Christmas Gift Exchange? Look no further!
  • Need a funny and yet functional White Elephant Gift? Check!
  • Want to bring the best gift to that birthday party you were invited to? This is it!

Behold- In all it’s glory- My awesome list of over 50 perfect family games!

It’s everything you could ever want.

And don’t miss the MUST-HAVE GAMES at the bottom of the list. Your home isn’t complete if you’re missing these classics! 


Other Great Reads: 

3 Reasons and 4 Tips to Save Kids (And Ourselves) From Technology

Gifts For Kids (Ages 0-18) That Will Meet Their Developmental Needs

Over 60 Indoor Activities for a Rainy Day


 

1) Trekking The National Parks: The Family Board Game (Second Edition)

2) Exploding Kittens Card Game

3) Qwixx – A Fast Family Dice Game

4) Our Moments Kids: 100 Thought Provoking Conversation Starters for Great Parent-Child Relationship Building – Fun Car Travel, Road Trip & Home Card Questions Game for Healthy Loving Family Development

5) Utter Nonsense Family Edition – The Game of Funny Voices and Accents!

6) 5 Second Rule Junior

7) Hasbro Guesstures Game

8) Catch Phrase Game

9) Hasbro Gaming Trivial Pursuit Family Edition

10) Taboo Party Board Game With Buzzer for Kids Ages 13 and Up (Amazon Exclusive)

11) Grandpa Beck’s Cover Your Assets: From the creators of Skull King and The Bears and The Bees

12) Don’t Step In It

13) USAopoly Telestrations Original 8 Player Board Game | 1 LOL Party Game | Play with your friends and Family | Hilarious Game for All Ages | The Telephone Game Sketched Out

 

14) It’s in The Bag! – Newest Game for Family! for Adults! for Parties! Laugh Out Loud in This Game of Teamwork. Describe, Guess & Charades! Act Fast in This Popular Quick-witted Card Game! 4-20 Players!

15) WHAT DO YOU MEME? Party Game

16) Googly Eyes Game — Family Drawing Game with Crazy, Vision-Altering Glasses

 

17) Relative Insanity Party Game about Crazy Relatives – Made and Played by Comedian Jeff Foxworthy – 7441

18) PlayMonster 5 Second Rule Game – New Edition

19) Spontuneous – The Song Game – Sing It or Shout It – Talent NOT Required (Best Family / Party Board Games for Kids, Teens, Adults – Boy & Girls Ages 8 & Up),Yellow

20) Watch Ya’ Mouth Family Edition – The Authentic, Hilarious, Mouthguard Party Card Game

21) HedBanz Game, Family Guessing Game – Edition may vary

22)Platinum Family Feud Signature Game

23)Magilano SKYJO The Ultimate Card Game for Kids and Adults. The Ideal Board Game for Funny, Entertaining and exciting Playing Hours with Friends and Family.

24)Hasbro Trivial Pursuit Family Edition Game, Game Night, Ages 8 and up(Amazon Exclusive)

25) Codenames

26) World of Disney Eye Found It Board Game

27)PlayMonster Spoons – The game of Card Grabbin’ & Spoon Snaggin’

28) Ravensburger Labyrinth Family Board Game for Kids and Adults Age 7 and Up – Millions Sold, Easy to Learn and Play With Great replay value

29) Inspiration Play Double Ditto Family Party Board Game

30)Monopoly Deal Card Game

31)Goat Lords — Hilarious and Competitive New Card Game, Best for Adults, Teens, and Kids, Ages 7 and Up. Awesome Party Game for Families, Fun Board Games Nights, etc! – Hard Durable Box – Free e-Book

32)Deer in the Headlights

33)Kings in the Corner Game

34)Quiddler Card Game

35)Slamwich: A Fast Flipping Card Game with Cards

36)Sushi Go! – The Pick and Pass Card Game

37)Not Parent Approved: A Hilarious Card Game for Kids, Tweens, Families and Mischief Makers

MUST-HAVE, CLASSIC GAMES:

38) Melissa & Doug Suspend Family Game, Classic Games, Exciting Balancing Game, Develops Hand-Eye Coordination, 12.5″ H x 2.8″ W x 2.8″ L

39) Jenga Classic Game

40) Yahtzee

41) Hasbro Guess Who? Classic Game

42) Rummikub — The Original Rummy Tile Game

 

43) Mattel Games Apples to Apples Junior – The Game of Crazy Comparisons (Packaging May Vary)

44) Battleship With Planes Strategy Board Game Amazon Exclusive For Ages 7 and Up

45) Operation Mania – PC

46) Pictionary Board Game

47) Sorry! Game

48) Trouble Game

49) Spot It!

50) Hasbro Connect 4 Game

51) Clue Game

52) Sequence Game

53) Ticket To Ride – Europe

54) Phase 10 Card Game Styles May Vary

55) Winning Moves RACK-O, Retro package Card Game

56) UNO Card Game

57) SKIP BO Card Game

There you have it! Let the fun begin!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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Burping a Baby- Everything Parents Need to Know

Photo by Filip Mroz on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Hey Mamas,

Check out my newest article, published on mothermecrazy.com!!

Burping a Baby- Everything Parents Need to Know

 

You’ll learn great information beyond the basics of burping a baby, including:

  • Why babies need to burp
  • When to burp your baby
  • 4 Positions to burp your baby
  • Things to watch out for when you are burping a baby

 

Check it out!

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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8 Ideas To Make Valentine’s Day (Or Any Other Day) Special for Your Man

Photo by Heather Mount on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Let’s face it, Valentine’s Day is mostly a girl holiday.

We love the cute red balloons, and pink heart-shaped desserts, and giant teddy bears, and of course LOTS of chocolate! But more than anything, we love feeling spoiled by our man!

This Valentine’s Day, I wanted to switch things up a bit. I decided to think of ways that I could spoil him

But it wasn’t easy.

In fact, it was pretty stinking tricky.

In the process of brainstorming, here’s a list of my absolute, topnotch, foolproof ideas to make Valentine’s Day a special day for your man this year! 

Here’s to strengthening your relationship, one expression of love at a time!

man and woman holding hands together in field during daytime

1) Give Him That One Thing He’s Been Wanting Forever. 

You know, the thing he keeps bringing up over and over? Not even to ask you for it, it’s just so important to him that it comes up often.

For my husband, it’s tools, a new scope for his rifle, and a smoker.

Of course, I can’t afford all three, but if I can get just one thing for him that he really wants, not only will it show that I want to sacrifice to get him an amazing gift but it also shows that I love him enough to listen to his wants and needs. 

What if your husband wants something that you know nothing about?? That makes shopping really tough. I often have to ask my husband’s friends or his brother for help to make sure I buy the right thing. 🙂 And always keep the receipt just in case! 

man and woman hugging near sea during golden hour

2) Give Him your Time.

Find an activity that’s out of the ordinary routine for you two. Make it just for you and him- no kids!

Yep, that means a little homework for you. Track down a babysitter, make sure your calendar is free of any outside events, put your phone down. No distractions! Today is JUST for him! 

  • A picnic
  • Go stargazing
  • Rent a 4-wheeler, Snowmobile, or a Razor
  • Spend a night at a hotel!
  • Play his favorite video game with him
  • Buy a Movie Pass

Applebee’s – AMC Dinner & A Movie, Multipack of 2 – $25

  • Go hiking
  • Ride in a hot air balloon
  • Have a photo shoot
  • If you can afford it, plan a vacation or a getaway together!
  • Go skydiving
  • Go zip lining
  • Rent his dream car for a day
  • Go kayaking
  • Bungee Jump off a bridge!
  • Go whitewater rafting
  • Have great conversation!

Our Moments Couples: 100 Thought Provoking Conversation Starters for Great Relationships – Fun Conversation Cards Game for Couples

  • Commit to continue to spend time together!

The Buttercup House Date Idea Box, Date Ideas For Couples, Date Night Ideas, Date Ideas

silhouette of person's hands forming heart

3) Give Him a New Skill. 

A great way to give meaningful gifts is to think of gifts as memories instead of objects. What amazing memories could you give your man this Valentine’s Day?

  • Improv Course
  • Go to the gun range and learn to shoot
  • Rock climbing class
  • Fly a helicopter
  • Golf lessons
  • Learn to fly fish
  • Cooking, art, self-improvement, writing, ANYTHING he’s interested in!

selective focus photography of woman and man about to kiss

4) Give Him a Quiet Night at Home. 

Some guys don’t want all the adventure and excitement. Sometimes, he’s exhausted from the day to day and the best thing you could possibly do is give him the gift of rest! 

Of course, that doesn’t mean your Valentine’s Day has to be boring. Try some of these ideas for an exciting night in!

  • Play a board game or card game. Bring out the competitive side in each other!
  • Candle lit dinner (Take out or delivery please!)
  • Cook together
    • Try a new recipe
    • Have a Cook Off!
    • Try cooking or eating with silly utensils. Can you eat spaghetti with salad tongs or drink from a pitcher??
    • Choose 5 random items at the grocery store and make a meal including all 5 things!
  • Research something you’ve always wanted to learn, a place you’ve always wanted to visit, or an experience you’ve always wanted to try!
  • Indoor Mini Golf!
  • Do a puzzle
  • Build a fort together
  • Read to each other
  • Take a bubble bath together
  • Create a bucket list for your relationship!
  • Connect on a deeper level by asking each other questions

Reveal or Conceal – The Game with 500 Questions to Get to Know Each Other

Peaceable Kingdom This or That? Quick and Clever Get to Know You Game for Friends and Family

man and woman holding hands together in walkway during daytime

5) Give Him Sex.

Let’s be real, men love to have fun in the bedroom. (So do women…)

I can’t think of a better night to put that little black thing on for your hunk than February 14!

And on this note… there’s a ton of super fun sexy games for couples to play just to keep things spicy! If you want a fun and exciting gift for your man, check out some of these awesome links!! Just click the images below!

A man and woman cuddling together in bed.

6) Give Him Food.

Everyone loves food! Here’s some ideas to put a twist on boring boxes of chocolates.

  • Go to a tasting (whiskey, bourbon, wine, whatever!)
  • Make your own tasting at home with all his favorite foods or drinks
  • Roast marshmallows (over a fire or over the stove)
  • Try a new food that neither of you have ever had!
  • Try authentic foods from all over the world! Experience a variety of cultures!
  • Go restaurant hopping! Have appetizers at one location, then a main course at another location, and dessert somewhere else!
  • Go restaurant hopping but only order appetizers and drinks at each place
  • Use your best coupons! See if you can get a great meal for free or super inexpensive!!

man kissing woman's forehead

7) Give Him the Gift of Appreciation.

Find a clever way to tell him how much he means to you, how grateful you are for him, and all the reasons why you love him! 

Here’s some great ideas:

  • Heart Attack: Leave hearts with a kind thought about your partner on each one. Make so many that they cover his car, or the bathroom mirror, or the bed, or his front door, or whatever!
  • Send a special card or note to his office. Special delivery!
  • Make a scrapbook of your favorite moments together and tell him why you love each memory with him
  • Write down all the kind things he does for you for a week. Give him the list and tell him how much it all meant to you!
  • Text him often throughout the day
  • Write down 100 things you love about him and give him the list
  • Put a note in his lunch telling him how important he is to you and why
  • Create a photo book with captions explaining why each picture is significant to your relationship
  • Write down all the ways he turns you on and give him the list
  • Create a “Story of Us” with simple images (even stick figures). Include all the things that made you fall in love with him and things you have overcome together
  • Hide post it notes in places he will find them (in a shoe, in his wallet, on the mirror, in the fridge) with kind words for him
  • Create a video or slideshow full of amazing things about your partner
  • Keep a journal together or individually of all the experiences that grow your relationship. Share it with him. Enjoy looking back at how far you’ve come together!
  • Write a message in lipstick on the mirror
  • For at least a week before Valentine’s, tell him one thing you love about him before you go to bed. This will build the love and suspense for a great Valentine’s Day!
  • Tell your friends and family how amazing your man is when your man is around and when he isn’t! It will get back to him, and it means a lot.

woman on bike reaching for man's hand behind her also on bike

8) Give Him the Gift of Chores Done!

Sometimes, the worst part of the day is when you get home from work and you’re exhausted, but there’s still a ton to get done at home. 

No rest for the wicked!

This is especially annoying on Valentine’s Day when you are supposed to spend all your time loving on each other, not doing chores!

Help your man out by finding a way to help him with his chores in advance. This will take some pressure off of him, make your night more relaxing for both of you, and show him that you are willing to make sacrifices for his well being. 

It’s not easy. After all, you’ve got your own job and household chores to do! But that’s what makes this a great way to show you care.

Stay up a little later the night before, arrange to leave work an hour early, or ask a friend to watch the kids for a while so that you can do the prep work necessary to kick off your Valentine’s Day with a bang!

As soon as he walks in the door, there’s nothing else to think about but each other. 

Here’s some acts of service that mean a lot to my man:

  • Wash the car
  • Clean house
  • Firewood stacked (we use a wood stove as our primary heat source)
  • Dishes done
  • Snow shoveled
  • Laundry folded and put away
  • Lawn mowed (if you live in a warm location)
  • Kids fed and hopefully off to the babysitter’s house

man and woman sitting on bench during daytime

Those of you who are familiar with the 5 Love Languages might have caught on that at least one of these ideas covers each love language. 

  • Quality Time- #1, 3, 4, 5, 7
  • Words of Affirmation- #7
  • Physical Touch- #4, 5
  • Receiving Gifts- #2, 3, 5
  • Acts of Service- #6, 8

No matter what your man’s love language is, he’s bound to feel appreciated, loved, respected, wanted, and committed when you treat him to an awesome day that’s just for him!

Especially on Valentine’s Day- the day he thought was just for you.

Need more information? Check out 45 Perfect Valentine’s Day Gifts for Him by  and 

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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6 Techniques to Try When your Kid Eats All the Time- Except During Meals

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

My little girl likes to snack. All day long. All the time. 

I always want her to have access to healthy food so that she doesn’t go hungry, so for the first two years of her life I let her snack whenever she wanted. 

But then I started to notice a less-than-preferable pattern.

She seemed hungry all the time, so I fed her. But then she was never hungry during meal time! She would push her food away, say “Done!”, and run off to play instead of eating her dinner. Only to ask for a snack 5 minutes after everyone else finished eating. 

I also have a strong opinion against forcing kids to clear their plate. This teaches kids to eat a certain amount of food instead of listening to their bodies to tell them when to stop eating. So I never wanted to make her eat.

What’s the solution??

I asked a lot of smart mamas who have been there, done that. Turns out, this is a common problem for kids! As I asked around, I found several techniques that these clever moms used to fix the problem.

The amazing thing is that each mom had a solution that targeted a different aspect of the problem. 

Is the frustration due to:

  • The child eating only unhealthy snacks and turning down healthy food during meals?
  • The insane effort of constantly cooking/fixing something to eat?
  • The amount of food wasted during dinner and unnecessary money spent on snacks?
  • Feeling a lack of gratitude for the meal that you worked hard on?

These moms feel you, and they’ve got tips to fix each aspect of the problem!

Here they are! Choose the one that fits your family’s needs the best.

woman leaning against door while holding her cheek

Technique 1: No snacks one hour before mealtimes!

This strategy helps children be hungry enough to eat at the next meal without feeling starving for an extended period of time. 

It’s easy to do- just decide when you’re going to eat a meal and put away all snacks one hour before meal time. Done!

Simple and easy… until you have to tell the child “no”. It’s not easy for a child to get used to a whole new system, so be patient as the child learns the new expectations. As you consistently explain and stick to the new schedule, the child will adjust. The frustration will decrease over time.

Giving lots of heads up can help decrease frustration for the child. Remind them by saying, “Snacks will be put away in 10 minutes. Hurry and eat a snack if you are hungry!”

If you need additional resources on handling tantrums, check out this link!

How to Handle a TANTRUM without Destroying Relationships

round Timex analog clock at 2:33

Technique 2: Parent chooses when to eat, the child chooses what to eat. 

This method divides the roles of eating between the parent and the child.

Mom- your job is to identify what times snacks and meals will be allowed and provide a couple healthy options for the child. 

The child’s job is to decide which of the options he will eat and how much he will eat. That might mean nothing at all, and that’s ok. Just make sure to explain in advance that the child will have to wait until the next snack or meal time!

For this method, it can be helpful to use a visual aid to help younger children understand that they need to wait.

Check out this great resource for parents!

Helping Your Toddler Understand Time- Less than $20 DIY Resource for Parents

three bowls of nuts

Technique 3: Limit sugary, carbilicous, or greesy snacks. 

Another great idea is to take a closer look at what snacks you are offering. It’s common to offer kids unhealthy options like fruit snacks or chips for snacks.

Those things are just fine in moderation, but if a child prefers unhealthy snacks to healthy meals (I mean, can we blame them??) then it’s perfectly natural to fill up on the yummy snacks and refuse to eat their broccoli at dinner. 

Try offering broccoli as a snack, or a fruit cup with no added sugar, or a cheese stick. This teaches the child that healthy food is a lifestyle for your family, not an occasional thing. 

When there’s no comparison (fruit snacks vs broccoli?) the healthy options look a lot better!

assorted foods

Technique 4: The uneaten meal becomes the snack. 

Some moms hate seeing meal after meal thrown away in the trash, just to have the child ask for more food a few minutes later. This was my biggest frustration with my daughter!

A great solution is to hold on to the child’s plate from mealtime. Make sure to put a little of each option on the plate. This ensures that the child still gets some choices in what to eat.

The next time the child asks for a snack, pull out the plate from lunch rather than fixing them a new snack. This is a great way to teach a child to have gratitude for the food they have, reduce picky eating, save time and energy for mom, and reduce waste.

strawberry serve on blue plate

Technique 5: Premade healthy snacks available for any time! 

Some parents really don’t have a problem with the child eating often. The problem is the amount of time and energy that goes into constantly preparing a new snack or meal. It can literally consume the day if you’re not careful! 

Some moms will set aside 30 minutes twice a week to assemble healthy snacks. They will dice cheese, slice fruit, portion out whole grain crackers, and even make a few sandwiches.

If your kids are old enough to open the fridge by themselves, place the snacks in a designated section of the fridge. The kids will always know where to go to find themselves a snack without mom’s help! 

If the kids are not old enough to get the snack on their own, all you have to do is grab something out of the fridge and you’re done!

Moms can easily set aside enough snacks and even some meals for the next 3 days or so in a short amount of time! Viola!

sliced watermelons on top of chopping board

Technique 6: Watch portion sizes.

I made the mistake of handing my child the entire bag of goldfish. I assumed that she would eat until she was full and I could put the goldfish crackers away as soon as she was done.

The problem is, she didn’t just stop at full. She ate until she was STUFFED! And then she wasn’t hungry until long after lunchtime. 

Binge eating like that isn’t a good habit for kids (or adults for that matter). I can help my child eat appropriate portions throughout the day rather than one large binge by being aware of the portion sizes that I am offering the child.

If I give her too little, she can always ask for a little more. No harm done.

If I give her too much, she might overeat. Or make a mess with the rest of the food…

shallow focus photography of almonds in white ceramic bowl

I’m always so grateful for moms in my life who know exactly what I’m going through! I want to hear from you too!

What techniques do you use to help your child eat appropriate amounts of snacks but also participate in family meals?? Comment below!

I also want to know which of these techniques was most helpful for your family! Let us know that too!!

Need more information? Check out this great post by Sarah Remmer!

10 Reasons Why Your Child Isn’t Eating at Meals (and What to Do!)

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

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6 Steps to Be a Friend… Without Owning Other Mama’s Problems

Photo by Shalom Mwenesi on Unsplash

This post may contain advertisements and/or links for products and services that I value. I offer recommendations to products and/or services that I find helpful in my own life as a mom. I may receive a commission based on viewer purchases or interactions with these ads. You will NOT be charged any extra money. All prices will stay the same for you whether your purchase items/services through links found on this site or not! 

Have you ever had a friend who was particularly needy? You know, the kind of friend that seems to take a little (or a lot) more energy, emotional strength, and time from you?

It can be difficult to balance these kinds of friendships. Not only are we busy mamas, but it can be emotionally exhausting to support others (emotionally, physically, financially, spiritually, or in any other way) for an extended period of time.

But you’re a good person and you love your dear friend, even if they do need a lot from you right now.

You want to help in any way you can.

You would never ever give up on them!

So how is a busy mom supposed to balance these friendships in such a way that will be supportive and loving to the person, but also not emotionally draining to you?? 

women forming heart gestures during daytime

1) Let Their Problems Go After the Conversation is Over

I had a friend that I loved dearly. She would confide in me deep problems from her past that continued to scar her present- abuse, phobias, poor family relationships, and more.

I had never faced challenges as intense as hers, and I felt terrible that she had to deal with that! I felt so bad about it that I just couldn’t stop thinking about her problems even after the conversation had ended.

After a while, her problems were constantly on my mind. I wanted to think of everything I could possibly to do fix them, to help out, to save her.

The problem is, she wasn’t looking for a savior. 

She just needed a little love. 

All she wanted from me was a shoulder to cry on, and then she was good! That meant that the only person stressing and stewing was me! 

I learned that other people’s problems really are their own. Those problems aren’t mine, even if that person chooses to share them with me. I can sympathize and offer comfort without adding an unnecessary burden to my own shoulders. 

Have a great conversation, help as you can, then let it go.

This was really difficult for me to do at first. I found that if I offered specific help to my friend (“Please, please call me if you need to talk again.” or “I want to hear how you are doing with this. Will you please let me know if the situation changes?”) then I could relax. I had done everything I could do and the ball was in her court.

After all, my friend is an adult and a very capable person. Why shouldn’t I trust her to handle her situation with poise? 

two men having conversation while walking

2) Ask What They Need

This brings me to my next point. In this situation with my dear friend, I assumed I knew what she wanted from me. I assumed she wanted a solution, a cure, a fix.

But she didn’t.

That wasn’t her intention in telling me the things she did. All she wanted was support.

When your friends confide in you, they might be looking for one or a few of the following things: 

  • Advice
  • Emotional Support or Comfort
  • A Solution 
  • A Poll (You might be one of many friends being told the same information to see if there is common consensus about what to do now)
  • Pros and Cons (Help to think through the good and bad consequences of a particular course of action)
  • Brainstorming (Ideas of what can be done)
  • Understanding (Helping you know where they are coming from or why they think the way they do)
  • To Inform you of a Life Decision (Bad time to give advice- they already know what they’re doing!)
  • To Strengthen your Relationship (Sharing details of your life that other people don’t know can deepen the friendship or can mark a milestone in your friendship)

top-view photography of persons holding mug and pen using MacBook and world map

3) Allow Them the Pride and Satisfaction of Finding their Own Solutions

I remember a sweet girl that I worked with came to me once to ask if I thought she should get a divorce or not. I had learned a few things by then, so I didn’t assume I knew her intentions.

I dug a little deeper and I found out that she was conducting a poll of sorts. She was asking as many people as she could what they thought to see if the majority seemed to agree one way or the other.

(By the way, I really don’t encourage this method. By the time this poor girl came to me, she was so discouraged and confused because she had heard so much advice that she couldn’t sort through it all!)

I was blown away that she was even asking me. We weren’t that close and I really didn’t know her or her situation well enough to have a valid opinion.

So instead of tell her one way or the other, I told her that my only opinion on the matter was that she shouldn’t take anyone else’s advice. 

I told her that she is the only one out of all these people who was going to have to live with her decision, so she should be the only one to make the choice. I suggested that she go back to the basics, think about the positives and negatives in her relationship, take whatever time she needed to think it over, and make a well-thought out decision. 

I never did find out what she decided (again, we really weren’t that close) but I’ll never forget the look in her eyes as I told her these things.


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It was like she was empowered. 

All the sudden, her survey of people didn’t matter. She was able to own her solution to the problem, and that gave her strength. 

Don’t rob people of that. Offer advice, encouragement, ideas, solutions, pros and cons, or whatever the person needs- but always, always, always give them the satisfaction of solving their own problems.

Don’t try to do it for them.

brown tree

4) Find Simple Ways to Lift Them Up

If your poor friend is acting “needy”, there’s probably a good reason for that.

Every single person around me (in the grocery store, in the gym, driving in the car next to me, or at the restaurant) is going through something. Always. 

Give others the benefit of the doubt, assume that they mean well and that their reasons for acting the way they do is perfectly valid. 

In our case, you can help to lift your friend in simple ways that won’t overload you. Go have lunch together, leave her some cookies on her doorstep, play a card game together, watch a movie, send her a note or a text, forward a funny meme, watch her kids for an hour so she can have some alone time, whatever works for you!

Just go back to the basics and be a friend. Friendship isn’t stressful, it’s fun! Find that again in your relationship. 

two woman under white and black blanket

5) Remember that They are Still Themselves

In most cases, needy friends are only needy temporarily. That’s because it’s situations and life stresses that make us needy, and thank goodness those come and go.

Don’t forget who it is that you’re talking about here– they are a great friend, a wonderful person to be around, a ton of fun. They just need a little extra help for a bit.

Who better to step in than you? You’re a great friend, you have awesome advice to give, you know what you’re talking about, you’ve experienced things and have a ton to offer!

Sometimes when all that gets emotionally draining, it’s nice to just remember that it’s temporary. Your friend will get back to their old self soon. And if not, they’ll be even better than they were before!

group of women facing backward

6) Make Some Time for You in the Relationship

I used to think that I wasn’t allowed to talk about myself if a friend was going through a challenge. I used to think that this is their time and I shouldn’t interrupt. 

I recently had an experience that changed my perception. I was keeping my mouth shut about me and trying to be a good listener to a friend in need.

Her reaction surprised me.

After a long time of her telling me about her problems, about her family, about whatever she wanted to talk about, she finally said, “Ok, seriously, why aren’t you saying anything?” 

I was so confused. It wasn’t like I’d been silent, I just wasn’t bringing up stuff from my life because I thought that this was her time.

She said, “No, I want to hear about you too! It’s not like I need more time to focus on my crappy life.” 

I learned that day that there is another thing  friends might be looking for in a conversation: a distraction. 

Sometimes, it’s a great idea to talk about your normal, boring, routine life. It can take your friend’s attention off of their struggles while also filling your needs to be an active part of the friendship. 

Your needs are filled, their needs are filled.

Win win!

two persons forming love fingers

Test out these methods. Find what works for you, and share with the rest of us! 

Do you have any other great tips for being a good friend without owning other people’s problems? Let’s hear them! Comment below!! 

Need more? Check out this awesome post- How to Be A Good Friend (And Signs to Avoid Being a Bad One) 

Sincerely,

Mrs. S

 

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