Blog: Mel's Muse

Showing posts categorised as 'Family & Parenting'

A Better Story: God, Sex & Human Flourishing By Glynn Harrison: A Must Read For Everyone

Before I start, I want to say that I have nothing against anyone who is genetically predisposed to the LGBT spectrum.  I have personally known people in homosexual relationships, and always found them to be delightful.  I also have a family member who is transgender, whom I love and get...
Posted at 15:41pm on 17th July 2017

Picked For A Purpose 3: Seeds Sown

SEEDS SOWN

Sometimes people of faith speak of coincidence as being God-incidents.  So while a coincidence might be described as random - an accident, chance, luck, fluke, or twist of fate - a God-incident is thought to be an unexpected occurrence in which God is perceived to have had an influence. ...

Posted at 17:34pm on 8th September 2016

Picked For A Purpose 2: Seeds & Weeds

SEEDS & WEEDS

Have you ever felt useless?  As if nothing you do has any meaning or purpose?  Ever thought you didn’t fit in?  In your family?  At school?  At work?  Or that everyone else was more successful?  While you . . .?  Well!


These are the questions I ask when...
Posted at 13:49pm on 6th September 2016

Picked For A Purpose 1 - Me And Daddy, Daddy And Me

ME AND DADDY, DADDY AND ME

I suppose it was the letters that were the trigger – first for my depression, then for my understanding.  Small blue folded airmails that bore my mother’s name on them, plus whatever address happened to be relevant at the time.  She had kept them all...

Posted at 12:52pm on 6th September 2016

Time To Shine - A Story Of Gaslighting?

Set in Exeter, and written in the style of Jodi Picoult, this is a gentle mystery drama with a difference, solved not by a Detective but by a Counsellor, and with a psychological twist at the end.

A beautifully written and thoughtful book centred on relationships which will strike a chord...

Posted at 15:47pm on 23rd November 2015

A Hint Of An American Romance Blooming In Time To Shine?

And another excerpt from my latest novel, Time to Shine, which has gained more 5* reviews since the last taster on my blog.  Sorry that the photos of the sky don't quite match the description in the book.

Here, Evie Adams, with a broken marriage behind her, takes some time out...

Posted at 20:28pm on 17th July 2015

Mel's Online Book Club Discussion: The Light Between Oceans By M. L. Stedman

The Light Between Oceans is, I discovered when I’d finished reading it for Book Club, a debut novel.  I wish I had known that when I began – but more of that later.  For various reasons we were a somewhat depleted group when we met to discuss the book, and...

Posted at 17:12pm on 25th April 2015

Big Book Sale: Stepfamilies - Practical Help To Build A Stable, Happy Stepfamily

How do you tell your children they are going to have a step-parent? How do you handle disagreements about access and money? How do you deal with past hurts and fears?

All families have their difficulties, but stepfamilies often face special problems. And with nearly a million of them in the...

Posted at 21:22pm on 7th February 2015

Time To Shine - Another Excerpt From My New Psycological Mystery

Josh was still in his pjs, lying on his bed playing some computer game or other on his cell phone when Carl went to tell him the good news.  The boy seemed strangely lethargic.  Hardly surprising, Carl supposed, given the state of the room - a stinking fug of yesterday's...

Posted at 15:40pm on 15th November 2014

Time To Shine - A Mystery. A Marriage Mender. And A Mary Berry Style Bake Off

First in the Evie Adams series: Page one of my new book

Sometimes, when you're counselling a client and she lobs a direct question at you, protocol requires that you bounce it back to her. A case in point is my two-o'clock this Friday afternoon, a mother of three, early-forties, by the...

Posted at 07:25am on 10th November 2014

Mel's Online Book Club: The Generation Game By Sophie Duffy

Titles are important to me. As an author I find it necessary to choose a title I can work to: one that defines the theme of the book I’m writing. As a reader, I look to see how those themes unfold.

When one of the members of my real-time Book Club suggested that...
Posted at 07:58am on 31st October 2012

Interviews With Authors About Their Books: Continued

I'm so sorry it's taken me so long to post the second part of this article: blame my recent appointment as Chairman of ACW - a national association for writers.  As I said in the first part of Interviews With Authors About Their Books,  a reader of my blog asked...

Posted at 16:59pm on 31st March 2012

The Joy, Or The Sadness, Of Teen Sex?

Photo: Solomon Island, Chesapeake Bay:
Mum, Dad, Boy, Girl

If The Joy of Teen Sex on Channel 4 had been titled The Fun of Teen Sex or simply Teen Sex it would probably have been seen by the TV regulators (if they still exist) as porn.  It was certainly a...

Posted at 23:31pm on 21st January 2011

Children In Divorce And Separation: Conflict At Christmas

It was Christmas Eve, many years ago, when my marriage officially came to an end.A telephone call from a friend in the local pub alerted me to the fact that my husband of fifteen years was announcing, to anyone who would listen, that he was about to divorce me. That...

Posted at 02:09am on 21st December 2010

Teen Drug Abuse: Peer Education Training Challenges Misconceptions

INTRODUCTION TO GUEST BLOG BY LUCY CRIPPS

My novel, A Painful Post Mortem, has been selling now for sometime, and has raised a substantial sum of money for the two charities I chose to support with the proceeds. This month, in addition to the print edition, I decided to make it available as an e-book....
Posted at 20:07pm on 30th March 2010

Godparents - What Should They Do? Anna Ford And Martin Amis At Loggerheads

Godparents - what are they and what is expected from them? In times of falling church numbers, it may seem almost anachronistic to be asking. However, it appears to be a hot topic!

ANNA FORD ON MARTIN AMIS’ ROLE AS GODFATHER

I arrived home from holiday today and, within ten minutes of stepping through the...

Posted at 04:23am on 27th February 2010

Family & Parenting: Tough Love & Discipline Prove Best Practice

Bereavement comes in various guises, chief of which is the grief and loss caused by death. But losing a child to drugs has its own grieving process. And it was in recognition of this that I wrote my bereavement poem, Weep For A While.

In my article last week, titled, British Law Undermines Parental Authority...

Posted at 22:12pm on 23rd November 2009

Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 2:2 Lost & Found

Arguing a case against Jesus’ claims about eternal life, Megan is brought face to face with the truth that it is her pride which prevents fulfilment of her inner yearning. A second visit to a Billy Graham rally sees her accepting that even a good friend is no substitute for faith. Only a life...

Posted at 17:15pm on 19th November 2009

Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 2:1 Lost & Found

With marriage, babies and moving house having failed to still the inner yearning in Megan’s life, she feels sure that her new friendship with Eileen must be the answer. Especially when Eileen invites her to hear Billy Graham. Eileen has a faith in God which Megan finds enviable. Eileen knows Jesus as her Saviour...

Posted at 18:25pm on 12th November 2009

British Law Undermines Parental Authority: Novel Shows How


I wrote, last week, about the sad story of Kate Walsh who, at the tender age of sixteen, became a heroin addict and died, alone in a dirty squat. Her parents had asked, repeatedly, for help from various authorities and received none. They had, as the Coroner described it at Kate’s Inquest, fallen...

Posted at 20:27pm on 10th November 2009

Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 1:3 The Inner Yearning

With two babies only a year apart in age, Meg is as lonely as ever. Will moving house be the answer? For a while it seems a possibility. But as James’ career ambitions take him away from home once more, it seems that only a new friendship might fill that inner yearning.

Catch up with...

Posted at 17:48pm on 9th November 2009

Heroin Addicts Like Kate Walsh Show That The Grey Areas Of British Law Need A Black & White Reform

We read, this week, of a situation which has complied with British law but which is, nevertheless, a grave miscarriage of justice. Kate Walsh’s parents, when their sixteen year old daughter died of heroin in a dirty squat, were denied the protection that the law is supposed to provide. They are not alone. British law...

Posted at 02:01am on 5th November 2009

Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 1:2 The Inner Yearning

Less than a year into Megan’s marriage to James, with her baby born and motherhood now a reality, the cracks which were apparent from the outset, are beginning to widen. As the swinging sixties begin to make themselves felt, the over-riding question is: can Megan find, in James, the love she craves?

Catch up with...

Posted at 08:00am on 4th November 2009

Demise Of A Marriage: A True Story - Part 1:1 The Inner Yearning

What follows is a true story, the real life story of a woman named Megan, who was raised in an era when to be married, to be a wife, was the pinnacle of aspiration for a woman. The expectation that you shopped, cooked, cleaned and raised children whilst your husband worked, played and waited...

Posted at 22:25pm on 2nd November 2009

Successful Step-parenting: If Ozzy Osbourne Can Do It, So Can You!

I was asked by BBC Radio Birmingham to be their 'expert' on this morning's discussion on step-parenting. I’ve forgotten how many times I’ve been interviewed in connection with my book, Stepfamilies, but I suppose, given that something like one in eight British children are now growing up in a blended family, it’s a hot topic.

STEP-CHILDREN:...
Posted at 19:57pm on 8th October 2009

Anti-social Behaviour: Is It The Result Of Legislation Promoting Children's Rights?

Newspaper reports on the life and death of Fiona Pilkington and her disabled daughter make harrowing reading. Victims of abuse and anti-social behaviour by local youths, the lives of both were made a misery for years. However, despite making no fewer than thirty-three complaints to the police, her plight, and that of her daughter, was...

Posted at 01:41am on 1st October 2009

Successful Step Parenting: Three Potential Pitfalls - No 2 Coping With Step Children

Only a day after doing the BBC Newcastle Breakfast Show, I had a phone call from BBC Birmingham, asking me to kick off the debate on Sunday morning 9.05 a.m. on – guess what – stepfamilies! What’s going on here?

In my blog of a couple of days ago, I identified the three potential pitfalls...

Posted at 02:59am on 22nd August 2009

Successful Step Parenting: Three Potential Pitfalls - No. 1 Financial

BBC Radio Newcastle, which serves an area from the Scottish Borders to Durham, asked me to speak, this morning, on whether stepfamilies could ever be as successful and harmonious as biological families.

As before, on my interview with BBC Radio 5 Live, I answered a resounding Yes. From personal experience, plus observation of the families I...

Posted at 23:22pm on 18th August 2009

What Is The Role Of Godparents: Are They Really Relevant Today?

UPDATED 27th FEBRUARY 2010

It seems strange, in this highly secularised world, that the concept of Godparents appears to be such a hot topic. It makes you wonder if, despite our anti-religious dogma, we’re not – deep down – actually spiritual beings after all.

Well, of course, I’m in no doubt that we are! But...

Posted at 09:00am on 14th August 2009

Do False Expectations Of Marriage Cause Stepfamily Problems?

What follows is an excerpt from the soon to be published revised and updated edition of Mel's book, Stepfamilies.

It is a false premise to expect that any marriage can ever answer all of our needs. To think otherwise is a totally unrealistic ideal which is doomed to disappointment. And this, perhaps, is one of the...

Posted at 01:51am on 9th July 2009

Marriage And Remarriage: When Two Halves Don't Make A Whole

Following is an abridged and revised excerpt from Mel’s book Stepfamilies, which the BBC recently asked her to debate on the Richard Bacon show. In previous posts, the inference has been that unless the two people embarking on a second (or subsequent) marriage get it right, there is little chance of tackling other blended family...

Posted at 23:02pm on 22nd May 2009

Live With Less: How To Love Working To Live Rather Than Living To Work

I began this article a couple of months ago before Parliamentary Expenses took over as the latest UK soap opera escapism from the real story of boom and bust economics. So I wondered, this morning, whether it would still have any relevance; whether, in fact, it would resonate with you, my readers. But thinking...

Posted at 04:55am on 19th May 2009

Love And Commitment: The Basis Of A Stable Marriage

Last week, in my Friday series on Families & Parenting, which is currently focused on stepfamilies, I pointed out that if American author Charles Swindoll equated marriage to a house, then remarriage could be said to be like a conversion. I then went on to show why love, in terms of romance, is not...

Posted at 15:45pm on 15th May 2009

Stable Stepfamilies: Book Excerpt - Foreword

AS A SCHOOLGIRL, I loved history. Not the dry dates and wars of my school books, but the vital characters that strode right out of their pages straight into my imagination. People like Henry VIII of England, for instance. His marriages particularly fascinated me. How, I would ask myself, did he get away with...

Posted at 04:05am on 2nd May 2009

Sex Education And Teenage Pregnancy

“Do cats get married, Daddy?”

The question came from my four-year old granddaughter. She’s one of twins, and is obsessed by cats.

“Nope,” Daddy replied.

“Then how do they have babies?” asked Millie.

With the news of a thirteen year-old fathering a child fresh in his mind, and wanting to foster a sense of relationship, my son-in-law...

Posted at 03:07am on 16th February 2009

Building Sustainable Relationships For Stepfamilies

I hope you’ll forgive me! I’m afraid I’m going to take the easy way out today and simply upload part of a chapter from my Stepfamilies book, on the topic of building effective relationships with somebody else’s children. It’s been a difficult week; as I tweeted only today: my mother has fallen and broken her pelvis....

Posted at 23:37pm on 24th January 2009

Overcoming Shame: Are We Guilty Of A Guilty Conscience?

I was reading about a man – Jeff Lucas – who described himself, in his younger years, as a “shame addict”. The term resonated with me and sparked a sitting-up in bed, early morning debate – though, sadly, without a cuppa to accompany it.

“That describes me years ago,” I said.

“Yes!” my husband agreed. “But...

Posted at 02:00am on 7th January 2009

January Blues

I don’t know about you, but for the last couple of days I’ve been feeling vaguely depressed. Some of my feelings of malaise are undoubtedly to do with tiredness brought on by having a houseful of guests to feed, and the late nights spent sitting on hard, upright chairs, playing games like Mexican Train Double...

Posted at 01:24am on 4th January 2009

A Black Hole Where Once Your Mind Was

His world is one of darkness. Silent. Confused. He’s not entirely Anything. Not blind, nor daft. Just less of what he was. Diminished. Shrunken. Glimpses of shapes he catches in the side of his eye appear tall and distorted, disorienting and delusional from a moving car. The rushing sensation induces motion sickness. He cries out...

Posted at 05:35am on 28th December 2008

14 Ways To Avoid Stress - And The Breakdown Of A Relationship At Christmas

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN PRE-CHRISTMAS 2008, THE FOLLOWING POINTS MAY BE ADAPTED, AND ARE VALID AT ANY TIME OF THE YEAR

The effects on children when parents are separating are immense. They are quick to pick up on the cracks and strains that appear between warring parents, and it is the adults’ responsibility to protect them, as...

Posted at 03:55am on 13th December 2008

How To Recognise The Signs Of Relationship Breakdown

Boy, did my last post on Children In Divorce & Separation provoke a response! Not in comments, because it’s a painful subject; but in more hits on my website than ever before. There's obviously a lot of hurt out there, especially at this time of year.

That article dealt with the effects of family breakdown...

Posted at 08:00am on 11th December 2008

Children In Divorce And Separation: A Christmas Tragedy

Christmas – traditionally the time of good cheer – is also, for many, a time of great sadness. Somehow, the fact that everyone is out to enjoy themselves seems to concentrate the mind when it comes to the tragedies of life. A train derailment or plane crash in the weeks leading up to the...

Posted at 22:01pm on 9th December 2008

Step Parenting Advice: Don't Do It Unless You're Prepared To Work At It!

Can A Step Parent Ever Replace A Real Parent? This was the topic under debate on the Richard Bacon radio show on BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday evening. As the author of a book titled Stepfamilies, I had been invited to participate to put the positive side of the case, whilst Philip Parkin, General...

Posted at 20:19pm on 4th December 2008

Successful Step Parenting: Do You Know What It Takes?

I’ve been asked by BBC Radio 5 Live if I would take part in a debate, arguing the case for the premiss Can A Step Parent Take The Place Of A Real Parent? The e-mail was from one of their producers, who said he’d found my book, Stepfamilies on a Google search. During the telephone...

Posted at 01:21am on 27th November 2008

Youngest Child In The Family: Paragon? Or Pain?

Where, in birth order, do you come among your siblings? Are you the youngest child in the family? Do you see yourself as different to your brothers and sisters? Are you aware of a gulf between them and you?

Having previously written about eldest child syndrome and middle child complex, today I’m going to begin...

Posted at 02:59am on 15th November 2008

Grandparents Caring For Grandchildren

Eighty per-cent of children in the UK are regularly cared for by a grandparent, says The Times, with the result that sixty per-cent of all British childcare is undertaken by grandparents. As payment for grandparents is virtually non-existent (92% receive no remuneration) this is at a saving to the economy of £4 billion a year.

PAYMENT...
Posted at 01:47am on 1st November 2008

You Wouldn't Do It To A Dog

A cracked rib is painful at the best of times. A fortnight with an undiagnosed cracked rib still worse. But a fortnight, yelling in pain, being fobbed off with paracetamol and accused of malingering, when you’re 94 years of age is outrageous.

THE WRONG SORT OF BLINDNESS

It began two weeks ago last Sunday. My...

Posted at 00:13am on 30th October 2008

Best Evening Gowns For A Fashion Fix?

The Party Season Beginneth. And if you’re after a Fashion Fix, you need look no further than Marks & Spencer. Have you seen the glamorous evening gowns on offer through their Autograph range? One of the most stunning, in my view, was advertised recently in The Daily Telegraph.

GLAMOROUS EVENING GOWNS BEAT RECESSION

In these days...

Posted at 09:00am on 25th October 2008

Birth Order - Middle Child

According to the Wikipedia website, one of the first people to suggest that birth order has an effect on personality was an Austrian psychiatrist, Alfred Adler. A contemporary of Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, he argued that the way in which each of us tackles the major aspects of life – friendship, love and work...

Posted at 09:00am on 17th October 2008

Eldest Child Syndrome - Are You One? Or Do You Know Of One?

Have you ever been in a situation where you begin to wonder whether other people’s expectations of you exceed your ability or willingness to deliver? Of course you have! Silly question – unless you’re one of those super-humans who knows how to say ‘No!’ But that’s another issue, for another day.

BIRTH ORDER AND SELF

Thing is,...

Posted at 18:21pm on 9th October 2008

Man Flu? The Female Version's The Killer Strain!

MAN FLU?

I don’t know about Man Flu, but I’ve definitely been suffering with the female version this week. You know the sort of thing? Having hardly slept overnight, you wake up on Monday morning feeling utterly ghastly: stuffed ears feeling as though they’ve been pumped full of the insulating foam that lines the cavity walls...

Posted at 02:18am on 7th October 2008

Divorce & Family Law - Does It Affect Us All?

Other Posts on Books & Reading: The Isolation of Being Unable to Read STATISTICS OF SINGLE PARENTS

What do you think of when you read of mothers raising children without fathers? Does it incite you to indignation? Rage? And if so, against whom? The mothers who so ruthlessly exploit the benefits system with serial offspring by...

Posted at 06:45am on 18th September 2008

The Isolation Of Being Unable To Read

Related topics:
59 Million Keywords to Publication
Reading Between The Lines EFFECTS OF ILLITERACY

Have you ever thought what it would be like if you were unable to read or understand a word of this blog? Doubtless you would be feeling the same shame and isolation as the people I wrote about in my post: Reading Between the...

Posted at 02:11am on 9th September 2008

Child Pornography

CHILD PORNOGRAPHY – A SUBJECT FOR DRAMA?

Child pornography may not be everyone’s ideal Sunday evening viewing (UK - BBC1 – Fiona’s Story), but it is, sadly, a topical subject. The problem, to my mind, is the way it was dramatised. Am I the only one to feel that it was all very unsatisfactory? Both...

Posted at 18:21pm on 2nd September 2008

Does My Bum Look Big In This? (or That Wretched F-word Again)

A fortnight ago I wrote that legislation against the use of certain words (like Chav) is ludicrous and went on to quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet: What's in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet. “It’s not the word that’s at fault,” I said. “What’s...

Posted at 17:07pm on 4th August 2008

Drugs & Human Rights - The God Of The Era

Click for related post: Parent Power = Kids' Confidence

I wonder how this generation of policy-makers will go down in history? Human Rights, it seems, is the god of the era. It certainly takes precedence over any sort of morality. And common sense? Well that’s out of the window.

I refer to the statistics showing that...

Posted at 18:23pm on 1st August 2008

Parent Power = Kids' Confidence

It was the doll’s clothes that reminded me. My daughter had decided that, at nearly four years of age, the twins were old enough to play with some of her most precious toys. So they’d arrived at my house armed with a doll’s buggy each, Katy, Lillibet, and the latter’s entire wardrobe. My heart...

Posted at 02:14am on 7th July 2008

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