Why should there be better Welfare Reform? Because the old system failed in more ways than one.
Whether or not Welfare reform addresses the specific needs of its recipients, has been under the microscope of government, organizations and social activists for centuries. The state funded program intentions were to provide shelter, food and medical assistance to family living within or below poverty guidelines.
As with any well structured program, issues within the infrastructure of the system, leave cause for concern. For decades the arguments from both sides of the law have been debatable. Which side is right and which side is wrong? In most cases, who’s right and wrong is not the problem. The biggest issues are planning and intention.
Bad planning and good intentions are not enough to implement and execute a world changing system that will benefits millions of people. For the most part, public opinions are not facts.
On September 19, 2013 the House of Republicans voted to cut nearly $40 billion in the next decade from the country’s food stamp assistance program. Some states are already embracing deep cuts to the food stamp program similar to those passed by House Republicans in Washington, ending the food subsidy for tens of thousands of low-income Americans regardless of what Congress does. But in six states—Delaware, Kansas, New Hampshire, Utah, Vermont and Wyoming—similar reductions are already in place, or soon will be. Two more states will join them once their waivers expire, potentially taking away food stamps from tens of thousands of current recipients. House Republicans narrowly pushed this bill through, over the objections of Democrats and a veto threat from President Obama.
Looking through a glass window and noticing the beautiful paintings on the wall, raises questions; not for the ones’ who can afford the paintings, but for the ones’ who society says cannot. Where did the paintings come from, how much did they cost? No one gives into the account that the owner of the paintings has saved $20 extra per month, for an entire year, just to own those special paintings. Those $80 pair of shoes sat on layaway for three months, until the first day of school, so that the kids can have a decent pair of shoes like the other kids. That new living room set was purchased on a rent to own plan, and it took two years to pay for.
Can not Have It Both Ways
Society is all about helping the less fortunate, as long as they stay beneath them. This may sound harsh, but it is true. People are willing to give a helping hand, as long as the helping hand is not too much of a helping hand.
Everyone has a complaint, but no one sees the big picture. The government will help individuals if they do not have a lot of money in the bank, or too much in access. Before the elderly can receive Medicaid, they must relinquish their home and property. The government is a two edge sword, and recipients in need of financial, food and medical assistance are cut, either way the sword swings.
The Old System Was Designed to Fail
Under the old welfare system recipients could receive public assistance, until their child reached 18. If that child had a child, that benefits would continue until that child reached 18 years old. Parents with children under the age of 5 years old did not have to work or attend school.
The old system failed, because it was not structured to empower its’ recipients, only to enslave them to the system. Families become dependent on a monthly income, which they viewed as limitless. This is not the fault of the people, but of the government.
The government failed to provide adequate non monetary resources, during the period of strong economic strength and development. Job opportunities were plentiful and housing was affordable.
New System Needs Improvements
The new Welfare Reform Act was initiated in 1996, with promises of improvements. Welfare reform has made some changes but not enough to make an impact. The Welfare to Work program works for some recipients, but not for all. Lack of education, poor job skills, inadequate day care, and limited transportation are hindrances that millions of recipients face.
Recipients are to volunteer for 20 hours per week, on non job related activities. Most recipients are hired at the company they volunteer for and others are not. Looking for a job is out of the question, daycare hours only cover the 20 hours per week. This part needs improvement. Recipients are encouraged to look for permanent employment; how is this possible without daycare? Under the Welfare to Work incentive program millions of dependent recipients, found gainful employment, and was no longer dependent on public assistance. With results this great why did the government end the program in 2004?
Redirection Works not Revisions
The Welfare Reform infrastructure system is more than 60 years in making, and it still has major flaws. In 2005 the program was reauthorized, following a few revisions. Earned income credits for the low income working families, were added to the pot to make it somewhat thicker.
Do these incentives help? Yes they do. The government continues to add and take away from their own Welfare Reform system, not really knowing what works and what does not. In the meantime recipients are left not knowing what kind of help they can get, if any, and what is expected of them.
The laws are constantly changing in Welfare Reform programs. It is difficult for governments to find a true balance between what recipients need and what government want to see happen. If everyone stay focus, stop complaining and roll up their sleeves, the system can and will do what it is intended to do; “Help the poor and needy, to become self sufficient and not greedy.”
The Challenges of Being a Stepmom
I know first hand that being a stepmom is a job no one gets right in the beginning. For me it is one of the hardest job I’ve ever had. I have been challenged emotionally, intellectually, and physically. I have been forced to define and redefine myself as a woman, a family member and as…
I know first hand that being a stepmom is a job no one gets right in the beginning. For me it is one of the hardest job I’ve ever had. I have been challenged emotionally, intellectually, and physically. I have been forced to define and redefine myself as a woman, a family member and as a spouse. And I’ve concealed and weathered such hurt and pain at the hands of my stepchildren treating me with rejection, apathy, hostility, betrayal and even threatened physical harm to me. But I will say this, that I’ve never felt such dislike or unwelcome-ness in my forty plus years on this earth. In a funny but sad way sometimes it is so confusing just trying to understand their hot-and-cold behavior. For example at times I get along great with them and then there are other times I’m treated as if I am a communicable disease.
Now I will admit this, that one of my step-kids and I were close for a period of time, well let me restate that, I thought my step-kid and I were close for a period of time, but a few years ago it all went so far sour, it was beyond crazy, and when I say crazy, I mean crazy. It was like a rug was pulled from under me. To be told that I was nothing, and never have been anything to a person whom I love, and treated like my own, to me was just unforgivable. To be threatened physically, and lied on in such a vindictive way was just too much I feel for anyone to endure. I could have came back with fists a blazing or acting in an irrational way that was honestly beneath me, but I didn’t, after being talked down and calming down I realized that it wasn’t worth it. That being the bigger, more mature and sane person was the way to go. And I’m glad I did that because it left me in control and not allowing a person to control me, my emotions, feelings and actions. But it did give me insight into exactly what this person had been feeling and thinking of me all the while pretending to care for me. So it was very hard to deal with, but in time I did forgive my step-kid. I had to, because I couldn’t allow a person to control my emotions and make me second guess who I was as a person. But at the same time I had to take a step back from my step-child and the tornadic situation in itself. I try my best to surround myself with people who love and support me and those who don’t you can best believe you always have to stay alert and watch your back with. But who knows maybe well down the road we will come to be in a better place but for now it’s a process in a process that I feel is unhealthy and toxic for me. So I choose to love them from a distance and devote my time and energy to people and things that’s positive and loving in my life.
I know you’ve heard the saying “ Damned if I do and damned if I don’t”, well that sums it up in a nutshell for me because no matter what I did…….they didn’t like me. I turned myself inside out trying to please them but still……they didn’t like me. Some days it felt like they even hated me for breathing. Throughout their lives I bent over backwards to show how good and kind hearted of a person I am, but not a pushover either, in hopes that one day they would come around and hopefully we have a better relationship. But it’s been over 20 years, and no matter what, every time I think we’re taking steps forward, they do or say something that shows me that forward is not the direction they’re wishing to go with me. As the quote says “Don’t worry about those who talk about you behind your back, they’re behind you for a reason”. And I truly believe that. You have to spend your emotional resources on people and events that are deserving of you.
Now after over 20 years in, I can say I am a better person for having helped my husband raise his children. The survival of our marriage through all of this has made it stronger and made us communicate even more. There is no sure fire way to bring peace and understanding to a relationship with your stepchildren, but hopefully my recommendations will be a start.
The Wicked Stepmom Stereotype
It doesn’t make anything easier by having the word wicked being the first word associated with being a stepmother. There are so many times that being a step mom has made me want to scream, cry, and pull my hair out all at the same time. But also there have been some good times with them. Be yourself and hopefully when they’re ready they will come around and you will have a great relationship with them. And if that doesn’t happen, feel great knowing you’ve done all you could do.
Your Self-Esteem May Be Put To The Test
It seems no matter how nice you are to your step children, at times you may get ignored, disrespected, and tested in so many ways. But if you don’t have a strong sense of self-worth, your insecurities will have you doubting your every move. I jokingly have said that I could cut my arm off for one of them, and they would find fault in that. Don’t ever allow anyone to make you doubt yourself, that’s only giving them power over you and who you are. Always love yourself and know your self-worth and don’t settle for anything less than the best.
They Love Me-They Love Me Not…..Loving Them & Them Loving You
I think as a step parent you’ve heard the saying “love them like they’re your own”. And to me that can be some of the worse advise. To me it goes up there with the saying “when you married him you married his family.”…..Wrong….. Just because you’re in love with someone doesn’t automatically mean you love his kids, and it’s no where that says this is a prerequisite for a loving and successful blended family. Look I’ve went many Birthdays, Mother’s Days, Christmases, just any day with out even a kind gesture from my step children. I’ve lost close love ones, and had surgeries and never even received a “condolence or get well wish.” No matter what they were going through I was there for them, and that will never change, because that’s the kind of person I am. You may not receive a lot of love, if any from your step children but never allow that to take away from the person you are. As a step-parent you should strive to act in a loving, kind and respectful way and if love develops from them or you, just consider that a wonderful added bonus.
Your Relationship With Your Spouse Must Come First
One of the worst mistakes couples sometimes make is putting their relationship on the back burner or in other words last. Your relationship can’t survive whenever you allow anyone to come between you. You have to be strong as a couple and communicate and stand together. You did make the vows and said “for better or worse.” Always try and keep as much harmony in your home as possible and keep the drama with the ones trying to cause the drama. I am so thankful that I have a partner that love, support and is committed to us having a solid foundation and not allowing lies and vindictive actions come between what we’ve built. And at the same time see through what’s fact and what’s fiction. His support throughout all of this has been some of what’s given me the strength to preserver and again leave the drama with those that’s causing the drama. You having communication and openness with your spouse is key. Remember, prioritizing your marriage isn’t done at the expense of the children but it’s done for them. They need a solid foundation. So you always put your marriage and spouse first.
Understand The So-Called “Loyalty Bind”
Look a lot of children worry that their acceptance of a step-parent mean they’re betraying their biological parent. They may feel or have been taught to feel that if they accept you, like you or even love you that it would hurt or anger the biological mother. And sadly with some insecure mothers, they are jealous, hurt and angry. In these situations the step children feeling this way does increase their need to show their “loyalty bind” to the biological parent by rejecting and being hostile to you simply just to show their loyalty and love to the other parent. As I say, it is what it is. It’s no way to sugar-coat this scenario. But you have to let your step children know that you’re not trying to replace their mom but that you would love to have a good relationship with them as well. I’m not going to lie, this will be very hard because of you having to work extra hard because you’re having to contend with a biological parent that is insecure within themselves and thus pushes it off onto the child. I’m not saying that you can break the chain from a step child that feels having a relationship with you would mean to other parent that they’re not loyal. It may be hard but you have to at least try and break that insecure chain that the other parent may be placing the child in. And in case this is not due to the pressure of the biological mom, then you and that biological parent sitting down and explaining this to the child may be the best way of them understanding this.
Be Open To Letting Go
You have to be open to the chance that you may never be close to all or any of your step children. They may feel they don’t need to or may feel having a relationship with you causes their loyalty to be questioned when it come to the other parent. But remember there is enormous grace and courage in being able to bow out and let go. This is completely different than giving up. It is up to that step child to hopefully one day come around and have a change of heart. Everybody situation is different but I promise you there is always some common vulnerabilities. There is no family that’s smooth sailing all the time, but any family have the potential to rise above those challenges and come away with something that is so extraordinary. Good Luck
Dealing with Toxic In-Law Drama
Have you had to deal with In-law D-R-A-M-A..I had to capitalize the word drama. Sister-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, cousin-in-law..just anything that has in-law at the end of it. Drama, drama, drama.. Read what our Editor-In-Chief had to say on this subject. You can’t truly speak on it unless you have went through it, and Prestige want to…
Have you had to deal with In-law D-R-A-M-A..I had to capitalize the word drama. Sister-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, cousin-in-law..just anything that has in-law at the end of it. Drama, drama, drama.. Read what our Editor-In-Chief had to say on this subject. You can’t truly speak on it unless you have went through it, and Prestige want to hear from our readers. Tell us your story and how you dealt with it..
For this cause, a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cleave To his wife, and they shall become one flesh. (Genesis 2:24)
When I sat down to write this article I wanted to tread very softly with what I said because of course I know certain in-laws may misconstrue my words. But how can I help someone else dealing with toxic in-laws if I’m tip toeing around the subject. We all know this is a touchy subject no matter which way you put it. And sugar coating it is not on my list. I think I am an expert in this area. I’ve dealt with the toxic in-law drama, toxic baby momma drama, and more. But the word that should stand out to you is the word dealt. That’s past tense. I dealt with it and left it alone. You must learn that in the end the only acceptance that matters is from your spouse. You can’t waste your time and energy trying to get along with in-laws that no matter what you do will persecute you.
I use to joke with other’s that I could be Super Women and save the lives of a billion people and my toxic in-laws would find some fault in that just because it was me saving them. I’ve only had to deal with a few toxic in-laws, because my other in-laws have been wonderful, respectful, and has accepted me, and I love and respect them so. I even love and respect the toxic ones.
Once you’ve done all that you can to work with your in-laws and they still continue to act in an immature way. You have to let it go and devote your time and energy on yourself, your marriage, and your household. You have to realize that it’s not in some people to be civil and act like adults. But you have to be what they are not. Believe me when it come down to the sensitive subject of toxic in-laws, no one comes out a winner, no matter what all sides come out loosing.
What is a toxic in-law?
Toxic in-laws are in-laws who through various means try to cause friction and chaos on you and your marriage. These means can be clear and aggressive, or even subtle and sneaky. One example is attempts to control you through “guilt-peddling” (always asking for money, & etc) I call these the “repeat offenders” (the constant borrowers). Toxic in-laws are usually unapologetic and often unrelenting. Quick to persecute you but pretend they don’t understand the wrong that they do. Hypocrite is another word for it. Who take their dislike for you out on your spouse and/or children. Prestige readers do you think I defined that clear enough? Read below on 10 ways of dealing with in-law drama.
1. Your in-laws only know what you tell them or what they may hear. If they are friends on your social site, then why even post when you’re having problems with your spouse on the web. Even if they weren’t your friend why post your relationship problems on the World Wide Web. You need to set some boundaries with your spouse on what information to share with your in-laws. When you go to them every time you have a problem in your relationship, the majority of the time they will hear about the problem but turn a deaf ear to you saying you’ve resolved the problem. Remember the problems that go on in your relationship needs to be resolved privately between you and your spouse.
2. You must communicate with your spouse about the difficulties that you’re having with your in-laws and he/she may be able to provide some suggestions about resolving the issues you’re having with them. Work with your spouse and show that you wish to work with your in-laws to find a solution, even if your in-laws are not willing to work with you.
3. When you married your spouse you took vows and promised to put your husband or wife first. You made vows to your spouse and not your in-laws. What your in-laws must realize is that your life is your life.
4. You have to always choose your battles. Some things are better left unsaid. I know at times this may be hard especially when they intentionally do things to push your buttons. But as the saying says “think twice and speak once”. Once you learned to do just this, the more you will leave them to wallow alone in their own mess.
5. Always avoid making your spouse choose between you and your in-laws. That is a disaster in the making. If your spouse makes that choice let it be his/her own choice. You may be dealing with some conniving in-laws and eventually your spouse will realize this. But don’t ever push your feelings onto your spouse about your in-laws.
6. Do not allow them to manipulate you. They may accuse you of being disrespectful, make idle threats, hang up on you, say you’re going against the family, and even throw a temper tantrum like a two year old. They will test you to see if you will back down, but it is extremely important that you stand your ground.
7. You have to unite as a couple and not allow in-laws to divide you. Refuse to listen to in-laws gossip about your spouse. Respectfully correct them when they negatively bash your spouse. This will relay to your in-laws those boundaries that you will not allow them to cross when it comes to your marriage. You can always put an in-law in their place and set those boundaries without being rude in the way that you do it. Yes again your in-laws will not like this and will probably act like spoiled kids, but you and your spouse must commit to a loving resolution while at the same time presenting a united front.
8. You can’t hold grudges against your in-laws. You have to be honest with them in a respectful but still in a firm manner. Acting in the childish manner as they act only put you at their level.
9. Always remember that the extent to which you allow them to push your buttons is the extent to which you’re letting them have power over you. Your in-laws opinions does not outrank your owns and those of your spouse and you don’t need their approval on anything. You are an adult and you have to act like one even when others are not.
10. Don’t ever allow their negativity effect what goes on in your house. If you are doing a lot of arguing about your in-laws then that means you’re not communicating. Your home is you and your spouse sanctuary. Don’t ever allow them to cause chaos in it.
Look Prestige readers I know it’s easier said than done in certain situations. But when all else fails, your responsibility lies with your spouse and not with your in-laws. Some toxic in-laws will always be toxic. But as long as you continue to build that bond with your spouse, then nothing they do will tear down what the both of you have worked to build. You have to always work to keep harmony in the sanctuary of your home, and keep that outside drama out of it. Doing this only strengthens the bond that you and your spouse share. Even if your in-laws turn against your spouse continue to provide the support that he/she needs. Withstand even when they have given up.
Self Respect: Qualities of A Real Woman
Succeeding in today’s world as a woman of respect and integrity is no small feat. The world offers deeply conflicting advice on what makes a woman more of a woman than another—an argument that’s flawed and demeaning to begin with—and although it’s sometimes easy to determine which suggestions are downright ridiculous, it’s often harder to…
Succeeding in today’s world as a woman of respect and integrity is no small feat. The world offers deeply conflicting advice on what makes a woman more of a woman than another—an argument that’s flawed and demeaning to begin with—and although it’s sometimes easy to determine which suggestions are downright ridiculous, it’s often harder to suss out which ones are accurate. It’s impossible to distill exactly what makes a real woman, as every woman has the right to individuality. But in terms of respect, integrity and dignity, here are a few of the best qualities of real women from some of the most admirable examples.
Hillary Clinton is a politician, so she may not immediately jump out as the obvious choice to solicit this advice, “the American people are tired of liars and people who pretend to be something they’re not.” Honesty is an essential part of confidence, and they go hand in hand. People respect honest people, and honest women are the best women.
Oprah Winfrey has stated many things about her experience as a woman of color, and they are all profound and important. When she declared, “turn your wounds into wisdom” she wasn’t merely tossing out a platitude. Everyone must go through pain, tragedy and hardship. It’s what she makes of those experiences that make her a quality woman.
Life is difficult, but it’s also often absurd. “If you obey all the rules, you miss all the fun,” stated Katharine Hepburn, who always had a zest for life. Finding the joy in the everyday things, taking opportunities to relax and being a little wild when the feeling suits will ensure a life well lived.
Society expects a lot from women, more than it does from men. It requires ladies to work harder for less pay, to fight for the rights naturally bestowed on men and to somehow maintain the home life while forging a personal career. “Being a woman is hard work,” sighed Maya Angelou. And she wasn’t kidding.
Challenges arise daily, and women must learn to meet them. There’s no room in success for complaining and giving up, learning how to adapt to changing environments, duties and expectations is vital. Dolly Parton pointed out, “we cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails.” Women who put on a brave and ready face and meet the world’s demands are the ones other women will look up to.
Standing up for your principles and rights as well of those of your family, friends and loved ones is at the core of strong, self-respecting women. Susan B. Anthony spent her life fighting for her principles; she announced “we ask justice, we ask equality, we ask that all civil and political rights that belong to the citizens of the United States be guaranteed to us and our daughters forever. ”
There are many qualities that make a real woman, including confidence, integrity, a sense of humor and passion. But all women must look to each other, to their heroes and within themselves, and be the best they can be.
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