Professor provides advice for step-families

Valentine’s week has also been Healthy Relations Week at Utah State University. You might say USU Extension Family Life Specialist Brian Higginbotham literally “wrote the book” on healthy relationships. Higginbotham recently received the Early Career Achievement Award from the National Council on Family Relations for his work and research in family and human development areas. Higginbotham is co-author of a 44-page marriage handbook available on the Internet and given to couples when they apply for a marriage license. On KVNU’s Crosstalk show Thursday, he said about 50 percent of all marriages are re-marriages for one or both of the spouses. He said these relationships are more complex, but there are ways to make the adjustments easier.”Respecting each other’s choices, in terms of your ex-partner, not being critical of them in front of your children,” Higginbotham advised. “And then as a couple, agreeing to get on the same page without having the kids right there as well. “You have to begin to create new traditions, you have to create new expectations.”Higginbotham says one of the most critical things couples should agree on is that children should be kept away from any conflict. His advice for maintaining healthy relationships is to keep the line of communication open and show your spouse in small ways daily how much you care.

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