BBBS Board Member Spotlight: Dylan Van Den Einde

Dylan Van Den Einde
Ask Dylan Van Den Einde why he volunteers as a Big Brother, and he is quick to say that he wants to help someone else experience what he had growing up. Raised in Fertile, MN, Dylan credits his loving family and supportive community for providing the solid foundation that has helped him succeed as an adult. He remembers kids in school who were in tough situations and might be headed down the wrong path. His mother made her expectations clear; instead of letting anyone be a bad influence on him, he must be a positive role model for others. Dylan graduated from Minnesota State University [...]

Holiday Stress: Dealing with Family

Family sitting at dinner table in background of a Christmas tree
Holidays are synonymous with family gatherings. Whether that excites you or causes a knot to form in your stomach, there are always family members you might not want to deal with. Help alleviate some of your holiday stress with these tips on dealing with difficult situations during family holidays. Questions to Ask When Handling Conflict Is this my battle? Asking yourself, "Is this my battle?" can help you decide if this should land on your shoulders. If you are concerned with how your children are parenting their kids or with how your sister is being treated by her husband, consider if the [...]

Signs of Codependency

Couple's hands tied with metal chain
Try to envision all of the relationships you have in your life – your relationship with your parents, your spouse, your children, or your best friend. Do any stick out to you? Would you classify any or all of these relationships as being fulfilling and mutually beneficial, or would you classify them as one-sided and controlling? If the latter option sounds more familiar, your relationships may have codependency issues. Codependency is a behavior that can be passed down from generation to generation, and it affects a person’s ability to have a healthy and rewarding relationship. To put it [...]

8 Traits of Toxic Influences

Toxic influences make us feel bad about ourselves
Some people make us feel bad about ourselves. When we spend time with them, we might engage in destructive behaviors. They don't bring out the best in us. These people are toxic influences. According to Mental Health America, 84% of women and 75% of men report having had a toxic friend at some point. And about three-fourths of US employees have or have had a toxic boss. It’s important we begin to recognize who those people are and create boundaries to improve our mental and physical health. Take the time to identify the toxic relationships, behaviors and situations in your life. As part of its [...]

If You're Going to Fight, Make Sure It's Fair

Couple sitting on couch looking unhappy fighting
In any relationship, there will be conflict. The trick isn't to avoid it; it's learning to deal with those disagreements in a healthy, respectful way. It's a matter of fighting fair. Kelly Olson of The Village, says couples shouldn't be afraid to talk about issues. Each person in a relationship should be available to hear the concerns of his or her partner, and help their partner feel validated for those concerns. We also need to be aware of our own limits and cues. When is NOT the right time to have a discussion? Maybe you're not a morning person, or after work is a stressful time for you [...]

Unsatisfied In Your Marriage? These 14 Tips Could Help

Unhappy couple laying in bed facing away from each other
Couples today may experience less satisfaction in their marriage as compared to their parents, research shows. One report indicated a 42 percent dip in satisfaction! One factor may be related to having kids later in life, and feeling more social pressure to provide the best of everything. However, some research shows that marital satisfaction declines for all couples, including childless couples. The takeaway: Marriage is work for everyone. Kelly Olson, with The Village Family Service Center, created this list of 14 things that can help couples communicate better, cherish each other more, and [...]

Healthy Boundaries Help Relationships

Girl making heart shape with her hands
Love with limits. These “limits” are the healthy boundaries we all must set in relationships with those close to us. You can love a friend, with limits. You can love a child, with limits. You can love your partner, with limits. Limits protect us and the people around us, and they help others better understand us and respond to our needs. Boundaries are parameters, lines we draw with people. They are determined by what we deem as OK and not OK, ethical and unethical, moral and immoral. We have varying distances depending on how well we know someone. You may have more or stricter boundaries with [...]

Divorce Do’s and Don’ts

Divorce can be hard on children but parents can take certain actions to be better co-parents
Divorce is difficult for everyone in the family. The process can bring out the worst in people, and when separated parents struggle to get along, it can be especially hard on the kids. Younger children may display behaviors such as excessive crying, clinginess, or difficulty with transitions. It’s important for divorced or separated parents to be able to communicate effectively and resolve conflict. Here are some tips for things to do – and not to do – that are in the best interest of your children when a marriage or relationship is ending. What to do after a divorce Allow your child to love [...]

Loving Someone with a Substance Use Disorder

Hand pouring alcohol from a bottle into a glass with small outline of mother and child in the distance
Alcohol or drug use affects everyone around the person who is using the substance. Some research shows there are at least 12 people affected for every 1 person with a substance use disorder (SUD). Families are typically most affected, because of their day-to-day interactions with the person who has the SUD. Often family members are terrified this person will die. This fear paralyzes families, but you do not need to be held hostage by this fear. There are changes you can make that just might change the course. If what you are doing isn't working, what do you have to lose by trying something [...]

Learn to Speak Your Partner's Love Language

Hearts hanging on a string
Valentine’s Day tends to be a time for people to focus on their relationship with their significant other. Perhaps you feel out of touch with your partner, and want to take steps to improve that relationship. A necessary component to any satisfying relationship is building a culture of appreciation where you and your partner feel loved and appreciated. Gary Chapman, author of “The 5 Love Languages,” gives us a guide on how to enhance our relationship with our partner. According to Chapman, there are five different love languages. All five are important, and we all express love through all five [...]