Note from the Editor

To view the entire magazine click on the above cover.

Welcome to the 2018/19 edition of Okanagan Family Magazine. We hope you enjoy reading the numerous articles written by knowledgeable authors covering a variety of topics that help to make your life a little easier.

Need some useful tips on how to be a better parent especially during those trying teen years? Look no further. Dr. Laura Markham has a wonderful article with practical advice that really works (pg 4).

Everyone is concerned about the health of their family so we have included two articles on the subject. “Boosting Brain Power with Physical Activity” reminds us of the importance of movement and how it affects brain development. In the article “Want a Healthy and Happy Family?” discover the importance of the quality of our food and how the right diet can make you feel better and give you more energy.

Are your parents aging and needing your assistance? Check out the article on home care for seniors called “Caregiving is a Two-Way Relationship”. This article is full of useful information for both the care giver and the senior parent. After all, this can be a big adjustment for both parties and seniors don’t always feel comfortable expressing their needs. Speaking of seniors, are you thinking of being the Executor for your parents estate? We have an article on that too. Discover the ins and outs of being an executor before actually signing up for the job. Maybe hiring a lawyer is a better idea (pg 8).

It is not uncommon these days for families to have experienced divorce and remarriage. Remarriage is a happy time for the new couple but can often be challenging for children. In the article “8 Ways to Ensure Remarriage Success” are some insightful points you should consider as you go down this new life path.

Of course we have our map and an article on finding the right child care option for your family (pg 15 and 16).

But before you look into child care, you have to be a parent. Sometimes becoming pregnant has insurmountable odds so why not consider adoption? Even that can have pitfalls… like long waits, but there are many options. Explore with us the adoption of minor disability orphans in “I Know we were Meant to be a Family!”.

Next is: “How to Handle your Anger at your Child”. This article is loaded with sound advice that you can use in any relationship: co-workers, your spouse and other family members. It’s always wise to think before you speak but there are other things you can do as well.

“Embracing the Unexpected” is a delightful, heartfelt article about putting yourself in your child’s shoes. Children can’t always be on their best behaviour but author Karen Copeland chooses to look at the brighter side of life.

And lastly, we have an article called “Preparing Children to Leave Home”. Author Marie Hartwell-Walker reminds us that we need to start long before high school graduation approaches. Why not start now? It’s never too soon.

Enjoy reading!

P.S. We’d like to thank our cover photographer Liz Soergel ( for her great work and mom Saffron Quist of Vernon, B.C. for our gorgeous cover model.

Game Plan for Positive Parenting your Teen

by Dr. Laura Markham, founder of

Positive parenting a teenager? A terrific teen who’s responsible, considerate, shows good judgment, at least most of the time? Yes, it is possible! You may not feel like you have much influence on your child these days, but teens’ behaviour is highly correlated with the strength of their bonds with their parents. Good relationships between teenagers and their parents, as rated by both, are positively correlated with school success and general happiness as rated by the teen, and also by those around her.

By contrast, weak or conflictual parent/teen relationships are correlated with early sexual activity, experimentation with drugs and alcohol, the teen’s involvement in violence, (as either perpetrator or victim) and suicide.

How do you parent this blossoming person who sometimes seems to be becoming a stranger? Here’s 14 essential tips:

Continue reading “Game Plan for Positive Parenting your Teen”

Boosting Brain Power with Physical Activity

by Naomi Mison, YMCA of Okanagan

For kids, physical activity isn’t just fun, it is crucial for the development of their brain structure, function and academic success. Yet, all too many families are struggling to get enough exercise.

In fact, according to the 2018 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth (the most comprehensive assessment of child and youth physical activity in Canada) Canadians received a D+ in overall activity levels.

Despite being advised of the importance of limiting screen time and the consequences of a sedentary lifestyle, the report states that five to eleven year olds and twelve to seventeen year olds in Canada spend 2.3 and 4.1 hours per day, respectively, in front of a screen.

More time in front of a screen means less time dedicated to physical activity and inactivity is the primary cause of most preventable chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, type two diabetes, obesity and cancer. Therefore, it is no surprise that 83 per cent of Canadians rate physical inactivity as the most serious health issue facing society – even worse than tobacco and alcohol use.

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I’m the Executor

Do I need to Hire a Lawyer? 

by Jody Pihl, Lawyer and Mental Health Advocate at Pihl Law Corporation

When someone dies, his or her estate needs to be managed. If the deceased had a valid Will, the named Executor may accept the responsibility to “administer the estate” which involves gathering the deceased’s assets, paying the deceased’s debts and taxes and then distributing the remaining assets as set out in the Will.  Quite often, in order to administer an estate, an Executor must go through the probate process in order to gain legal control of the deceased person’s assets.

Probate is essentially the legal process where a will is “proved” in a court and to formally recognize the Executor as the legal representative of the deceased’s estate. While it may sound straight forward and perhaps a task that can be completed by oneself, the probate process is far from simple and taking this task on as an Executor carries significant legal responsibility. Done improperly, administering an estate can create personal liability for the Executor.  Understanding and navigating the probate process without legal assistance can be a confusing and timely process, with plenty of room for error. The last thing anyone needs after losing a loved one is to receive the burden of extra stress surrounding legal issues. Having an estate lawyer assist with the probate process can eliminate unnecessary errors and guesswork and reduce the overall time of the process involved.

As an estate lawyer I also know how important it is for Executors to understand that by law Executors do not pay personally for the legal services expenses for probating the estate. The reasonable costs of administering an estate, including related professional services including legal fees and accounting fees, is paid for by the estate.

There is a long list of reasons to seek legal advice as an Executor, and to seek advice from a lawyer that practices in the area of estate administration, as this area of law requires specific knowledge.  Some of the most critical reasons to hire an estate lawyer to help are listed below.

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Want a Healthy and Happy Family?

Understand some basics of Functional Nutrition

by Lynne Bowsher, Certified Eating Psychology Coach, Mind Body Nutrition Coach

What is Functional Nutrition?

Functional Nutrition looks at the foundational way that your past and present nutritional habits as well as your environmental and lifestyle challenges may influence your current health. It is based on Functional Medicine which approaches the body from a holistic perspective, working not only to treat the root cause of disease but to cultivate optimal health by bringing your body back to homeostasis.

Functional Nutrition aims to simplify the complexity of food and nutrition in order to empower you as an individual to influence and affect sustained and holistic change in your own life and the lives of those around you. For centuries humans have relied on food as a source of energy, health and connection. Science now understands that food literally is “information” for the body having a powerful influence on our health and wellbeing. In other words, what we eat literally becomes us! Our food is transformed into blood, bones, organs and tissues. Food nourishes every cell of our body. It is not just about taking in calories for our body’s metabolism.

The many macro and micro nutrients contained in real, whole foods contain a variety of diverse components that play very important roles in each and every one of our bodily functions. Whole, organic, local foods maximize the potential for health and reverse dysfunction or disease, whereas poor quality or processed foods can actually create disease and dysfunction.

Continue reading “Want a Healthy and Happy Family?”

8 Ways to Ensure Remarriage Success

by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.   •  Psych Central

A Pew Research study that draws on the 2013 U.S. Census shows that four in ten new marriages include one partner who has been married before. More than 40 million American adults are in the second, third or fourth (or more) marriage. That would seem to be encouraging for divorced people who believe in marriage and who want to try again. But the bad news is that 60 percent of those marriages fail. The number climbs higher if both partners have been previously married. Those couples are 90 percent more likely to get divorced than if this had been their first marriage.

You’d think those who have been through a divorce would learn from the experience. Sadly, the data doesn’t support it. Research shows that people are likely to make the same mistakes, whether in their first marriage or their fourth. But that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to be successful in a subsequent marriage. What it takes is the willingness to work on the factors that could be a setup for another failure.

Before you even think about tying the knot again, you would be wise to:

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Child Care in the Central Okanagan

An Important and Sometimes Overwhelming Task

by Melissa Hunt, Executive Director, Kelowna Child Care Society

The Kelowna Child Care Society (KCCS) office is a busy hub of parents with children, and child care providers gathering resources, toys and activity bins and information to ensure that the children in their care are happy, healthy and well looked after. As mothers (all of us are in the office) we have had to look for child care at different stages in our children’s lives. Because our children mean the world to us, this process understandably caused some anxiety and apprehension especially if our job or school schedule required us to find child care immediately or outside standard working days and hours. Knowing our children were being looked after by a supportive, caring and reputable provider allowed for us to be more present and engaged in our jobs and generally at ease having peace of mind that our children were safe and happy while we were at work or school.

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Caregiving is a Two-Way Relationship

by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.   •  Psych Central

Helpers and elders are, of course, male as well as female. But for purposes of clarity, I am using the feminine pronoun, since most people in caregiving relationships are female.

Women traditionally take on the caregiving role in families. For many women, the launching of children into adulthood is followed swiftly by the assumption of care for failing parents or relatives.

Not every caregiver or “helper” feels she has a choice about taking in that parent or relative. By the same token, not every elder feels she has a choice about where she will spend her last years. Although adults in midlife may need to bring an aging family member under their roof, these individuals do have choices about how each of them will handle this challenging situation. Taking care of an elder is really about the elder and helper taking care of each other through what can be a very difficult time. Those relationships that thrive are the ones in which people understand that there has to be a cordial give-and-take. When people are gentle with each other, opportunities for love and understanding emerge and enrich the years they share.

There are a number of issues that are common to all such helping relationships:

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I Know we were Meant to be a Family!

by KCR – Kelowna Community Resources’ Adoption Centre of BC

When life doesn’t go as expected – you don’t fall in love, get married and then get pregnant – it doesn’t mean this has to be the end of your dreams.  You still have options….what about adoption?

KCR – Kelowna Community Resources’ Adoption Centre of BC (ACBC) is a licensed, private, fee for service adoption centre.  Their team is ready to help answer your questions about both Domestic newborn and Inter- Country (Haiti, South Africa and United States) private adoptions.

One adoptive single mom shared “I was afraid for so long that my dreams of becoming a mother would not come true. I was afraid that the hurdles of the adoption process would only prove why I shouldn’t be successful in achieving my dream.” The reality is that when you consult with the team at ACBC you are met with caring, compassionate people who are there to help prepare you for the adoption process and help you to achieve your dream. Many are intimidated by the thought of going through the adoption process and having a home study completed, for fear that someone will find fault in the way they are living their life and wish to raise their child.  One mom shared about her home study process, “The time I spent with the Social Worker was so great. It was not about finding fault but rather about giving me tools and helping me to prepare to welcome my child into my home. Every parent should get the opportunity to have these supports.”

Continue reading “I Know we were Meant to be a Family!”

How to Handle your Anger at your Child

by Dr. Laura Markham, founder of

Every parent gets angry at his or her children sometimes. It doesn’t help that there are always the endless pressures of life: appointments we’re late to, things we’ve forgotten until the last moment, health and financial worries – the list is endless. In the middle of that stress, enter our child, who has lost her sneaker, suddenly remembered she needs a new notebook for school today, is teasing her little brother, or is downright belligerent. And we snap.

In our more peaceful moments, if we’re honest, we know that we could handle any parenting challenge much better from a state of calm. But in the storm of our anger, we feel righteously entitled to our fury. How can this kid be so irresponsible, inconsiderate, ungrateful or even mean?

But no matter how aggravating we find our child’s behaviour, that behaviour doesn’t cause our angry response. We see our child’s behaviour (“He hit her again!”) and we draw a conclusion (“He’s going to be a psychopath!”) which triggers other conclusions (“I’ve failed as a mother!”). This cascade of thoughts creates a run-away train of emotions – in this case fear, dismay, guilt. We can’t bear those feelings. The best defense is a good offense, so we lash out at our child in anger. The whole process takes all of two seconds.

Your child may be pushing your buttons, but he isn’t causing your response. Any issue that makes you feel like lashing out has roots in your own early years. We know this because we lose our ability to think clearly at those moments and we start acting like children ourselves, throwing our own tantrums.

Don’t worry. That’s normal. We all enter the parenting relationship wounded in some way from our childhoods and our kids surface all those wounds. We can expect our kids to act out in ways that send us over the cliff at times. That’s why it’s our responsibility as the grownup to stay away from the cliff.

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Embracing the Unexpected

by Karen Copeland, Champion for Community Wellness

There are times when we have an idea that, on the surface, seems like it will be a good fit. The expectations seem reasonable and attainable, we may even have experienced success in the past. We know to anticipate a few ups and downs but for the most part, feel confident that the day will go well.

I had one of those days this week. We had made a plan to attend an amusement park with relatives. This type of outing has always gone quite well in the past. It was quite chaotic trying to get ready to leave that morning, but we finally made it onto the highway. It was a one and a half hour drive to get to the park. We arrived and met up with another cousin who we hadn’t seen in a while. Everyone was excited to go in and start exploring the park and the rides. Smiles, laughter, boasting about previous experiences. Happiness.

Within fifteen minutes of our arrival, anxiety took full control. It is always hard to watch this happen because you know that your child doesn’t choose this. The things that happen, the words that are said, this is the anxiety roaring and asserting itself as master. Anxiety chose escape as it’s only strategy that day. Escape was all that could be thought about.

“Get . Me . Out . Of . Here . Now!”

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Preparing Children to Leave Home

by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D.   •  Psych Central

Leaving home. Every healthy child eventually does it. Every healthy parent wants it to happen. But the actual leaving (and being left) can be extraordinarily painful for everyone involved.

Parents frequently ask me how to make the transition go smoothly. Fortunately, they are thinking about it. Thoughtful transitions almost always go better than those that are allowed to simply happen. But unfortunately, parents usually ask the question many years later than I would ideally want them to.

Leaving home isn’t an event, it’s a process. The process begins from the moment children leave their mothers’ bodies and continues until they leave the parents’ home and assume the responsibilities of adulthood. For the child, growing up and, for the parent, letting go, is the central process of family life. Children develop more and more skills and push for more and more freedom. Parents develop more and more trust in those skills and loosen supervision.

This is not to say that it always goes smoothly. As a matter of fact, it’s more usual for the process to be awkward and uncomfortable. Growing up and letting go happens in fits and starts as children’s skills develop unevenly or parents feel unsure of how much oversight is needed at particular times.

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