Family Fundamentals

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    Family Fundamentals: Help student heading to college set a budget

    My son is starting college this year. I want to sit him down to help him learn how to set a budget, but he is resisting. How much should I press him?
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    Family Fundamentals: Too much screen time? A word on setting limits

    My 12-year-old daughter is using our family’s mobile device quite a bit this summer, primarily playing games, watching videos and chatting with friends. My wife and I agree that she’s getting too much screen time, but we disagree on setting limits. Do you have any recommendations? You are not alone. A point of contention in many families these days is limiting children’s time in front of screens — whether they’re televisions, computers, tablets, games or smartphones. In late 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics set some guidelines based on research saying that the average 8- to 10-year-old spends nearly 8 hours and teens spend more than 11 hours a day in front of a screen. In addition, the academy reported that about 75 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds own cell phones, but two-thirds of...
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    Family Fundamentals: Investigate options to repay student loans

    I am about to graduate from college and, so far, I don’t have a job. I’m worried about paying back my student loans when the time comes. What happens if I can’t afford the payment?
  4. Family Fundamentals: How being mindful can benefit relationships

    A friend has become a big believer in the power of mindfulness. Recently she said she thinks it has helped improve her marriage. I thought mindfulness was really just a new word for meditation. How can it help with relationships with other people?
  5. photo illustration of hacker at keyboard

    Take steps to protect yourself from ID theft

    Our neighbor is dealing with a case of identity theft. It’s been a nightmare for him. What can we do to protect ourselves? Identity theft is running rampant, and it can take many forms. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, 16.6 million people experienced identity theft in 2012. Plus, a recent report by the Identity Theft Resource Center revealed that more than 85 million records were compromised in 783 data breaches during 2014, putting many people’s information at risk. And the Federal Trade Commission recently reported that tax-related identity theft complaints made a big jump in 2014, accounting for almost one-third of the nearly 333,000 identity theft complaints it received.
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    Family Fundamentals: Aging: How to tell what’s normal

    I’m in my early 60s and, unlike some of my peers (it seems), I’m starting to feel my age. How do I know what’s normal and what’s not?
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    Family Fundamentals: Take small steps to save on monthly bills

    I have done a good job in 2014 about getting my spending under control. Now I’m looking at my monthly utility bills. What are some of the best ways to trim those costs?
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    Family Fundamentals: Keep calm and enjoy the family during the holidays

    I love everything about the holidays except for one thing: At family gatherings, I have to deal with my sister, whom I rarely see otherwise. She seems to know how to push all my buttons. Any ideas to help me cope?
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    Family Fundamentals: Examine your policy for savings on car insurance

    We’re taking a look at our regular expenses, and I think we might be paying too much for car insurance. What’s the best way to find out? Car insurance is one of those expenses that can range from reasonable to “whoa.” But it can take some legwork to determine if you’re paying more than you need to. An easy first step would be to find a website that offers a way to compare rates from different companies. One such site,, offers a comparison after you enter your ZIP code and basic information about your car. While the estimates provided are just that — estimates — the site offers a quick rate comparison. Your actual cost would vary depending on what type coverage you get, your driving history and other factors.
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    Family Fundamentals: Know warning signs of depression, suicide

    How do you tell the difference between normal feelings of sadness and actually being depressed or suicidal? When should you seek help?


This column was discontinued in July 2016. For similar information and more, please see, a blog written by OSU Extension’s Family and Consumer Science professionals.