The Value of Friendships & Identifying True Friends

My oldest started school this year and on her first day she came home excited and stated “I made a new friend.” As all of us remember, friends were those people who truly carried us through good and bad times.

My oldest started school this year and on her first day she came home excited and stated “I made a new friend.” As all of us remember, friends were those people who truly carried us through good and bad times.

Unfortunately, there also were those pseudo friends that you thought were your friends, but really had other motives. Since we have moved to our new home we have had to deal with these pseudo friends, as everyone is a “friend” to a five year old.
We have some neighborhood kids that tend to hang out near our house and Diva-J has always been drawn to enjoying playing with kids that are older than her more than kids her own age. Sometimes this is fine, while at other times she can get taken advantage of by these older kids.
There is one, as I call it, fair weather friend that tends to come around on some days and on other days will not give Diva-J the time of day. This same “friend” tends to come over when Diva-PJ is outside as she likes babies.
It is difficult to help Diva-J understand the difference between friendship and real friendship. She also does not always understand the underlying mean nature that sometimes is occurring around her, as when I address the issue, she defends these “friends.”
It is at these times when I am at a loss for words, as I want Diva-J to have friendships, but at what cost. This also leads back to an earlier post that I had about being able to let go. It also though goes into the idea of when do you step in and save your child from others. I tend to try and let Diva-J learn some things by herself, but there have been times when I knew that she was being taken advantage of where I stepped in and said enough is enough and set the record, and the child affronting my child, straight.
So how do you teach your son or daughter about who is a true friend and who are just going through the motions so that they are somewhat held harmless? What have all of you done in the past?
In looking into this I found a few links I thought I would share with you all!
Some questions you should ask yourself include:
  • What has sustained your long-lasting friendships?
  • Are their common traits/characteristics of these friendships and if so what are they?
  • What concerns you about the friends that your child has?
As you begin to answer these questions you may find it necessary to revisit them over time as your answers and definitely the answers about your children will change as you all change and grow.

Modeling What it Means to Be a Friend

What does it mean to be a friend. As a guy and as a father I think this is not always an easy thing to explain or talk about. As guys we talk about hanging out and many times talk about truly surface things when it comes to friendships. Yet, in thinking about this, what is this showing our children? I have been lucky to have some friendships in the past and even some now that have been much more than this. The types of friendships that you know that you can count on for anything come thick or thin. These are the types of friends that you can turn to when things get rough and you can’t even turn to your partner (though hopefully you could turn to them for anything as well).

I see in my own children the day-to-day struggles of friendships. My eldest daughter tries to make friends with so many kids and some of them are great (in a father’s opinion), while others are truly toxic. I use that word even though it does have negative connotations. There are some friends that she has made and even ones that I have made in the past that are all about the other person. Everything is always on their terms, and no matter what you say or do it always remains this way. I know for me, I have come to learn over the years that these “friendships” do not really last, or at least they are not very beneficial for my own personal well being. I know that Diva-J and Diva-PJ will have to learn these lessons as well.

As a father I try my best to help my girls understand what friendship means. My girls are still quite young to completely understand this, yet day-by-day I do what I can, especially with Diva-J (my eldest) to make her think about what she likes about a person and why they are her friend. This is not always an easy conversation to have with a six year old, but I think it is worth it and will help her ultimately in the end.

So for me, I try to let my girls see that being a friend is so much more than just hanging out, it is to be present, to be helpful and caring and to be able to be there when the other person really needs you. For me, my modeling has just begun.

What about each of you, how do you model this for your own children?

Play Dates and Dads

The pick up lines have changed but the game is still the same. It’s a numbers racket, where you get as many phone numbers as you can hoping to find that connection where the first date goes well and leads to a second and thrid date.

I have done a lot of dating lately and my wife is starting to get jealous. Some of it has been with her but mostly it is the boys and I heading out to spend some time with other kids and their parents. Coffee shops, the zoo, parks, when it isn’t raining, and living rooms have taken the place of movies, happy hours, and candle light dinners. The kids get to play with new toys and get some creative play in with different kids and I get to enjoy a cup of coffee and some conversation that runs a little more intellectual than poopy, num nums, and time out.

It’s funny how the best play dates are with kids that my kids get along with more than with parents that I get a long with. I can hang out and talk with any parent as long as the kids are getting along and playing well together but if they aren’t happy then ain’t no one happy. Instead of cruising the bars we are now trolling the parks looking for numbers. The pick up lines have changed but the game is still the same. It’s a numbers racket, where you get as many phone numbers as you can hoping to find that connection where the first date goes well and leads to a second and thrid date.

I was never too good at the bar scene but I am a regular Don Juan of play dates. Today we hit the jackpot of play dates where the kids get along, the new toy quota is strong to quite strong, and the conversation is great. I think there might even be a good night kiss at the door the way this thing is going, I’m getting nervous all ready.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

Even the Stay at home dads need balance

The Work/Life balance takes on a different meaning when your a stay at home dad. For us Work is the family and life seems to be a complete unknown to me. I am not finding a good balance right now for a couple of reasons I will try to illustrate.

When we started this blog there were three stay at home dads in the Revolution but now that the dust has settled a bit I find I am the only one still going. I feel like I need to stand strong and represent the cause in a sea of great working dads, but at the same time the numbers seem a bit more balanced. While there are more and more men staying at home to raise the kids, whether by choice or necessity, the numbers are still pretty low. So as one out of the ten dads here at DadRevoltion being a stay at home dad fits more in line with the country as a whole. So far you have read some posts on balancing kids and work or balancing kids and your spouse but as an at home dad that balance looks more like balancing kids with a life outside the house. So far I have to say I am failing at finding that balance but there are a couple of reasons for that.

First off from some of my previous posts you probably worked out that I live in Portland Oregon, but that hasn’t always been the case. I was born in Portland but grew up in Southern California. I moved back to Portland two and half years ago after living the previous five years in Indianapolis, Indiana. While living in Indy I was also a stay at home dad and finding that balance of kids and personal time was much easier. I had friends that I hung out with, community projects I was involved in, and plenty of sporting events and concerts to attend. Here in Portland I haven’t found those friends, time for the community involvement, or extra money for various entertainment options. I know that all of those things will come eventually but right now my free time is spent at home reading or on the computer instead of out of the house. That always being home starts to manifest in a feeling of being trapped or stuck. Those feeling build on each other and bleed into my interactions with the kids and with my wife and I am far less patient than I should be.

Adding another kid to the mix has played a big part as well. When we just had one, and a baby at that, it was much easier to get out and about with friends. Now with the two boys it becomes more work to go out with them, and a good deal of planning to find a way to leave them at home. I am also a lot more worn out from caring for my two boys plus the third little monster in the mix that I look after during the week. After a long day of running around with them, cleaning the latest art project, or coming up with three meals a day I don’t have a whole lot of metal energy to come up with something for me to do on my own. I feel like a lot of my creativity is taken up in the day to day tasks of raising the boys leaving me void of ideas for things to do myself. Trying to think of what to do is much harder then just not doing anything so apathy wins out and I pick up the computer instead of meeting a friend for coffee and conversation that doesn’t involve me asking anyone to take their hands off their penis.

When Beautiful comes home from work I don’t want to just clock out, slapping her hand on her way into the house noting that it is her turn to get into the ring and wrestle. I know you working dads know what I mean here, that transition is tough and as much as you want to get right in there and get your parenting on you need to shift gears and ease into it. I feel guilty turn the kids loose on my wife so I stick around too long instead of finding time in there for me. I need to be better at successfully making the hand off and then getting away, even once a week, to recharge. When every minute is about the kids I come to resent them for not having any time for me and that isn’t fair to them. They need me to get away and find more outlets to recharge as much I do. That balance will always be weighted far more in the direction of home but I need to be better about finding those times away that really are for me. Now I just need to come up with ideas for what those are.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.

Negotiating with the neighbor kids

Parenting styles and decisions are some of the toughest issues to deal with when the kids get together but by being humble and having a conversation you can go a long way to making sure that the kids get a long as well as the parents.

Dealing with discipline issues with your own kids is difficult enough but when you add in other kids that are not your own you run into some dicey situations. In our neighborhood there are no shortage of little friends to enjoy a sunny summer afternoon with but when all the kids end up on my watch I have to think about how to handle the inevitable fights that come up.

With my boys I’m pretty quick with the whistle and handing out infractions. First offense gets a warning, second gets a timeout, and the third gets a toy taken away. Now I can give the warning to anyone but the timeout is tougher to administer to kids that aren’t my own. I have found that some quick chats with the other parents go a long way in making this easier. Since I am more strict than the other parents on the block it is important for me to understand what their rules are to help maintain the peace. For the most part the discipline issue is important in just keeping the kids safe. I need them to listen and respond the first time to keep them from getting in the street or hurting each other. By knowing how their parents discipline I am able to maintain that consistency the kids need.

Parenting styles and decisions are some of the toughest issues to deal with when the kids get together but by being humble and having a conversation you can go a long way to making sure that the kids get a long as well as the parents. We may do things differently but it is not from a lack of care and concern. Let’s establish that we all love our kids and want the best for them and be willing to learn a little along the way.

Portland Dad writes over at Stay At Home Dad PDX about raising two boys as a stay at home dad. You can also find him on twitter as Portlanddad.