WWF in Fatherhood? Differences in Raising Boys and Girls.

As a father of two girls there is a perceived notion that you must raise your daughters in a certain way (or at least I sometimes get this impression form the people that I interact with). At the same time, when I talk to fathers of boys, I hear differing things about their impressions and the ways in which they feel that they can and should raise their boys as well.

For girls, there is the impression that society expects that they will be introduced to dolls, dress up and the like and that fathers will support this feminine societal view. While boys are given toy guns, legos, cars or trucks to solidify their manhood. Who says though that it has to be this way? Who says that a girl can’t love playing with cars or trucks? Who says that a boy cannot like playing with a Cabbage Patch Kid doll?

For me, I have always encouraged my girls to do what they want to do. Whether this is playing baseball or dolls, dress up or cars, I am encouraging them to be the person that they want to be while at the same time encouraging them to explore areas outside of the normal societal mores.

As a father of two girls there is a perceived notion that you must raise your daughters in a certain way (or at least I sometimes get this impression form the people that I interact with). At the same time, when I talk to fathers of boys, I hear differing things about their impressions and the ways in which they feel that they can and should raise their boys as well.

For girls, there is the impression that society expects that they will be introduced to dolls, dress up and the like and that fathers will support this feminine societal view. While boys are given toy guns, legos, cars or trucks to solidify their manhood. Who says though that it has to be this way? Who says that a girl can’t love playing with cars or trucks? Who says that a boy cannot like playing with a Cabbage Patch Kid doll?

For me, I have always encouraged my girls to do what they want to do. Whether this is playing baseball or dolls, dress up or cars, I am encouraging them to be the person that they want to be while at the same time encouraging them to explore areas outside of the normal societal mores.

I have been encouraging this from an early age and I show this not only in the things that I let them see and try, but also in the things that I do with them. Thus, whether it is wrestling and roughhousing with them on the floor or dancing will we can’t see straight, I am pushing myself to look outside of the box while at the same time encouraging them to explore non-traditional society roles and activities.

I truly believe that fathers who do this are building their daughters into strong, well-adjusted members of society that will be able to stand on their own two feel and who will be able to decide for themselves in the end what is right and what they will stand for. In the end, that is what I want for my daughters. I want them to be self-sufficient and I want them to know that no matter what society will say that they can do and be what they want to be no matter what!

What about you? How do you encourage this in your own children?

Being Stuck in Dad Purgatory

It’s an afternoon in the Divadom and my wife is working, that means that I am the head honcho, the one and only guy in charge, or am I? Living in a home full of glitz and sequins I find that there are days when I think I am in control and in fact I find myself stuck somewhere in between, or in a place that sometimes feels like Dad purgatory. Have you ever been in this same place? Where you make rules and they are tested, you make punsihments, but they don’t seems to make a difference? Yes, this is the land I call Dad purgatory.

It’s an afternoon in the Divadom and my wife is working, that means that I am the head honcho, the one and only guy in charge, or am I? Living in a home full of glitz and sequins  I find that there are days when I think I am in control and in fact I find myself stuck somewhere in between, or in a place that sometimes feels like Dad purgatory.  Have you ever been in this same place? Where you make rules and they are tested, you make punsihments, but they don’t seems to make a difference? Yes, this is the land I call Dad purgatory.

I find this a hard place to be at times, because I want to be a good parent. I want the respect of my children, but it is hard at times to get to that point. I keep looking for the do-it-yourself manual when I go to the bookstore in the parenting section, but alas, there are many that have tried, but I have never found the one true guide that is the sure fire fix.

I find that this sense of dad purgatory sets in even further when a childs’ friends comes over. Sometimes these friends can bring out the best in our children and sometimes the worst (I always pray for the best of course).  When you not only have to parent your own child but the child or children of other parents who may not have the same rules that you hold your own children to. Alas, this is still the bane of a parent’s life as it will continue as long we remain parents, right?

So for me Dad Purgatory remains, but I attempt to break down its walls every day, making it easier and easier to strive to be a better parent and father… only time will tell if I am successful, but I sure hope I am!

I would love to hear your thoughts on what you do to keep yourself going and whether you have ever fell into this realm of Dad Purgatory as I have labeled it…

Why Do They Like Me?

There are times when I honestly can’t figure out why my kids like me. Sometimes, when I reflect back on the day, it seems like all I did was tell them what to do and then punish them if it wasn’t done. When I try to look at myself through their eyes, all I see is a 15 foot tall, yelling monster. When I think about that, it’s impossible to like myself, much less see how anyone else could.

I hate punishing the kids, but I don’t shy away from it. I would love to be their best friend. Since I’m in the Navy and tend to spend large chunks of time away from home, I would love to be the “fun parent.” I would love to just let things slide, so everyone would be happy all the time when I am home. The problem is that I’m not their friend. I’m their father, and I have responsibilities. If I were to ignore those responsibilities, it would be horribly unfair to my wife in the short-term and the kids in the future.

We have rules in our house, and they are in place for a reason. If you break those rules, there are consequences. In our house, rule breakers are sentenced to time-outs and loss of privileges. In some cases, I have to raise my voice. My voice was genetically engineered for ships’ engine rooms. It’s deep, it’s loud, and it carries. I will sometimes scare myself when I yell. If I were to hear my voice coming from somebody that towered over me, I would legitimately be terrified. I have to assume that the kids are, and it breaks my heart.

Sometimes, I’m probably too strict with the rules. There are instances where I could let things slide, and no harm would be done. Sometimes, I get too worked up about small infractions. This is especially true when I’m dealing with my son who knows just how to push my buttons and isn’t afraid to do it. Sometimes, I feel like a tyrant that rules through fear. How could the kids look at that and feel any sort of positive emotion.

Despite all of this, the kids don’t just like me, they love me. They don’t just love me, they absolutely adore me. I look into their eyes, and I see a form of worship that I could never deserve. When I get home from work, they are actually ecstatic to see me. I can’t leave the house in the morning without giving each of them at least 25 hugs and kisses. When they get hurt, they come to me to be comforted. It defies logic.

I’ve discussed this with my wife before. When I told her that I don’t understand why they like me, her answer was simply, “You’re their daddy,” but it has to be something more than that. That reason just isn’t enough for me. There has to be something more. I do play with them. I get on the floor and let them crawl all over me. I read them books when I have the energy and watch movies with them when I don’t. When I stack all of these things up against the sight of me raising my voice, however, it just doesn’t level out. The scales have to still be tipped towards horrifying tyrant.

I’ve thought about this conundrum from every possible angle. Surely, there has to be some clue that will unravel this entire mystery. There has to be an undiscovered fundamental law of the universe that would explain the situation. As I continue to ponder it, there’s only one possible explanation. My wife is right. They really do love me simply because I am their daddy.

That’s an incredibly humbling thought. They love me, unconditionally, for no other reason than I am their father. That is an amazing responsibility. How can anyone possibly live up to that? When I look into those eyes, and I see that love, all I can think is, “I don’t deserve it.”

It just reinforces what I already knew. Fatherhood is one of the most sacred duties on the planet. I probably don’t deserve that adoration that they give me, and maybe I never will. I’m certainly going to try though. When faced with unreal expectations, the only course of action is to try to achieve them. When you realize that your children love you without question, you have to try to be the best father you can and try to earn that love. Unfortunately, part of that is enforcing the rules. Part of that is telling them they’ve done something wrong and teaching them to not do it anymore. Part of that is raising your voice and then questioning yourself long after everyone else has gone to bed.

Living up to that level of love is impossible, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.

Know When to Hold ‘Em, Know When To Fold ‘Em

As a father there are times when I just want to freeze time and not let my girls get any older. I want to capture their innocence and bottle it up so that they will always know what it was like to be free of inhibition, doubt, and the other cares of the world.

As a father there are times when I just want to freeze time and not let my girls get any older. I want to capture their innocence and bottle it up so that they will always know what it was like to be free of inhibition, doubt, and the other cares of the world. In speaking to other parents, I know that they feel similar, and as you child gets ready to go to school for the first time, the reality hits you that this innocence could be shattered at the slightest word, action or thought that someone else may interject and there is nothing that you can do about it besides try and help your child to be ready and willing to stand up for themselves on their own two feet.

The question that continues to ring through my brain is how to best do this, and how best to slowly let go of the reigns that I have to allow for my daughters independence and personalities to develop and flourish on their own.

As Diva-J has gotten older J-Mom and I have continually played the game of give and take and as she starts to become more responsible in some areas, we tend to give a bit more in regards to autonomy, which I think is the nature of parenting. On the other hand, as I said earlier, it is s nice to have your little child, and it is difficult to let that go as they get older.

Many of the resources I found when thinking about this topic talk about the letting go process parents go through within the College years. I am thinking of something different as you might have guessed. I am truly thinking about the process of shedding my presumptions and allowing my children to become the people that they will become. This is not to say that J-Mom and I will not do my best to mold and instill in them the things that we believe deeply as is our responsibility as parents, because we will. Instead, I continue to find that I need to step back and allow her to make mistakes. I need to allow her to fail (which is not easy). I need to let her learn lessons that are not always going to be easy to learn.

In thinking about this, I came across a few interesting links that I thought I would share with all of you:

Today think about your own children and write down your thoughts on when you feel that you MUST hold them, when you MUST fold them, when you MUST walk away and when you MUST run i. Once you come up with this list share it with us… would love to hear your thoughts!

Being Engaged With Your Kids

When I talk about being engaged, I am referring to doing things directly with the kids that are important to them and that they find enjoyable and fun. This could be something such as cooking with them, playing sports or games or other such activity that brings a smile on your and your child’s face (as hopefully you are having fun as well).

When I talk about being engaged, I am referring to doing things directly with the kids that are important to them and that they find enjoyable and fun. This could be something such as cooking with them, playing sports or games or other such activity that brings a smile on your and your child’s face (as hopefully you are having fun as well).
Our children crave our attention and don’t care what else is on our minds. They don’t understand when we have a big deadline, or when we had a bad day. Instead, when they see you (especially as they are young) they light up and are happy to just have you around.
I know for me, I get distracted and get pulled away while at home, and sometimes it takes a word from J-Mom to break me out of my disconnected stupor to see that what I have in front of me is so much more important than what I was doing on the computer, or what was on the television or what was in a book. I appreciate the interrupt and at times I believe that we all need a bit of a disruption to get us back on track.
Some questions you should ask yourself include:
  • How are you engaged with your child?
  • How are you distracted from this engagement, and what can you do to minimize this when around your child?
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.
In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you:

So develop a list of five things that you can do to better engage with your child today. Make sure that the list includes things that are important to the child but also will lead to positive experiences for you as well. Take one activity on the list and do it with your child today!

Always Use Words, Not Violence

Children are exposed to violence everyday as they turn on the television, look on the computer, read magazines or stories. They see it in front of them and yet do not always know how to process this.

Children are exposed to violence everyday as they turn on the television, look on the computer, read magazines or stories. They see it in front of them and yet do not always know how to process this. If they also see and feel violence within their own home in how their families deal and react to them, this begins to teach them other things that may not be as healthy (not to say that the former list of items are healthy as most are not).
As parents we make many choices that impact our children. In regards to violence, one of the largest things that we have to decide is whether to spank or not to spank our children. The post today is not going to be a pro and con discussion about spanking, far from it, but this is something that falls into the discussion when talking about violence within the home.
All studies that I have been able to find agree that physical violence with children is detrimental to their development and self-esteem, and leads to teaching children that this type of violence if alright. The challenge is whether you as a parent believe that spanking fits into the category of physical violence.
Outside of this what I have come to find in my research is that there are alternatives to hitting that parents may wish to consider. First and foremost is to use words, and help your children to use their words to express their feelings. In an article that I found in researching this topic they provided a list of eleven alternatives to violence that parents can take which is relevant here, they include:
  • Begin providing guidance and limit setting as early as infancy
  • Keep communicating your words to your baby and young child
  • Show mild disapproval of undesirable behavior
  • Discuss your feelings about what you see
  • Empathize by putting yourself in their shoes
  • Offer alternatives
  • Redirect your child’s attention
  • Be consistent and follow through (do what you say)
  • Offer encouragement when your child follows through
  • Thinking time – have your child sit with you and think about their actions and have him or her decide what they could do differently next time.
  • Offer solutions and ideas with your child – sometimes they don’t know what to do and need your guidance.
There are challenging children out there who do not always seem to respond to these tactics, but most experts state that the most important thing for parents is to be consistent with discipline and not to waiver, especially between parents. Our children must know that their parents will have a solid front when it comes to their actions and that they can expect the same treatment no matter who they are with.
Your children must be respected and loved for the people that they are and must be able to feel that they are safe to make mistakes and are in a safe environment to grow and learn. The perpetuation of violent acts within a home whether between parent and parent or parent to child breaks down a child instead of building up a child. 

Some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • How do you react to your child when you are upset?
  • How do you currently disipline your child?
  • How is the way that you are disciplining your child helping them to become a better person?
  • Are there any actions that you are taking that break down your child’s self esteem? If so what are these, and what can you do to build it back up again?
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. 

In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you:


 

I’m not your friend!

My son has recently started alternating calling me “Daddy” and using my first name. Uh, excuse me?! I’m not your friend. I’m your father! Maybe when you are in your thirties we can share a beer while grilling and laugh about some of the crazy stunts you pulled on me and your mother, but I still expect you to call me “Dad” or “Pops” or something along the lines of “Father”. I love you, but like a son and not my best friend.

So. So. So. I make rules. You break them. You want what you can’t have. I make sure it stays that way. Do as I say and not as I do – the sweet hypocrisy of parenthood. You are too young now to understand this, but there is no explanation beyond “because I say so!”

It’s hard when you are running around the playground laughing or snuggled watching a cartoon or dancing goofily to a song on the radio. To be a dad, that is, because it is only half of the equation. The other half is scolding, teaching, cajoling, wiping, comforting, cleaning, chasing, yelling and most of the things that you don’t need to deal with day in and day out with your friends (at least not with the more normal ones). You don’t confess yourself to your kids do you? Parents are supposed to be superheroes and superheroes can do it all without complaining. In exchange for these superpowers we are required to toe the line of parenthood which means watching our kids throw tantrums, roll their eyes at us, call us uncool, hate us and a plethora of other spur of the moment interjections aimed at letting us know that we are the meanest of meanies because we do not let them run amok.

I’m not complaining, but I don’t see how some parents can claim that their kids are their best friend and frankly why would you want that kind of relationship? The tough part of the job is perfectly balanced with all the satisfactions of watching them grow and learn and love you despite it all. Friends come and go with rare exceptions. My son is my body and soul – a rogue chip off the old block that tests my patience and simultaneously tugs at my heart strings each and everyday. I’ll take being his dad over being his BFF any day.

Being a Great Role Model To Your Child

Being a good role model encompasses not only what you say but rather what you do in your everyday life. Your children are watching you everyday to learn the things that are not only expected by you, but also what is right and expected as a contributing member of society today. Thus, the things you do or do not do say volumes to your children whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not.

Being a good role model encompasses not only what you say but rather what you do in your everyday life. Your children are watching you everyday to learn the things that are not only expected by you, but also what is right and expected as a contributing member of society today. Thus, the things you do or do not do say volumes to your children whether you know it or not, and whether you like it or not.

For me, I have always felt strongly about service to others and this is one thing that I hope that I can share with my children. There is something to going out of your way and helping those in need that fulfills me and makes me feel that I am doing something small to change the world around me for the better.

There are many other ways that you can be a role model to your children other than acts of “doing” per se. How you relate to people, how you act around people. The way that you talk to and/or treat friends, family, etc. are all very transparent to our kids. We have to remember daily that we have a little sponge sitting next to us taking in everything and filtering it through there limited database of knowledge and calling it gospel truth, so beware, and realize the power that you hold to mold the mind of your children.

In researching this post I came up with a number of resources that I wanted to share with you all:

Today’s task is for you to sit down and come up with five ways you can be a better role model for your children. If you already have mastered this, come up with five things you have done to accomplish this. Once complete, come back and share these ideas with the rest of the group. I also recommend that you read the above articles, especially the first one for some other tips on being a great role model.

I am also interested to know about who your role models were and what they did to garnish your respect and admiration.

Visit The YMCA, It’s Not Just A Song

Today’s children have more and more opportunities to remain sedimentary. They have every type of technology at their fingertips and whether it be television, video games, the computer or other such activities, they can sit for hours inside instead of being outside remaining active.

Today’s children have more and more opportunities to remain sedimentary. They have every type of technology at their fingertips and whether it be television, video games, the computer or other such activities, they can sit for hours inside instead of being outside remaining active.


The challenge with this is that many of our children are beginning to have problems with their health and being overweight due to this lack of exercise.  In examining some of the facts I came across some interesting statistics on this topic at the following site (http://www.fitnessforkids.org/home.htm)


Did you know the following facts?
  • Every second child in America is overweight, almost all are out of shape and the problem of obesity is becoming more severe every day
  • Never before in human history have kids been so inactive and eaten so unhealthy
  • Nowadays kids grow up with a huge lack of integrity, tolerance and respect for themselves, and consequently, of others
  • Medical science has shown that most adult health problems stem from Childhood. This generation of children is already experiencing major health problems. These serious diseases are occurring at increasingly earlier ages
  • In 10-20 years an entire generation of young adults will suffer from major health problems such as heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and diabetes if we do not educate them today.
  • Kids are 50% of the world’s population and 100% of our future:
Some questions you should ask yourself include:
  • What kinds of things do you do on a regular basis (daily or weekly) that require you to be active?
  • What kinds of things can you do to schedule more activity into your busy day for you and your children?

These questions may open your eyes to the amount of physical activity that you do individually on a daily basis. Do not be discouraged though if you are lacking in physical activity. As most will tell you, you are never to old to begin being active, but as most experts will tell you, check with your doctor before starting a vigorous exercise routine. The below links can provide you with some hints and tidbits on the importance of activity for children, as well as how you can start to move them in the right direction if you are not already doing so.

So today, answer the above questions for yourself as well as check out some of the above articles and see where you stand. What are some concrete ways in which you can move your family toward a healthy lifestyle. After you think about these, come back here and share some ideas with the rest of the group.

Be Your Child’s Biggest Fan

Children are looking for your approval at all times. They want to feel that they are wanted, needed, and accepted for who they are. As they begin to grow and learn about their passions as we talked about in yesterday’s post, it will be important for you as their parent to do whatever you can to become your child’s biggest fan.

Children are looking for your approval at all times. They want to feel that they are wanted, needed, and accepted for who they are. As they begin to grow and learn about their passions as we talked about in yesterday’s post, it will be important for you as their parent to do whatever you can to become your child’s biggest fan.

What does it mean to be your child’s biggest fan you may ask? Well, this means that you know your child,their likes, their dislikes. You know what they aspire to become and the heroes that they have. You are aware of why they do the things they do and what gives them energy and what discourages them. Think about fans of celebrities and all that they know about the person they are passionate about. They are aware of every single detail of their life and will do whatever they can to be that person’s biggest proponent and ally. As a parent, this is your job, you must take on this role with your own child.


When you think about being a fan, the first thing in your mind may be sports and when looking into this topic, much of the writing on this topic surrounds sports. One of the articles that I examined talked about five different ways parents provide unhealthy and healthy encouragement to children in sports – these included:


Unhealthy Encouragement

1. Quick to criticize and slow to praise

2. Selectively shows love, support, and approval based upon the child’s performance

3. Becomes cold and critical when the child fails to live up to expectations

4. Lives out athletic aspirations through the child

5. Encourages the child to mimic the training habits or skills of professional athletes


Healthy Encouragement

1. Emphasize fun and participation

2. Define winning as a level of effort, not the score of the game

3. Measure improvement of skill, not by comparison to other children

4. Maintain open communication with the child throughout the sports experience

5. Let the child experience the dynamics of sport at his or her own pace


Though much of the writing is about sports, this does not mean that the above encouragment cannot be transferred to any other type of activity that your child is passionate about. Whether it is sports, band, drama, dance or other such activity, the above list of healthy and unhealthy habits still remain true.


Some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • Am I my child’s biggest fan? Do I know everything about my child? If not, answer the following questions.
  • How to I show that I am a fan of my child?
  • What are other ways that I can show my child that I am their biggest fan?

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.

In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you:



What are your thoughts regarding this topic? Make a list of the things that you know about your child and clarify things that you are not aware of currently. Once you have completed these tasks, come back and share your thoughts with the rest of the group.

Teaching My Daughters to Love The Game

As the new year starts and football season amps up with bowl games, the superbowl this weekend and other such great sporting events like this, I have been reflecting about what I have done to allow my girls to enjoy the sports that I like as well. Ever since that have been with us I have shared with them certain sports. For me, it is usually Football or Basketball.

As the new year starts and football season amps up with bowl games, the superbowl this weekend and other such great sporting events like this, I have been reflecting about what I have done to allow my girls to enjoy the sports that I like as well. Ever since that have been with us I have shared with them certain sports. For me, it is usually Football or Basketball. I would have them sit and watch the games with me and root on a certain team, even though at first they did not know what they were watching. Sometimes they were interested, other times, they could care less.

As they got older, I started to explain to them more about the rules of the games. Why certain things were happening, and why things were not happening. Why certain calls were made, while others were left alone (even though at times the call should definitely have been made). This was not easy and I found myself being challenged, as I did not always know all of the rules (I came to find). Thus, I had to do a lot of research, so that I was informing them about the right things. I didn’t want them calling a penalty when it really wasn’t now, did I?

Slowly, my girls began to appreciate the games more, and they would sit for longer periods of time watching the games with me. Now, they have come to appreciate the games that I like, but I now am seeing their interests burgeoning in other sport areas as well. Diva-J likes Tennis, while Diva-PJ likes Gymnastics (yes, even watching it on television). Yet, in saying this I can say that they do appreciate some of the sports that I have shared with them (score one for Dad!).

So as we get ready for the BIG Superbowl weekend, I intend to share it with my girls in any way that I can and have some fun with it along the way. Not only does it let me spend some quality time with the girls but it also lets me give them a gift for the future, a gift of knowing their father!

Set Up Rituals With Your Kids

Kids are creatures of habit, they expect things to be the same as they have been in the past. For me, this was specifically important as we moved in the past year. Both of our girls were at an age where they knew the rituals that we had been doing at our old house.

Kids are creatures of habit, they expect things to be the same as they have been in the past. For me, this was specifically important as we moved in the past year. Both of our girls were at an age where they knew the rituals that we had been doing at our old house. Thus J-Mom and I knew that we would have to find a routine very soon in the new home to make our lives much happier all around.
Rituals can surround anything such as bedtime, dinnertime, visits to the library or other things. You also can set up rituals around holidays or other such special events such as always going to your grandparents house the day after thanksgiving or other such activities.
Many of the things that I remember in growing up are the rituals that my parents had for me as I was growing up and in talking to many other parents about rituals, these are the same things that they start with in their responses. In making/developing rituals for your own kids becomes that much more important, as your kids will definitely remember. 
In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you:
So what rituals were important to you when you were growing up? What rituals do you have with your kids now, or do you want to start doing with your family?

Teaching Perseverance

Having your children know how to stick to the things that they start is one of the most important things that you can teach as a parent. The skills that you teach them regarding this will be ones that will continue to show up as your children get older and older. Hopefully, once your child reaches adulthood they are ready to be able to take the world on with full force and understand what they must do to be able to survive in a challenging world.

Having your children know how to stick to the things that they start is one of the most important things that you can teach as a parent. The skills that you teach them regarding this will be ones that will continue to show up as your children get older and older. Hopefully, once your child reaches adulthood they are ready to be able to take the world on with full force and understand what they must do to be able to survive in a challenging world.

So how can you do this as a parent? Here are a few thoughts on things you can do to help your child:

Applaud Efforts

Notice and applaud things that your child does that shows that they are striving toward a goal. Even if they do not succeed, heep encouraging and helping them to see that the goal is possible. You may even need to roll up your own sleeves to lend a hand (if asked – don’t rescue them completely as this may have the opposite effect).

Honest Feedback

Give your child honest feedback on how they are doing as they strive to meet the goal or task at hand. If they need to work on an area let them know. Do not tear them down, but build them up and let them know that you are behind them in what they are trying to achieve. Communicating though is key, so that they know that they are not alone and that they do have support if they choose to ask.

Identify and work past obstacles

Sometimes our children need some assistance in seeing the boulders in the path ahead. Make sure to ask them if they want advice before you give it and be wary of those children that always come to you for your advice. With these children, the better question may be, how do you think you can overcome this obstacle? By doing this you are continuing to challenge them and asking them to be creative with their solutions and not to merely rely on others for answers.

Being able to bounce back

The ultimate goal as I stated earlier is to have children who can get back up when they stumble or fall. We all want our kids to be successful and to be able to achieve all that they wish for in life, but we also know that no one is able to achieve everything without some failures along the way. The important thing is that our children do not give up, but instead they have the fortitude to stand back up, brush off their ego and move forward again.

Some questions you should ask yourself include:

  • How have I been persistent in the past?
  • What traits do I see in others that allow them to be persistent in their goals and in life?
  • What goals have I set for myself that I have achieved and how id I achieve these goals?
  • In what areas of my child’s life have I noticed persistence?

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.

In researching this topic I came across a few sites that I thought that I would share with all of you:

Haloween and Parenthood

Halloween 1

Parenthood is a fairly new show on NBC, that my wife and I have taken to this season. We like the show for a number of reasons including the fact that they do an excellent job of portraying a family dealing with special needs. On the show one of the families has a child with Autism. They show some of the dynamics between the parents and how they deal with issues raising their child.

This past episode they dealt with Halloween. The mom was concerned that her son wouldn’t do well because he is afraid of fire. It was kind of funny to watch as she attempted to shield her child from it first by trying to forbid him from going and then by neurotically trying to get every neighbor to use glow sticks instead of fire. Of course this was futile even-though she made a valiant effort.

The parents did a great job. They talked to their therapist, they brought the child through examples of how it would work, they even showed how their son decided he didn’t need to practice because other kids were not practicing. They really did a good job of showing the difficulties a family dealing with one type of autism might go through. At the end of the show there was a seen where there was a haunted house and the son wanted to go in. The parents were very worried but their son was insistent and was about to have a meltdown if they didn’t let him go. The father said let him try it, and they did. The parents were terrified but their son excited about, the candy, and the event successfully negotiated the haunted house and was happy. The parents were ecstatic.

I’ll be honest in my family we don’t deal with autism and while we do trick-or-treat with a family who’s son does have autism he doesn’t have these particular issues and Halloween is really a good night for them.

We do deal with Cerebral Palsy in our family. My oldest daughter has CP. When I started blogging most of my posts were related to dealing with issues concerning my daughter. I don’t think I’ve written a post about Halloween in the past but honestly, as parents who have a child with CP Halloween is one of the hardest holidays for us. The idea of walking from house to house is tough and when it’s dark out it’s even more difficult. On top of that there are stairs without rails, cracks in the sidewalk, and branches jumping out of the ground. It’s always been quite a workout for us as we would have to help keep Haley balanced and help her negotiate from house to house. 

Well this year was quite an event. Haley told us she not only didn’t want help she wasn’t going to use her cane either. We were both very hesitant as we knew she would fall and didn’t want her to get hurt. She was determined though and refused to relent to holding my hand. She said “Daddy you said, you would never stop me from trying my best to do something like this.” She was right, I had told her she can do anything she wants, so I relented and asked my wife to as well. We were both very nervous as she went from house to house successfully negotiating the terrain in the dark. She did fall but never hard and boy were we proud and so was she.

Kevin Metzger is the 2009 East Cobber Father of the year. He writes at MySpellingsucks.com, TheDADvocateProject.com and DadoMatic.com as well as here are DadRevolution. Kevin’s The DADvocate Project is the largest independently conducted survey of dad’s ever conducted. It concentrates on looking at how dads interact within their families and communities and is trying to highlight how Dads are not the morons portrayed on TV. To participate in the survey please click here.

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.

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned

What is the value of teaching your child the value of money and the value of entrepreneurship at an early age? The picture you see here was a few years ago when my daughter (then at age 3 and ¾) took her first venture into being a saleswoman. At a two-day rummage sale she wanted to sell cookies and kool-aid so we put up the money for the supplies and let her have her shot at making some money. During the first day she was amazing and stayed with it for almost 8 hours, which as most of you know is an amazing feat for an almost 4 year old. She was asking all of our patrons “Do You Want A Cookie” before they even got out of their cars, and most would favor her with some patronage. It was quite humorous and people throughout the day mentioned that we had a born business woman on our hands. This weekend made me start thinking about the right and wrong ways to teach our children about the value of money and the value of hard work. I mean I believe that I emulate the value of hard work in my every day work and show that to my daughters. Yet, I still want them to understand that money comes from hard work and that it mut be respected. The money that Diva-J did make (just over $40) was provided to her and she had the choice of what she wanted to do with it (though we encouraged her to save at least ½ of it). She decided to purchase some Disney polly pockets and to save the other ½ in her savings account. All-in-all I do think that we taught her some about the money that she made from her work, but I do know that there is more that she needs to learn. After thinking about this, I decided to examine this a bit more for resources that I could use with my own girls. I found the following resources:
So today’s task is to develop a list of ways in which you are teaching your child to appreciate the value of money. Once complete, please come back and share your list and activity with others. How did the activity go for you and whoever you shared the time with?

What’s the secret to single parenthood?

The cursor keeps blinking at me. The rest of this clichéd image includes a half eaten bag of Snyder’s pretzels – the stick kind (gotta love market research). I would get the original shape if deli’s still had them, but I guess I’ll just have to wait for retro pretzel shapes to become fashionable again. On the floor next to me – safe and sound on a coaster – is a room temperature Boylan Seltzer (lemon flavored). The cursor is not taunting me, as you would imagine, from watching You’ve Got Mail to many times as I have, because I do not what to write, but rather it taunts my indecision to post what I just wrote. It’s certainly not a masterpiece, but I beat the crap out of the keyboard for the first couple of paragraphs as I continued to lament the societal meltdown I first pointed out on my personal blog. It was one of those rare posts started a week in advance and started with gusto only to peter out in the days that followed because of too much tinkering and a cooler head. The deadline took me completely by surprise this fine autumn evening and so here I am staring at the cursor blinking at me.

I always work best under the pressure of imminent calamity, which come to think of it is the only true requirement to survive as a parent. So with the post hitting the streets tomorrow bright and early I figured I would hit the new button and work from scratch to get something truly hot off the press to all of you. This is usually when you get that Home Alone not-so-pleasant-feeling that you’re forgetting something. Cue my son screaming for me from his bedroom. I look around and realize that I am the only one home because my wife is on a business trip. A four-day business trip. This will be the nth trek to my son’s bedroom only to find him standing like Celine Deon in Vegas with his head cocked backwards to give him maximum aperture and his right hand holding the baby monitor’s microphone at the perfect distance from his mouth to capture the full vibrato of his shrieks. This is, in brief, the reason for the aforementioned clichéd scene.

Now this may seem run of the mill to most and it is to a certain extent for me, but it got me thinking about what it must be like to be a single parent. I frankly can only get an ephemeral taste of it on days like today and I only have one kid so I really shouldn’t complain. It’s that moment when you have finally gathered the mental energy to complete a task and your concentration is broken because the little one needs you and there is no one else around who is going to step in and take care of business. That is what I cannot fathom. I read some blogs written by single dads like Sex and the Single Dad (although he does not reveal the secret of how single parents change stinky diapers with one hand while pouring some Jack Daniels with the other) and single moms like Single Mama NYC and you never feel that they are not in control. They talk about their kids, their life, the crap they put up with, their jobs, great causes we should all be aware of and some of their thoughts on everyday life, but never in a tone that betrays any hysteria. And I admire that because I know that right now after only two days with the little one there are moments where I would love nothing more than to bash my head in with one of those wooden mallets that Woody Woodpecker uses. Maybe they have more super-parenting-like qualities in them like super-patience? The cursor is still blinking at me, but at least I have asked my question. I know there are many great single parents who blog and/or single parent bloggers out there and I would love to hear from them and hear what makes them tick. Oh and, of course, Chapeau!