Tag Archives: behavior

Dads Deal With Life’s Ups and Downs

We can get stressed by changes in our lives, but we can help our kids and ourselves if we know how to face them.  This is a great article I want to share with you on how dads can have a positive influence on their families by how they deal with life’s changes. You’ll really like the “Action Points” in this article. They give you great steps to take to overcome some of the stress dads and kids face during transitions and changes.

Just click the photo below to read this great advice:

DadsChanges

No “Put-downs”

Kids are people. Now that seems like an obvious thing to say. But dads sometime seem to forget that.

For example you’re at a store and you hear a man say sternly to his kid loud enough for all to hear, “stop acting so stupid” or “shut-up you are really getting to me” or…well you know just fill in the blanks.

These are put-downs. They are remarks to insult the person and “show him/her who the boss is”! Put-downs have no place in a dad’s bag of tricks.

Sure kids need correction and sometimes need to be admonished but there is a way to do that that shows love and respect for the kid. The first thing to remember is that kids are people, vulnerable people at that. As children they are completely dependent on you. Sure they want their way but they also want to please.

When I say kids are people what I am talking about is that they have feelings and can be embarrassed and hurt and in fact can be damaged by what you say and how you say it.

Think about it. How do you feel if someone who is important to you or in a position of authority says something insulting to you? Do you laugh it off or do you feel violated?

No one likes to be put-down, especially kids. So when you need to correct them, do it with respect. You can bend down and quietly say into his or her ear what you expect of them.   But don’t make it rough.  They need your tender love and respect.

Did you find this useful? Let us know and leave a reply.

Taking care of number one

Often we hear the phrase, “gotta take care of number one.” And it is true— you do have to take care of yourself first. It is the foundation of being self-reliant.

However there is a flip side to this and that is, if you always put yourself first in everything, you are selfish, self-centered and not someone who is fun to be around.

So I think the rule is—take care of your personal needs, look after yourself, but when it comes to the needs of others, apply the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

How does all this involve dadding? Well, the first place in life where being second is necessary is with your kids.  In other words, your kids come first. OK I am not suggesting that they get their way all the time, or that you jump anytime they want something. What I am saying is that their need for you as their dad is fulfilled before you fill your own needs. And that can be demanding, but it has to be so.

I always say that a dad is the most important man in a kid’s life. When the kid needs support, advice, comfort, or direction from his or her dad, the dad stops watching TV, stops his working on-line, stops dealing with emails, and gives the kid the support, advice, comfort and direction he or she needs.

So, now you are red in the face with anger thinking: I do not want to spoil my kids! I am not going to always stop everything anytime they say they want something.  Well cool down. I am not saying that you need to immediately respond to each and every request that your kid makes. On the contrary, that would spoil your kid.

What I am saying is that you need to let your children know that you are always there for them.  When and if necessary, you will drop everything to come to their side. You will put them first when they really need you. You are their backstop and downfield blocker, (to draw on two sports metaphors).  In short they can count on their dad.

It can be tough to give up taking care of number one for your kids. But it will pay off handsomely. You will give your kids the confidence that they are valued and important—especially to you—the most important man in their lives.

“Nothin”

School’s back in session which means Dads get “nothin”!

When you come home from work, you walk in the door and say to your school-age kid, “what did you do in school today?” and your kid says: “Nothin” and keeps on moving.

So what’s a dad to do with “nothin”? Here is my trick. First of all don’t always challenge them on the spot. After all your kid is into his afternoon, and maybe this isn’t a great time to talk. So say something like, “I want to hear more about nothing later”.

Then when the time comes, if you are able to sit down and eat together, which I hope you try to do often, say, “OK let’s talk about nothing”. You may get a smile, or a ”Daaaad” in frustration, but you will get their attention. If they insist still “nothin’” take step two.

That is, ask your kid for the teacher’s phone number or email address. Tell them that you are going to call and complain that they are doing nothing in school and you want to know why. By this time you usually have your kid’s attention and usually they are smiling with embarrassment and will tell you something about school. But be prepared for what you are going to hear.

It may deal with homework that needs to be done. Or social issues they are dealing with. Such as, “Mandy was my best friend this summer, and now she won’t talk to me at school.” Or “Todd is such a jerk; he’s always trying to pick a fight with me.” Or “my first period teacher is really great, but I hate my third period teacher and he doesn’t like me either”. Or “I hate chemistry!”

So what do you do when “nothin” becomes “somethin”? First, take what they say as serious to them and second listen in a way that shows you care. Your caring and listening are what is most important. By the way, sometimes they have something good or funny to report, so you want to share the joy.

Remember never any put-downs. Always encouragement. Things like “I know you can handle this,” or “I’ve seen you in situations like this before and you usually make the right decisions.” And always leave your kids with the feeling that you are there to help and support them, and that you will always be there to help them face a difficulty or solve a problem.

Finally, almost never should dads solve the problem for the child. Dads need to empower their kids to solve their own problems. Give advice, encouragement, support, guidance and other forms of aid, but don’t jump in and make everything all right. If you do jump in, your kid will not develop problem solving skills and will know deep down that you don’t think they are capable of solving their own problems.

So there is a lot to “nothin”. Good luck with this fall semester. Have some fun with your kids and always show them respect even if they are doing “nothin”.

Give Dads a Break

In the news right now there is lots being said about kids who have done terrible things. The recent shootings in Santa Barbara by Elliot Rodger are just one example. On the CNN website his parents are described as “living in hell” since the event.

There are other examples also. Edward Snowden’s father is at a loss to describe the motives of his son. And whether we think Snowden a hero or villain we can only imagine his father’s confusion and anxiety over what comes next.

We so often say that “the apple does not fall far from the tree” and to some degree that is true. Kids usually turn out like their parents. But it is not uncommon that dangerous kids come from good parents. Kids sometimes do things that a parent cannot imagine where the idea came from.

So when a kid does something criminal should we blame the parent? And the answer is no, at least not all the time. Sure if parents neglect, abuse or give only bad example to their kids, the kids have a good chance of having real problems in the future. They can become bad parents themselves, who have difficulty with relationships.

But often parents do everything right. They are loving, supportive, understanding, and yet their child just becomes someone they don’t really understand or know. This can be the result of mental illness or some other maladjustment in the child that leads to this behavior.

I know of one family with two boys, and one has followed the usual path to success with school, friends and family. The other was a thief at an early age, and despite love and support of his family he has ended up in prison. Another family I know has three children and two have turned out like their parents, responsible, productive and supportive of others. The third is without direction, cannot get any traction to start his life and is now an adult completely unlike the rest of his family. I am sure each of you could add to this list.

The point is we need to show love and support for all dads and moms. When we hear of a tragedy or of someone going astray we should not blame the parents. And as difficult as it is if we are the parents of the kid who goes astray, we must not blame ourselves. Of course we should always examine our behavior, and if we have not fulfilled our obligation as a parent then take responsibility and make amends.

Being a dad is not easy duty. It is important to be the best dad you can be, however things can happen that were beyond your control. We must have respect for ourselves and our vocation as a dad and show that same respect for other dads as well.

TEACH YOUR CHILDREN WELL

Remember the Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young song a long way back that told us to “teach your children well”? Great lyrics and I always liked what they did with them. We all realize we need to teach our children well, but how do we do that? The role of The Manual for Dads is to give dads practical knowledge not just words of wisdom. So let’s take a look at how to teach your children well.

How does a dad teach his children? Well, the first answer is obvious. He tells them something they don’t know or understand and makes it clear to them so they have the knowledge to use from that point on. He can teach them how to wash dishes, how to pound a nail, perhaps how to do a problem in math, or how to be polite. These are all examples of passing on skill. But we are looking for the answer to “teaching them well.” What does well mean?

I think well refers to how you teach them to become a good, competent, self-aware, capable person. How you teach them well is by example and by discipline. Now some younger dads, I am told, roll their eyes when the word discipline is mentioned so let’s unpack that term “discipline” and see what’s inside. I think you will agree it is a good term we can use to help understand a dad’s role as teacher.

Discipline means to teach. A disciple is a student or follower. The good dad uses various techniques to properly teach his kids, or discipline them so they develop life-skills that lead them to acquire good habits that turn into virtues which serve them their entire lives.

Discipline is not bossing kids around. It is not intimidating them. It is not punishing them. It is never unreasonable or vengeful. Discipline is an act of love and respect that you use to help your child grow and mature and develop self-reliance and self-respect.

In blogs that will follow I will talk about discipline and why kids misbehave and how to stop the misbehavior as well as prevent it from happening in the future. Sound good? Please stay with me in the time ahead and please join in the conversation.

As you know as a reader of this Manual, dadding is more than fathering kids. Being a dad requires that you devote your entire life to your children by learning how best to parent and putting to use all the wisdom and practical knowledge you can learn.

Your children want and deserve to be taught well. Don’t you agree?

Taking Care of Number One

Often we hear the phrase, “gotta take care of number one.” And it is true— you do have to take care of yourself first. It is the foundation of being self-reliant.

However there is a flip side to this and that is, if you always put yourself first in everything, you are selfish, self-centered and not someone who is fun to be around.

So I think the rule is—take care of your personal needs, look after yourself, but when it comes to the needs of others, apply the golden rule: Treat others the way you want to be treated.

How does all this involve dadding? Well, the first place in life where being second is necessary is with your kids.  In other words, your kids come first. OK I am not suggesting that they get their way all the time, or that you jump anytime they want something. What I am saying is that their need for you as their dad is fulfilled before you fill your own needs. And that can be demanding, but it has to be so.

I always say that a dad is the most important man in a kid’s life. When the kid needs support, advice, comfort, or direction from his or her dad, the dad stops watching TV, stops his working on-line, stops dealing with emails, and gives the kid the support, advice, comfort and direction he or she needs.

So, now you are red in the face with anger thinking: I do not want to spoil my kids! I am not going to always stop everything anytime they say they want something.  Well cool down. I am not saying that you need to immediately respond to each and every request that your kid makes. On the contrary, that would spoil your kid.

What I am saying is that you need to let your children know that you are always there for them.  When and if necessary, you will drop everything to come to their side. You will put them first when they really need you. You are their backstop and downfield blocker, (to draw on two sports metaphors).  In short they can count on their dad.

It can be tough to give up taking care of number one for your kids. But it will pay off handsomely. You will give your kids the confidence that they are valued and important—especially to you—the most important man in their lives.