Tag Archives: kids

Date my daughter…at your own risk!

Every morning, after the kids are off to school and I can finally start my cup of coffee, I check my Facebook, news, sports etc. Just a few minutes to allow my caffeine requirement to hit my system. This morning I came across a picture my friend Sean Seidell had reposted and several comments voicing their point of views stirred me to write this.

Date my daughter     feminist-fathers

I’m admittedly torn on this subject.  When my daughter starts to date (…gulp) every fiber of my being will want to protect her from the inevitable pain and heartache that will occur. I am fully aware that as she grows into a young woman, she will decide who she thinks is an appropriate guy/gal to date and she will establish her own rules.

This is where the views split for me. I agree that memes such as the first photo with the dad sniper “threatening” the boy with death is overdone to the extreme.  If you dig deeper and grasp the undertone of the photo, I think you find many layers that can be revealed.

First, our children look to us[parents] when building their rules of life. Does Mommy argue with Daddy all the time? Does Daddy treat Mommy with respect? Are my parents affectionate to each other? These questions of course are just a few of the hundreds of questions that fill out the multitude of facets that help mold our children.

As my daughter grows into a young woman I remember that she will look to me when she starts to look for qualities in her future partner.  My example everyday as a husband to my wife will provide a classroom for her to see how a woman should be treated and respected long before her going on Date #1.  The love and respect I show my wife echoes to my children and when my daughter begins looking into the dating pool, she will more than likely look for someone who mirrors those similar attributes since my wife and I have been the consistent examples her whole life. Before we go any further these ring true for my sons too. So my rules for my daughter also apply to my boys.

Do I need a gun or other weapon to make this point to any person they decides to date? No. Do I want my kids to be hurt by boys/girls who break their hearts? Of course not. My role is to support and nurture my kids and teach them what I think are important qualities in a person.  If the people my kids eventually deem qualified to meet Mommy and Daddy, then it would be MY litmus scale to pass. Whomever my kids decide to bring home will be directly related to the virtues my wife and I helped to instill.

A parent who is overprotective and smothering because of whom their children end up dating can sometimes be directly connected to the level of role model you (parents) were for your kids. Even when you have to repeat yourself a million times and the same deer in the headlights look stares back at you every single time, your kids are picking up on everything. If you want your kid to bring home someone you find wholesome…then guess what, be a wholesome person. BE that example, because you will find out faster than you like that it will be yourself to blame if your son or daughter brings home someone you find less than appropriate for you kid.

The tshirt from Feminist fathers’ is right as far as the physical and intimate nature of dating. Those rules are correct for both MEN and WOMEN, GAY or STRAIGHT.  No one has a right to decide what is right for your body….BUT those rules that our kids use to decide what is right is effected by us, the parents. Be smart and backup your words because if you end up hiding in the bushes with a gun to “threaten” your kids dates then you have to evaluate what YOU did wrong, NOT your kid’s choice in guy or girl.


To: My Children For The Future

Abigail, Daniel and Jacob,

Every morning I wake up to realize that all of you are growing up faster than I can keep up. One day you are bundled up as my little peanut and dependent on me for every facet of your life and then the next you are off to the first day of school or liking (gulp…or loving) a boy/girl and no longer dependent on me for much except for a ride to and from an activity or a friend’s house.

Since you all will end up as adults hopefully at some time in the distant future, I wanted to give you some advice before you get there.

  1. The Golden Rule: Always treat others the way you want to be treated. This is simple and straight forward. If you want to be liked and respected then treat others in the same manner.
  2. Music: Find a love for some type of music and then expand from there. Music is a perfect outlet for you to lose yourself when your emotions overwhelm you and you are not quite sure how to express yourself. Seeing live music builds memories that you will be able to look back on relive them later.
  3. Love: Don’t love aimlessly but do love passionately. Find someone who loves you for who you are even on your worst day. Oh, and don’t settle.
  4. Bills: Pay your bills on time or early. If you can’t can’t afford cable…get Netflix. Don’t overextend yourself.
  5. Education: Always keep learning something new. After high school, get more schooling…either college or a trade school and then keep testing yourself. Don’t take the easy way out. Smart is ALWAYS cooler than ignorance.
  6. Politics:  Pay attention to it because you can make a difference. ALWAYS VOTE in local and presidential elections but be respectful of other peoples’ positions regardless if you agree.
  7. Read: Read books! Actual books, with pages and ink. Lots and lots of books.
  8. Money: Save it as often as possible. If you can start saving 70% of your money before you have to pay for bill then you will be much happier later…(this is easier said than done.)
  9. Family: Family comes first. No matter what happens in life, your family will be there for you, so you need to be there for them.
  10. Tradition and heritage: Keep and maintain traditions with your family and pass them to your future kids. Also, learn about your family’s history. Its good to know where you come from.

These rules to live by are by no way ironclad but if you make an effort to do it you may turn out okay. Regardless, your mother and I will always be here for you when things fall apart. Unfortunately, things will fall apart once in a while and we will be here ready. Its what we live for. We love you all and I can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings as long as it doesn’t happen too fast.

Love,

Daddy

 


SuperDADS and Disability

Daddy, chase me!!! Daddy, catch me!!! Daddy, teach me!!!

These familiar commands are, for most of us, a daily plea of “starved attention” from our kids. As a stay at home dad my kids have the benefit of always having a parent available. Its both a privilege and burden to be that rock for my children.

I have three very energetic, strong minded and at times overly outspoken children. My daughter is nine and my two boys are 6 and 3 years old. All of my children shower me with endless unconditional love and affection, which I treasure more than life itself. Why is it that every time I pick up my kids from school or scouts or any place where their friends are there, does my self confidence falter momentarily?

I am both blessed and plagued with a physical disability that effects my walking and my sense of touch in my legs.  I use a cane at age 34 and walk with a significant limp and mobility can be exhausting depending on the day. My disability is something that I have dealt with my whole life and I have honed my abilities to shield and assert myself against the brutal real life questions and stares but my children have not been exposed to my many years of practice.

My older children easily and without any reservation field questions about me when their inquisitive friends gain the courage to ask why do I walk the way I do. Their willingness to give explanation on my behalf is not where my “self-confidence” wanes. My kids are all very active children. I have been coach for softball, assistant coach for softball, assistant den leader, coach dad in the backyard etc…these are normal roles that I believe most dads are excited and often eager to fill.

My physical limitations are what tends to make simple enjoyments like running with my kids and helping my children to ride a bike impossible. I can’t always do what their open and eager pleas request and seeing their realization that I can’t, rips a whole through my heart that short of a cure tomorrow will never be completely whole. I know my kids will be just fine and so will I but my internal struggle every day to cope with the realism that being Superdad will have to be adjusted to being a super Dad. I know my kids still view me as Superdad in many ways but eventually real life shows up and I will “stand strong” as long as my body allows…which is just fine for my family!


Working Daddy Guilt!

For the past five and a half years, I have had the privilege to be a full time stay at home daddy. I would wake up to help my  wife get ready for work if she needed it and get my kids ready for the day. Breakfast for the kids and shakes for my wife and I, teeth brushing, dressing for the day and off to school or maybe just off to the park or errands was my daily routine. Of course, cleaning up and laundry and daily chores are mixed in there as well.

During the past three years, I decided to get my degree from Saint Joseph’s University and I graduated in May 2014 with a degree in History and a minor in Ancient Studies. (woo-hoo!) I decided. after graduation to take some time off from school and focus just on my family.  I would wait until the new year to start the look for work or to continue being a full time stay at home daddy. I needed to put my priorities in order and work on my family.

Recently, I was offered an apprentice position with a local home repair and furniture restoration company near my home. After discussions with my wife, we both felt that it was a good opportunity to learn something that I can pass on to my kids and still keep me interested in a career that was in the vein of history. This is my issue, I’ve been working for a week and I’m loving every day of work. I leave early every morning and head to work and come home around 5 PM.  There is a learning curve to balance home and work life not just for me but for my wife and kids too. Five days in and that balance has not been found as of yet but I’m getting there.

My wife has been a blessing. For those who don’t know, she’s an attorney and works harder than most people I know. She’s up and out the door normally by 9 AM and home by 6:30 PM. If that was it then I wouldn’t go on to say much more but she starts to play with the boys almost as soon as she walks into the house.  We sit down as a family over dinner that either I prepare or we both prepare depending on the day. We discuss our day and chat with our kids.  After dinner she works with my daughter (her step-daughter) with her homework and helps her with her reading for the night. Basically, 9 PM rolls around and she gets ready for the evening of working from home and normally is up until at least 1 AM or later.  This is one of the reasons I love my wife so much. She is a bad ass but in the same breath I feel so guilty that I haven’t mastered the balance of home and work.

This is where my readers come in. What do you think about the transition from stay at home parent to dual working parents? Let me know what you think!

 


Demand More from the NFL!

In the wake of the consecutive blunders from the NFL over the past few weeks, many parents both moms and dads alike are questioning how good of a role model is the NFL. This organization prides itself on having the biggest, fastest, strongest players who will then almost literally destroy their own bodies in hopes of the win and ultimately an opportunity to win the Superbowl.

Before I continue, I am a die hard New Orleans Saints fan and will always be one. I enjoy football as a sport and I am constantly memorized by the ability of the players to do what they do. 

How many of us have seen this image or something similar?

Our nation is split up into 32 divisions all based upon the NFL’s teams.  From a business side, I can understand and respect the overall image of each team. They really do a lot of positive things in all of the communities from getting kids outside to exercise and play to mentoring programs or having charities that are connected directly to a particular team. The teams also require that the players are dressed in suit and tie when representing the team for post game interviews and such. You get the idea. The “image” of the team is that of respect and responsibility.

The players on the other hand are human and are not shaped so rigidly. Brett Favre, Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, Ben Roethlisberger, Michael Vick are just a few of the NFL player that have graced the headlines for “less than favorable” reasons. These players are not the unknown faces of the teams but rather are the more popular players who can  impact our kids the most.

Of course, these players are accomplished athletes but how many of the NFL”s players are also great role models?  The teams select their most popular players and have them become the outreach connection to the community but as recent events have shown us the vetting process does not seem to be to extensive until someone beats a child, or their wife or “allegedly” rape a woman or women.  When this happens the management puts up the veil of blame. Teams who have made these players their ambassadors have either dropped them as soon as the issue arises or stuck by them even when they should have let them go.

The players who have been caught, they have to deal with the consequences of their actions but more focus should be put on the players who uphold the morals of society and are actual role models that our kids can look up too.  NFL players as well as other professional players should be more than just highly paid athletes who can do amazing things in their sports. They need to be aware of how influential they are outside of their professions. Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is a father, husband and community supporter and a good role model and any person who appreciates football knows this regardless of your team loyalties. That is what we need more of. Men who are not only “men” but are man enough to be morally grounded too!

 


How do you bring down the law?

Molding our kids to be proper adults is, in my opinion the most difficult job on the planet. Every time my kids decide to push the limits and either break the rules or bend them so far that the original rules don’t apply I find that I again have to reach down deep and remember that these are my kids. Being a smart, firm, responsible, modern dad is hard. For many of us, the role as primary caregiver is not only new but we are trying to balance the role of disciplinarian as well which can be confusing and down right scary. Which begs the question, how much is too much when it comes to punishments?

I grew up in the South as a foster child from the state of Louisiana. When it came to discipline…progressive or gentle handed were not the standards I was accustomed to. Kneeling on rice, whippings on the back of the legs with a willow switch, holding phone books out with my nose to the wall…most of us would probably picture a torture scene from one of the classic 80’s and 90’s movies. Of course, these were some of the worst versions of punishments I had experienced and I have cataloged them under what NOT to do when punishing my kids. That brings the question, what is the best type of punishment for your kids? Physical discipline, time outs, punishment/reward systems, stickers and star what works best?

As many people that will read this, I’m sure there will be as many different opinions of what is the best road for discipline. In my home I have a hybrid system ranging on the severity of the broken rule and the age of the child. Normally, a time out is enough to get the point across. All of my kids are able to experience this from my eight year old to my 18 month old. The age dictates the time so for the eight year old, eight minutes, you get the idea.  The next “level” of punishment is removing fun favorites such as snacks, computer time, TV, visiting friends etc. This is the most effective in my home but only for my older two kids since taking candy from a baby is…well frowned upon by humanity.  The final and most severe and least used is spanking.  All of my kids have had a chance to experience a spanking in some way, shape or form.  If my 18 month old reaches for the stove or a socket, he gets a smack on the hand.  A smack on the bare butt is reserved for the most egregious of offenses and I can count on one hand how many times I have used that level of punishment on any of my kids. (My little guy has not experienced a butt spanking yet.)

What do you think is the best form of punishment when your kids break the rules?

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