Tag Archives: MainLineDads

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!


Ban or Not Playdate drama

 

Recently a friend of mine Chris Bernholdt has found himself in the media spotlight for his piece, “Banish the Playdate“.  Give it a read, his perspective is not as original and unrealistic as some have argued because many of us have already had similar feelings towards the rules of the all powerful play date.

Chris claims, “The word playdate also gives off this connotation that I should be opening doors for you as you drop off your kid. They are only playing and there is no need for us to hang out unless you are one of those moms that feel uncomfortable leaving your kid with me. You probably don’t want to be THAT mom though because when I drop my kids off at your house I’m not loitering because I trust you.”

This seems to get to one of the core issues of playdates at least coming from some dads’ perspectives.

I am a husband and a father of three kids and a stay at home dad and founder of MainLineDads. The concept of the playdate is familiar to me as it is with almost every parent that I know but there should be some limits of the parental involvement. If your kid(s) are too young to be going up and down the block alone then playdates are almost a necessity. That is the primary job of parents, to be the gatekeepers, to make sure that the kid(s) have someone to interact with but also a safe environment to nourish social communications with children their own age and not be concerned with outside “issues”.

Once the kids begin school, the playdate rules should and need to be amended. They will be forming new friendships without the oversight of the parents. Instead of constantly deciding who they should and should not play with, a parent should use this opportunity to be introduced to the parents of these new friends. For my daughter, she is almost everyday asking to call her long list of friends to go over and play. Every single one of them has been from her school and I’ve met all of their parents. (For the record: We are fortunate to have 90% of her friends within a 5 block radius so clearly this does not fit all parents scenario.) She calls them and asks if so and so is home and if so, she rides her bike or scooter over then calls when she arrives. Simple.  This in my opinion, allows her opportunities to learn several things: phone manners, personal schedules, social interactions and of course the exercise to get there. For the parents who think the world is too scary and dangerous, knowing your neighborhood is important. I know my crime stats and where any problem residents may be. I’ve also communicated with my daughter the need to be aware of her surroundings. Can I protect her from everything? Of course not, I CAN trust my kids to make good choices based on my rules that they have grown to respect and obey. Sheltering your kids, while lined with good intentions, will normally do more harm than good. Let your kids make friends on their own and make sure as parents we are there to pick them up if those decisions don’t work out just right.

The other issue in Banish the Playdate is how over-scheduling clips the creative “juices” that childhood is most known for. Let your kids get bored, turn off the phone or computer and send them outside.  Within five minutes you will see a bored child turn miraculously into a pirate or astronaut. There is no need to make sure that kids have scheduled events all the time. Let them fend for themselves. So, back to the issue of banning playdates…my verdict is ban the parents from over-scheduling because the awesome part of being a kid is not having a schedule.

FREEDOM. The very thing every single one of us has wished for over and over again since becoming a responsible adult. Everyday we are bound to our schedules. We have to fit as much into our day as possible because, “There aren’t enough hours in the day.”  These are adult problems and our kids will find that out one day. Today, BACK OFF and let them enjoy their freedom of responsibilities and let them choose their friends and what they should do. The playdate itself is not the issue, the issue is over protective parents. We all need to take a step back to remember our childhood.

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