Tag Archives: Parenting

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

 


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!

 


Minnesota Vikings…abuse story?

For those who have not had the chance to react or understand what has happened to Adrian Peterson, Phenom Running back for the Minnesota Vikings has been charged with felony child abuse and the NFL and his team has restricted him from playing until his legal matters are worked out.

“The 4-year-old is by a different mother than the alleged victim in the Montgomery County case, in which Peterson is charged with felony injury to a child. In that case, Peterson admits to repeatedly striking the boy with a tree branch or “switch,” but has maintained he did not intend to harm the child, and was using his judgment as a parent to discipline his son.” (USA TODAY)

The fact that I will no longer be able to have him in my fantasy league hurts but I don’t want to take away from the primary issue here, parental discipline. I’m conflicted on this issue overall because I have experienced discipline in a wide variety of ways. Earlier this year I wrote about Bringing Down the Law and again I feel that this particular instance is not worthy of a felony charge in my opinion. I have experienced a Willow switch as a punishment. I am willing to wager that any of my readers who have grown up south of the Canadian border has also experienced this particular punishment. (I’m sure my Canadian readers may have also experienced it but you get the point.) This is a form of discipline much like a belt or hand.

abuse

TMZ Sports released these photos but I collected them from IJREVIEW.

Look at this objectively. First, why was he being punished? I have looked but I don’t believe there has been a statement that explains what his son did to spark any punishment. If someone has it please send me an email or comment because I don’t like to be misinformed. If he called Adrian a “poopy head” then the punishment does not fit the crime but if his son punched his baby sister or something (I don’t know the full family tree of Adrian Peterson or his kids.) then I could see something like this happening.  As a personal survivor of various forms of child abuse in my life, the wounds that are depicted above are relatively minor compared to child abuse images that we normally connect child abuse with.

My issue overall comes down to this, at what point do parents  have the right to discipline their own kids without having to be concerned with child abuse charges. If your kid comes to school looking like he got in a fight with a Honey Badger or something then obviously there should be concern for the child. Basically, child abuse needs to be looked at with a serious eye and by a professional who can “grade” the level of alleged abuse. Furthermore, felony charges need to be reserved for appropriate offenses.

This brings me back around to the issue of the day, Adrian Peterson. Is he a father who was disciplining his son and maybe went over the line of discipline or was he within his rights of raising his son and disciplining him according to his values? Voice your opinions!!


Politics: Good or Bad for Family discussions?

political picture

This will be pretty short today.

I’m not sure about the rest of you but I like to consider myself a pretty informed political citizen. That being said, I tend to come down on the more liberal side of a lot of agendas purely because I can’t seem to get over the idea of voting against your own best interest. When is it okay to introduce politics to your kids?

In order to bring up responsible children shouldn’t we let our kids know why we vote?  Why we choose to live our lifestyles? Of the millions of questions we have to field from our kids, this in my opinion is one of the biggies that should be answered. We are here to bring up our kids to be productive, respectful and informed members of society, right?

I understand that much like learning a new language, exposure will ingrain the principles, we as parents find most important onto our children.  “Stop hitting your sister” or “Finish your food for the 1000th time” while both good principles to live by  are not quite what I’m referring too. Of course leading by example is the best way to show genuine examples of lifestyle but practicing what we preach can sometimes be difficult for children to understand especially when every question from our kids starts with, “Why?”

So my official question:

How far do you explain the answer? I think providing accurate answers are better than filling the truth with  kid friendly fabrications. Tell me what you think.

 


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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