Engineering Better Kids

Every child has his or her own personality.

But how do we discern what parts are genetic, as opposed to learned?

Both my boys are awesome kids, but my older son has had a growing tendency towards whining and complaining.

Condemning him for acting this way would be a bad choice. But allowing it go on unchecked would be just as bad.

What it comes down to is that whining and complaining are habits my son has developed to cope with certain situations. And the more we use habits – just like a muscle – the stronger they get.

My job is to call him on his behavior, AND to help him find alternative behaviors that are more positive.

If we allow our kids to whine and complain, back out of commitments, be rude to their siblings, etc, we’re creating adults who are likely to do the same. In other words, we’re disabling them. The trick is to help our kids without making them feel bad about themselves.

Not an easy task.

Which is why when we’re trying to engineer better kids, we have to start by re-engineering ourselves.

And remember, you are not alone …

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Living with Loss

Loss. It’s something we all live with every day.

There are times where I find myself harping on what I’ve lost in life instead of what I have, or what I’ve gained.

The loss of a job, a loved one, or one’s own health can make it difficult for us to move forward with our lives. It can often feel that we’ve lost the ability to smile.

On the one hand, I don’t want to ignore how I’m feeling. But I also don’t want to dwell on the past. I have a future to create, and my family is depending on me to succeed. 

In order to counter my feelings of loss, I’ve started being very conscious of how I perceive my curent situation. I’ve been looking for the positive, instead of lingering on what’s lacking.

Every morning I smile, grateful that my wife is next to me, and that my two boys are healthy. I’ve started realizing how lucky we all are, and that although I have experienced loss in my life, every day we all wake up is a good day.

Each of us are creating our tomorrows. And what we focus our attention on has a way of manifesting as our reality. 

If we’re focusing on loss, than we’re perpetuating more of the same. And in doing so, we’re losing time to make a difference in our future by dwelling on the past.

I for one am tired of this. How about you? 

And remember, you are not alone …

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The Daddy Brain Radio Show

Join me for The Daddy Brain Radio Show on Monday, November 14th @ 7pm CST on WORT Radio (Madison, WI).

The topic of our discussion? Dads are Not Second-class Parents.

I’ll be taking calls from dads to talk about how we’re often perceived as second-class parents by society, the media, the court system – and even our own families.

Local Listeners
Tune in to 89.9 FM

Listen from Anywhere in the World
Just click on the following link to download live online streaming audio in either MP3 or AAC format. It’s as easy as clicking a button to start listening!

http://www.wort-fm.org/listen.php

Want to Join the Conversation?
I’ll be taking calls throughout the hour at: (608) 256-2001.

Whether you’re married, divorced or a widower, this is your chance to be heard.

And remember, you are not alone …

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Ebay Dishonors and Insults Dads

Ebay has released a commercial to market their mobile device app — which in and of itself seems harmless, right?

Except for the fact that it’s insulting and offensive to dads — portraying us as the stereotypical overweight dolt that’s more interested in ordering rims for our car instead of watching our kids perform in a school play.

Ironically, this commercial aired only days after I published my post, Are You an iDad, which discusses how a lot of parents are choosing to be plugged into their mobile devices instead of watching their kids during after-school activities.

If you have 31 seconds, check out the commercial and see what you think …

Is portraying dad as selfish and disengaged supposed to make me want to buy stuff off Ebay?

Dads are not second-class parents. We are capable of providing our kids with everything our wonderful wives do — including love, attention and compassion. It is our children that we put first, not our cars — or even ourselves.

And remember, you are not alone …

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When Children Attack!

Originally, this post was going to be all about our kids and how they can hijack our brains – almost effortlessly – with ear-shattering cries, stubbornness, defiance, bickering and a general lack of concern for being on time for school.

Then I started thinking about how cute my kids are, and how much I miss them all day when we’re apart.

The gifts my children give me every day far outweigh the pain (and occasional damage) they cause my brain when they’re acting out.

From Dad’s Point of View
The problem is, I often get caught up in my own stress and exhaustion, which makes it easy to get bent when they’re a little late for school or when they’re arguing with each other. But is it really that big a deal? I think not. 

From My Kids’ Point of View
Compared to us, our kids seem to have it easy – right? But they struggle just like we do. And their struggles are just as serious to them as ours are to us – making it super-important for us to respect what our kids are experiencing instead of brushing their problems off as “kid stuff” (does anyone else do this, or is it just me?).

Plus, my kids are Power Rangers, so they’ve got to deal with Zed, Rita and terribly written dialogue. As they run through the house, deftly escaping the bad guy (usually me), I often realize that these precious moments will not last forever. Isn’t it best to enjoy them while we can?

And remember, you are not alone …

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How Many Drug Stores Do We Need? Medicating vs. Solving Problems

Every time I turn around there’s another CVS or Walgreens cropping up, which leads me the question: how many drug stores do we need ?

As a society, we are encouraged to put band-aids on things instead of determining the root cause and solving our problems.

Depressed? Take a pill.

Overweight? Take a pill.

Diabetes? Take a pill – or take a shot.

Stressed? Take a drink, smoke a joint or a cigarette – or take a nap (oh wait, naps are actually a good idea).

If a child has problems focusing, immediately label him with attention defect disorder and give ‘em drugs. The result? These children get started early thinking there’s something wrong with them, and that it can only be solved with a pill.

Medicate, medicate, medicate. Heck, millions of people are medicating themselves into mediocrity.

If all we do is medicate our problems,
how can we expect to solve them?

Instead of a CVS, how about a healthy food market that’s free of products with trans fats and bleached ingredients? The reason why many people are sick – to a large degree – is because of the food they eat. Look at how cancer, diabetes and autism have become so prevalent since the 1950′s. This is when processed food became popular (or should I say became forced upon us). If you ask me, Crisco and every product like it is the reason why many people are sick.

Why am I picking on poor old Crisco? Because it’s made of hydrogenated oils and mono- and diglycerides (trans fats), which have been linked to illness, allergies and arthritis . Instead of taking a pill to treat the illness, why not change our food habits and avoid it all together?

Just because there’s a drug store on every corner doesn’t mean it’s the best solution for what ails us. Sometimes things appear normal (or healthy) because they’re everywhere. Remember when asbestos was used as insulation in homes? That was considered normal – until someone found out it was deadly, and we stopped using it.

If all we do is dull the pain, how will we heal the wound ? I have Crohn’s disease. There was a time when it almost killed me. After I was diagnosed, I was told I would be on pills for the rest of my life (16+ per day, along with an occasional run of steroids).

I had a decision to make. Stay on drugs, or look inside and determine why I got sick in the first place. I was interested in healing — not a band-aid. I began meditating, and started going for acupuncture and massage. I quit my job — which was literally killing me. I also started pursuing what I loved in life, instead of making a paycheck. I’m happy to say that today I am drug free.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not trying to brag, and I don’t have super powers. I just woke up. I realized that I needed to change who I was, what I was doing with my life, and the food I was eating — if I wanted to lead a healthier, happier life. That being said, I understand that there are times when meds are necessary, even life saving. But the preponderance to medicate first and ask questions later (if at all) is a big problem.

You might be wondering: how is this connected to parenting and our kids? Doesn’t this guy write a dad blog?

Every parent wants to be healthy, and be around for their kids — as well as their grandkids. That’s obvious. We also need to consider something else: what our kids see us do will be perceived as “normal.” If they see us medicating our problems instead of solving them, or staying in a job we hate instead of fighting for our happiness, they could easily figure that’s the right way to live.

We need to show our kids that they don’t need to follow the way of the masses. They have the ability — and the right — to simply be themselves.

And remember, you are not alone …

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