First Rule of the Internet for Teens (Guest Post)

The internet is a great place for learning, fun and sharing our lives. It can also be a hideout for bullies, thieves and predators. It can be hard for mature adults to navigate all the dos and don’ts of cyberspace, but how do we protect our kids while they are on online? Are the rules of the internet? It seems like a lawless place at times. But we, as responsible parents have to set up rules for the internet in our homes. 


The first rule for the internet for your teens is this: everything online is permanent.  

Today I will focus on what your kids can freely give to the internet. It’s a different article on what the internet can take from your kids. I often tell people, to their disbelief, that one day will will be electing presidents based on their Google searches and Facebook posts. That does happen somewhat today, think President Trump and his Twitter account.

But my prediction for the not so distant future is that candidates will be grilled for comments and searches they made as teens and young adults. Why do I feel certain this will happen? Because everything on the internet is saved by someone. Whether it’s a business like Facebook or your internet provider, your digital history can be found and it will only become easier for people to gather. The long-lasting effects of our cyber footprint can already be seen today.


The app known as Snapchat offers 150 million users a unique way to communicate visually. Snapchat is not a bad company, some people choose to use it to do bad things. The same could be said for Twitter and Facebook. Snapchat users range from the ordinary people to celebrities and brands.

What makes Snapchat so different is that the posts only last a few seconds and are “erased” after they are viewed. This promise of brevity can lure teens (and adults) into a false sense of security that their risqué, or unlawful, pictures will be obliterated from the world and no one will know what they shared.

 Snapchat does not have a native save feature, but recipients can screen capture the image and save it to their device. Users are alerted that a recipient has screen caped an image but by that time the damage is done. A lurid photo can be captured and then rebroadcast to any number of viewers on a variety of social networks or worse an adult website.

In a matter of moments an intimate picture sent between a couple can be seen by thousands of people. Or a photo can be saved for years and then released a later time by a scorned former partner. This is called “revenge porn”. Also it is safe to assume that Snapchat servers are cataloging every post too.

It is our duty as parents to make sure our kids understand that what they post on Saturday night will follow them into Sunday morning and the rest of their lives.

The problem facing our kids today is that their agent of socialization is online social media. Where older people, those of us born with a 19 in our birth year, didn’t have our pocket notes and telephone conversations recorded to be seen again at an embarrassing time. Today’s youth will have their private photos, emotional texts and stupid videos on file forever. Nothing that they post will go away. Ever. What an awful burden to bear.

It is our duty as parents to make sure our kids understand that what they post on Saturday night will follow them into Sunday morning and the rest of their lives. A good rule of thumb for your kids is to never post anything you wouldn’t say out loud, in front of their parents and in front of Jesus. This is not a new problem, only a new way of communicating it. Mankind has been dealing with the power of words and images for a while. Proverbs 13:3 tells us: “Careful words make for a careful life; careless talk may ruin everything.”

Make sure you are monitoring your teen’s social media feeds. You have to not only protect them from predators, you have to protect them from themselves. And for goodness sake, take your kids phones away at night! Bad decisions become worse in the late hours of night.

A Side Note for Parents

Parents play a role in this as well. I’m guilty of it. I post tons of funny memes and stories of my child online. I am nowhere near as bad as other parents. (So I get a pass right? No.) But these stories, photos and memes we all share will be stored somewhere on online forever. Recently a couple of vlogger parents had their children taken away because of the “antics” on YouTube.

I’m heartbroken for these children and this family. What happened to these kids will not only stay etched in their memories for life, they will live online forever. Be careful in sharing content about your toddlers today. Tomorrow they will be adults and they deserve the same anonymity that we got.   

Andy Murphy’s blog, The Secure Dad, is dedicated to family safety, home security and of course fatherhood. Visit weekly for tips on keeping yourself, and your family, safe.


I know that I’ve written in the past about different ways that I or dads in general can relieve stress.  I think that a big one that I may have mentioned before but may have gone unnoticed is meditation.  I used to balk at the idea of meditation and how it seemed to out there for me.  Maybe I didn’t think it was masculine enough of a practice for me to try, whatever the reasoning in my head, it didn’t really hold up.  I remember when I was in a walking boot after one of my deployments and not being able to run my stress off, I really could’ve used a release!


I started looking more into meditation after hearing Dan Harris speak about his on-air anxiety attack.  He had a lot of factors that didn’t match up with mine, but after his war time reporting stress and a drug problem, he was able to make it back into the public eye.  When he explained that his top method was meditation, I was a little surprised.  When I heard Arianna Huffington give a speech as she was taking over Thrive Global and how stress nearly killed her, I really began taking note.  I actually conversed with Arianna via email when she invited me to be a contributor to the Huffington Post Blog and wanted me to look more into digital detoxing and meditating.  Maybe there is something to it after all.  I tried it a few times with guided meditations via YouTube but felt like I just couldn’t turn my brain off and didn’t get any benefits so it got dropped with many other great ideas that I’ve come up with.

More recently, I’ve been on a kick to really try to get healthier in all aspects of life.  I’ve been feeling overwhelmed and was slacking on my workouts and eating like total garbage which assisted in my gaining back 10 of the 25 pound I lost earlier this year, and definitely feeling it.  I began taking my life back over little by little but I needed a plan.  I started using my calorie tracking app and set it at a reasonable level for my diet and to work out at least 5 times a week.  I got back into my FitBit challenges which kept me more active on my breaks at work and set the bar at 15,000 steps a day as a goal.  Well that wasn’t quite enough, I needed to get my head right too.  I made a decision to read every day for 30 minutes after the tiny humans are in bed and my wife agreed to do the same and keep the TV off during that time.

It still didn’t seem like enough for me.  On one of my favorite Podcasts, The Joe Rogan Experience, Joe had Dan Harris on and always talks health and wellness.  This time Rogan started going on and on about how great meditation has been for him.  He also said something that really stuck with me about it, he said that like anything, it takes practice and you aren’t going to be good at meditating the first time you try.  I almost shook my head at myself; obviously I needed to work at it!  That night I went home and found a new skill on my Alexa to help me with guided meditation.


It has taken some getting used to, but I find that I really enjoy it.  It is a great way to be completely alone with myself and just let the stress of work and annoying tiny humans just leave your head, even if only for a few minutes.  I realized that this was the missing step to my plan that I needed to help reduce my stress and feel better all around.

I am still very new to this world and by no means claim to be an expert, but I am learning.  I always used to picture Buddhists sitting around with legs crossed, incense burning and chanting going on.  Or I would see Martin Lawrence’s character in Bad Boys rubbing his ears and saying Woo-Sah but that isn’t what it is.  My favorite part about meditating is that you can do what you find works for you.  I am always looking for new ways to relax and center myself and this is a great starting point.

I am always looking for new way to reduce stress; that is actually one of the main reasons that I started my writing, was to help unleash my brain.  Most of my stress relief methods include me sweating or getting angrier but I may be on to something here.  I find myself just concentrating on my breath a lot more when I would usually find myself getting worked up.  I may not sit through a full guided meditation session after I’ve had a beer or two, but even when I lay in my bed, I can center myself and control my obsessive brain a little bit easier (just a little, that thing can get out of control sometimes).

Stay strong and centered with your Chi out there dads!

Just Show Up

I am a sports fan through and through, admittedly not a huge golf fan, and listen to Mike and Mike every morning amongst other sports and comedy podcasts on a daily basis.  A few weeks back, there was a huge story that I didn’t really understand why so much was made of it.  A famous golfer, Phil Mickelson who has won a lot of Major tournaments but never won the US Open, was stepping out of that particular tournament in 2017 because it fell on his daughter’s High School graduation.  If that was the end of the story, it wouldn’t be surprising to me as a dad but there was so much more.  His daughter was the valedictorian of her class and was giving the commencement speech in front of her peers.  I believe that there would be so much more of a story if he decided to skip that for a golf event.  Every good dad that I know would have made that decision any day of the week without really thinking twice about it.

Show Up

I had hoped that some of the talking heads would let this story go away and stop trying to make Mickelson feel bad for missing a chance at making golf history; it seemed to just linger.  The scary part was that some of the sports people were fathers and still didn’t seem to understand his family first attitude.  A few days ago I heard Mickelson on Mike and Mike for an interview and this topic came up.  Both Mike and Mike understood his position but he put it into perspective saying that being a dad is the most important job that he has and the most important part of being a dad is just showing up.

I had to rewind and listen to it again; it had such a ring of truth.  Ed O’Neill’s character in Modern Family has said the same thing before, no matter what is going on, a father has to show up because so many don’t.  I have been lucky enough to be around a bunch of good dads that always showed up, I can’t remember a soccer game as a kid that both of my parents didn’t attend, from 5 years old all the way up through high school.  My dad didn’t know anything about soccer when I was young but with my mom having been born in England, it was in her blood.  He couldn’t coach me and didn’t often practice with me and likely didn’t understand much of the rules when I was young, but he was always there and cheering me on.  Many times when I was refereeing a big game, both of my parents were there to support me.  This did not go unnoticed as I could see many of the parents did not show up.

When my contract was coming time to expire in the Navy in 2015, my wife and I were faced with a big decision.  Re-enlist my services for 6 more years and go right back to a ship likely to deploy abut have stable employment and great benefits or take my chances on the job market but would be home more.  This was a no-brainer and I took that leap.  Though I enjoyed and was challenged by my job, I still couldn’t coach my son’s soccer team because I was travelling so often.  It was great experience but I had to move on for my family.  I am now working a job that has regular hours on regular days and though a commute to DC is never ideal, I know that I can show up for my kids.  They went on a field trip to the zoo and I showed up, they needed volunteers for career day and I showed up, there was a dance recital and I showed up; most importantly when I get home from work, I am there for them to play with and talk to and just be with.

Show Up2

New dads can get freaked out with all of the added responsibilities and the fear of the unknown.  I have my own stance on advice that I don’t usually like to give it or receive it in the traditional sense, I like to share experiences and their effects along with things I might have changed and let them pull their own conclusions, but in this case I’m willing to give the advice.  JUST SHOW UP!  Even if you think you can’t add any value or they won’t know if you’re there, trust me they will know and remember the influence that you have just by showing up and being there for them.  My kids are everything to me and I want them to know that and hopefully do the same for their kids in the future.  We all have the stress of the real world and many times it can be overwhelming, but kids do not understand that and only understand what is happening in their little bubble and us parents need to be very prevalent inside that bubble.  No two situations are the same, but do what you can to show up for them in their lives for as much as you can, no matter how miniscule the events may seem to you, they may be everything to them.

Stay strong and show up for those kids!

She Just Does Things Differently

We had an experience at the pool last week that was, well we will say interesting.  It seems these things always happen in front of my highly curious 8 year old son who doesn’t let things slip past him.  There was a mom at the pool with her 3 kids nearby to us.  I am not one to judge, I have had bad days and lost my temper a little too quickly with my kids before and they have been known to catch an attitude before, but this was tough to watch.  Her son was going just below the surface and making a gagging noise and kept getting the attention of everyone around including the lifeguard, to sound like he was drowning.  Every time he saw people looking, he would burst out laughing.  His mom had enough and said if you do that again, you are getting out of the pool.  That’s when things took a turn.


The boy yells at him mom “So what, I’m not listening to you” and my eyebrows raised from behind my shades.  They go back and forth for a solid 3 minutes and it goes from 7 minutes sitting out, to 14, 21 and so on up to 49.  I was first confused by the 7 minute increments but I continued to pretend to mind my business nosily.  It ended with him getting out of the pool and telling her to shut up already and he was tired and that’s why he was getting out.  Within 5 minutes, he was back in the pool and it seemed all was well with them.  I noticed and really hoped that my son didn’t, not so lucky.

In his, never quiet voice; he asks me “I thought that boy had to sit out 49 minutes, why is he swimming again?”  Well what do I tell him?  Do I tell him that she’s tired of fighting that fight with her kids, that she’s worn down, or that she lets them do whatever they want?  No, we know those aren’t the best things to say to a kid that likes to repeat everything.  I told him that we need to mind our own business and that we would discuss it later.  Whew, bought myself some time for a well-thought response.  Like most parents, I forgot until it got brought up.

I try to have honest conversations with my son, he is extremely logical and though he doesn’t always like what is going on, he seems to understand and put the new information into future decisions.  My daughter is not on that level of thinking at all, so for the time being, it is just man to man.  I have to give some kind of spin to things, but I want him to be as well-prepared for the real world as possible.  I decided it was time for one of those distraction-free conversations.


I told him that parents all do things differently.  He knows that when I give him an ultimatum that I mean it and I will follow through.  Not all parents are the same way and sometimes people have bad days.  Maybe she realized that she lost her temper too quickly, she talked to him and calmed him down and said that he could swim again (I was there and this was not the case at all).  We talked about the language that the boy used to his mom and how that was not appropriate talk to anyone, especially to an adult and if he said that to his mom or me, we would be in the car on our way home before he finished.  I explained differences in parenting styles and how differently children respond and privileges that they get.  He knows that some of his friends don’t have TVs, others can’t ever play on a phone or iPad while he gets limited time and others can be on them all day long if they want.  There is no right or wrong way of doing things as a parent as long as the kids are not hurt and no laws are being broken.  We should not judge others and allow them their own space to parent as they feel is necessary.

I know that I am guilty of judging parents from time to time when their kids are going crazy in public and then also been on the other side.  I remember trying to eat out after the kids were stuck in a car for a few hours and it was complete pandemonium!  I know that we were getting looks from other restaurant goers that evening.  We need to remember that even though we don’t agree with how someone else is treating their kids or how they allow their kids to treat them, we never know what is really going on in their life and we should not judge.  Sometimes we just need to see a smile and get a few minutes to ourselves to regain composure and get back to the plan.  Raise up our fellow parents, don’t look down on them.

Stay strong out there dads, however you choose to be a dad!

How Old am I Today Daddy?

I know that I am not the only one who was very aware as a kid that my parents would tell people that I was a different age to save a few bucks.  Whether it is a buffet, an amusement park or some other attraction, the prices would vary by age and I would always be younger than I really was.  This became pretty normal and I never really thought about it until I got older and had a family of my own.  Is this really OK, is it a victimless crime or is this instilling the wrong values at a young age?


I will not sit here and preach that I have never lied or that I have never told anyone that my kids were younger than they are but it is not a regular practice.  I made a conscience decision a while ago that I would not do this on a regular basis.  I mean, how can we get upset with our kids for lying when they see us blatantly lying, how can we justify that it is different because we are doing it to save money.  I just can’t bring myself to do it.  First of all, my kids would call me out in a second and say things like “No Daddy, I’m 5 now”, or something like that which is quite embarrassing.  But that isn’t why I won’t do it, I am a firm believer in practice what you preach to make the message that much stronger.  Again, I am no saint and there have been plenty of examples of me being far less than perfect but why do I want to willingly add to these?

There are two examples in the past year that I can remember doing this and telling someone they were younger than they really are and though there is no justification, my son doesn’t eat most foods (we are working on it) and at a buffet, I really resent paying full price when he is likely to eat a few pieces of pizza so as long as I can have the conversation with the waitress away from the kids, I might shave a year off his age.  The only other time was at a museum that we originally thought was free and we didn’t have a lot of spending money budgeted for the trip and the kids were waiting around the corner when I paid.  Again, not trying to justify my dishonesty here.


I know a lot of people who are struggling for money, these are very tough times and we are fortunate to be able to do things as a family.  Sometimes people have to make these choices in order to go to these places, they may not have the money, or it may be budgeted for something a lot more important, like doctor bills or grocery bills.  My point is that we don’t know other people’s struggles and we should not judge them if we see them doing something like this.

It is a moral conundrum that many parents don’t even think twice about, but maybe we should.  If our kids see us lying to other adults who seem to be in a position of authority (even if that is the sales clerk at a museum or waiter), that shows them that we think it is OK for them to do it as well.  We instill in them that there is a whole lot more of a gray area in right and wrong and while that may be true, their tiny brains may not be able to process all of that.  It is definitely hard enough to be a kid these days with all of the added stressors from our day and we shouldn’t complicate things even further by making them question if their mommy or daddy is someone who tells lies to people in order to get what they want.  Think of how it could impact their decision making!  Think of what could be said at school when asked to tell the class about their family.  I’ve been in classes when kids say too much and it can be very embarrassing for everyone around.

This is not the easiest decision in the world, but it seems that nothing is anymore.  We need to think about the values that we want our kids to have and show them that we have the same ones.  A child’s moral compass is formed from learned behavior, let’s come together and have them learn the best possible behaviors at a young age.

Stay strong and honest out there dads!

7 Ways Dads Relieve Stress Differently

I understand that we all get stressed and it is imperative for us to deal with that stress in some kind of healthy way.  With that being said, men and women are different and are going to deal with these stressors many times differently than each other.  I’m not saying that no guy will relieve stress by doing yoga or a paint night with the girls, but this is a perspective that not many women understand.  Men have testosterone and many of us need to get anger out with their stress.  Many guys don’t feel better after a good cry like a lot of the women that I know (not that there is anything wrong with men crying, see ).  I had to have a talk with my kids about how boys and girls are different after my daughter was mad that she couldn’t stand up to pee like her brother, but maybe I need to break it down for some adults as well.  Not all of these are going to be good ideas for you, but they just might be!

business men phonecall


This one is probably the most effective for me; when I get stressed out, there is nothing better than a good run!  Breaking a sweat is my happy place ( ).  The body releases so many endorphins when you start to push it and really break a good sweat.  When I am running, it is just me and the road and whatever I’m listening to, I don’t answer the phone or texts, I am just running.  My wife knows when I’ve had a terrible day, that I just need to get out there and she doesn’t bother me with any of the daily struggles, she just says go run and we can talk later and I usually come back as a new person with a different outlook.

Shoot Guns

I know that this won’t be ideal for everyone, but some time at a range can do wonders on your pent up stress.  I’ve gone a number of times and imagined that report that is due is on the target and lit it up with so much enthusiasm.  When you can release a few pound of lead at 1200 feet per second makes you feel completely in control and similar to my other techniques, it is one of those no cell phones allowed type activities.


Many times this will raise your stress levels if you are directing your yells at someone, but that isn’t the idea.  I cannot even count how many times that I could feel the weight of the world on my shoulders and someone cut me off on the way home from work and I just let out a yell at the top of my lungs and felt better afterwards.  Obviously the windows were up and there were no words because road rage is real and highly dangerous.  I can almost feel the stress coming out of my mouth when I do this, but not always.

Video Games

Playing video games, specifically sports or violent games help many guys get out their stress.  They can slip into their avatar and become something else completely and lay the hit stick on their opponent in a football game or snipe someone from a long way away in a first person shooter game.  Getting any kind of small victory can go a long way for a guy who is having a crappy day, trust me I know!


Punching Bag

I used to have an issue when I was younger that I would get mad and punch things, it was not a good idea.  I ended up putting a hole in my door and broke my hand on a different occasion.  My buddy Bryan had a weighted punching bag hanging in his carport because his mom was tired of patching holes after raising four boys and I thought it was a great idea.  If we get mad enough to hit something, make it productive and turn it into a workout without having to worry about drywall work or replacing doors.


Fishing is very therapeutic to me.  I am a catch and release kind of guy, if I ever actually catch anything.  I don’t do the research to see what is biting or what the best bait is currently, I just love to be one with nature and cast a line.  I recently got back from a trip with my dad and did some fishing; it is Zen-like in the ocean to me.  It also helps when you have to yank a 10’ rod across your body to launch the 3oz weight a hundred yards into the sea but we can stick with the cell phone-free relaxation factor here.

Hanging Out with the Guys

I cannot stress this one enough!  It is so important for a guy to be able to escape work and the family and spend some time with the guys.  Most times, it isn’t the family causing the stress but we can act differently when it is just the guys and be disgusting and talk sports and tell old stories without having to watch our Ps and Qs.  This one goes both ways though guys, if you expect your old lady to watch the kids while you go out, you better expect to return the favor on ladies’ night!  These nights are usually a great time, but it isn’t too irregular for real feelings to come out and somber the mood for a few but it usually bounces back pretty quickly.

(Extra) Podcasts

Because I am not the best at math, I’ll throw in an 8th that works for me when I can’t do any of the other things on the list, like in the middle of the day while I’m at work.  I go for walks to escape the cubicles and throw on one of my favorite comedian’s podcast.  I can escape the world while listening to funny stories with Ben Bailey, stupid internet clips with Tom Segura and Christina, learn about some of the craziest theories with Joe Rogan, hear Bert Kreischer’s addictive laugh or catch up with sports.  They have become such a big part of what keeps me going during the day but you have to find what works best for you!

Stay strong and stress free out there dads!

Dad Interviews

Pops and me

Since becoming a father, I have been able to relate to my own dad in a different way than before.  Instead of the usual Father-Son dynamic there is now an element of Dad-to-Dad understanding, a shared experience.

As a Dadblogger, I enjoy commenting on and analysing my own parenting style but I haven’t previously spotlighted the parenting I received.  I thought this might be the case for other dadbloggers too.


Read the full interview at

Stop Scaring New Dads!

I tend to be a nosey person when I am bored and like going for walks during my lunch break at work.  I was walking near a couple of guys last week and they were talking and my Bluetooth headphones had died so I listened in.  The older guy was telling the younger guy (who was apparently expecting a baby) how hard it was and then the phrase that makes my skin crawl “You better sleep now because you won’t be sleeping for a long time”.  I had to turn and walk away.  Why has this type of thing turned into “advice” from us veteran dads to new dads?  Are we just trying to prove how tough we were to be able to get through it or is there more to it than that?


Dads have a very different perspective on parenthood and that shouldn’t surprise anyone.  When our bellies get bigger with a new baby coming, nobody says how cute we look or how we are glowing, just gaining sympathy weight.  Having a designated driver for 8-9 months was really nice but I know I’m not alone when I say that we definitely have our unique worries as well.  Moms usually have that instant connection with their baby; it usually takes dads a little longer to form that bond, whether it is because of maternity leave and not as much paternity leave (I did get 10 days off), the possibility of breastfeeding or the lack of skin on skin time that moms seem to get automatically.  I had never changed a diaper in my life before we had Brennan and I hope that I’ll never have to again since we are done having kids after 2.  Those first few months are crucial and very hard for dads; many of us have similar feelings like we aren’t bonding and it is very scary, but I assure you that is normal.  Why aren’t dads telling fathers-to-be this kind of thing instead of scaring them and telling stories of no sleep or “I guess we will never see you outside of work again”.  I mean really, what’s that all about?!

I heard the same type of thing over and over when we were expecting our first kid and it got met with a smirk and an eye roll when that person wasn’t looking.  I vowed to not be that guy that just wanted to scare new dads and make them dread their new addition.  Unfortunately, I remember catching myself saying the same type of thing after a few years, forgetting how I was on the other side.  I heard a great take on advice and I’m trying my best to live by it now; don’t give advice to others, share your experiences and allow them to make decisions and use what they might find useful.  I thought this was genius!  I’ve been doing it wrong this whole time.


Part of that mantra helped me want to start this blog.  Share some of my funny and many times very real experiences with anyone interested on the hopes that someone could learn from them and it could help them or make them feel better.  It wasn’t until my son was a few years old and I was having a few beers with some other dads that I someone admitted that it was really hard to bond with their newborn.  It was a moment of raw emotion that made me smile and tell them I felt the same way which was followed by all of the other dads saying the same thing and I think we all took a sigh of relief.  We need to life each other up, not try to scare each other, I mean the competitiveness can be saved for the sports field of your choosing but dads need to stick together.  I remember being at my wit’s end after taking the kids out to eat one day and thought they were the worst behaved children on the planet, when really I don’t know a parent that hasn’t had a similar experience who has tried to eat out.  I am a part of a dad blogger community that we can ask for help with our writing, vent or just joke around with each other and the entire point is to lift each other up and never put each other down (except for a few well-taken jokes).

Let’s cut the scare tactics and share our great experiences with fathers-to-be.  Tell them how you felt when your kid first said dada, tell them how there was a period when only you could make them smile, tell them how your whole world changed for the better and how your kid made life seem just a little bit brighter.  I remember recently telling a soon to be dad how I did stop hanging out after work sometimes because I had a kid but not because I had to, but because I wanted to spend every possible minute with them.  I’m not sugar coating fatherhood to make it seem like everything is flowers and rainbows but new dads have enough to be worried about without you trying to prove your manliness and scare them.  Always tell some good with the bad.  If you are asked how well they sleep through the night, be honest and say that you get a up a few times every night for a while but also tell them how when they are so tiny and fall asleep in your arms, you just want to stare at them and know how your world has changed for the better.

Stay strong out there dads and raise up your fellow dads!

Crazy Hair Don’t Care

Hair 3

I recently saw a picture on social media of a little girl who had a crazy haircut that I thought was cute.  I noticed that there were a lot of comments under the picture so I began to read on.  There was a seriously heated debate about this child’s haircut and how it could affect how she would be treated and thought of in school by her teachers and her peers.  Some of the comments were rude and even bashing the parents of this little girl for “allowing” her to do something like this.  That really got me thinking about why it was a big deal to some people.

I thought back to my days as a child when I didn’t have much or any control over almost anything.  I remember being around 7 years old and telling the barber how I wanted to get my hair cut, yes I did it myself!  My parents and I don’t agree on everything and have very different parenting styles, but we definitely agree on this one, hair grows back and it is a great way to express one’s self.  We were given the power to have our hair however we wanted it, I remember having a ponytail in 6th grade to be like Jonathan Taylor Thomas and then went through a Slim Shady phase in high school with the bleach blonde.  I remember the only stipulation was given to my brother when he wanted to shave his head completely was that he had to wear a hat or sunscreen when outdoors so that it wouldn’t burn.  He didn’t, it burnt and he regretted it.

Hair 1

I remember when we were much younger and our neighbor always had curly hair and he hated it.  It was a hot summer day and my brother and I had just gotten our usual short haircuts and he was saying that he really wanted one.  He went to his house and told his mom that he was going to get his hair cut at our house; he failed to mention that it was my brother doing the cutting and not my mom.  My brother got out the clippers and gave him a pretty short buzz cut.  After he went home and the story was explained, my mom got an outraged phone call and needless to say we didn’t seem him outside for a few weeks.  This totally blew my pre-teen mind as to how he could get in trouble for doing what he wanted with his hair!

When Brenn was younger, he wanted a Mohawk and we were completely OK with it.  We got some interesting looks from time to time but he really liked it and thought it was so cool.  The only problem was when he didn’t want it spiked up, he kind of resembled a donkey.  He later went through a phase when he wanted spikey hair and now he gets it cut just like daddy.

Lilly on the other hand has always been the wild child who dances to the beat of her own drummer.  She wanted color in her hair, so not only did she get a pink streak, but she also talked my wife into getting one.  More recently she kept telling us that she wanted rainbow hair.  My wife said that we need to wait until after her dance recital and I asked why.  So we went ahead and got it done.  She was over the moon with excitement!  She has told everyone that she sees that she has rainbow hair and she has gotten a lot of compliments and even gotten some comments about her having the coolest mom (I’ll pretend that doesn’t bother me).  When she changes her mind and wants a new style, we will be on board again.

hair 2

I know that we want what is best for our kids and believe that we always know what that is, but keeping kids in a bubble and not allowing any self-expression will likely turn into more rebellion.  Kids need to have some control over their life, whether it be their hair or their clothes (to an extent), they need an opportunity to find who they are while dealing with the stressors of school and technology of today.  They aren’t walking into a boardroom for a high powered corporate job at this age, and if later on they decide to do so with a Mohawk, so be it!  I can be a very strict parent at times, partly because of how I was raised and partly because of my military background, but there are some battles that are going to do a lot more damage than good and I think this is one of those instances.  I may keep this same very short military haircut for the rest of my life, but it is my choice.  My son will likely keep his hair style very conservative because it suits his personality and that is completely OK as well.  Let’s work on not over-parenting our kids and remember that they are just that, kids!

Stay strong out there dads with whatever haircut you want!

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