Why I’m Telling My Son the Truth About His Sports “Hero”

babble

I feel very lucky to have a son who not only shares my passion for sports, but for the same teams I follow. Some of our favorite times as Daddy and Brennan are when we’re able to go to a live game or even just sit around and watch one on TV.

My son has learned so many of the nuances of baseball, football, and most of all, soccer. He understands all of the rules and can recognize almost every player on Manchester United. As we were watching the game when Wayne Rooney became the all-time leading goal scorer for the club, he said something that really made me think, “Daddy, when I grow up, I want to be just like Wayne Rooney.”

Read on at https://www.babble.com/parenting/telling-kids-truth-sports-hero/

Advertisements

Difficult Questions from Innocent Mouths

I had of those great days with my son on Monday, I worked from home most of the day and got to chaperone him and his classmates on a field trip.  It was just the two of us when we got back home and we played and he was so well behaved.  We even went out to eat with my dad for a guy’s dinner.  We talked about sports and how the Orioles were doing and that was when I noticed the news on TV at the restaurant.  The good and light hearted time came to a complete halt, a headline flashed across the TV and I prayed that he wouldn’t notice, but nothing gets by him.  He then asked that dreaded awkward type of question, “Daddy, what’s a hate crime?”

Hate

It was at this moment that I wish that I was in one of those terrible Geico commercials and I could respond with “You know people can save a bunch of money by switching to Geico”, but we all know that wasn’t happening.  My first thought was how can I explain this in a way that not only would he understand what it is and how wrong it is, but also in a way that if he repeated in, neither of us would get in trouble.  I thought about dancing around it, but I know my son well enough that he wouldn’t let it drop that easily and would ask again later.  I took a deep breath and decided it was as good a time as any to hit this one head on.

There have been a few road trips that he listens to my podcasts with me, the family friendly ones of course.  We listened to Neil deGrasse Tyson on Joe Rogan, Manchester United Pod, Know Them From Adam with Adam Schefter and That’s The Way I Heard It with Mike Rowe.  Mike Rowe is usually pretty tame and keeps his language on a PG level so I figured it was harmless but about 4 minutes into the 10 minute episode, I realized this was going to spark another tough conversation.  Mike was talking about how the news broke of a secret organization and their secret names through a kids cartoon, but the organization was the KKK; thanks Mike.  We had a lot of time in the car that day so I decided that we can have a talk about racism and prejudice.  It went very well and he was a little perplexed that people would act that way but understood that some people were just bad and didn’t know any better.

hate2

I went back and referenced this podcast at dinner and told him that groups like that commit hate crimes.  I explained that hate crimes are crimes against a certain type of person and not necessarily because of anything that person did.  I told him it could be because of someone’s religion or beliefs, the color of their skin or even because of who someone loved.  That last one got a strange look and took some more explaining.  I told him that even though he has a mommy and daddy, not all families are the same and some families have 2 mommies or two daddies and that’s OK.  He said “Yeah like Bree has 2 mommies”, I agreed and said that they are our friends.  I told him that it goes way beyond not liking people and that these bad people hurt, kill or destroy the property of others just because of these factors that are beyond their control.  I told him that some people weren’t taught the same way he was and haven’t been around different types of people growing up and they were just raised to hate people that aren’t exactly like them.  He was so profound in his response “That would be so boring if everyone was the exact same”, well said kid!

The topic was soon thwarted when our pizza came and he was thinking about how much pizza that he could shove into his face.  Later that night, I was thinking long and hard about this entire situation.  Though of course these things existed when we were younger and I heard stories from my mom about the Irish Republican Army and some of the terrible things they had done, but it wasn’t plastered all over the news on what seems to be a daily basis.  I’m sure our parents said the same thing about our generation, but I’m scared for the future and just how easy it is to get all of the news and bad information at your fingertips at any given moment.  The world is set up to turn any normal and happy go lucky kid into someone with extreme anxiety and depression.  It is so sad that I was thinking like this but it is true!  All we can do as parents is teach our kids the right way to think and be empathetic towards everyone.  Unless someone does something not so kind to you, they deserve the benefit of the doubt and you can be respectful to them.

Don’t avoid these conversations; they are a great way to instill the right traits and values in your tiny humans at an early age.  Stay strong out there dads!

“One More Thing Santa”

As many of my readers know, my son and daughter are basically polar opposites.  My son (7) is very measured and uses logic for most everything he does; he loves sports and the numbers behind all of the statistics.  My daughter (5) is a free spirit and loves to dance whether any music is playing or not.  I hope that I have taught my kids to be thoughtful towards all people, they don’t always show it, but when they do, it really tugs at your heart strings.

As the holidays were upon us, the kids started making wish lists of toys that they want from Santa from commercials on TV and what they’ve seen walking through toy stores.  As with most kids, if they actually got everything from their lists, we would be broke and I would have had to cash in my retirement.  As usual, we try to curb the kids’ expectations when it comes to Christmas and explain that they won’t get everything on their lists, but if they put smaller items on the list, there would be a better chance of them receiving more.  That is when the list morphed into mostly video games and gadgets that are way above their levels at 5 and 7.  I guess I had that one coming looking back at it.

IMG_0757

My wife and I decided that we can take the kids out to Bass Pro Shop early one Saturday morning in December and stand in line with the other parents all trying to keep their kids calm and pray for no meltdowns to see the man.  The kids are rarely that bad, but to a parent you always think they could have behaved a lot better and made better decisions.  Brennan was having a particularly difficult morning following directions, I’m sure it had nothing to do with ice cream before bed and staying up later than normal the night before (insert eye roll here).  As we were in line to see the jolly fella, there were kids games that the little ones were enjoying but I told them to stay where I could see them.  The third time that he wandered off with his sister in tow, I had to chase them down and forced them to stand with me in line (my wife was in the Starbucks line at the other end of the mall) until it was our turn.  Needless to say, they weren’t thrilled with this and asked me over and over if they could go play again.  I eventually let them go play for the last five or so minutes before we were ushered in to the front.  Luckily, our kids are not scared of Santa anymore and Lilly went first asking for unicorns, rainbow hair and acting out every commercial that she has seen.  When Brenn went up, we couldn’t hear him but he asked for a new bike and a few other things, and then he turned to Santa and said something quietly, which made the big guy make eye contact with me and give me a knowing smile and a nod.  When I asked him what he had said to Santa, I was blown away!

So a little background, after 10 years active duty with the Navy, I got out and worked a really interesting job programming smart lighting in office buildings but I was traveling 75% of the time.  I found a new job after 18 months, as a project manager for a government contractor that seemed much better as I couldn’t work overtime and was home every night.  It hasn’t quite been ideal and I’m sure is adding to my stress levels.

Brennan told me that after telling Santa about all of the toys he wants, he told Santa that he really just wanted him to help find me a new job so that I could be happy and not as stressed out.  I was definitely taken aback.  For a 7 year old in that completely self-indulging situation to think about me meant that we were doing something right.  I’m not going to put on a tough guy persona for this one; I was struggling to fight back tears.  Later that night I sat down with him and thanked him for asking for help from someone like Santa and that I would try to not let my work stress spill over into my home life.  I also told him that he acted very mature in doing something that was so thoughtful and selfless.

When we as parents get to witness a moment like this first hand, all you can do is sit back and smile at the job you’ve done.  No kid is ever perfect all the time, and if they were I think that life would be so boring; but when they do things like this, it all evens out.

Stay strong out there dads, and keep raising thoughtful tiny humans!  This post was published at http://www.getconnecteddad.com

Why Won’t We Learn?!

Most of us as parents want to teach our children the ways of the world and hope that they catch on pretty quickly.  I realize that we should be setting the example as well, though most of us do a terrible job.  I forgot who it was that said “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result”, but they were spot on.  I have so many conversations with other parents about one topic in particular that we almost all feel the same way but continue to make the same mistakes.  Why on Earth do we think that it is a good idea to take our tiny humans out to eat in a restaurant?

eat

Right after Brennan was born, my wife and I, along with some of my buddies from the Navy would go out to our favorite Mexican restaurant on Tuesdays for taco Tuesday and bring the baby in the carrier.  We always had a bottle with us and would feed him if he got fussy and we had no idea why other parents never wanted to take their kids out in public.  Then it happened, he learned how to walk and learned the word no.  Our foodie life began to crash down in front of our very eyes!  What used to be so easy turned into an absolute nightmare.  He wouldn’t sit still, was being super loud, didn’t want to eat anything and brought our stress levels to an all-time high.  We thought we understood what other parents had said; we were wrong, we still had no idea.  Enter Lilly…

If having a kid is difficult, it is thought that a second one would be twice as hard.  I found that it is exponentially more difficult, but also more rewarding.  What was a hassle before in going to restaurants had turned into a battle zone.  Now we have two whiners who don’t want that kind of milk or chicken nugget and only likes the “boring rice” and doesn’t want to eat wherever we are.  Then the fight for attention begins where they get the exact same meal but his is bigger than mine or hers looks better than mine.  I cannot even begin to tell you how many times that I have turned to my wife and say that we aren’t going out to eat with them until they are 16 and can be our designated driver after driving us to drink more.  Those brand new parents out there enjoy them in a carrier while you can.

eat2

Now I don’t want to sound all gloom and doom, there are some pro parenting tricks that we have learned throughout the years of battle to make this process flow much more smoothly.  We have certain restaurants that we know will be better because we peep the menu before going and ensure they have chicken nuggets, pizza or grilled cheese.  We like going to sports bar type places because there is guaranteed to have something on TV that will take at least one of their focus away from the wait.  Buffalo Wild Wings is a favorite because of the loud atmosphere, TVs, boneless wings (grown up chicken nuggets) and they even have tablets to keep the kids busy!  We never have the waitress bring out the kids’ food first because they will be done more quickly and inevitably ruin our meal.  We miss our old Mexican restaurant Cazadores in Suffolk, they were always great with the kids, brought out extra chips often and the food was ready so fast that there was almost (I say almost) not enough time for a full tantrum.

One of the big factors that most people overlook is that timing is everything!  There is a sweet spot between 5:15 and 6:30 that we need to arrive at a restaurant.  Any earlier and the kids will be hungry before bed again and any later will mean that they are half asleep and more grouchy by the time the food comes.  This is also tricky for Saturdays or days that there may be a wait for the meal.  We always try to have a plan B if the wait is too long.  We also have learned that the kids always get most thirsty at bed time and while waiting for a table so they always have their water bottle with them to quench that insatiable thirst.  We also keep a few snacks in the car for those emergencies that the kids are just starving and can’t wait any more for our food; I know we have all been there before!  The best scenarios are when the weather is nice and we have a 10 minute wait to let the kids sprint around on the side of the building and let them burn off that energy before begging them to eat their food and sit in their seat and stop looking at their brother and so on.

We continue to make the same mistake and I’m glad that we have family nearby to babysit sometimes and give us a quiet meal from time to time.  Honestly, part of me misses their chaos when they aren’t there.

Stay hungry and strong out there dads!

Snap Out of It!

Yesterday was a rough day, as opposed to one of my previous posts; I got sucked into the Sunday Syndrome and started getting depressed about the work week, my to-do list and everything else going on.  It carried over in to Monday where I was getting overwhelmed with life and was really down in the dumps, the B/W Parkway having an accident on my way in added to it, making my commute about 35 minutes longer than normal.  I was given free tickets to the Orioles vs Nationals game and had promised my son that we would go together.  On the way home, I started to hope that he had a bad day at school and I could get out of it, but no such luck!  A green day from school meant that there was no way I could let him down so off we went.

snap

I have (still) a massive to-do list and had an hour and a half before the game, so I went and cut my dad’s grass and got home in time to change before leaving and I was still a grouch!  Brenn was glowing and giddy to be going to his second Os game in as many days.  I knew I was on a budget so I was going to scramble to make something before we left but my wife must have gotten paid from her side business in cash so she slipped me some cash and told me to have fun and don’t stress about the budget.  We made it out there and talked a lot on the way, answering lots of questions and talking about the game, I finally started to loosen up.

snap2

As we started walking up to the stadium, he just started skipping and bouncing just to be at the game with his daddy!  That was when the lightbulb went off, I need to snap out of this funk and enjoy my time with my little dude!  If I kept it up, I would bring him down and spoil what could be a precious moment.  I decided to get back to goofy daddy and have some fun.  We went to the kids’ games in the park that we couldn’t get to on Sunday and he got to play all of them, went all the way up to our seats, grabbed some stadium food, a pretzel and a beer and sat down.

My wife had said that it would be good for me to go to the game and escape real life for a while and have some good one on one time with Brenn and we did just that!  Though we are Nats fans too, we aren’t when they play the Orioles, we love the battle of the Beltways.  The Orioles put on a show, starting with a leadoff home run and then two more in the first inning.  It was great and there was a lot of cheering and high fives.  We went on a couple of walks to stretch our legs and get some funnel cake and I even let him go all the way to the top of the stadium and sit by himself for a few batters (there was nobody nearby and I was the next closest person).

snap3

When we were walking out of the stadium to the car, I thanked him.  He looked a little confused and asked what I was thanking him for and I told him that if he wasn’t so excited for the game, I wouldn’t have gone and I really needed it.  He told me that he knew that and really just wanted to spend some time with me when I wasn’t so grumpy from work or doing things around the house.  It partially broke my heart and also made me smile.  Sometimes our tiny humans can drive us batty and we don’t know how we survive without pulling out our hair.  Other times we realize that we are as dependent on them as they are on us; this was one of those times.  I gave him a big hug and told him that I was looking forward to our next game or adventure and I would try my best to snap out of it already.

Stay humble and strong out there dads, and snap out of it already!

Bowling with God (or a curious conversation with my son)-Guest Post

Who am I?

Hey everyone, my name is Jay Armstrong and I am a high school English teacher, writer, CEO of Write on Fight on LLC., husband, father and Philadelphia sports junkie. When I’m not teaching, writing or having my heart broke by either the Eagles, Phillies, Flyers or Sixers I can be seen traversing the suburbs of Philadelphia with my wife Cindy, hustling our three children to whatever sport they’re involved in.

On my website, writeonfighton.org, I write about fatherhood, parenthood, teacher life and living with Sarcoidosis–a rare autoimmune disorder.  My writing has been published on medium.com, themighty.com and holdinholden.com.

Why do I write?

I have always been attracted to the magic and power of writing. However, for so long I was afraid to commit to writing. I was afraid of judgement, of failure (which is odd for a Philadelphia sports fan). Then, when I was 34, I was diagnosed with Sarcoidosis and writing suddenly became a priority. For me, writing provides clarity, strength and a chance to connect with people on an honest, authentic level.       


When I grow up I still want to see the world through childish eyes.

A few days after writing Advice from the Dead, Chase and I were in the car together. I’m driving, he’s tucked in the backseat and it’s raining.

Of course it’s raining.

Stories like this are almost always punctuated by weather.

With the windshield wipers on full tilt, a rumble of thunder rolls overhead and flash of lightening splits the night sky in half.

 

“Dad”, Chase says, “did you know when there’s thunder and lightening God is bowling in heaven.”

“Yes, bud I did know that.”

“How did you know that dad?”

“Well, I went to catholic school just like you buddy. And my teachers told me the same thing.”

Call it telepathy, call it being a parent but I felt the questions forming like thunderclouds in his head. He’s pondering the angles of time. He’s attempting to comprehend the news that I was once a kid like him, unsure and curious, sporting a catholic school uniform, sitting quietly with folded hands as the teacher educated us on things like God and heaven and bowling.

The car eases to a traffic light and stops.  The rain falls hard and heavy.  The windshield fogs at its edges.

“Dad, do know who the Ultimate Warrior is?”

( Clearly, not the question I was expecting.)

“The wrestler?”
“Yeah.”
“Yes I know who he is. Why?”
“Because he died.”
“I know.”
“Dad, he had cancer and he died.”

“Hey buddy, how did you know that?”

“Youtube.”

The first person I ever really knew who died was my grandmother. I was 16 when it happened. I remember not thinking much about her death. In a way, I guess, it made sense. She was old and sick and she died. And that was that.

I catch Chase in the rear view mirror. His knees pressed against his chest, feet up on the seat, his oversized eyes watching the watery glow of street lights and store signs flick by. I’m envious. His little life unbounded by theories of time, of the unnerving truth that I will one day die and won’t be here to answer his questions.

The light turns green and we go.

The second person I knew who died was a close family friend, Joey.  One night, for reasons still unknown, he hung himself with his karate belt in the bathroom. He was 12. I was 18. He was a happy and popular and had blonde hair then he was dead.  I remember my dad, with wet eyes and strained words, explaining what happened, clearing his throat, working out the details. I remember saying I was fine. I remember going to school.  I remember sitting in history class, staring out the window watching the morning bloom into its becoming and imaging what it must be like to be dead. Was it like my grade school teachers said? Was it peaceful and warm? Was everything italicized in gold?  Was God even there? If so, would he greet me? Would we go bowling? If so, would I have to bring my own shoes or does heaven have a shoe rental counter?

The engine shifts and we pass the plastic heavens of suburbia– Target, Starbucks, Chick-fil-A.

I was curious. I wanted to press the conversation. I wanted to know what my child knew about life, about death.

“Hey Chase, do you know what happens when you die?”
“What?”

“Well, bud…you go to heaven.”
“Oh yeah. They said that at school.”

“So dad, is the Ultimate Warrior in heaven?”

“I think so.”
“But he doesn’t have cancer in heaven. Because you can’t have cancer in heaven, right dad?”
“Chase, do you know what cancer is?”
“It means you’re really sick.”
“Kind of.”
“Dad, do you have cancer?”

“No.”

“Dad, when you die are you going to go to heaven?”
“Well, I hope so bud.”

“Because when you’re in heaven, you’re not sick anymore and I know sometimes you’re sick. That’s what mom says. So if you go to heaven you’ll feel better, right dad?”

“I hope so bud.”

“But if you’re in heaven than you can’t take me to my soccer games.”

We merge onto the highway and the engine shifts and we race under an overpass and things get quiet, the rain stops and I digest the absoluteness of my son’s declaration and I breathe and feel the spinning wheels, the pulsing engine and the car charges toward the waiting darkness and there’s an explosion of thunder, a slash of lighting and just before we exit the quiet of the overpass, Chase calmly says, “But dad if you’re in heaven you can meet the Ultimate Warrior. And than you and the Ultimate Warrior could go bowling with God.”

Beyond the brim of the overpass there looms thunder and lightening.

Before we blast headfirst into the storm I squeeze the steering wheel, stiffen my wrist, catch Chase in the mirror again and lacking something inside–maybe courage, maybe conviction to challenge his young beliefs lean my head back, brace myself for what’s to come and simply reply, “I hope so buddy.”

I hope so.

Parents Need to Date Other People

This is a crazy idea that I know many people out there may not agree with, but as a parent, I feel the need to date people besides my wife.  There are two people in particular that I need to date on a regular basis.  Maybe you guys are getting the wrong idea here, a date should be a fun time between two people where they make each other feel good and feel like a million bucks!  Parents need to spend time on a regular basis taking their own tiny humans on a date, what else could I have meant?

date1

When I was still in the Navy, I had a lot of chances to have a day off in the middle of the week and would have a Brennan – Daddy day and we would go do something fun.  It doesn’t seem to happen very often any more, unfortunately.  I took him to the NASCAR race yesterday for his birthday, he loves going to the races.  We had a very full day!  We got to meet Jimmie Johnson for a STEM demonstration and Q&A session.  He got to ask a question (I had no idea that he was going to ask anything), and it was a very technical question about how he feels at Dover with the turns being lower than the straightaways.  We met up with some friends and walked around the track.  I even caved and got him a few little cars, a T-shirt, a soft pretzel and we even shared some deep fried Oreos.  On the long ride home, he said to me that we need to do this more often and since I got out of the military, we don’t have as many days without the girls, mano-a-mano!  This really got me thinking and he was dead on!

date3

We had a bro-date and we both loved every minute of it (besides the 90+ degrees).  We, as parents, spend far too much time disciplining our kids and stressed out by everything else going on and forget how precious of a time it can be for our tiny humans.  We always try to spend family time, but sometimes the kids need some alone time with you.  Every kid needs to know that they are our top priority, and as much as we can tell them, we need to show them.  A date like this doesn’t need to be something as expensive as a sporting event, a simple walk or trip out for McDonalds or ice cream goes a long way.  Last week, I took Lilly to work with me for Bring a Child to Work Day and she was totally different to how she is at home with my wife or around her brother.

These dates have many different purposes, besides both of us having a great stress-free day; it serves as a good example.  They will hopefully understand that a date can be a fun time and that the most important thing is to make each other feel like a million bucks and how to treat another person.  When they get (much) older, they will know how to treat other people, opening doors and pulling out chairs when going on a date.  We set the example for them every day, how we treat our significant other shows them how they will treat theirs when they get older.

date2

Talking to Brenn for 30 minutes or so, we decided that we are going to do this often and next time we are going to Buffalo Wild Wings for a dinner date.  Lilly doesn’t know it yet, but we will be doing the same thing very soon as well!  As I’m having this conversation with my wife, she tells me that her parents said something similar recently and are going to take one child Friday night and the other on Saturday so that they get alone time with each kid and we do as well.  It is going to be a fun weekend for sure, on top of Brenn’s birthday Orioles game; we need to come up with a date or two.

Always set the example and stay strong out there dads!

Take Your Kid to Work Day

Yesterday was a good day at work, it might be rare to hear me say that these days but it is the truth.  Yesterday was take your kid to work day and my base did a great job of putting together a day full of fun and educational activities.  I was only able to bring Lilly with me since the public school that Brenn goes to does not accept it as an excused absence and I figured there was enough arguing in my office without adding to it.  Lilly has been looking forward to this day for the last month since I found out about it and I have been too, along with a little apprehension since my office is a very quiet area and not too kid-friendly.

Work3

The day started less than perfectly as the BW Parkway was shut down and traffic was terrible getting in to DC, well it is always terrible, but it was worse than normal and took me over an hour to get in.  We quickly turned it around as I stopped in at my Dunkin Donuts and they all made a big deal about her and even gave her free munchkins.  We walked around the base and I showed her the deflated obstacle course and bounce house, which is where the Lilly-isms started to come out.  She wanted to get on them and after walking by a bunch of ceremonial cannons, I told her that someone had to be blown up first.  She started crying and saying “No, tell them not to blow it up!”  I didn’t get it for a minute or two.  She thought we were going to bomb them and literally blow them up.  Afterwards, we went to the safety brief and the introduction and I told her that when the national anthem came on, she was to stand up and stay quiet when it was over.  I asked her if she remembered the song (we went to Fort McHenry a few months back) and she said “Yes, I remember!  That’s the Jesus song, right?”  Sometimes she really cracks me up!

Work2

We spent some time in my cubicle and she got to tell all of my coworkers about her awesome LuLaRoe dress and how it has pockets and that her Momma sells them.  Almost perfectly on cue, she stops mid-sentence and says “Look at that squirrel”.  As we walked around the base, she got to see Navy divers practicing in a tank and she even got splashed a little bit.  We then went to the Navy museum and she got to learn a little bit (not her favorite), made a Navy Officer’s combination cover and had it match Uncle Gig’s rank as a LT, she pretended to be an underwater archaeologist and dug around and then got to sit on the giant gun mounts (definitely her favorite).  We wandered over and got to see some working bomb dogs train and find a training device hidden under a cone and all Lilly wanted to do was pet the dog.  Then it was fun time, she got to go to the bounce house!  She loves bouncing around and being a total goof ball.

work1

Lilly said that she wanted to see where Daddy takes his walks every day, so we went for a nice walk around Nationals Park.  During the walk, we were passed by a bicycling group and as two older people rode past, she says very loudly “Look it is a Grandma and a Grandpa on a bike!”  I made the executive decision that we could bring the umbrella stroller even though she is pretty big for it and it was a total blessing!  I finished the day with 15,000 steps and a tuckered out 5 year old that kept dozing off in said stroller and I didn’t have to pick her up a single time.  After our walk, we went back to my office for a quick lunch and she got to devour her Nutella and peanut butter sammich at her very own cubicle.  That was when we got the big news; there are free snow cones on the other side of the base.  Off we went and got in the massive line and waited 25 minutes (I waited, she sat in the stroller trying to keep her eyes open) to get a nice, refreshing snow cone.  After 4 bites, she said she was done and went back into the bounce house.  We said our goodbyes and decided to hit the road.  She lasted about 3 minutes in the back seat before the head was back, mouth open and eyes were closed.

Work4

That little girl almost always brightens my day and seeing her so happy made my heart smile.  These types of things should be possible a lot more than once a year.  We spend a majority of our time at work and when we can integrate our family with our work lives, it seems to make people happier and likely more productive.  I talked to more people when she was with me yesterday than the 9 months that I have been on this base.  Kids can bring so many people together and give us as parents something to relate with each other.  A lot of work went into putting such a massive event on, especially considering classification levels of work spaces on a military base, and it was absolutely appreciated by everyone that I saw and talked to yesterday.

I hope to have the opportunity to bring Brennan to one of these types of events in the future.  I will be talking at his Career Day next week, so hopefully he knows I’m trying.  Lilly will be beaming for days and I am so proud to be able to do that for her.  Be there, bring the kids around your work life, be a proud parent and show them the love that they deserve!

Stay strong out there dads!

Bribing is Wrong, Unless You Bribe Your Kid, Right?

This is something that almost every parent has done, and most of us aren’t too proud of doing it.  It can be very difficult to teach our growing tiny humans that it is wrong to bribe someone to do what you want them to, but we do it all the time in raising them.  So if this is such a normal practice, is it really wrong to bribe your kids just to get through the current moment, trip or day?bribe3

It got me thinking the other day as we are bribing our son to eat new foods, does it really help our kids or is it hurting them?  Brenn has always been a picky eater, but as he has gotten older, we realized that it is much more than that and he has serious issues with texture and will sometimes force himself to throw up rather than eat new foods.  Well his current obsession is video games and he gets 30 minutes per day if he has a good day at home or at school.  My wife came up with an idea that for every new food that he tries when we eat dinner, that he gets an extra 5 minutes on his video game.  If he tries a new food every day for a week, she will take him to Game Stop to get a new (used) game of his choice.  He immediately tried a piece of lettuce from my salad but almost started shaking when we tried to have him try some spaghetti.  Is this helping him at all?  Is forcing him to try something that he has already convinced himself that he won’t like worth it?  Can we change the rules as we go?

bribe1

There are so many questions about bribing and long-term effects on our tiny humans.  There are so many jokes about how we refuse to negotiate with our tiny terrorists and parents on social media show great pictures of their kids smiling at a restaurant or a trip to the grocery store, but is that real life?  I have seen so many times in person and might even be guilty of it myself, telling your kid that you’ll get them candy if they behave during the trip to the grocery store.  How many of us give in to our kids when they throw a tantrum in public just so that they stop?  That is one of my pet peeves; I will leave a store without getting anything that I want before I give in to them!  I find myself telling them on a daily basis “You don’t get what you want when you act like that”.  I never claim to be a doctor or an expert by any means, we all make mistakes but I don’t think giving in to their tiny demands helps in the long term.  The trade-off from getting through a moment to how they act for years to come is not worth it!

bribe2

There is a very fine line that we all need to walk between rewarding kids for positive behavior and bribing them to keep from making us look bad.  There are so many different types of parenting and almost none of them are wrong, but we need to remember the future.  Looking good in public is not nearly as important as some parents may believe, we all know that kids can be jerks and a lot of times there is nothing that we can do about it.  Just go with it, other parents completely understand!

Stay strong out there dads!

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: