7 Things a Great Dad Knows

Posted by Ryan Sanders at http://www.fatherhood.org

We’re already midway through January; if you’re like us, you’re in disbelief! However, we’re still committed to helping you be the best dad you can be in 2013! After our first post for “New Year, New Dad!;” hopefully you’ve had time to reflect on your goals and are ready to tackle the year. In hopes of making sure your goals are in check and you’ve considered everything you need to for your family, use the seven questions below to help you assess the needs of your family and be sure you’re setting the right goals for the coming year.
Here are seven questions that great dads ask themselves:

1. A Great Dad Knows the Importance of Improving His Family.
Take the time to write down three things and post them in an area where they can be easily referenced. These things can be areas of weakness or things that you simply want to do more. These areas of improvement need not be statements; simply write one word to help you keep the ideas in mind this year.

2. A Great Dad Knows the Importance of Communicating with His Spouse/Ex-Spouse.
This will be much easier if your living with your child’s mother. But admittedly, it’s often easy to not communicate with your child’s mother regardless of where she resides! Be intentional about asking your spouse what she thinks of your goals and work together to agree about those goals. Single dads: the idea here is to work toward being on the same page as your ex-spouse with where you want to take the family regarding goals.

3. A Great Dad Knows What His Child Needs.
If you’re a new dad, or the father of a teenager, you may find your children have different needs. Assess what those needs are by age. If we make goals at all, we tend to focus on ourselves. Be sure you are considering where your children are in developement when creating goals and making plans. For instance, you will find your travel plans change drastically depending on the age of your children.

4. A Great Dad Knows His Child’s Favorite Experiences.
Ask your children what their favorite memory was for 2012 and begin brainstorming other similar activities you can do this year. Work to create a time, perhaps over dinner, to let the kids not only talk about their favorite memories but come up with a list of things they would enjoy doing this year.

5. A Great Dad Knows His Schedule.
A schedule is beneficial for children and parents. Consider stopping unnecessary routines and starting better ones. This may be one of the most difficult steps in the process. The point here is to reflect on your daily or weekly routine and see where changes could be made.

6. A Great Dad Knows His Family’s Schedule.
With school, dance, theater, and/or sports in full effect, check in with your family on how they are handling things. As a leader in the home, create appointments with yourself on your calendar to remind you about checking in periodically. It’s too easy to get too busy and often consider EVERYTHING as IMPORTANT when in reality, not everything is important. Depending on your assessment, consider cutting back on activities as a family.

7. A Great Dad Makes Time for His Family.
Schedule time each day to be intentional about being face to face with your spouse. Additionally, be intentional about being face to face with your kids daily. Of course this isn’t easy. Strive to be creative and caring this year. If you can change daily routines with family priorities in mind, you’ll notice a difference in your marriage and/or relationships with your kids.

Read More

Things we should know about toddlers

Developmental Milestones

Skills such as taking turns, playing make believe, and kicking a ball, are called developmental milestones. Developmental milestones are things most children can do by a certain age. Children reach milestones in how they play, learn, speak, behave, and move (like jumping, running, or balancing).

Because of children’s growing desire to be independent, this stage is often called the “terrible twos.” However, this can be an exciting time for parents and toddlers. Toddlers will experience huge thinking, learning, social, and emotional changes that will help them to explore their new world, and make sense of it. During this stage, toddlers should be able to follow two- or three-step directions, sort objects by shape and color, imitate the actions of adults and playmates, and express a wide range of emotions.

Positive Parenting Tips

Following are some of the things you, as a parent, can do to help your toddler during this time:

Positive Parenting Tip Sheet

  • Set up a special time to read books with your toddler.
  • Encourage your child to take part in pretend play.
  • Play parade or follow the leader with your toddler.
  • Help your child to explore things around her by taking her on a walk or wagon ride.
  • Encourage your child to tell you his name and age.
  • Teach your child simple songs like Itsy Bitsy Spider, or other cultural childhood rhymes.
  • Give your child attention and praise when she follows instructions and shows positive behavior and limit attention for defiant behavior like tantrums. Teach your child acceptable ways to show that she’s upset
  • Child Safety First

    Because your child is moving around more, he will come across more dangers as well. Dangerous situations can happen quickly, so keep a close eye on your child. Here are a few tips to help keep your growing toddler safe:

    • Do NOT leave your toddler near or around water (for example, bathtubs, pools, ponds, lakes, whirlpools, or the ocean) without someone watching her. Fence off backyard pools. Drowning is the leading cause of injury and death among this age group.
    • Encourage your toddler to sit when eating and to chew his food thoroughly to prevent choking.
    • Check toys often for loose or broken parts.
    • Encourage your toddler not to put pencils or crayons in her mouth when coloring or drawing.
    • Do NOT hold hot drinks while your child is sitting on your lap. Sudden movements can cause a spill and might result in your child’s being burned.
    • Make sure that your child sits in the back seat and is buckled up properly in a car seat with a harness.

    Healthy Bodies

    • Talk with staff at your child care provider to see if they serve healthier foods and drinks, and if they limit television and other screen time.
    • Your toddler might change what food she likes from day to day. It’s normal behavior, and it’s best not to make an issue of it. Encourage her to try new foods by offering her small bites to taste.
    • Keep television sets out of your child’s bedroom. Limit screen time, including video and electronic games, to no more than 1 to 2 hours per day.
    • Encourage free play as much as possible. It helps your toddler stay active and strong and helps him develop motor skills.
Read More

Anatomy of a FATHER by Sachin Trivedi (Our NFP Contact in Ahmedabad, India)

F : Fun

A : Accessible

T : Thoughtful

H : Husband

E : Encouraging

R : Responsible & Roaring

Fun:

Fun changes the way we do things for better!!!! This is the slogan used in a campaign “fun theory” promoted on YouTube by Volkswagen Group; and i fully support to the fact that Fun brings around a change for the better… Try to bring the element of Fun in whatever you do with your kid and see how well it is responded by your child.
Try to act as if you are chasing the germs away in a fight with them while brushing the teeth and eventually you will see a super hero in your child who has chased away all the germs with a superb brushing session!!! the child will wait for the time of brushing the teeth’s “Twice a Day” 
Make funny songs for the family members, friends, and daily chores; make a family anthem.
Cook a meal together while making music with utensils, it will bring a cheer to the process. Characterize the ingredients like Mr. Salt, Mrs. Chilly, Curly Coriander, Sweety Pie Sugar, Tangy Tomato and so on…
Tell a story while making funny noises about the characters or animals involved in the story. Jump & act around like the characters. Try to make it Live, try to make it more Fun. Years later your child will remember the experiences and definitely he’ll say that “Dad was Fun”
Your Kids Childhood will come only once in his life; you have a choice, make it Fun 

Accessible:

A stitch in time saves nine. If you wish your child should never get lost or distracted, then don’t be lost to them, be yourself accessible to them during their childhood.
Spending time with your child will help you to understand them better. You will learn to identify their strengths, emotions, likes, dislikes, tastes & preferences.
Here you don’t have a choice; it’s imperative to give MAXIMUM “QUALITY” TIME to your Children.
Don’t be on phone while listening to your child; either the person on phone or your child, any one of them can wait, and you know who could wait at that time.
Bring work life balance especially when it comes to upbringing of your children
LISTEN when your child wants to say something to you; be a good audience if you want a good player out of your child.
Your time is an investment for a return which will be passed on even to your generations to come.

Thoughtful:

Fathering has to be a selfless act, a Kind gesture, a thoughtful action, a sympathetic approach, an attentive association.
Small acts of selflessness can sow the seeds of a greater value in your child
Say a thank you to the liftman each time you use the lift in your building.
Say a thank you to the security guard who helps open & close the door.
Treat all the people with utmost respect.
Nurture your kids well. Be thoughtful or be ready to have kids who are thoughtless!!!

Husband:

If you wish to be a good father then you have to be the best husband.
Loving your Childs mother is the foundation of trust, care & love for your child.
Your Children will be good at relationships, they will be emotionally strong.
They will display a sense of togetherness while in a team, in the family, in their lives.
Appreciate your wife whole heartedly, show her respect, communicate, trust, cheer, motivate, support, collaborate with her at home; your child will realise these values early on in life.
Your wife is your better half, so be the best to express it…

Encouraging:

Encouraging is an emotional connect. Emotional connect is through heart. Heart is the core of everything.
“The working senses are superior to the body, mind is higher than the senses, intelligence is still higher than the mind; and he (the soul) is even higher than the intelligence”
Encouragement is all about instilling confidence in your child. It’s all about making her realise the potential she has. It’s all about making the child feel proud about herself.
Your spending time with your child could be an encouragement.
Your visiting her school for parent intervention could be an encouragement
Your reading a story to her could be an encouragement
Your playing with her could be an encouragement
Your Listening to her can be an encouragement
Your every engagement with your child is an encouragement
encourage >>> enhance >>> emotional quotient

Responsible:

A responsible father displays his responsibility in every action.
At times it could be an adverse economic situation at home, but a responsible father always knows that the adverse situation is temporary, and things will be fine again with his efforts and faith. And, while the time advances towards better economic situation, the Father precisely takes care that he takes the “right path” to do so and does not practice any unethical behaviour which can cause a dent in his responsibilities towards fathering.
In sound economic condition, he ensures to share his wealth for making the society a better place to live, thus creating an exemplary practice of Responsible Fathering.
It’s a fathers responsibility to nurture his children with utmost love & care
It’s the fathers responsibility to instil confidence & empathy in their children
It’s the fathers responsibility to create a value based culture for their children & the family
A Responsible Father Nurtures a Holistically Developed Child, such Children make a superior Society, Superior Societies makes a progressive Nation and a Happier world…………..

Roaring:

You have to be a Roaring Father…
Your Roar should be heard around the world, a roar of a “FATHER”
Spread the roaring Cheer… Spread the roaring happiness…
A Roar of love
A Roar of nourishment & care
A Roar of confidence
A Roar of encouragement
A Roar for smiles
A Roar for making this world a happier place

Your choice; you can Furore or you can Roar……  Roar of a FATHER

 

Posted to the Nurturing Father website

Read More

Manipulative Child Behavior? My Kids Are “Too Smart for Their Own Good” by Debbie Pincus MS LMHC

“My kids are driving me crazy! They are so manipulative I can’t stand it!”

Does this sound familiar? “My middle schooler blackmails me emotionally – he cries that I ‘don’t care about him and love his brother more’ when I ask him to stop playing his video games. It’s true that he’s a more difficult kid, and his words make me feel so bad that I often feel guilty and let him continue to play.” Or “My teenager negotiates with me relentlessly to get her way. ‘If you let me go to the party tonight,’ she’ll say, ‘then I promise I’ll get all my work done tomorrow.’ I figure, why not? So I let her go. But then, ’Oops!’ She conveniently forgets all her promises.”

“When we step way back we can see that kids can only manipulate us because we allow their behavior to be effective.”

If your kids are like most, they are  masterful at finding creative ways to wear you down to get their way. You might think, “My child is just too smart for his own good!” It’s important to understand first that it’s natural for kids to “want what they want and try to get it at all costs.” It’s also natural for us as parents to get frustrated and tired, and to give in to these behaviors sometimes — or perhaps more often than we’d like to admit! Parents have busy lives and lots of stressors – we can only take so much, after all.

As aggravating as it is for you, for your child, finding ingenious ways to try and get what she wants or avoid what she doesn’t want to do is a way for her to exercise influence in a world run by adults. (It doesn’t mean you have to give in, but it’s important to realize that it’s developmentally appropriate.) Your child doesn’t have adult power yet  – most kids can’t make major decisions like choosing their neighborhood or school, for example. Having initiative, drive and passion are positives, even though it doesn’t always feel that way as a parent. But keep in mind that these traits can actually be a force for good if you can help your child to use it properly, balance it with self-restraint and respect boundaries.

Look at it this way: your kid’s job is to make demands, to communicate his desires and to try to get them met by hook or by crook. Your job is to not get stirred up by it – and not give in to it, either. Instead, try to help your child balance the energy of his endless wants with self-control and integrity.

The Cycle of Manipulation, Control and Defiance

Parents often get frustrated by their kids’ manipulative attempts to get their way. It’s not easy to remain calm and level-headed when you feel that your child is trying to push you around or take advantage of you. You might feel accosted and lose your temper. Or maybe when you feel disrespected, you withdraw. Or perhaps you try to avoid conflict and keep the peace, so you give in to your child’s demands.

Sometimes you might even tighten your grip to show that you’re in control. Unfortunately, this usually just invites a power struggle with your child, because she starts pulling back on the tug of war rope as hard as she can. If you then tighten your grip more forcefully and pull back in response, the endless cycle of manipulation, control, and defiance can go on and on.

As a parent, I understand that it can be easy at times to take manipulative tactics personally. You think, “If he really loved me, he would never lie to me.” Or, “If she really cared about me, she would never try to sneak behind my back in order to go to her friend’s house.” And some parents overgeneralize their kids’ behavior. They reason, “If he can look me in the face and deceive me, that means he’s a deceitful person.” But it’s best not to put too much meaning on these behaviors—instead, stand up to them. (I’ll explain more about that in a moment.)

When we step way back, we can see that our kids can only manipulate us because we allow their behavior to be effective. Children are human – they want to get their way. (Who doesn’t?) But they’ve learned over time and through using some typical behaviors such as emotional blackmail, lying, tantrums, shutting down, negotiating relentlessly, dividing and conquering or playing the victim that they can get  what they seek. Voila—it works! The danger is when those behaviors become a  way of life.

Remember, though, that kids can only manipulate us if we permit them to. It takes two to tango, but only one to change this pattern.

So how do we help them and ourselves so that we can stop the pattern of manipulation? Here are 6 tips for parents who are stuck in the manipulation cycle:

1. Recognize Manipulative Behaviors

Recognize manipulative behaviors so you don’t get sucked in by them. Instinctively, as part of kids’ survival, they come with tools to get what they want and avoid what they don’t want. These tactics work when they trigger a reaction in us. Pay attention to your triggers. For example, your child might try to emotionally blackmail you by acting sad until he gets what he wants. This will be a trigger for you if you believe your job is to keep your child happy. Start by asking yourself if your job is to make your child  happy or to help him prepare to cope with life. If it’s the latter, then you can answer with, “I’m sorry you’re sad, but you’re still grounded this weekend.”

Other common behaviors include lying, dividing and conquering, shutting down, screaming “I Hate You” or “You Don’t Care About Me” or “That’s not Fair!” Don’t take these statements to heart. Respond with, “ I know you’re angry with me but you do need to put your bike away now.” Or “I know you don’t see this as fair, but you need to go to bed when I tell you to.”

Some kids will play the victim and say things like, “All the other kids’ parents let them hang out past 11:00.” Don’t take the bait. Separate out the emotional content from what your child is trying to get. Hear her feelings about being the “only one,” but stand strong on your curfew time. Tip: It’s helpful to make a list of all the many different behaviors and words that your child does and says for  the purpose of throwing you off balance. Prepare for how you will respond next time you hear them.

2. Know Your Triggers

Triggers are behaviors that upset you and get you to react. They can be a tone of voice, a certain look, an attitude or certain actions. Manipulative behaviors therefore might set you off. If you prepare for them by knowing your buttons, they will be less likely to get pushed. If you have a strong need for approval from your child, for example, then hearing him shout “I hate you” might trigger you. You might want peace between the two of you. Instinctively, you might let him off the hook so he won’t be unhappy with you. Recognizing your triggers will help you plan and prepare for how not to let your child push your buttons. Tip: Sit down and make a list of your top three triggers so you are aware of what they are.

3. Define Yourself and Your Parenting Principles

Manipulative behaviors are designed to throw you off balance and create self doubt. Knowing your own bottom line as a parent will help you when your kids come at you with their ingenious ways to make you unsure of yourself and lose your center. Hold on to yourself by holding on to your parenting principles. Be careful not to let your children’s emotions drive you. Listen to their feelings so they know you care, but stick to the rules you’ve established. Guiding your kids with your well-thought-out principles will generally be better for them than making sure everyone feels good. Tip: Make a list of some of your important guiding principles and refer to them when you feel like you’re losing your footing.

4. Approach the Bench

Don’t get mad at your child for trying to go after what she wants in life. Would you really prefer her not to? Be empathetic to her desires and wishes while helping her learn how to get what she wants more directly, honestly and effectively.

For example,  help your son to see that not doing what he is asked by “Shutting down” or “avoiding  the issue” by not responding to your request is not going to be effective in  getting him what he wants. As a matter of fact, it will only get him in further  trouble. Help him learn to “approach the bench.” In other words, during a calm moment, encourage him  to ask directly for what he needs. Instead of fighting you, he might learn to say, “Mom, it’s difficult for me to get off the  computer the second you ask. Could you give me some warning?” or “Dad, when you  shout at me when I’m not doing what you want, I feel bad. It would help if you asked me in a nicer way.” Or “I think I’m old enough for a later curfew.  Can we come up with a plan together?” (Rather than fighting, whining and coming in late every time your teen goes out.)

When your child asks for what he needs, listen. Give his requests the consideration they deserve. That does not mean always saying yes, but it does mean giving them some honest thought. If your child knows he can come to you directly, he will be less likely  to try to get what he wants indirectly.

5. Believe in Your Child

Have faith in your child’s good intentions. Believe in him. Understand that kids are works in progress. They might need to learn better ways to manage themselves in life, but they are not bad or malicious. Their intentions are not to “get us” or make our life miserable. However, if we believe that’s their intention, then we will see them that way. Believing in our children will help them see themselves with all the goodness that is in them and with all their best intentions.

6. Soothe Yourself

Learn how to soothe yourself when you’re anxious or distressed. Be in charge of your own emotional health. Don’t give in to your kids’ manipulations so that you can feel calmer. If you need them to be happy or to validate you, then you might inadvertently give in to your children so that you can feel good. But each time you justify their behavior and let them off the hook so that you feel better, they learn that these behaviors are effective and they grow to depend on them. Instead, learn to tolerate their upset, which will in turn help them to tolerate their own. Managing your own calm will free your kids up to learn how to manage their own lives and get their needs met more successfully.

Our kids are doing their job: they are asking us through their behaviors to please be their leaders – to define ourselves clearly – to have boundaries so they know where the fence is. Even though they’ll rarely say it out loud, kids need us to have backbones. Remember when our kids were little and they would test us to see how far we could be pushed and where the limits were? Our kids wanted us to be strong for them. Yes, they do want what they want, but on a deeper level they want us not to let them get away with developing a bad character. They want us to help them learn how to tolerate limits in life and the frustration that comes with sometimes not getting what they want.
Read more: http://www.empoweringparents.com/my-kids-are-too-smart-for-their-own-good.php#ixzz2jKLNw44b

Read More