Dad Blog

Empathy Can Change Your Life For the Better – Dudes To Dads Ep 155

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, empathy is the single most important parenting technique I have learned. It has saved me in so many situations from getting upset. It has also helped me connect with my children on a much greater level.

I would venture to say it has also been one of the most important things in positively impacting my marriage.

Let’s start from the top and first explain what empathy is. Empathy is defined in the dictionary as the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. We may often say it’s “putting yourself in someone else’s shoes.

I want to break it down even further and create two new words. I am coining these:

#1 – surface empathy – This is relating to someone and showing them that you understand what they are saying. Maybe it could also be said that you are able to see something from their perspective.

#2 – deep empathy – To me, this is really feeling the emotion or feelings that someone else has in order to relate to them.

I’ll give you an example of each.

Surface empathy – I think this often happens in situations with our children. When my daughter was 5 years old and couldn’t find her shoes before school, I understood it was a big deal for her. Did i really feel the emotion? No, but i understood hers.

Deep Empathy – I recently heard that a friend’s parent passed away. Now this was like a hit in my gut. I actually had really strong emotion as i have been through that situation and recalled how painful it is. I was showing deep empathy.

Both of these are really important to be able to do. They can really impact the relationships you …

Expectations for First Time Dads – Dudes To Dads Ep 154

Today we are talking about expectations for first time dads. What should you expect when the baby is born.

Here is my overall advice:

Expectations are only good to have for the negative stuff. For the good stuff, you don’t want to have expectations. This is the topic we are going to discuss today.

Let’s tart with the obvious things that everyone tells you are going to happen when the child arrives:

1) You will get less sleep
2) You will get less attention from your wife
3) You will probably get more attention from your family (or your spouses damily) because everyone wants to see the baby
4) It will take you so much longer to get places than it did before
5) You will schedule everything around the baby’s sleep and eating patterns. Want to go to a birthday party at 1pm? Sorry, that’s the baby’s nap time
6) You will have less personal time to do the things you want to do (golf
7) You will have increased expenses. Babies are not cheap.
8) There is a lot of noise – a baby crying is not pleasant
9) You will talk a lot about throw up and going to the bathroom
10) You will worry about whether you are good enough to be a father

So these are great and all, but you don’t have to fall into a negative trap. These don’t all necessarily have to come true but if you expect that they could, then you will be more prepared. But be sure not to stress over the fact that these are “going” to happen.

As I said in the beginning, it’s ok to have expectations on negative things, but for the positive ones, you don’t want to setup expectations. This is where disappointment can …

Are You Aware of What You Are Feeding Your Child? – Dudes To Dads Ep 153

Well, first I wanted to introduce our sponsor for today’s podcast:  SmartyPants Vitamins

They are Non-GMO & Gluten-Free and filled with great vitamins and minerals like Omega 3 fish oil, Vitamin D, Vitamin B12, and much more.  You can buy them from Target, WholeFoods, Walgreens or on Amazon.

Ok, on to today’s topic.  I did a YouTube video on this topic last week.  We often think we are feeding our kids healthy foods and drinks but the reality is that we are not.Of course there are different schools of thought about nutrition, but there are elements that doctors and nutritionists will agree on.  For example, not one person thinks that regular white table sugar is good for you. It may taste great and our body craves it, but it’s not good for your long term health.

The Harvard School of Public  Health says the average person consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar per day.  

According to the American Heart Association, children ages 2 to 18 should eat or drink less than six teaspoons of added sugars daily.  Six teaspoons of added sugars is equivalent to about 100 calories or 25 grams.

That is crazy.

So I put together 5 things your children should be having to be healthy and grow.


#1 – Water – Stop feeding them juice.  I don’t care if it’s apple, orange, grape, or whatever.  It is full of sugar and children don’t need it. Give them water.

You can hear the parents now: but Timmy won’t drink water.  Stop giving him juice and he will get thirsty.  He’ll drink water.It tastes really good because there is a ton of sugar in it.  Give them water.

#2  Protein – Protein build cells.  It helps muscle growth, their immune system, repair tissue, and more.Some protein you can make

Establishing a Morning Routine – Dudes To Dads Ep 152

Last week we discussed establishing a night time routine. Well, the second biggest battle in the house is the morning routine. The need for a morning routine really comes into play when your child starts kindergarten.

The night time routine can be difficult because you are tired. However I think the morning routine can be much more stressful because you have somewhere you and/or your child need to be.

You need to get your child out of the house at a certain time. The process is pretty similar to the night time routine plan.

Step #1 – Take inventory – Write down all of the things you need your child to do before you leave – eat breakfast, get dressed, brush teeth, prepare backpack, etc.

Step #2 – Establish the time you have to leave the house – Be realistic, do you need to allocate time for traffic, mistakes, etc. It adds extra stress if you leave it down to the wire.

Step #3 – Work backwards with realistic time slots. For example, if you need to leave at 7:30am, they need to have their backback ready at 7:25 and finish brushing their teeth and hair by 7:20.

Step #4 -Establish Wake Up Time – This is a crucial step as the wake up time then becomes the foundation for the schedule. If your kids are going to bed early and they like doing something fun before school, then you need to incorporate that into the schedule.

Step #5 – Print out multiple copies and laminate them – I put copies of the both the night time and morning schedules in each of my children’s rooms as well as in our kitchen. We laminated them so the children could mark off boxes with dry erase marker each time they …

Establishing a Night Time Routine – Dudes To Dads Ep 151

People have been in world wars, some of been stuck in mine shafts for days on end without food, There are those that have been tortured by enemies…..none of these, I repeat none of these are as difficult as dealing with night time with a toddler.

So today’s topic is Establishing a Night Time Routine

While we could have multiple episodes just about getting a baby, toddler, or child to sleep through the nite. That’s a subject on it’s own. We are specifically talking about the 2 hours or so of time before your child is going to sleep.

Establishing a routine is good from the time the baby is born. However what we are covering here is the age when your child is old enough to begin doing things on their own. Side note here: your child is ready to do things on their own much before you probably recognize.

Night time is a battle zone in houses across the world. So the hope here is to offer some advice to make night time a little easier for both you and your child.

The best piece of advice is to create a schedule. This helped “reduce” the battles in my house. Notice I said reduce not eliminate.

Step #1 – Take inventory – Write down all of the things you need your child to do before their head hits the pillow – Bath, brush teeth, put on pajamas, read a story, etc. Put them in chronological order.

Step #2 – Establish the bedtime you want them to have. If you are unsure, the earlier, the better. My kids had 7:30pm for a long time. I know people who’s young kids don’t go to bed until 10:00 or 11:00 o’clock. If that works for you that’s fine. But it is …

Dudes To Dads Podcast Episode Awards – Ep 150

In celebration of our 150th episode we are looking back to celebrate ourselves.

In fact we are giving ourselves awards. I have come up with a few categories and have selected the winners myself. I can do that since I don’t have a staff of people or a writer’s guild or a bunch of judges.

Our first award is:

1) Most Popular Episode – the winner is Episode 49 – which was “39 Life Hacks for Dads”

2) Most Controversial Podcast – the winner is Episode 105 – Does Punishing Your Kids Work? There are people that still believe that spanking your child works.

3) Most Important Episode – Fighting Depression with Gratitude – episode 91

4) Biggest Rant Episode – Episode 149 – Phone Addiction – Parents Need To Put Their Phone Down

5) Most Impactful Episode for Alan – Episode 8 – Interview With a Dad – Tantrums, Delivery Room Horror

6) Most Impactful Episode for Jason – Episode 102 – Everyone is Responsible For My Happiness & Everyone Else Causes My Pain

7) Most Enjoyable Episode for Alan – Episode 148 – The Best 80s TV shows for Parenting

8) Most Enjoyable Episode for Jason – 100 – Interview with my Dad…

Phone Addiction – Parents Need to Put Their Phones Down – Dudes To Dads Ep 149

This episode is basically a rant about being on your phone: #putyourphonedown

If you are on your phone, you can’t be fully present.

Jason provides a few examples of the situation he witnessed in which people were on their phone, not paying attention to the people in their presence.…

The Best 80s TV Shows to Learn Parenting – Dudes To Dads Ep 148

There are some classic TV shows that provide parents insight and examples that we all have to deal with. While I watched these shows as a kid, seeing them as an adult has provided a new level of respect for the knowledge they share and the family values that are displayed. Here is my list:

1. Family Ties – Parents of 2 girls and one boy, they are hippies (or very liberal) and have political views on the complete opposite side of their son Alex. While there are many differences, they allow their kids to find their own way. They are great coaches and mentors for their kids.

2. Cosby Show – While the real-life Bill Cosby has had some major legal and moral issues, the TV show dad and his wife were raising 5 kids with all kinds tests for parents: cheating in school, boyfriend/girlfriend issues, etc. The parents had deep discussions with their kids and would also be considered strict.

3. Different Strokes – The dynamics of an old white rich guy who adopts two young black kids is just exceptional. Mr. D as he is called, often finds himself in dilemmas. He talks often talks through the situations with love and kindness. is full of wisdom and teachings

4. Webster – Websters parents died and he went to live with his dad’s friend George. Like many, George really didn’t know much about parenting but really loved the boy. You watch him struggle with various topics and ultimately have a very strong bond with the child. Dealt with topics like bullying

5. Growing Pains – The dad, Dr. Seaver is a psychiatrist and works from home so he has a lot of interactions with his kids daily. They had 3 kids with very distinctive personalities, always getting into …

New Year’s Challenges To Be a Better Dad – Resolutions for Fathers – Dudes To Dads Ep 147

In a few days it’s going o be 2018. So we put together his list of new year’s resolutions for dads. In the new year, these are ways we can improve our parenting and roles as fathers:

  1. Be more affectionate towards the kids – At least a hug and kiss every day
  2. Listen more, talk less – They don’t need answers on everything
  3. Read with my kids at night – Whether you read or they read doesn’t matter
  4. Spend more one on one time – If you have more than one child, make an effort to do something just one on one
  5. Have more meals together as a family
  6. Reduce or eliminate yelling
  7. Listen to Dudes To Dads Podcast every week
  8. Watch Dad University videos on YouTube (or Facebook) every week)
  9. Provide more positive re-enforcement – catch them being good and say it
  10. Love the child you have not the one you want
  11. Get outside more – go hiking, camping, enjoy nature and teach them about nature. Get fresh air
  12. Practice gratitude more – It will make you happier
  13. Plan more – It is proven we are happier when we have something to look forward to. Plan more events, trips, outings, or just together time.
  14. Make the house healthier – less sugar, drink more water, healthier choices for food, exercise
  15. Get more sleep – Everyone in the house can benefit from more sleep
  16. Allow mistakes – both for you and your kids
  17. Set a great example for my kids

Setting a good example is the most important one to remember. You can’t expect changes in your child unless you make changes.…

Should We Reward Kids For Good Grades? Dudes To Dads Ep 146

I was talking to another parent that was explaining the different amounts of money their child gets depending on their grades.  $20 for this, $10 for this, etc.

Have you ever been rewarded for your grades?  either money or a gift?

Parents will often use reward charts to shape behavior.  To me it’s like a rat with cheese.  What happens if there is no cheese?  The rat ain’t going in that direction.

This is the same problem with reward charts.  Have you ever seen sticker charts and you get a star if you do this?  A sticker if you do that?

You totally are removing the intrinsic value of accomplishing something.  The child does not learn the true value of the accomplishment.  Whether that is completing a task, reaching a goal, helping someone, or whatever.  These are all things that happen inside.  Reward is external.

With grade, the reward is the grade, not anything else.  You got the A.  That is your reward.

There has been numerous studies where children were provided money for results.  There were no significant changes in performance.

Money does not buy long term success.  It is a short term solution.

Here are a couple of ways we can help kids with grades:

Focus on effort not grade – Highlight the hard work rather than grade itself
Limit screen time – must get work done before playing
Encourage reading – find topics they enjoy
Help but don’t do – you are there for support but not doing work for them
Let them fail 
– Missing homework, assignments, etc.
Positive re-inforcement – Doing homework, reading

So please parents, do not pay your kids for doing well in school.  Their reward is doing well in school.  What about that child who simply isn’t as smart as the others?  …

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