Dad Blog

Anger Management for Kids – Dudes To Dads Podcast Ep 163

As kids develop their emotions develop as well. You may experience this yourself as a parent or have seen other kids……hitting their parents, being disrespectful.

I recall as a kid getting really angry a lot. I don’t remember why other than it was something to use in order to get people to leave me alone….either my sisters to stop teasing me and something else.

I think it’s important to help kids deal with anger. Given the tools when they are young can hopefully help them as they get older and avoid problems in their later years.

First we need to identify anger issues in kids:
– Trouble calming down
– Isn’t considerate of other people’s feelings
– Consistently needs reminders about controlling temper
– Being aggressive towards others

So what are some ways we can help our kids manage their anger:

1) Monkey See, Monkey do – Take some inventory of yourself. Do you yell too much, get angry more than you need to. are you providing a good example on how to deal with anger? You can’t rightfully teach it if you are not practicing it yourself.

2) Talk about feelings – Emotional intelligence and learning about what the different emotions are is crucial. Teach your child all about the different emotions. I want to be very clear. It is totally acceptable to feel emotion, in fact it is encouraged. We want our kids to feel emotions. We just want them to be able to manage them.

3) Teach Coping Skills
– Twist a towel
– Use a punching bag or pillow
– Create a control spot
– Self-talk
– Use breathing techniques

4) Establish anger rules – Do this when they are not angry…no slamming doors, no physically touching someone else, no throwing things, etc.

5) Minimize talking

6 Life Lessons I Learned As a Father – Dudes To Dads Podcast Ep 162

The problem is that most of that advice doesn’t really help you deal with the serious stuff you face as a new dad.

I am going over 6 very valuable lessons that I learned as a new dad. I’m hoping these help you along your journey.

#1. It’s not all about me – So reality kicks in and you are forced to realize that another human being is dependent on you…..and if you are in relationship, that dependency gets compounded.

The decisions and choices you make, now effect other people. I learned it can actually be enjoyable to focus on helping other people.

#2. Enjoy the present – I remember thinking: I can’t wait until she can talk or it will be so much fun when he and I can play catch. Sure it’s ok to think about the future, but try to live in the moment as it relates to your child.

You don’t realize how fast it goes by until you live through it and have the chance to look back.

Don’t miss the opportunities to be present.

#3. Focus on the positive – You are going to be faced with some seriously rough times. These may be difficult times with the child, your spouse, or even within yourself.

Think about the things your child is doing well. Think about the elements of your relationship that work. and think about the elements within yourself that are positive. Here’s a hint: express gratitude whenever you can.

#4. Nothing is forever – As I just mentioned, you are going to be faced with difficult times. The good news: they don’t last forever. This too shall pass.

Remembering this can help get you through difficult times. It can also help you be more present, as the positive things don’t last forever …

Using the Scale of 1 to 10 in Your Life – Dudes To Dads Podcast Ep 161

I wanted to talk about a technique my mother used to use on so many things. It was a really simple way she would measure things. It could be how bad a cut hurt when I fell off my bike, to judging the taste of a meal at a restaurant.

I’m talking about using the Scale of 1 to 10. What you assign the numbers depends on the context but it became a common way in our family to measure things. It help teach kids measurement and analysis. Here are a few examples:

Your 7 year old gets hit in the back by a ball and starts crying. You can say, from a scale of 1 to 10 with 1 being doesn’t hurt at all and 10 you have to go to the hospital immediately, how bad does it hurt. It then forces them to evaluate the seriousness of a situation.

Here is another example in your own life:

You got invited to an office party that your not sure you want to go to. You can assign a number to it. 1 is a horrible, boring party and 10 is the best time of your life. You can have a measurement for yourself that says when things are under 5, I will choose not to go, unless there is a really good reason.

But it does help you evaluate situations and assign value to them.

This works in business all the time. You see customer surveys or evaluations that include scales like this. Why not include it in our own lives.

Alan, have you ever used a scale like this in your own life?

Of course people have used the scale for evaluating how someone looks. The truth is you can apply this to so many things in your …

Why Love Languages Are So Important – Dudes To Dads Podcast Ep 160

There is a very popular book called “The 5 Love Languages” The author is Dr. Gary Chapman.

The major concept is that there are 5 different love languages and we all have preferences on how we prefer to receive love (and also give love could be different).

So let’s go over what the 5 love languages are:

Words of Affirmation – Use words to affirm other people. In it’s simplicity, your spouse saying “I love you” or when you they tell you how wonderful you are, that really resonates with you. For others, it may not mean much. For example, with me, words don’t mean much. I have to quote “see it to believe it”.

Acts of Service – People of this language love when someone does something for them. This one is really big with my wife. She often makes an omelette and I saw the ingredients out but she was upstairs with the kids. I went ahead and made the omelette for her. I then went upstairs and she said “Oh I need to make my omelette” She walked downstairs and was so surprised. She expressed so much gratitude for me doing that.

Receiving Gifts – There are people who really like presents. They love being showered with gifts and when you give them a gift, they attach a lot of meaning behind it. My wife for example, isn’t really into gifts. So me buying her gifts is not as powerful as acts of service.

Quality Time – For these people, spending time with others is crucial. But the time needs to be good as well. For example, if someone is on their phone while you are talking with them or they are not paying attention to you, this will not work. This is definitely one of my …

Creating Family Rules – Dudes To Dads Podcast Ep 159

As a child goes from a baby to a toddler, they begin to understand rules.
Words like “NO” come into play. When they are toddlers, it’s a great idea to establish family rules that everyone needs to follow. It begin to teach them boundaries.

We created a family rule rule chart and I’ll put a link to it in the show notes so people can download it as an example.

Ours were:
1. Listen to each other
2. Say Please & Thank you
3. Use nice words
4. Always tell the truth
5. Love each other
6. No whining
7. Help around the house
8. Eat good stuff before bad
9. Exercise & Play
10. Be happy

You might choose to get very specific: for example: take your shoes off before coming into the house or no food is allowed outside the kitchen. It has to work for your family.

Here are some general tips for making it work:

Include everyone in the creation – Have a family meeting and discuss what the plan is. Explain the purpose of it and why it’s important.

Ask your child or children what rules they think should be on the list. They will be more inclined to want to follow them if they create it. Write down any decent suggestion.

Keep them simple – If you have young kids, they need to be able to understand it

Narrow down the list – After you have received input from everyone, begin to discuss what are the most important rules. Try to keep it somewhat limited. 10 rules is a good number but you can use whatever works for your family.

Explain that the rules apply to the family, wherever we are and within our house if there are guests. So if a friend is …

How to Identify and Nurture Your Child’s Talents – Dudes To Dads Podcast – Ep 158

We focus so much of our attention on improving what we are not very good at. It seems that it would be much more fruitful for us to focus on what we are good at. Put all of our effort on the areas where we are talented.

So how do you figure this out with your children? Or help them figure it out. Well it turns out there are some ways that you can identify their talents and help with nurturing those talents.

Whether your child is an amazing musician, exceptional athlete, tremendously smart, or they have specific parts of their personality that really shine, there are some things you can do:

1) Keep your dreams out of it – Just because you were a star football player, doesn’t mean your child is going to have the same talent. Also, it seems pretty clear that if someone

2) Watch and learn – Are you sending them to piano lessons every week and they simply are not getting it. Maybe it’s not their thing. You may continually see your daughter drawing pictures. She loves drawing and the pictures are pretty good. Maybe art lessons would be more appropriate than piano lessons.
Again, focus on what they are showing both interest and progress.

3) Let them try numerous things – No need to keep them in baseball in they don’t like it. Allow them to try different hobbies, sports, creative outlets, or different interests. Instead of thinking that they “can’t stick to one thing” think of it as an exploration of finding their talent. or the reality is they may not have talents in those kind of areas. Maybe they are really good in school or really care about animals. Those types of things can be nurtured too.

4) Manage Your Expectations

Pushing Ourselves Out of Our Comfort Zone – How the Day of Madness Changed Me – Dudes To Dads Ep 157

This past weekend on Sunday, I accomplished a personal challenge that I had set a few months ago.  This was both a mental and physical accomplishment.  I had a lot of anxiety building up to the days before this event.

The event was called the “Day of Madness”.  Months ago a friend/neighbor of mine came to me and said “hey, I’m organizing the Day of Madness and I think it would be fun if you did it.  We are going to do a bunch of physical things in one day.

It started out with quite a few people but between schedules, flight delays, and other just simply backing out, there were 4 of us left.

It originated that he wanted to go surfing and snow skiing in the same day.  We live just a few miles from the beach, and about 2.5 hours from the snow.  I said, sure it sounds like fun.

The plan developed further to include running and golf.  So here was the end result:

We headed to the beach at around 5:30am.  We surfed for about 45 minutes, changed and then ran the Encinitas half marathon.  After the marathon, we got cryotherapy at Chiltonic (a great place here locally) and then went golfing.  We golfed for 18 holes at a local course and then hopped on a bus waiting for us and drove 2 1/2 hours to go night skiing.

Why am I sharing this?  I really had self doubt about being able to do this.  I was really pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  

Honestly I had never run more than a mile or two before a few weeks ago when i started training.  I don’t even like to run.   I wasn’t sure my body would hold up to it.  Let alone running after …

Money Saving Tips For New Parents – Dudes To Dads Ep – 156

Having a baby can be pretty scary. What’s even more scary is thinking about how much a new baby is going to cost.

The average American family spends over $12,000 on child related expenses before the baby’s first birthday.

According to the Department of Agriculture, a child costs on average $233,000 by the time they are 17.

That doesn’t include the cost if they go to college or decide to live with you until they are 34 years old.

I’m not a financial planner or certified to give financial advice, but I can tell you some thing that helped our family when we had our first child and some things financially I wish I would have done better.

#1 – Save money before the baby is born – This was one of the things I wish I had done better. While I did get rid of the expensive bachelor toys, I didn’t consciously put money aside for our first child.

This is a good idea to reduce some of the financial stress and burden that can happen once the baby arrives.

#2 – Nurse instead of formula – While you may not have much say in this one, nursing is pretty much free.

It does cost time for mom but formula is expensive. And those little ones down that stuff like crazy.

#3 – Make your own baby food – This was something my wife was really good with.

Use a blender and puree all kinds of foods that your baby can eat. In addition to being healthy, this can save you a lot of money.

You can make tons of food in ice cube trays, freeze it, and then use them as needed.

#4 – Get hand me down clothes and toys – Before i had a child, I …

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 …

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