Dad Blog

How to Listen – 11 Ways to Improve Your Listening Skills – Dudes To Dads Ep 144

Today we are talking about one of the most important skills a person can have: listening. Being a good listener can help you professionally as well as personally. It can improve the relationship with your spouse and help create a good relationship with your children.

However, research suggests that we remember only 25-50 percent of what we hear. So the reality is that most people are not good listeners. As men, I can probably say in general we are not as good listeners as women.

Here are 11 tips:

1. Avoid interruptions – Don’t conversation hijak telling them that you understand prematurely. Allow the person to finish their thought. Slow down

2. Stop Thinking about your response. focus on the other person. It’s not about you.

3. Ask questions – come from a place of curiosity not judgement

4. Clarify their statement – it’s ok to repeat what they say or to confirm what they are saying to ensure you understand

5. Looks at the person directly in their eyes or at least close to them. Face them.

6. Focus on one thing at a time – If the person begins to cover too many topics, feel free to make sure you understand one point before going to the next.

7. Be empathetic – Do not problem solve – Say something like “That must really be difficult. or I’m sorry you are feeling that way. Try to put yourself in their shoes.

8. Look at non-verbal cues – Pay attention to their body language, facial expressions, tone of voice.

9. Be open minded – You don’t have to agree or be right. When someone feels they are being listened to, it becomes really powerful.

10. Repeat their words in your head – If you have trouble, try repeating the …

Are You Overindulging Your Child? Stop Spoiling Them – Dudes To Dads Ep 143

We all want our kids to be happy. Parents often think that by giving their child stuff or having an abundance of freedom, they are making them happy. Unfortunately this is very short lived stimuli. What we need to be doing is teaching them to be capable and to feel good about themselves for who and what they are, not what they have.

So how do we do this? Well let’s identify what overindulging means. In the old days, we called this being spoiled. Of course this is purely my opinion (and I can’t even speak for Alan). I’ll provide you what I think is overindulging. I’m certainly not saying I’m innocent or have never done any of these things:

  • Unlimited screen time (hours and hours of games or television)
  • Doing your kids responsibilities for them (cleaning, dishes, trash, etc.)
  • Buying a 16 year old a brand new expensive car
  • Buying too many toys
  • Having rules but not enforcing them
  • Allowing young children to dress much older
  • Routinely giving money to children or teens so they can spend it/have fun
  • Routinely buying expensive and trendy clothes for them
  • Allowing younger children to watch mature content (language, violence, nudity)
  • Carrying your 4 year old, tying a 6 year old’s shoes, or carrying their backpack if they are in school
  • Children eating excess junk food or candy

So what happens if you overindulge your child? What are the consequences?

  • It can make the children ungrateful
  • They are less able to delay gratification – they need it now!
  • Leads to materialism – putting tremendous value on thing
  • If its junk food/candy – can lead to unhealthy eating habits, obesity
  • Spoiled brat / attitude problems

So how do we avoid overindulging our kids?

  • Create rules and expect your child will follow them. Enforce the

The Importance of Play – Let Your Kids Have Fun – Dudes To Dads Ep 142

Typically my kids come in when it gets dark out. I remember growing up, when the street lights come on, that was the time to go in. The other day, it had been dark for about an hour and my kids were still outside. I went outside to call them in for dinner and witnessed something that was almost too good to interupt. There were 7 to 8 kids laughing and playing a not so serious game of basketball. At that moment, I remembered how much I used to enjoy nights like that growing up. I waited for a break in the play and said, “come inside in about 15 minutes”. They chimed back “ok”.

There is no question that kids of today “play less” than kids in the past. Keep in mind we are talking about “unstructured play”. While sports or games might be considered play, we are speaking about phisycal, non-electronic, and spontaneous play.

What is the reason for the change.? Here are a few explanations for a reduction in play:

There is less space to play – Where I grew up, the homes backed up to large forest. I would imagine a lot of that area has now been developed with homes. There is just less space.

Replacing play with electronics – Gaming, phones, or televisions. Having access to all of these provides entertainment, versus playing. Kids are not going outside if they are playing video games.

Environment is more dangerous – Many parents don’t want their kids roaming around or going far from the house. When we grew up it wasn’t uncommon for us to ride our bikes miles and miles away. The perception is that it was much safer back then.

Much less time to play – Whether kids are involved in other activities or …

Give Your Child More Affection – They Need It and So Do You – Dudes To Dads Ep 141

It’s already proven, there is really no debate….affection is crucial for a child’s well being. The truth is we all want love and affection. Dads often have a harder time providing affection than moms do. Whether it was the fact that their dad was not affectionate, it feels awkward, or you just don’t know.  In episode 141 we discuss affection and it’s importance for both you and your child.

Psychologist Dr. Daniel Singley told us in our interview with him that touch literally changes the neural pathways in the brain.

There is a research firm called Child Trends and they provided some insight on warmth and affection expressed by parents to their children:

Overall it results in life-long positive outcomes for those children. Here are a couple of things they say it improves:

  • Higher self-esteem
  • Improved academic performance
  • Better parent-child communication
  • Fewer psychological and behavior problems

On the other hand, children who do not have affectionate parents tend to have:

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Feel more alienated
  • Are more hostile and aggressive
  • And are more anti-social

Seems like a pretty good argument for providing your child affection. So what can dads do to be more affectionate:

Babies
Give them a massage
Hold them more
Use a baby holder or harness on your body
Tickling
Simple kisses and hugs

As they get older:
Hold hands – Toddlers will allow it but as they get older they may not want to
Sit on the couch watching TV with your arm around them
Hugs and kisses
Sit on lap
Lie in bed reading

Older Kids
Hugs
Kisses if they will still let you
Hand on their shoulder
Sit on lap
Lie in bed

I notice times when I will consciously make more effort to be affectionate, my kids are in turn more affectionate. I think …

Steve Jobs & Bill Gates Limited Their Kids Technology Use – Seems We Should Too – Dudes To Dads Ep 140

You know how I really have a dislike for technology as it relates to kids. According to a Business Insider article, Both Steve Jobs and Bill Gates had very heavy restrictions on their kid’s use of technology and screen time.

Back in 2007, Bill Gates implemented a cap on his daughter’s use when he felt she had an unhealthy attachment to a video game.

Here are a couple of interesting pieces of data from the article:

1) Research has found that an eighth – grader’s risk for depression jumps 27% when he or she frequently uses social media.

2) Kids who use their phones for at least three hours a day are much more likely to be suicidal.

3) The teen suicide rate in the US now eclipses the homicide rate, with smartphones as the driving force.

This article mentions a book by Veteran teachers Joe Clement and Matt Miles called: “Screen Schooled: Two Veteran Teachers Expose How Technology Overuse Is Making Our Kids Dumber”

They show how screen saturation at home and school has created a wide range of cognitive and social deficits in our young people.

They say teachers are often powerless to curb cell phone distractions; zoned-out kids who act helpless and are unfocused, unprepared, and unsocial.

Discuss Gary Vee and how we romanticize the “old way” of doing things.

I think it’s important to look at both sides. Are kids losing in some areas and then gaining in others? Of course, depression and suicide are serious issues. I think we also need to separate social media with the use of technology. Gaming is one area while social media is another.…

11 Things Dads Should Never Apologize For – Don’t Feel Guilty – Dudes To Dads Ep 139

In episode  139 we discuss 11 things that dads should never apologize for.  There are things that happen in the world or at work that you shouldn’t apologize for and then items related to your family.

Not directed at your family (world/work)

1. That you got upset with your kids in public

2. Leaving work a little early for something with your kids

3. A baby that cries in public – every baby cries

4. Missing a friend’s party or event (whether you would rather spend time with your family or you are just so tired), either one is fine

Family-related – Dealing specifically with the kids

5. Sometimes you have to work nights or weekends

6. That you enjoy work (Feeling productive. Right or wrong, men often define themselves by their work

7. You can’t make every sporting event or recital. Be sure to make the important ones

8. That your there for every bedtime

9. Getting annoyed by your children

10. Telling your child no

11. Taking “me time” Need time away…

My Child Is Scared of Everything- Kids Fears Are Real – Dudes to Dads Ep 138

I was talking to a dad the other day and he was mentioning his 5-year-old is scared of EVERYTHING.  He said, “She just seems scared of everything and everybody”.  Now I don’t know if he was exaggerating but it did give me the idea for this episode.

The truth is that 100% of kids have some fear or another.  Nobody has no fears.  Certainly, some kids are more fearful than others.

AnxiousToddlers.com list many of the fears that children face.  We’ll go over some of these up to age 11 but of course, there are still many many fears after that.
https://www.anxioustoddlers.com/worries-by-age/

Age 2-4
All things related to potty training
The Dark
Lightening and thunder
Shadows
Separation from parent (getting lost)
Water, pools, baths
Animals
People in costumes/masks

Ages 5-7
Still many toilet-related issues
The Dark
Monster, Zombies, Ghosts
Separation from parent
Fear of people not liking them
Fear of doctors, dentists, shots
Water & pools
Loud noises

Ages 8-11
Fear of dark
Bad people, being kidnapped
Being home alone
Something bad will happen to parents
Fear of dying or loved ones dying
Disease, illness, aches, and pains
School failure
Taking tests
Having no friends, being teased by peers
Heights
Storms

So what do we do?
1) First, acknowledge the fear and provide empathy.  Talking about it makes it less powerful.

2) Do not ridicule or exacerbate the feelings.  Laughing will make them feel worse.

3) Don’t avoid the fear.  Provide support and care as you approach the fear.  For example,  if they are afraid of the pool, you can hold them and go in slowly.

4) Have them rate the fear from 1 to 10.  It might not be as intense as you thought.  Or it’s more intense than you thought.

5) Teach them relaxation, breathing techniques.  Also positive

Relationship Advice For Dads – Dudes To Dads Ep 137

We focus so much on the parent-child relationship, however, it’s important for us to focus on the relationship we have with our spouse. Here are some relationship advice tips for dads:

1) Listen to her instead of trying to solve problems – We men have a tendency to try and solve problems instead of just listening.

2) Know her love language and do more of it: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, or Physical Touch…and do more of it

3) Say “I love you” more. Send her a text during the day or write her a note. Don’t make it sexual, just be vanilla

4) Remember your anniversary (and her birthday). Plan something of getting her gifts, depending on her love language

5) Don’t complain – Nobody likes to hear complaining. Even if it’s not about her. Refrain from verbalizing it.

6) Give her compliments – While they can be physical, men often compliment when they want something. Compliment her on something non-physical or non-sexual, and expect nothing in return.

7) Plan a weekend getaway without kids – Go away for a weekend. If you can’t afford to go anywhere, have your kids go away for a weekend to a friend’s or relative’s house. Maybe you can do an exchange with another family.

8) If something is bothering you in the relationship, look at what you could do differently in order to get a different response. Maybe it’s not her? Sometimes we have to look at our own behavior and what we might be causing.

9) Don’t be critical – Instead of saying what you don’t like, say what you do like

10) Offer help unsolicited – Don’t ask if she needs help, instead make a statement to help. For example, “I’ll go pick up …

Natural Consequences – Let Your Kids Be Cold, Wet, & Lunchless – Dudes To Dads Ep 136

Today in Episode 136 we are talking about natural consequences. What are they are why are they so effective?

Definition: Natural consequences to children are things that happen as a result of behavior (or lack of it) with no interference by an adult. The cool part is that you get to teach your children important lessons, without being the bad guy.

Here are a couple of examples:

1) If you stand in the rain, you’ll get wet. So when you ask them to put on a raincoat, bring an umbrella, or rain boots, they will get wet and probably be pretty uncomfortable.

2) If you don’t eat, you get hungry – How many times do we tell our kids to make sure they eat before they leave somewhere. If they choose not to and then get hungry, it’s not going to be fun.

3) If you forget your lunch, you are going to be hungry – Parents will often save the day by running back to the school.

4) If you forget your backpack, you will turn in your assignment late – Again, parents will often bring the backpack to school for the child.

5) If you don’t bring a jacket when it’s cold out, you will be cold – You can tell them it is going to be cold but until they experience it, they may not understand. They will begin to believe what you say.

6) If you don’t read the lesson or study for the test, you will get a bad grade. It’s up to them if they want to get good grades. Again, if your child is not concerned about their grade, you are going to have to figure that one out. This is probably your concern and not theirs. But for most, they want to …

How To Help Your Child Make New Friends – Dudes To Dads Ep 135

This episode 135  is about helping your child make new friends.  As they get into school in kindergarten they start creating friendships. A lot of it is related to proximity. Kids in the same class become friends or you become friends with kids in the neighborhood.

It’s really cool to see kids that develop a bond early on.

But sometimes you see that they don’t mesh well. You have to recognize if it could be your kid that is the issue or the other children they are around just may not be a good fit.

For example, if your child is shyer, do they seem to mesh well with another shy child or someone younger?

You need to be pro-active. Nothing is going to happen by doing nothing.

Discuss the qualities that make a good friend – honesty, being kind, having fun. Ask them the type of qualities they value? What kind of people do they want in their life?

Provide Positive reinforcement – “I saw you and Sarah were sharing your dolls back and forth. You were really playing well together.”

Offer them some conversation and/or playing tips: “Allow both people to talk”. “Ask them questions, but also allow them to ask you questions.” Do you usually play what your friend wants to or always tell them what to do?

Schedule Play Dates – Try setting up times to play with different children. Only one at a time though. Try different personalities. You’ll begin to see the who your child seems to get along with. However, this may not always be the desired friend. Just because they are getting along doesn’t mean they are each a good influence on each other.

Keep Expectations in Check – Never force the child to have the playdate but certainly, you can encourage …

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