Discipline comes from the Latin word “discipulus” meaning “to teach; to guide.” Punishment means to “penalize” for doing something wrong. Sometimes, these get mixed up with each other, resulting in a less than ideal outcome for our children. Therefore, it’s vital us parents know the following eight things about disciplining our children.
1. Know Your Discipline Style
- The Dictator. This Dad is always strict and never nurtures. His children know what he doesn’t want them to do, but rarely what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “My way or the highway.”
- The King. This Dad is strict and nurtures when needed. His children know what he doesn’t want them to do, as well as what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “Let me show you the way.”
- The Joker. This Dad is never strict and rarely nurtures. He jokes a lot and makes fun of his children. His children don’t know what he doesn’t want them to do or what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “Let’s just have fun.”
- The Follower. This Dad is sometimes strict and sometimes nurtures. He lets Mom take the lead on discipline and backs her up when needed. His children know some of things he doesn’t want them to do and some of the things he does want them to do. This Dad says, “Do whatever Mom says.”
- The Dreamer. This Dad is never strict and never nurtures. He lets Mom take the lead on discipline and doesn’t get involved with it. His children don’t know what he wants them to do or what he wants them to do. This Dad says, “Whatever. Just leave me alone.”
When considering which discipline style you most associate with, ask yourself, “Is this the best style for my children/my family/my involvement?” And consider something more middle of the road.
2. Know the Family Rules
Clear communication is vital for understanding right and wrong in your house. You will need to establish clear boundaries for your home. We have written about Creating Family Rules in the past. Check them out and consider adding rules in your home today.
3. Know Your Reward Options
Many Dads believe discipline means “to control” rather than “to teach or to guide.” As a result, they use fear when they punish. It’s vital you know your child and what he/she considers a reward when it comes to discipline.
Some examples of rewards include:
- Praise: Tell your child how much you like their correct behavior and that they’re a good person for doing it.
- Encouraging Touch: Give your child a hug, pat on the back, or high five. It's never too early to teach your child the fistbump.
- Freedoms: Give your child a new freedom she or he can do one time or all of the time, such as stay up or out later, read an extra story at bedtime, have a bowl of ice cream, or money for doing an extra chore.
- Gifts: Give your child a toy, stickers or some extra cash.
4. Know Your Punishment Options
When the time for punishment happens, it’s vital dads know they have options. Some examples include:
- Say You’re Disappointed: Tell your children you expect more of them, and you expect them to behave the right way.
- Pay it Back: Tell your child to make up for bad behavior, such as paying for breaking something, doing the behavior they were supposed to do in the first place, or saying they’re sorry to someone they hurt.
- Take a break: Tell your child to sit in a corner, on the couch, or go to their room for a short period of time. This works best with children under the age of 10.
- Grounding: Don’t let your child leave the house for some period of time. Grounding works best with teens.
- Take Away a Freedom: Remove a freedom for a period of time or forever.
Make sure the punishment fits the crime. Don’t take away a freedom, for example, when a child does something minor and telling them that you expect more of them the next time will do the trick.
5. Know Difference Between Discipline and Punishment
Many Dads define discipline as punishment. In other words, they don’t see punishment as a way to discipline in certain situations. They see punishment and discipline as the same thing. Discipline means to teach or guide. Punishment means to “penalize” for doing something wrong.
6. Know Difference Between the Action and the Actor
Always focus on the “Action” not the “Actor.” Talk about what your child did. It’s okay, for example, to say that your child did something “bad” as long as you don’t say your child is “bad” for doing it. Keep the focus on the action.
Here are ideas for age-specific discipline:
For Dads of Infants and Toddlers:
- Discipline as a way to protect: At this age, guidance and discipline are about protecting your little one from hurting themselves. Say “no” firmly, but not harshly, when your child does something dangerous and move him or her away from the object or area immediately.
- Consistency is important: Be consistent with enforcing the boundaries you set in your home – inconsistency will confuse your child and give him the “ok” to push the limits if he thinks he can get away with it.
For Dads of School-Aged Children:
- Discipline as a way to nurture: When your child does something inappropriate, talk with him or gently about why the behavior was wrong – explain how it hurt other people, or is rude.
- Take a break if you’re frustrated: Never discipline out of anger. Do your best to always discipline calmly.
- Make the discipline fit the child: Different children will respond to discipline differently. One of your children might learn better through being deprived of a privilege (such as watching TV or a favorite toy); another child might respond more to being sent to his or her room or having to do extra chores.
For Dads of Teenagers:
- Discipline as a way to guide: At this point, your teen is becoming an adult and wants to be treated as such. You still need to be your teen’s parent, not best friend, and that means setting rules to help your teen make good decisions and firmly enforcing consequences when those rules are violated.
- Let them make mistakes: While your teen still needs to honor your family’s rules, giving your teen the freedom to make their own choices can be a valuable learning experience. Always make sure your words and actions communicate to your teen that you will always love them even if they make mistakes.
7. Know the “Why” of Discipline
Always explain why your child is being disciplined. Discipline is meant to guide your child and to teach a lesson. It’s essential you explain to your child why they have to sit in their room or give up TV. It’s the lesson you teach them through the discipline that is most important.
8. Know How to End with Love
No matter what, never end with the discipline; always end with love. Hug your child and let him/her know you are disciplining out of love.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received about disciplining your child?
On this Friday, unlike any other time in history, the wide world of sports and the world of fathers comes together!
Dove®Men+Care® and Dad 2.0 Summit are partnering for "The Play-By-Play on Fatherhood with Doug Flutie" and we couldn't be more excited to be a part of an event that will advance the public dialogue on responsible fatherhood.
As Dad 2.0 writes on a recent blog post:
"For football fans, you know Doug Flutie from the Hail Mary pass that beat Miami on national TV in 1984. You know about his subsequent 20-year career in the NFL, CFL, and USFL, despite the prevailing wisdom that he was too short to make it as a pro quarterback. You know about Flutie Flakes. What you may not know, however, is that Doug’s son was diagnosed with autism at 3 years old, and since 2000 the Doug Flutie Jr. Foundation has raised more than $13 million to help improve the quality of life for people and families affected by autism. Doug is also part of Dove®Men+Care®’s latest “Journey to Comfort” campaign, which touches on fatherhood as never before. He’s amassed a lot of specific insights about how fatherhood changed his life, as it changes every man’s. And on October 26, he’s going to sit down with us and talk about them."
National Fatherhood Initiative has been invited to “The Play-By-Play on Fatherhood,” along with several dads who will explore, promote and champion fatherhood.
Join National Fatherhood Initiative and many other dads for the live-streamed broadcast on the Dove®Men+Care®Facebook page on Friday, October 26, at 10am Eastern. During the live-stream connect with the host and attendees by commenting on Facebook and tweeting to @DoveMenCare, @dad2summit and of course @TheFatherFactor!
Dads are often the last to know when our child is the victim of bullying. Children often do not share with their parents that they are being bullied due to shame and embarrassment. Use these 10 tips to protect your kids from bullies and help resolve school conflicts.
1) Know the Warning Signs: Understand that bullying can occur in physical, non-verbal, or online (cyber bullying) forms. If another child teases your child consistently, this represents a form of verbal bullying. Watch closely, anything from a lack of desire to attend school to sudden falling grades are possible signs your child might be experiencing a bullying problem.
2) Talk to Your Child: Be intentional about how you spend time talking with your child. Spend regular time making it clear that your child can talk to you about anything, especially tough situations at school. If your child knows you are interested in the small, daily things; he or she will be more comfortable to tell you the bigger things.
3) Teach Your Values: How you talk with your child daily will shape how your son/daughter values him- or herself. It’s never too early to talk to your child about your values. Your child needs to know right from wrong in how they treat people. If you teach your child well, they will recognize bad behavior when they see it; whether it’s to them or others. Teach your child that the standard is treating all people with respect.
4) Get the facts. Get as much information as you can from your child if they tell you – or you suspect – a bullying situation. Consider your child's behavior, conflict-management skills, and temperament. Remember to support your child even as you do additional research on the situation. Ask detailed questions about the incident(s): Who was involved? What exactly happened? Who else might have seen the situation? Dad, do not act before thinking at this point. Do not instruct your child to fight back.
5) Stay Calm:
Upon hearing that your son or daughter may be encountering a bully, you will probably want to pounce on said bully. Remember, a bully is seeking to create fear and control. All experts agree that the most important thing to do is stay calm. A bully is seeking reaction. Do not give it. How you personally react to the news will shape your child’s reaction.
6) Teach Your Child to Stand: Confronting a bully may be your child’s only option, but they should not seek to harm someone physically or verbally. Teach your child to stand up for him or herself, and that it is okay to speak up when spoken to in a degrading way. Of course, there is a delicate balance between instigating a fight and being a wet blanket. The earlier your child learns this, the better.
7) Talk to the Teacher: It is vital that your child learn how to handle his or her own social situations. It’s simply and a part of maturing. But, teach your child that if the bullying turns to threats of violence or emotional harm, it’s time to tell the teacher.
Dad, do not try and straighten the behavior of another child on your own. Contact your child’s school and learn about the school policy and how to access available resources. Often teachers have the best grasp on the relationships between children in the classroom. Stay professional in your interactions with school staff, and be sure to emphasize you want to work with them to find a solution. Teachers, principals, and guidance counselors are available to help.
8) Involve the Parents/Guardian: Unless the bully is over 18, which would be dealt with on a completely different manner (and different blog post), the bully will typically have parents. In most cases, the bully’s parents/guardian will not know that their child is the class bully, so it is generally a good strategy to get them involved. Keep in mind they will probably be defensive at first, so be careful not to lose your cool and make matters worse.
9) Involve their Friends: There is definitely strength in numbers. Whether at recess, lunch or between classes, have your child plan to walk with friends. Often, bullies will not single you out when you are surrounded by supportive friends. On the flip side, your child may think they are among friends, but if those “friends” are also chiming into the bully’s behavior, help your child understand that those aren’t the type of friends he/she may want to keep. This may be a good time to encourage your child seek out new classmates as friends.
10) Prevent the Cycle. Help your child understand the situation by talking with them about why the bully acts the way he does. Empathize with your child but also constructively involve him or her in solving the problem. From kindergarten to high school, it is valuable that your child seeks supportive friends. Teaching your child appropriate social skills that build self-esteem will make them less likely targets. It's impossible to protect your child from any and all situations, but by being active and intentional, you can help your child navigate some situations.
For instance, practice scenarios while on the playground, during sibling conflicts, or even with situations you read in books and see on television. Make it a point to discuss with your child about exactly what happened in a book or movie and what the best response is in these situations. Whether the character does the wrong or right thing, the opportunity to discuss the event and use it as a teachable moment is there – seize it.
Finally, it is important for you to explain to your child that sometimes all that is necessary is avoidance. Bullies may give up if they don’t get attention. Above all, be sure you take the issue seriously and listen to your child. A child knowing that dad is supportive can give a child confidence. Sometimes, confidence makes all the difference.
What's the best advice you've heard for dealing with bullying?
photo credit: woodleywonderworks
National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) has been awarded a contract from the New Jersey Department of Children and Families (NJDCF) to strengthen the state’s services to fathers.
Through the provision of training and technical assistance on its flagship 24/7 Dad® program, NFI will help the state’s 175 NJDCF-funded agencies deliver standardized, high-quality services to fathers across the state. This 18-month process will give NJDCF the ability to more effectively measure the impact of fatherhood programming on pro-fathering skills, attitudes, and knowledge in New Jersey.
Each of NJDCF’s 175 service providers will send two to three staff to a two-day, NFI-run Fatherhood Program Camp. At these camps, the staff will be led through NFI’s Father Friendly Check-Up™ workshop to measure the degree to which their current services are catered towards meeting the needs of fathers.
Then they will be trained on how to deliver NFI’s 24/7 Dad® program, which will help them educate and inspire the fathers they serve with practical skills and encouragement on their importance to their families. They will also be trained on how to integrate NFI’s Understanding Domestic Violence™ workshop into the 24/7 Dad® program.
The end goal of this training program will be to create in the service providers an organizational culture that supports the effective delivery of fatherhood programming, to equip them with a research-based fatherhood skill-building program in the form of 24/7 Dad®, and to give the providers the means to effectively address the issue of domestic violence. Ultimately, this program will allow NJDCF to increase the well-being of children throughout New Jersey.
Christopher A. Brown, executive vice president of NFI said, “We are excited to partner with the state of New Jersey on this innovative program to help the state’s family service providers more effectively engage New Jersey’s fathers. Every child deserves to have a 24/7 dad, and NFI stands ready to help New Jersey reach that honorable goal.”
NFI will provide NJDCF with evaluation tools to measure the impact of this program. For example, 24/7 Dad® includes a pre- and post-survey that facilitators can use to measure the impact of the program on pro-fathering self-efficacy, attitudes, and knowledge, and ultimately allow NJDCF to conduct a statewide evaluation on the program’s impact.
Additionally, NFI will provide reports to NJDCF and each of its providers that show the pre- and post-assessment results of the Father Friendly Check-Up™ to determine whether or not the agencies have become measurably more father friendly over the course of the first year of the program.
National Fatherhood Initiative has a long history of providing comprehensive training and technical assistance on a statewide and national level. NFI has run statewide initiatives on behalf of Texas, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Virginia, and has been involved in consulting with and operating portions of city & county initiatives in Milwaukee, WI and New York City. In 2006, under an open competition, NFI was awarded the administration of the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse.
Under this federal contract, NFI provided and coordinated training and technical assistance for all of the approximately 100 fatherhood grantees of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Also in 2006, NFI was awarded a grant to run the National Responsible Fatherhood Capacity-Building Initiative with support from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services / Administration for Children and Families / Office of Family Assistance.
If you or someone you know is interested in learning more about the New Jersey program, or would like to engage NFI on a similar county- or state-wide fatherhood initiative, please contact Erik Vecere, NFI VP of Project Design & Consulting at firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit our For Organizations page for more information related to NFI's programming.
Odds are good you didn’t wake up this morning and say to yourself, “You know, I should communicate with my kids better…or more…” No, that has never happened - EVER. Something must change in how we view communication. We understand the importance of communication, but we need something to help us remember that how we do it daily is of utmost importance.
I say we stop calling “communication” by its name. Let’s call it “racing.” Yes, as a NASCAR fan, I’m saying let’s reframe our ideas about what communication is and change the very term “communication” to “racing.” There are three rules the best racecar drivers follow, and they apply very well to communicating with your children. And if you don’t know much about racing – that’s okay. You will now!
Here are the rules:
1) Know your racetrack.
How you race depends greatly on the track. Professional racecar drivers know there are four types of racetracks, and they treat each track differently - mainly because each track requires exact and strategic expertise. Likewise dads, the age or “track” your child is on will change the words you use to communicate. Consider applying the four different racetracks to the age/stage of your child as follows:
Short tracks = Infants and young kids
Intermediate tracks = School-aged children
Superspeedways = Teenagers
Road Courses = College-aged children and beyond
Dads, we must become track experts in relating to the stage of our children, so learning to speak effectively and correctly to your child is important on a daily basis. For instance, the younger the child, the shorter and simpler the sentence should be. Instead of asking your three year old, "Why did you do that?" which wouldn’t even be easy if you were 35 years old; try saying, "Let's talk about what you did." Consider saying to your child, “Pick up your shoes, please.” Instead of, “will you please pick up your shoes?” The difference from question to directive is the difference from clear to unclear communication... er, uh, racing.
Also, as children get older, try asking them to repeat whatever your wanting them to do back to you. For instance, you may be angry your teen isn’t doing what you want, but it may simply be that your message or ask is unclear. In general, if your child can’t repeat your directive back to you, change the way you present the directive to meet them on their “track.”
2) Practice, practice, practice. And then practice more.
When a NASCAR driver isn’t on the track, he is practicing. A driver’s life is about way more than that short moment on the racetrack. And all of his time leading up to the moment on the track is spent in preparation. When is the right time to practice? Early and often. Just like most professional drivers raced cars when they were young, you too must be intentional about talking and spending time with your child early and often.
It’s never too early to start talking and listening to your children. Spend time with them and be purposeful in what you do during your moments together. We have ideas of things to do in a recent post called 7 Ways To Connect With Your Kids from eating a meal together, reading books together, dad-kid Dates, and game nights. The point is to look for opportunities to practice. Seize every moment to practice. For young kids, read to your child. Even if your child is too young to talk, trust us, what you do as a father early on builds the relationship.
3) You must make adjustments.
If Nascar drivers know anything beyond the track and practicing; they understand the importance of making adjustments. Adjustments are crucial in racing. Likewise, you as a dad will learn by trial and error. It’s good to understand you can learn both when you’re away from your child and during the moments you are with them. Great drivers know the importance of making adjustments, from “Research and Development” to “The Pit Box.”
Research and development for Nascar is the science behind the actual racing. If you toured a NASCAR research facility, you wouldn’t see the driver and the car together. Likewise dad, you will need to study your child, even when you aren’t in the same room as your child. When you aren’t with your child, whether at work or on travel, or simply talking to other parents, consider this time to learn more about connecting with your child.
During a race, drivers know the importance of making adjustments in the pit box. All the practice and time has lead to the moment with the car on the track. Now, there is still time to make last-minute adjustments. Consider this, in that moment when you don’t think you’re connecting; get down on their level. Make eye contact and be intentional about showing your child that he or she has your full attention.
Basically, dads are racecar drivers. How you race depends on your knowledge and skill of the track, the amount of time you practice, and the amount of effort you use to make adjustments. Remember, “communication” is old language. Let’s go racin’, boys!
Amiyrah Martin is like most parents; she’s super busy. A self-professed “double booker,” she admits to giving a verbal RSVP to one party, then checking her busy schedule to see that her family is already expected at another place. In her blog 4 Hats and Frugal, she tells the honest parenting truth and confesses, “I've even double booked at the Pediatrician.”
Being a parent of one child is busy enough. Add more children to the mix and the busy-ness grows by leaps and bounds. So how do parents manage everything and still have time for tracking a child’s development and growth? The simple answer is: we need all the help we can get!
Amiyrah writes, “It’s easier than ever before to use technology for aligning busy family schedules, from calendars on a computer to apps on a phone, but there’s not a lot of tech-savvy ways to keep up with your child’s growth.” She also points out that while doctors may do a great job of informing and preparing parents during the visit to the office, it’s not always easy to stay informed between doctor visits. She says, “Usually I've just written down upcoming milestones as a note in my phone, or on a piece of paper, always wondering if there was an online tool I could use.”
Thankfully, her online tool is here now! NFI’s Countdown to Growing Up allows you to track your child’s growth and save your questions as a PDF for your next doctor’s visit and to review on your mobile device or computer. You can also print your child’s chart if you like!
Take it from one busy mom: “Let's face it: even though we live busy lives, education about our children's health is top priority. It's essential to their development as a little person and our development as great parents.” Amiyrah continues, “Countdown to Growing Up provides a place where we can document milestones, track growth compared with the "average" child, while giving ideas to help development and suggesting questions we can ask the Doc next time we visit. And yes, it's information you can save, and print!”
You can read Amiyrah’s full blog about Countdown to Growing Up at the link below. Don’t forget to take the short survey and give us your opinion of the tool. As Amiyrah says in her post, “And don't be shy: use the heck out of this tool. I plan on doing the same.”
How to do track your child’s growth and development between doctor’s visits?
Amiyrah is a Wife, Mother, Airman in the US Air Force and all around Frugal maven. Learn more about Amiyrah at her site 4 Hats and Frugal.
Roland C. Warren, who has served as president of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) since 2001, will be leaving the organization to pursue a personal passion, but will join the board to continue guiding our important mission. NFI’s board of directors has created an executive search committee that is engaged in the search process to find the next president.
While the board conducts the executive search process, the chairman of NFI, Carlos Alcazar, will be interim CEO with the support of executive vice president Christopher Brown. Roland has done an excellent job of building a superb senior management team in Christopher Brown, Paul Byus, Erik Vecere, Vincent DiCaro, and Melissa Steward, who will continue to manage NFI on a day-to-day basis.
During Roland’s time at NFI, the organization has become the nation’s #1 provider of fatherhood resources in the nation and the most quoted authority on fatherhood in the national media and on Capitol Hill. NFI has turned into an organization that not only inspires the culture about the importance of fathers, but also provides dads and organizations with high-quality skill-building materials to move people from “inspiration to implementation.” In the coming months, NFI will be releasing new tip cards, pocket guides, and Spanish translations of various resources for dads, and even some new resources for moms. There are also exciting partnerships with corporations and entertainment media companies that will advance the public dialogue on responsible fatherhood.
Roland said, “NFI's story is my story and its mission remains my mission. That's why I am so pleased to continue to be involved on NFI's board, and I look forward to continuing to support NFI's compelling and urgent mission to ensure that all children have involved, responsible and committed fathers who will connect with them heart to heart.”
“Both the staff of NFI and the board are eternally grateful for the inspirational leadership that Roland has provided NFI during his nearly 11 years of service”, said board chairman and interim CEO, Carlos Alcazar. “And at this pivotal moment, I’m very inspired about the release of our best work ever in the coming months, as well as the partnerships with organizations and media companies that will amplify our mission and impact,“ added Alcazar.
Roland departs NFI to become the leader of another non-profit organization whose mission he cares about deeply. We wish Roland all the best in his new role.
We are excited about NFI’s future, and we look forward to the new season we are entering under new leadership. In the meantime, we are delighted to continue providing you with the same level of inspiration, resources, and services around fatherhood. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact NFI’s Vice President of Development and Communication, Vincent DiCaro at 301-948-0599 or email@example.com
If you would like to share your appreciation of Roland for his 11+ years of service at NFI, send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please continue to check in with us at our website, www.fatherhood.org
, for the latest news and announcements from NFI.
There is a crisis happening across the globe. This crisis is daily. It is embarrassing and is happening in public settings and within America’s shores. From the Atlantic to the Pacific, in grocery stores and shopping malls, this crisis can happen at any time of day. But be comforted America, for there is hope. We can change the course of our nation, but there are seven steps we must take in order to decrease the sheer magnitude of this daily crisis. The crisis is children under five-years-old turning into “werewolves” (see below for Freudian reference).
In this post, my hope is to help readers tame your child’s inner werewolf and help your child function more like Michael J. Fox, the man, and not the werewolf version of him (see Teen Wolf) in private or public.
Some readers may be asking, “Ryan, what is a tantrum?” To which you can stop reading because you are: 1) Not now nor have ever been a parent or 2) Should be writing this post instead of me and nothing you read will amaze you or be worth your time. If you don’t fit in one of these two categories, please continue reading.
When your child reaches the majestic age of two or three (or four or five), your beautiful child will turn into a werewolf at certain moments.
The textbook term for what I’m calling a “werewolf” is “temper tantrum.” If you've ever been blessed to live in Tennessee like myself, it's called a “hissy fit.” Say “hissy fit” out loud. Awesome, right?! Anyway, a tantrum is an emotional outburst, and is characterized by stubbornness, crying, screaming, yelling, shrieking, angry ranting, and often violence. The exact qualities of a werewolf, right? Sadly, this idea of children turning into werewolves isn’t original to me.
In conducting research for this post, I was reminded by wikipedia (where else?!) that Sigmund Freud considered the Wolf Man in his research of tantrums, saying a subject became "discontented, irritable and violent, took offence on every possible occasion, and then flew into a rage and screamed like a savage.” This sounds true, therefore it must be true. I totally agree with Freud, if, in fact, Freud ever said this.
Given this national tantrum crisis; there are seven things to consider when guarding against tantrums. They are as follows:
- Consider Your Source: If your child is five years of age or younger, remember that she is learning everything from using vocabulary to controlling emotions and understanding bodily functions. If nothing else, having this mindset will help you be more calm and understanding.
- Consider the Night Before: Did your child sleep well last night? If not, tantrums are more likely to occur. Make sure your child gets ample rest so he is not tired during the day. Being tired can lead to frustration causing him to act out in many ways.
- Consider Your Child's Diet: Did your child just eat a sugar-filled snack? If the answer is yes, head to the nearest outside park! Have you seen the Snickers “You’re not you when you’re hungry” campaign? Exactly. (“Party" is my favorite.) When your child is hungry, he or she will act differently; like a werewolf even. Moreover, when fueled with sugar, they will act like a large monkey in a small barrel; or a hungry Joe Pesci (see aforementioned "Party" video).
- Consider Getting Outside: Kids need to be up, out and active. They enjoy being outside and running around. If your child is not getting outside at least 60 minutes per day for active play; you may be asking for tantrums.
- Consider Your Child's Vocabulary. Nothing frustrates a child more than not being able to say exactly what he or she is feeling or wanting. Talk to your child. Speak slowly when necessary, but always use careful and considerate words. As he grows, he will gain confidence and have skills necessary to say aloud what he wants or thinks.
- Consider 'Taking a Break': Actually say the words, “Take a break!” to your child. Say this in a pleasant manner and allow your child to “take a break” when you notice she is getting overly sensitive frustrated. Taking a break for your child may mean picking out a book and sitting alone in the bedroom for a few minutes until they calm down. The point is to not have them think they are in trouble or being punished simply because they are mad or frustrated. You as the parent or caregiver will know the difference between direct disobedience versus frustration or boredom. Sometimes, children simply need to be separated from their current environment.
- Consider Giving Choices: Sometimes, a simple "this or that" choice is the key to keeping tantrums under control. The point here is to allow your child to have options but with boundaries. This way, your child gets what is best and he also gets a sense of freedom in making decisions.
What tips would you give for managing your child’s tantrums?
photo credit: timlav
We call him the “24/7 Dad.” We believe that every child needs one. What we are talking about is an involved, responsible and committed father. We are talking about a dad who knows his role in the family. He understands he is a model for his sons on how to be a good man. Likewise, if he has daughters, he models what they should look for in a husband and father for their children.
In our fathering handbooks and training, there are five questions we think every responsible father should answer. As you read, ask yourself these questions. These five questions come with a guarantee: if you answer each one honestly and take action, you will become a 24/7 Dad!
The questions we ask dads fit into five categories and are as follows:
1. Self-Awareness. The 24/7 Dad is aware of himself as a man and aware of how important he is to his family. He knows his moods, feelings and emotions; capabilities, strengths, and challenges. He is responsible for his behavior and knows his growth depends on how well he knows and accepts himself.
Don’t run by this first category without some self-reflection. Be honest with yourself as a man and father. Do you know what part of the day you are likely to be most tired and annoyed? Be discerning about how you treat your children during these times.
The 24/7 Dad also knows his ability to be with his children is affected by the choices he makes. With your vocabulary, replace “I’m too busy for XYZ” with the words “I didn’t make XYZ my priority.” Hear the difference?
So, the 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I know myself?
2. Caring for Self. The 24/7 Dad takes care of himself. He gets annual physicals, eats right, exercises, and learns about the world he lives in. He has a strong connection to his family and community, and chooses friends who support his healthy choices. The 24/7 Dad models for his children that he respects and likes himself because he makes good choices. When’s the last time you were at the doctor? If your answer to this question is “I go to the doctor every decade whether I need to or not!” you may want to consider modeling a different standard to your son or daughter.
So, the 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I care for myself?
3. Fathering Skills. The 24/7 Dad knows his role in the family. He knows he should be involved in the daily life of his children. Consider this: Who dresses and feeds your kids? Who attends parent-teacher conferences? Who supports their sports and other interests/activities? Who helps with homework and tucks them in at night? Of course the daily schedules of work factor into this equation; however, if your answer to all of these questions (and more) on a daily basis is “mom,” we have a problem. The 24/7 Dad uses his knowledge of the unique skills he and his wife/the mother of his children brings to raising his children. In other words, he knows the difference between “fathering” and “mothering.” Said a different way, if you weren’t in the family, would anyone notice based on the daily household tasks?
So, the 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I “Father”?
4. Parenting Skills. The 24/7 Dad nurtures his children. Yes, nurturing is for men to do as well. He knows how his parenting skills help to develop their physical, emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, and creative needs. His children trust and feel safe with him because he cares about and nurtures them through the use of proven parenting skills. The 24/7 Dad uses discipline to teach and guide his children, not to threaten or harm them. This is big; don’t miss this point. If and when you discipline, how are you doing it? Are you seen as the executioner of the house who comes down from time to time with his golden rules? Discipline is best done with the idea of instructing a child in the way he or she should go. This isn’t done in anger or simply because you have had a long day and are annoyed in the moment.
So, the 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I “Parent”?
5. Relationship Skills. The 24/7 Dad builds and maintains healthy relationships with his children, wife/mother of his children, other family members, friends, and community. He knows and values how relationships shape his children and their lives. The 24/7 Dad knows how the relationship with his wife/mother of his children affects his children and creates a good relationship with her for the sake of his children. He always looks to improve the skills he uses to communicate with others.
So, the 24/7 Dad asks himself: How well do I relate?
Dad, what questions would you add to this list?
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This post was excerpted and adapted from NFI's 24/7 Dad resource. Read the original post in our For Fathers section.
The following is a post from Christopher A. Brown, Executive Vice President of National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI). If you would like to blog for us, email here.
As we hurtle into yet another post-season for baseball that, once again, involves the love ‘em or hate ‘em New York Yankees, I reflect on America’s pastime and the toll it can take on the players and managers who are fathers.
Unfortunately, we live in a society that loves a juicy story about fallen athletes. It can be hard to find an uplifting story about athletes who rise above the stresses and temptations of their sport, including those that affect the ability of athletes to be involved, responsible, committed fathers.
But look no further than Joe Girardi who, by all accounts, has been a fantastic father and husband during a playing and managing career that spans some 25 years. What has accounted for Joe’s success at home and on the field? A loving father and mother who were committed to their children and each other.
According to Gay Talese in “The Crisis Manager,” an article that appears in a recent edition of The New Yorker magazine, Joe grew up near Chicago, the son and grandson of bricklayers. He learned about competitiveness and self-discipline from his father. He learned about perseverance from his mother who battled cancer during Joe’s teenage and early adult years, only to eventually succumb to it when Joe was in college. Each of these qualities are essential to managerial success in a sport that has baseball’s ups and downs.
What struck me most in reading this article is what Joe said to Talese as they drove to visit Joe’s father, Gerald, who, now stricken with Alzheimer’s, lives in a nursing home. “My dad was always there for me…He’s the one who played catch with me, he was the one who took me to Cubs games where I could see my favorite players, like Ron Santo and José Cardenal, in action.”
The time that fathers spend with their children is so precious, and so valuable. Something for all of us dads to bear in mind as we, too, fight the temptations and stresses that our careers and lives place before and upon us.
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As a parent, the questions about your child never end. There was probably a time when you thought that once your child was delivered, they'd end. But unfortunately, you were wrong. In fact, the questions only begin once Baby Boy or Baby Girl arrives. And as your child grows, so do the questions you have about their development. From day one, parents begin to wonder how their son or daughter compares to other children.
Enter the doctor's office.
As a parent, you will have to take your child to the doctor, and guess what your child's doctor will do? That's right, he or she will ask you questions about the growth of your child. At the end of the visit, he or she will typically provide you with a chart comparing your child to every other child in the United States. Sounds daunting? It is. But there is something you can do.
Enter Countdown to Growing Up. Writing on his blog, Dr. Choi, a pediatrician and father in San Fransico opens up about what he sees daily from well-meaning parents at his practice. He reveals, aside from the fearful child asking him, "Are you going to give me a shot?, the second most common question he receives is from parents asking, “Is my kid normal?”
In Dr. Choi's recent post, Is My Kid Normal?, he writes openly about how a typical patient visit goes, starting with his questions to the parent about what the child can and cannot do. Often, Choi says, when a dad brings in the child, he receives blank stares in response to questions like: “How many words can your child use in a sentence?" or “Can she follow two-step commands?” These visits, Choi says, usually end with dad calling the child's mother.
But Dr. Choi isn't all gloom and doom with dads. He makes it clear that dads play a critical role in a child’s development and health, pointing to new research studies showing just how important dads are to the health of their children.
In fact, Dr. Choi recommends NFI's Countdown to Growing Up tool to help the busy dad or mom get a sense for whether or not their child is “normal." Choi tells his readers to get online, add your child’s name, gender, and click on the age group. Then, out pops a questionnaire on child development.
When it comes to child development, tracking your child's growth physcially and socially is important, and although your child may not be progressing at the exact same pace as your friend's kids, its important that they are progressing. And isn't it cool that dads (and moms) can play a role in helping their children grow by engaging them in activities to spur them along?
After reviewing the new tool, Choi says: "It is a great way to stop and evaluate how your child is developing and start thinking about how you can help. Print it out and bring it with you to your child’s next doctor’s appointment. Now you are fully prepared for your child’s visit and can confidently answer whether or not your child is “normal”. You won’t even have to call their mother."
Dr. Choi is a board certified pediatrician based in the San Francisco Bay Area and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Pediatrics. He serves on the Board of Directors for the National Physicians Alliance and is a national leader of the American Academy of Pediatrics. In addition to his role as physican and family man, he writes at The Huffington Post and on his blog. He lives in San Francisco with his wife and two children.
Countdown to Growing Up helps dads (and moms!) know about what to expect and not to expect in terms of child growth over the months and years. You can use the tool to make notes and save or print your child's chart to take with you to your next doctor's visit. Be sure to click on the Complete Survey button and give us your feedback.
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photo credit: foshydog
National Fatherhood Initiative annouces the release of an updated version of InsideOut Dad®, the nation’s only evidence-based program designed specifically for incarcerated fathers.
NFI’s team of fatherhood experts incorporated practitioner feedback and evaluation data from around the country to refresh the program, which is already standardized programming in 24 states and New York City.
InsideOut Dad® Second Edition is designed to reduce recidivism rates by reconnecting incarcerated fathers to their families, providing the motivation inmate fathers need to get out and stay out.
For example, a three-year study by the Indiana Department of Corrections found that fatherhood programs such as InsideOut Dad® were linked to prisoner return rates of less than 20%, compared to a national rate of nearly 38%.
These reductions in recidivism can lead to enormous cost savings for taxpayers and the criminal justice system. Nationally, the annual cost of incarceration per inmate is between $25,000 and $40,000. The cost to take an incarcerated father through the InsideOut Dad® program could be as little as $40.
Used by both inmates and ex-offenders, InsideOut Dad® has been proven, through an extensive evaluation by Rutgers University, to improve inmate knowledge and attitudes. Hundreds of state and federal facilities, pre-release programs, community organizations, and more are using this life-changing reentry program. Facilities such as Angola State Prison in Louisiana, the Rikers Island complex in New York, and U.S. Penitentiary Leavenworth in Kansas are among the notable facilities that have run the program for inmate fathers.
Through practical, engaging material delivered in 12 core sessions and 4 optional sessions, InsideOut Dad® increases inmates' self-worth and gives them valuable relationship skills. It covers topics such as Being a Man, Co-Parenting and Communication, Men’s Health, and Children’s Growth and Discipline.
National Fatherhood Initiative started working with incarcerated fathers in 1999, leading to the release of the first edition of InsideOut Dad® in 2004. Through its use in over 400 correctional facilities over the years, NFI’s fatherhood experts gathered user feedback to create the second edition, a more content-rich, user-friendly, and engaging curriculum for fathers, which now includes video and other activities to maximize its impact.
More information on InsideOut Dad® Second Edition can be found at fathersource.org.
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