Archive for the ‘children’ Category

Entrepreneurial traits

Entrepreneurial traits (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Parenting –  RULES and PARENTING GUIDELINES – we all struggle with these.

I have given some thought recently into my parenting “rules’ and guidelines. My “thoughts” were more of me venting due to frustration with my son’s behavior last weekend. It led to him being grounded for the week and a two part series (discussion) I like to call the infamous, “Coming to Jesus Meeting.”

As for Rules a Guidelines – they are, you know, those things that you do or don’t do. Your pet peeves and the things you choose to enforce and unfortunately let slide. (For the record, I hate picking my battles. It seems too arbitrary and inconsistent.) It seems that almost every parent has a different set of these. I have seen that even within a household the mother and father have different and sometimes competing “rules and guidelines.” That may not be a bad thing. What works for some parents and kids may not work for others. EVERY situation is unique as we are dealing with people here. And God created all of us differently. We all have different backgrounds and circumstances that shaped who we are and our beliefs and ideas.There are things that I’m a stickler about ad things I let slide. Alicia and I are similar in most and different in others. Again, every parent has their ideas for what they think is the best way to do it. I’m by far not perfect and neither our my little angels (tongue-in-cheek).

1. “Do as I say, not as I do.” I’m a firm believer in this. I’m the parent/father/husband. I have executive privilege. I pay the bills and until you have your own house, it’s my rules – my way. I can stub my toe and say “shit” you cannot. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is. I can talk over you when you are being disrespectful or I need to make sure you shut up and hear me. As a parent, it is my responsibility to make sure you are taken care of. What I say more than likely is more important than yours. What you say is important, too, so let me say my thing, you acknowledge, then say what you need to say. In summary: there’s a pecking order: parents then kids. CLEAR line in the sand.

2. When I say something you comply. Not in a minute. Not when you finish whatever you are doing. Not “hold on.” And do not say something smart. If you don’t like what I said or asked you to do, say whatever you want UNDER YOUR BREATH. I better not hear it. You can roll your eyes, grit your teeth, or whatever you want. Just do not let some disrespectful word fly from your mouth that I can hear.

3. Empty threats. I hate empty threats. Part 1: Don’t say “do —– now” and then start counting. If your kids are over age 6 ( kindergarten) you do’t need to count. Do it right now. Ok, I’ll count. ONE! That’s all you get. Part 2: If you do —–, you are going to get —–. Final warning. 10 minutes later “final warning” an hour later “final warning.” Part 3: when we get home, (you go straight to bed, you’re getting a spanking, I’m taking —— privilege) and then you don’t do it. As I said, last weekend one of my son drove me nuts. He wouldn’t listen and did something really really stupid. He had one warning on that Friday. All week, he had no TV, no video games, no DVD player, no games on his phone had to clean house, empty all trash all week, and clean a bathroom. We watched TV during dinner one night ( a rare occasion) to watch something and he had to eat by himself in the dining room. I’m sorry but too bad. You acted like a jack ass, you get no privileges.

4. Your kid has tons of privileges- phones, video games, nice clothes/shoes, electronics, etc and treats you like shit. Are you kidding me. The little ungrateful f***ker needs to be in their room with nothing. No privileges. Early bed and some chores added. How dare you bust your ass at work to provide for their needs AND extras and have to deal with that. Your kids should thank you every day. They should have chores and responsibilities, too. No free rides and most importantly they should be respectful.

5. Structure: I am a firm believer (now I am) in structure. Structure everything. A small example – on the weekends kids can stay up later but in general still have a bed time. They need their rest and most parents, if you are like me, need some down time, too. At some point, the house needs to be in chill mode.

6. I break this one. There is no need to scream and act like a fool. A kid says or does something stupid. Go back to your plan of enforcing whatever it is you had in mind and keep cool. Wish I could keep this.

7. Be affectionate. Hug your kids as tell them you love them an are proud of them. Even when you are fussing. On good days and bad days. I find that I do this at bedtime after prayers are said. It’s one on or private time an I know I have their attention. (Hint here: PRAYER TIME)

8. Censorship: it’s hard to e everywhere your child goes especially as they get older, but I feel censorship should be employed whenever possible. I cringe at some of the things they have seen or heard on YouTube and even on regular tv. We didn’t have that stuff growing up. And we weren’t allowed to see and hear that stuff. I live in fear what they will hear on tv, at school or on the radio, internet, etc.

9. Quitting/ crappy participation: If you sign your kid up for a sport, chorus, theater, scouts, etc. They need to participate. They need to attend all meetings and practices and games. And if they don’t like it, they need to at least finish the season/term. We dont miss practice or rehearsals because little Johnny or Suzy doesn’t feel like going. Same for parents. No shit. You had a long day and are tired, too. The activity isn’t about you. Teach the the kid it’s important to stick with it and take them anyway. When you signed them up, did you think a unicorn was going to handle the transportation?  Don’t teach them to be a quitter or slack ass.

10. Guard them against your lifestyle: Hey you might be divorced, single, or a sob cheater. Whatever I’m not going to judge. Just please spare the kids from your flavor or the month. They don’t need to be exposed to whomever you think will be the most awesome step-parent ever. Chances are it won’t work anyway- as statistically blended families separate- and you are in a fantasy world of happily ever after. Summary: guard the kids against your flame of the month. Your kids should meet the person once some time has past and it obvious that a long term deal is imminent.

11.  Don’t be an idiot and do things like smoke in your car/house with your kids. Don’t be friends with your kids on Facebook and post things they shouldn’t see. Don’t use your kids as leverage. And chances are if they screwed up in school it was more likely than not their fault. Not the teachers or Johnny B Bad from down the street. Chances are he didn’t put a gun to your kids head and forcibly coerce your kid into participating. Try teaching your kid to be a leader an not a follower. See also the Book of Jeremiah in the Bible. Don’t blame the teacher for your kid’s bad grade or the crappy school system.

12. Be involved and push education. Know what they are learning. Talk to them about it. Study with them. Make sure homework is done. Check, double check, triple check. Pop in once in while and ask the teacher how things are going with little Johnny. Hell an email would even suffice. Stay with your finger to the pulse. Kids get one shot at education and in many ways it is the only opportunity to have a better life than their current one and most certainly their best opportunity for successful independence.

13. Idle hands are the devils work shop. My grandmother an great-grandmother used to say this all the time. I hated it then but am a firm believer now. So so true. I have noticed when the kids are busier with school, sports, church, etc they are much more respectful, they fight less, and get more rest. Almost ever time I hear “we’re bored” trouble is soon to follow. Part 2: A lot of kids these days don’t help out with things like yard work and chores. We had no choice growing up. We were not allowed to play until the grass was cut, limbs picked up, etc. Mama would take us to the beach at Edisto ONLY AFTER our buckets of tomatoes were picked. The longer it took (we stood around whining) the less time we had at the beach. As a kid you quickly learn to reason with yourself to bust ass and get it done so that you can do what you want to do.

It is time we all get off our lazy asses as parents and do our jobs. We run this show. My .02. 🙂

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toys

Anyone ever pause and watch your kids play? I do quite often. I have actually pretended to be playing working on my laptop or iPhone so that they would not know I was watching and listening. The more fascinating kid conversations I have heard are when Jeremy and Ronald are playing Leggos. Apparently, if you switch a head and arms on a guy he becomes a pirate-zombie-police officer-soldier with a very large assault weapon. I always listen to see if there is an logic behind this transformation and what this new super-Leggo man is capable of doing.

As an adult I think we males do something very similar. Like putting so and so’s face on so ans so’s body to create super sexy woman. Sorry, I got distracted and that’s not the point. It is neat to listen and think about what is going on in their little heads.

Those guys love Leggos and the Leggos of today aren’t what we had. Today they have moving parts, glow-in-the-dark, and the themes of the sets are all over the map. Also funny is when they get a set of Leggos for birthday or Christmas and Alicia spends hours putting the set together. I tried the first time to tell her to let the kids do it and that it was part of the experience, but she wasn’t having that. Deep down, who doesn’t like playing with them?

My favorite toys when I was their age was not Leggos. I was completely enthralled with GI Joe action figures and He-Man. My favorite Joe was Tunnel Rat. He had the huge backpack. I also like the Bridge layer. My favorite He-Man was He-Man himself, except I had the one where the shield on the front dented twice before being resent. It showed his wounds in battle. I also had Castle Greyskull. Since my birthday was so close to Christmas, I had to ask my grandmother for it, as compensation for both occasions. It was well worth it. I loved that thing and all was great until I took it outside. I mean, you cant have a castle without a moat. So i dug a moat and filled it with water. later when it was time to come in, my mom wouldn’t allow this muddle castle back in. So, I left it outside. It seemed as if my room was empty that night.

Life lesson I learned here was that I just tell the kids to wash their toys  off and dry them, but that they can bring them back in the house because the experience of having to leave mine outside sucked.

“Now you know. And knowing is half the battle – GI JOE!”

toy3

toy2

skeleton

Census figures show only 57 percent of moms required to pay child support (385,000 women out of a total of 674,000) actually give up some or all of the money they owe. That leaves some 289,000 “deadbeat” mothers out there, a fact that has barely been reported in the media. Conversely, 70 percent of dads required to pay, ACTUALLY pay. Why then is “deadbeat dad” such a popular term? Since the census bureau began looking into this subject, “miscreant mothers” became the term to describe the the female side of this coin. Why not use deadbeat mom? It’s not even funny. You can “google” images for dead beat moms and you still get deadbeat dad clips, cards and photos such as this one:

card

A new statistic recently released shows that only 7 percent of custodial mothers (she has custody) works an average of 44 hours per week earning an income to support the children. On the other hand, 25 percent Custodial fathers work 44 hours per week. Why do custodial fathers choose to work more when they should receive support form the non-custodial parent? While a large portion of the mothers receiving support still maintained employment, a good portion stayed at home and worked from home or had no employment at all and instead accepted government assistance to subsidize the child support. No instance was discovered where a father receiving child support and did not have gainful employment.

In general society’s view is that every man is a potential deadbeat dad and that there is no such thing as a miscreant mom. She is a fiction, obviously created by chauvinist pigs to demonize and vilify women and shift the blame from themselves. The stats don’t lie. Mom’s ordered to pay, refuse to do so at a much larger percentage than Dads. (Moms 57% pay it – Dads 70% pay it)

Now enforcement or lack thereof:

The percentage of women who are not prosecuted is alarming. I have heard of instances where the child support in arrears was nearly $30,000 and it was enforced by not allowing a mother to gain a passport to go to Mexico with a friend. Another where her driver’s license was suspended for $19,000 in arrears. REALLY? WHAT THE HELL? In our state, if a man is behind a month, he gets picked up by a local  deputy sheriff and gets to stay at the county bed and breakfast until he faces a Family Court Judge and the glares of his child’s mother. I know of a specific instance where a gentleman was called up and cussed out and threatened with court and jail because the check wasn’t received on the due date. That date happened to be a federal holiday and the mail obviously did run that day. Note: The check was received the following day when the mail was delivered.

I know I am fortunate enough to make a good income. I am very thankful for that. However, does that mean my children’s mother should have a free pass on providing support? Hell, she makes more than me. One payment in 13 months hardly shows any kind of willingness to “help with the kids.” I get it, the amount owed each month may seem like a lot of money to some, not enough to others, but any parent who is genuinely concerned with the well being of their children contributes SOMETHING. Well unless you consider the text messages in the middle of the night PROMISING you’ll go by the back the next day and send the money because you were so tied up at work, SOMETHING.  I’ll take that text message to the grocery store and see if I can get some grapes and bananas with it. I guess when you’re out at restaurants in South Beach when you finally call them every three nights at 9:00pm means your life is full.

Leaving everyone with this:

child sacrifices

Don’t be a selfish person.

I have 4 children; 2 are biological (ages 8 and 9) and 2 are step-children (ages 11 and 13). You could almost group them into pairs, but the most obvious pair wouldn’t work. During the course 9.875 years of being a parent I have had the luxury , unfortuante opportunity to be a single parent. HOLY CRAP. As I looked through the recently pressed page, I saw hundreds of single moms. Not one single dad. I’m not sure if there are any or that they choose to write about other things. I skimmed a few blogs as I was brainstorming for this one. I also didn’t have to look very far to see my very own case study. My Alicia has been a single mom even when married as many ladies noted (“It felt that way because Mr. X was never around or participated.”) She was a single mom between her first marriage and me, and often was a single mom with me. I used to travel A LOT out of the country, sometimes for a month or two. We also had our bumps in the road and she felt like she was alone in the parenting gig as did I. (Look, it ain’t easy adding 3 and 3 and expecting 1.)

Rarely did I ever hear My Alicia complain. I often think of this other lady when I think of My Alicia: superwoman

SAUCY and TOUGH. Sorry, dear. thats the only image I googled, promise ;-). My Alicia is superwoman in every way possible :-0

Until she started blogging – her “new therapy” I really only had a small clue as to what she thought and felt. Now I have a better understanding of her internal challenges. And, as I said, I read some others on here to gain their perspective. i see a lot of these type folks – we can do it, a lot of angry folks and a lot of sad ones who sound like the moving van just pulled out of the driveway loaded down with all their hopes and dreams as they sit on the steps and wave goodbye while sobbing.

I wanted to add my take on it since I have been on the “other team.” I was a single dad while married to my first wife (“C”). We had two infants and she was in med school full time. She was basically out of the house 6 days a week for 16 hours and 1 day a week for 12 hours. I was cool with it at the time ans I loved being a parent and having control over the kids. (control freak alert). Maybe I latched on to them because the kids reciprocated my love and I was not getting it else where. I have no idea and thought of that before typing this. Three years later came the divorce and I was “single” officially. Alicia and I married 2 years later.

Back to the main topic: Let me share the “advantages” about single parenting (and those tailored to Moms):

1. “C” and I are completely opposite when it comes to parenting. I’m the drill sergeant she is the “friend.” She fought my style tooth and nail ever since we separated in 2007 up until she moved out-of-state last summer. (Oddly enough, I have been told by here twice in the past year that the kids are doing great and I have done a great job). Obviously, I have them full time now and since moving away, she doesn’t interfere any longer – AWESOME! If the two “parents” aren’t on the same page, it will only cause repeated problems. If you re-marry, you better pick someone close to your ideals. (no one is going to be exactly like you and you (me) ain’t the perfect parent, either) Less hassle from ex = more peace

2. If you are a woman (sure as hell don’t offer these for single dads), you get “free” things such as Mom’s Morning Out, Free Oil Changes, Free House or Lawn Maintenance, and Quite often you hear “She’s a Single Parent” which usually tows a feeling of sympathy. Also, you get child support. If if that “lazy, no-good asshole” doesn’t pay, the Courts send out the deputies to pick his ass up and drag him to Court to face the wrath of the Judge and the angry stares from his ex. free babysitting, house care, lawn care, car care, and overzealous judges who have jail power who have your back.

3. You are acknowledged. Do you know how many times I have been at a PTA meeting, awards day, field trip, sporting event, or church event and while standing their with the kids, the speaker begins the message with “Alright, MOMS….” Respect

4. Children acceptance. I bet if there was a study performed, you’d find that it is easier for a woman to find a man who will love and care for her preexisting children than it is for a guy to find the same. If you don’t find someone who will genuinely love your children – good luck to you. Easier for women to transition.

5. Single Moms have “bro” help. Quite often you have friends that will come chill with you at home or go places with kids and almost always a girl will help with something. Not dudes! I can see calling up a bro now: “Hey man, wanna come hang ouy? I have some laundry to do and then we can hang out.” (Dail tone) “Hello? Hello? Dude?” social interactions

Do you know what “benefits” single Dads get? JACK SHIT! If there is 1 slip up with the kids, its because they need their mother. Certainly not a pat-on-the-back-he’s-a-single-parent. No one offered to come clean my house, or give me a break to go fishing, or service my car or lawn, and don’t get me started on child support in arrears. Nope, single dads are expected to do everything a single mom does, AND the husband/daddy chores, too. And as I said one slip up and its because they are with the Dad as if Father’s have no business having full custody.

Well, some of us do deserve it. And stop patting guys on the back for “doing the right thing” which usually entails paying child support on time and picking up the kids when they are supposed to. Single parent or not, dad or mom, it doesn’t matter. YOU are a parent. Its your damn job anyway. You signed up for it when you consented to sex. Deal with it. And no parents (mostly Dads) its not babysitting when your wife goes out for a few hours. You don’t babysit you own damn kids.