Category Archives: Fathers

To Dance With My Father Again

This song is so touching and although Luther Vandross originally sang the song, I love the Celine Dion version. I thought in honor of Father's Day, I would share this video with daughters who had a dad that made them feel important and loved.

Although my dad is still alive, he has Alzheimer's and doesn't remember me. I like to remember him as he was not as he is now. This is why it's important to cherish the moments with your loved ones and not take time for granted.

I wish my father shared more about his life and I wish I asked him more questions.  I wsh there was more I can tell my sons about him. I wish he had a legacy to pass on. If there's one advice I would give to dads, it's to open up to your kids. Talk to them and listen to them. Don't be a mystery to them.  Dance and laugh with them. Give them memories that they can share with their own children.

 

 

11 Things I Want My Sons to Know Before They Become Fathers

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I have a funny pin on Pinterest that pretty much sums up my responsibility as a mom of boys.  I think sometimes we get so caught up in raising our sons, that we forget that these boys and young men will one day be husbands and fathers.

We forget that each moment we share with our sons are teachable moments. We forget that we’re not just raising children, we’re leaving a legacy. I want my sons to learn from my accomplishments as well as my failures and challenges. I want them to understand that parenting is not a chore but a responsibility.

1. Love=Action

I want my sons to know that although gifts and words are nice, nothing spells love like spending quality time with your children. Don’t try to buy your children’s love by lavishing them with gifts. Your children are not a burden.  The time you spend making money for your family can never replace the time you spend with your family.

2. Don’t Be an Enigma to Your Children

Take the time to talk to your children about yourself and your life. Don’t keep them guessing who you are. They shouldn’t find out things about you after you’re gone. Let them get to know you. Tell them your story so they can share it with their children.

3. Share What You Know

Your children will learn more from your mistakes than from your success. Give them insight into what you’ve learned. Share your skills, experiences and your talents.

4. Keep Your Children Out of Adult Conflicts

Whatever you do, make sure you don’t put your children in the middle of your conflicts. Even if someone else is doing it, be the bigger person. Don’t force your children to choose sides.

5. Be a Husband and a Father, Not a Baby Daddy

Things happen but I hope that you’ve been paying attention enough to know to protect yourself.  Make sure you know who you’re getting involved with before you make a commitment to a relationship or parenting. Make sure your relationship is healthy and balanced. You want to bring your children into a home filled with love and peace.

6. Change Your Vocabulary From “Me, Mine, My” to “We, Us, and Our”

Once you become a parent, you relinquish your right to be selfish. You can not expect life to go on as normal. You can not expect others to pick up your slack. You have to compromise and make sacrifices.

7. Have Realistic Expectations of Your Children

Your son or daughter doesn’t have to like or enjoy the things you do. Your children are not miniature copies of you. Don’t try to live vicariously through them. Support their dreams.

8. Parenthood is Not About Perfection, But About Trial and Error

You’ll never really get it right. No book, expert advice can help you as much as being active and being involved in the lives of your children.  You’ll make mistakes. Your children will challenge you. You’ll have power struggles and disappointments.

9. Your Children Will Learn More From Watching You Than Listening to You

Practice what you preach, otherwise your children will think you’re a hypocrite. They’ll watch everything you do and how you treat others.

10. Listen More Than You Speak

Your children need you to listen to them and respect their thoughts and opinions. Your children need to know you’re paying attention to them. What your children have to say is just as important as what you have to say.

11. Don’t Let Society Define Your Role as a Father

Society and the media will present to you how you should think or behave as a father. Do what is best for your family.

I do my best each day to walk the walk as a parent. I know that my sons need me to guide them and give them the tools they need to become great fathers.

What do you want your son to know before he becomes a father?

 


Only a Dad- A Father’s Day Poem

Onlyadad
Photo courtesy of Flickr

I love this poem by Edgar Albert Guest. It exemplifies what a loving dad is to his children. The poem talks about a dad who despite facing the challenges of life still comes home to spend time with and enjoy his children. We are reminded that being an involved dad is a full-time job.

Only a Dad

By Edgar Albert Guest

Only a dad, with a tired face,
Coming home from the daily race,
Bringing little of gold or fame,
To show how well he has played the game,
But glad in his heart that his own rejoice
To see him come, and to hear his voice.

Only a dad, with a brood of four,
One of ten million men or more.
Plodding along in the daily strife,
Bearing the whips and the scorns of life,
With never a whimper of pain or hate,
For the sake of those who at home await.

Only a dad, neither rich nor proud,
Merely one of the surging crowd
Toiling, striving from day to day,
Facing whatever may come his way,
Silent, whenever the harsh condemn,
And bearing it all for the love of them.

Only a dad, but he gives his all
To smooth the way for his children small,
Doing, with courage stern and grim,
The deeds that his father did for him.
This is the line that for him I pen,
Only a dad, but the best of men.

Is Your Husband a Sitcom Dad?

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Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC (Flickr)

If you're looking for a great example of a mature, responsible dad, then don't watch sitcoms.  Shows such as Modern Family, Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Cleveland Show and Family Guy depict dads as goofy, irresponsible and unpredictable. The last mature sitcom dad I could think of was Clifford Huxtable on The Cosby Show

Most of the dads on these shows are incompetent, needy and dependent. They are emasculated by their smart, educated and strong wives, who often come to their rescue because of  their irresponsible passive behavior. These men can not be trusted to watch the clock, let alone their kids.

It hit me last night as I was watching The Cleveland Show with my son and realized that no one respects poor Cleveland.  Although we laughed through the show, I couldn't help but think how the portrayal of dads on these shows somehow stereotype the men as dads.  Yes, it's all for fun, but it makes me think how boys view their own manhood.

What message are we sending boys when he is watching a show where a dad can't be trusted to spend time with his own kids without getting into trouble. It bothers me when I se a disengaged father on tv, because to me it sends the message that as long as a dad is physically in the home, he does not need to be emotionally involved with his children.

I know many men offline and on line who do not fit these stereotypes but yet the media continues to reinforce this image of dad as a bumbling fool. The same way the catty, vindictive and often vicious behavior of women on show such as Real Housewives and Bad Girls Club shouldn't be condoned where is the outrage that most dads on tv misrepresent dads in real life. Is it me or is it a double standard?

There has to be a balance between empowering girls and women and encouraging boys and men to be men of honor and integrity.

I know that as a parent it is my responsibility to monitor what my sons watch on tv or the internet, and we do our best to have family discussions about expectations. I'm grateful that my husband, my father and my brother are not like these sitcom dads, but I still worry about how much the media influences boys and distorts the reality of fatherhood.

What are your thoughts on media portrayal of dads?

 

 

5 Ways to Empower Your Teen Son

Empower
Photo Courtesy of Capture Queen (Flickr)

A teen's life is filled with confusion, stress and peer pressure. As parents, we must support their needs and guide them to make the right decisions. According to experts, the frontal lobe of the brain doesn't fully mature until the 20's, which is why teens need their parents help in decision making, judgment, planning or organizing. When parents empower teens, they are confident in their abilities, have respect for themselves and others and have a more positive outlook on life.

Here are five ways you can empower your son:

1. Teach your son to be responsible- Hold him accountable for his actions. Show him how to be mindful of how he interacts with other people.

2. Teach him to respect the opinion and property of others- There will be many things and people that will irritate him on any given day. Show him healthy ways of communicating and expressing his feelings.

3. Teach him to stand for a cause.- Tell him to stand up for what he believes in. Help him to get involved in his community and be of service to others.

4. Teach him to be himself- It may be difficult for him to to be different in a society that encourages teens to be like everyone else. Help him to understand that his views and opinions are important. Let him express himself in healthy and productive ways.

5. Teach him to bounce back from failure- There are setbacks in life. Remind him that there is a lesson to be learned in every situation or event that occurs in his life.

  • What are some ways you are empowering your son to be of service to others?
  • What life skills do you think are important to teach teens?
  • Does your behavior reflect that of an empowered parent?

25 Things a Boy Should Learn From His Father

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The father/son relationship is the least nurtured in the family. Fathers play an important role in their son's  lives and as moms of boys we need to support and encourage these relationships.

  1. How to have self-control
  2. How to value his money
  3. How to manage his time
  4. How to practice safe sex
  5. How to give back to society
  6. How to tie a tie
  7. How to be self-disciplined
  8. How to lose graciously
  9. How to buy a suit
  10. How to change a tire
  11. How to buy a gift for the women in his life
  12. How to choose the right woman
  13. How to do laundry properly
  14. How to engage in a meaningful relationship
  15. How to tip at a restaurant
  16. How to properly shake a hand
  17. How to be accountable for his actions 
  18. How to get out of an unhealthy relationship responsibly
  19. How to travel internationally
  20. How to dress for a job interview
  21. How to negotiate
  22. How to speak up and stand up for justice
  23. How to take care of his family
  24. How to rely on his faith
  25. How to put the seat down

What do you think should be added to the list?

Image: Flickr

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When’s the Best Time to Talk to Your Son?

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"Silent" and "listen" are spelled with the same letters.  Author Unknown

If you ask my son when he tunes me out, he will say "When she talks too long." 

I know that boys and men just like the facts, nothing more. However, I always feel the need to add more value to our conversations with anecdotes, sayings and quotes. Each and every time, my son tells me that I don't have to continue because he gets it.

I'm also learning that you have to pick the right time to talk to your son. Trying to start a conversation when he is engaged in a solo activity is a not productive.  Not only , will he tell you what you want to hear to get rid of you, he will only hear about 50% of what you said.

It's helpful to keep the conversation casual when the two of you are engaged in an activity. Then the conversation doesn't seem forced. It's also imperative that you listen without interrupting or offering unsolicited advice. That's the quickest way to end a conversation.  

I share some of these tips and more on my free online class on March 8:

10 Things Your Son Wants You to Know But Won't Tell You. Sign up now!

 

 

 

Are We Pressuring Boys to Man Up?

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Ignorance  annoys me. I am most annoyed when I see mothers berating their young sons for crying or showing any emotion when they are hurt. You really expect a three year old to "man up" when he is hurt?  I particularly see this in the black community, where there seems to be a fear that having a boy that is sensitive and not aggressive is an indication of his sexuality. Get real!!  I once saw a mother allow her baby to play with a stranger's pit bull to demonstrate his bravery. She kept telling the dog's owner, "He's not afraid. He's a man." Really?

How could you not expect a toddler or young child to cry when he is hurt? This concept of not crying or showing any emotion is contributing to so many boys and young men being stoic and aloof. This misconception that boys should be tough and rugged may lead to their inability to empathize with someone else who is pain. Why are we raising boys to have so much aggression?  There is so much violence within certain communities and it can be attributed to this theory that a real man doesn't show his pain.

The truth is that most boys are more sensitive than girls. They're just not allowed to express their emotions. Boys are easily agitated but suppress this agitation by becoming sulky and moody. Even when experiencing distress,boys will not open up about the problem. 

Let's stop conditioning boys to believe that they have to be  like The Tin Man from Wizard of Oz. The world doesn't need any more emotionally immature men running around. 

What’s Your Parenting Style?

This cool infographic is courtesy of Better Parenting.com!

Parenting Styles Graphic

Parenting Styles Info From BetterParenting.com

How to Get Your Son on the Honor Roll

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Great video on tips on helping your son to make honor roll. Too often, we set unrealistic expectations of our sons and express our disappointment with their academic performance. Dr. Tartt does make one controversial recommendation which is to pay your child for their grades. What are your thoughts are children getting paid for the grades they receive?