Homework — Is It Your Child’s or Yours?

parent doing child's homework

parent doing child's homeworkDear Mr. Dad: I’m an involved dad and I often help my kids with their homework. Sometimes, in the interests of speeding things along, I give them the answers. Over the past year, both kids (11 and 9) are coming to me more and more often, asking for help even when I know they don’t need it. I tell them to figure it out, they whine, and eventually I give in to the pressure. How can I get them to start doing their work by themselves?

A: It’s great that you’re an involved dad—and it’s great that you’re taking an active role in your kids’ education. But by doing their homework for them (let’s be honest—that’s exactly what happening), you’re undermining their ability to learn good study habits. What’s far worse is that you’re sending them the very clear message that you don’t think they’re smart enough to do their own work. From what you say, they’re starting to believe you, and that’s tragic.

So the question you asked: How can you get the kids to start doing their work by themselves—is the wrong one. The real issue is: How (and when) are you going to stop caving when they ask for help that you acknowledge they don’t really need?

The answer is pretty simple: You need to stop cold turkey and you need to do it now.
[Read more…]

3 Lessons From March Madness to Teach Our Kids

march madness 2015

march madness 2015March Madness. The biggest basketball event of the year and a sporting spectacle that rivals even the Super Bowl. The NCAA Tournament is the ultimate single elimination, win-or-go-home clash of 68 teams, and at the office it keeps most of us more focused on filling out brackets and sneaking game highlights than working.

On the surface, it’s all “just basketball,” but college athletics can demonstrate some pretty big life lessons to our kids. Every season produces great stories and the NCAA Tournament is no exception. In fact, it’s where the best ones are made. Our children would do well to learn these life lessons:

Kevin Ware: The Value of Perseverance

The 2012-2013 Louisville Cardinals were looking hot in the NCAA Tournament, and many brackets had them in the Final Four and beyond. Louisville guard Kevin Ware was one of the first players off the bench and producing impressive numbers in March Madness. That is, until it all came to a terrifying halt in an Elite Eight matchup versus Duke.

[Read more…]

My Baby Doesn’t Like Me

Dear Mr. Dad: My two-month-old baby doesn’t like me. He’s perfectly content with my wife, but when I try to hold him, he gets upset and cries. I’ve backed off a little, thinking that he just needs a little time to get used to me, but that doesn’t seem to be working. I’m starting to think I’m just not a very good dad. Is it too late for me to build a relationship with my baby?

A: There’s not much in this world that can make a grown up man feel more incompetent than a baby can. The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to get past those feelings—and no, it’s not too late. Not even close.

Before we get into the what-to-do part, we need to do something about the way you’re thinking. First, get the idea that your baby doesn’t like you or that he thinks you’re a bad father out of your head. Do you really believe that someone who’s a few months old is qualified to make a judgment about your parenting skills? What other dads could he possibly be comparing you to?
[Read more…]

Giving Kids Roots and Wings

Kenneth Ginsburg, author of Building Resilience in Children and Teens.
Topic:
Giving kids roots and wings
Issues: The effects of stress and how to foster resilience; grit: the character trait that drives performance; building competence and confidence; the importance of connection, character, and contribution; coping with difficulties and taking care of oneself; increasing kids’ sense of control and independence.

When Mom and Dad are the Problem + Labeled Kids + Surviving Deployment

[amazon asin=1937134180&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest: 1: Vicki Hoefle, author of Duct Tape Parenting.
Topic: A less-is-more approach to raising respectful, responsible, resilient kids.
Issues: Why helicopter mothers and fathers are bad for kids; why it’s important for moms and dads to sit on their hands and stay on the sidelines so that children can step up, solve their own problems, and develop life-long confidence.


[amazon asin=030739543X&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 2: Barbara Probst, author of When the Labels Don’t Fit/
Topic: A new approach to raising a challenging child.
Issues: Discovering your child’s essential nature and temperament; respecting your child’s inner world; changing the way you think, talk, and respond; knowing when and how to help; taking care of yourself.


[amazon asin=0965748375&template=thumbnail1&chan=default]Guest 3: Karen Pavlicin, author of Life After Deployment.
Topic: How military families prepare for, cope with, and survive deployment.
Issues: Types of deployment; emotional and psychological stages of deployment; ways to keep in touch across time and distance; the effects of deployment on the soldier, spouse, and children; keeping reasonable expectations when coming home.

Increasing Competence

I’m a new father. I haven’t had much experience with infants and I want to be involved in my child’s care, but every time I try to pick her up, she cries. How can I feel more competent and help soothe my child so she’s more comfortable when I take care of her?

Few things can make a man feel less like a man than feeling like an incompetent parent. And nothing can make a man feel more incompetent than a baby. Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to overcome these feelings.

First of all, let’s start with what NOT to do: Do not hand your daughter off to your wife. She may be able to get her to stop crying a little quicker than you do, but the truth is that whatever your wife knows about children, she learned by doing–just like anything else. And the way you’re going to get better is by doing things, too. Research shows that lack of opportunity may be one of the biggest obstacles to fathers’ feeling more comfortable with their children. In other words, the more time you spend with your child, the more competent you’ll feel as a parent.
[Read more…]