Mom’s Notes on MP3

Bookstore at Parenting Made PracticalThat’s right folks, my good friends Joey and Carla Link have finally released all of their Mom’s Notes on MP3. They are doing this as part of the big launch of their brand new online store over at Parenting Made Practical. The image shown here is a preview of the new storefront. They have graciously offered an additional 10% off all items for DaddyLife.net readers by using the discount code DaddyLife at checkout. This discount code is valid on everything you purchase during the month of June including sale items.

The Links are offering very competitive prices  on their products and free shipping on orders over $50. Of course the Mom’s Notes are a one of a kind resource and a must have addition to the library of any Growing Kids God’s Way alumni parent…that includes you too Dads!!!

Remember. The discount code at checkout is:

DaddyLife

The Root is at Home

Mom instructing her childrenI am convinced that the root solution to many of the problems we face in our nation, in our communities, and in our churches is found at home. God has put on my heart a renewed passion for encouraging families and particularly dads. I have taken a break from this site, the podcast, and other places where I blog for several months. I have had time to reflect and seek God’s guidance regarding my efforts online and offline. I am certain that I need to get back to this site and the podcast to continue to encourage, equip, and challenge dads to rise above mediocrity in marriage and parenting. It is critically important that men understand their God-given responsibility as parents to stand up and take care of their families in a way that glorifies God.

Our country continues to suffer from the lack of engagement of fathers in the lives of their children. This will only become more prominent as we Christians gain ground on the abortion front. As clinics close and more women embrace choices to raise the children that they have conceived, we have a higher possibility for more single parent homes and fatherless children.  I want to help answer the need to encourage and equip men to face their responsibilities and be there for the mothers of their children as well as the children themselves.

Another area where dads can step up is to position their family to be a single income family so that moms can stay home with the children. God has not called parents to subcontractor the training of their children. God desires for parents to instruct their own children. He specifically instructs parents to train their children in both the Old and New Testaments of the Bible. If it is the Lord’s will that our children be trained by us as the parents, and it is His will as clearly described in the Bible, then He will provide a way. That does not mean we sit back and wait on an audible message or letter to come from God before we begin preparing ourselves for this counter-cultural way of raising the children that we have been blessed with. This site in partnership with the Home School Support Network will provide opportunities for families to better navigate the challenges we face in raising our kids to know, love, and trust the Lord.

GFI National Family Conference 2013

GFI National Parenting Conference with Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo.

The 2013 Growing Families International (GFI) Conference in is full swing. The conference is bigger and better than ever with approximately 600 in attendance. Folks have traveled from as far as Australia, Germany, Brazil, and Singapore. Gary and Anne Marie Ezzo have brought together families from around the world to create what one speaker has described as a big family reunion. We have worshiped, learned, dined, and played together. Tonight we will gather in the USS Yorktown for a catered dinner and a private tour time aboard one of Charleston’s most famous historical landmarks.

 

Patriots Point, USS Yorktown, 4th of July

Copyright: http://www.patriotspoint.org

Raising Girls

Girls
by Valerie Plowman

There is a lot of debate out there about differences between males and females. Are there differences? If so, are they caused by nature or nurture? There is a large camp that believe that any differences displayed by the two genders is simply a result of the way parents and society treat the children from birth. There are also, however, studies that show that girls and boys learn differently–their brains are used differently.

I happen to be one who believes boys and girls are inherently different. Are there effects of nurture on each gender? Sure. I definitely believe nurture can impact a personality, as I think most parents who follow the Babywise philosophy believe. We wouldn’t put the time and effort we do into parenting if we thought nurture was of little consequence. I also believe that nature has a big impact on who we are. I believe the Lord created male and female; I believe we are different and different for a reason.

Growing up, I always related to males more than females. Why? I am not sure. I have no brothers. I just, by nature, and more “chill.” My oldest is a boy. I then lost a baby boy, solidifying by belief that I would be a mom to all boys. Maybe one girl would come my way. And yet here I sit, as my oldest is about to turn 8, with one boy and three girls :). My next door neighbor has six boys and one girl, so we often talk about and observe the differences between boys and girls. I think you notice the differences a lot more when you observe them in your children. It is interesting to see their difference in their nature when the nurturing aspect is essentially the same.

There is something so sweet about girls. With this post, I don’t intend to speak negatively of one gender or pit them against each other. There are great virtues to be found in each unique quality. My intention is simply to point out the what has struck me as the starkest contrasts between the two genders. So what are the differences? Here are the top five things that have surprised me about a girl–the things to be prepared for if you are about to have a girl. Now, not every girl will be all of these ways, and some will display these characteristics to higher degrees than others. They are generally true, however.

1. Girls Are Talkative

This is a huge stereotype, right? Girls talk a lot. This is one of my favorite things about girls, personally, because I love to talk and as a mom, I love to know what is going on when I am not around my child.

One day, my then two year old Kaitlyn came inside and told me about the time she had just spent playing outside with the neighbor boy. She went on and on and ended with, “Max at a bug!” I sat, really, in shock. I think she had just filled my ears with more information about her one afternoon than my then four year old son had given me in all of his afternoons combined!

I called my neighbor up and told her all of the news I just received. “Can you believe all that she told me?” My neighbor, remember the one with 6 boys, was also surprised. We were used to boys and their general lack of sharing. I must add, though, that one of Brayden’s best friend is the son of one of my best friends and he actually freely shares quite a bit of information, so there are boys who will be talkative, and there are girls who are not talkative. Remember, this is in general and there are always exceptions.

Girls talk, and girls talk freely. So long as you don’t do anything to stop her from talking, she will freely share detail after detail about her day.

Compare this to my son who manages to create a one word answer even to my college-trained open ended questions. Why is he this way? Why is my daughter so talkative? My answer is nature. It is innate. It is a stereotype for a reason. I have read psychology books on boys and why they don’t talk, and the popular road to take is that boys are suppressed from expressing themselves, so they learn to not talk…I promise you I have done no such thing. Can we get boys to talk? Yes! We can do tricky little things we have read about, studied, and practiced over the years. Girls, however, are just bursting to share their information with you. No tricks required.

A tip for the talkative girl: remember girls tend to like full attention when you talk to them. While boys (and men) can feel uncomfortable with you sitting and looking at them straight on while they talk to you, girls prefer this when they are talking (unless it is an intimidating topic–then doing something like washing dishes while talking can be a good idea).

2. Girls Sit Still

I have two extreme girls in the movement department. One has always been, even from the womb, a very still child. She was so still I worried if she was okay in there. Another has always been, even from the womb, a mover and a shaker. They both are this way to this day.

But they both can and do sit still. It is not a challenge for them to sit and color, sit and listen, or just sit in my lap. For this reason, girls are often, really, just easier in a lot of situations. Church with a toddler girl is so much easier than with a toddler boy! Anyone who was or is an elementary teacher can tell you how much boys need to move around and expend that energy.

McKenna, my four year old, is in a playgroup with eight children. Seven of them are girls. These girls, ages 3-4, can easily sit for the 1.5 hours of playgroup and do crafts, coloring pages, listen to stories, etc. The boy actually does quite well for a boy, but is always anxious to move on to the next thing–especially playtime!

Can boys be taught to sit still? Yes! As parents who follow Babywise, we have many tools at our disposal for teaching about self-control and sitting still. But if you take my incredibly obedient first-born son and compare how easy it is for him to sit still to my rambunctious four year old girl who loves to “test the waters,” she still has an easier time of it, even with her disposition to be a mover and a shaker.

A tip for the still girl: A downside to the sitting girl can be getting her to get up and do things. Most young children are so active this is rarely a problem, but some girls will need to be required to go play outside or they will spend each day just sitting and drawing. While sitting still is great, exercise is also important.

3. Girls Stay Close By

Girls tend to want to stay close to you. My girls love to be in the same room as I do when I am doing something–even if we aren’t necessarily interacting, they just want proximity to me. My son is more apt to run off and do his own thing. I have noticed when I get together with moms at the park or at the church that the girls will often spend some time just sitting next to mom or on mom’s lap, while the boys will usually run off and play the entire time.

A tip for the close girl: allow for time each day when you do things together in the same room–even if you are doing different things. Being close will help her feel close to you emotionally.

4. Girls Play Quietly

Girls play very differently from boys. Boys tend to be very physically active while girls will sit still (go back to number two). Boys get more silly when playing. Girls can get silly. My girls get very silly…if their brother is home. They jump on his “train” and follow his silly lead. If he is not home, they play rather quietly and rather calmly. I would argue this is more personality than gender related except that the same is true for my four year old who loves to laugh and loves to move. Her natural disposition is far more in this way than my son’s, yet he is still the sillier one who moves more.

Boys quickly escalate and really just get crazy without physical movement (this is why I think recess is so important for boys in school). Even Brayden’s second grade teacher commented to me the other day how much the boys just need recess. She said, “It isn’t great weather, but I need to get them out there. If they don’t have recess, they just get…” she paused. I finished for her, “Crazy?” “YES!”

Girls will sit and play ponies, dolls, barbies, puzzles…boys like to pretend play some elaborate battle scene or run around with balls. Yes, girls can enjoy those things. Yes, boys can sit still and play (especially with a toy like Legos). In general, you will notice girls are more content to sit and play and boys are more inclined to be moving when playing.

You will also notice they way they play is different. Girls play in a much more nurturing way than boys. When I was pregnant with my oldest daughter, I got out some of my old dolls to put in her nursery. I gave one to my then 18 month old son. He looked at it, then threw it to the ground. Picked it up and threw it again. I was a bit surprised and worried about bringing a baby home! He was fine with a real baby :). But his play with the baby doll was rough. I compare that to my 8 current month old girl, who is gentle and nurturing with dolls even at this young age.

A tip for the quiet girl: Enjoy it! Seriously.

5. Girls Are Emotional

This is really the biggest difference for me because it is the hardest thing for me to work with. Girls are emotional. Books I have read on the psychology of boys argue that this is because we have trained boys to not show their emotions. While I do think it is true that boys are often raised to keep emotions hidden, I do think girls are by nature just more emotional. I think if you were to train the emotions out of someone, they would have to first display them. Brayden just has never had an emotional break down like my girls have.

To be fair, he is extremely logical. My second child (oldest girl) is not logical and her emotions can really get away from her. My third child is very logical and can often easily recover from emotional moments, but she still has times when she just cries for no reason. And we women know all about that! Sometimes we just cry and we don’t really know why. Girls can just be emotional and it can be hard to know what to do when she suddenly breaks down for no apparent reason.

A tip for the emotional girl: Listen to her concerns. Hold her. Let her “get it out.” Repeat what she tells you about why she is upset; this will help her know she is understood and will allow her to clarify if you are not understanding what she means.

Conclusion

The differences between boys and girls can be quite striking. Some differences make one easier than the other at different moments. What one parent finds easier, another will find harder. Some introvert parents might feel suffocated by the constant presence of the girl, while the extrovert parent might typically love that. Some parents might love the endless energy of boys, while others will find it draining.

No matter the natural tendencies and the qualities, we can nurture certain things in our children. We can teach our children how to appropriately express emotions. We can teach a boy to sit still and encourage a girl to play on her own. We can also accept and embrace these natural differences. I believe they are innate in our nature and help us to be who we were intended to be. So let us as parents nurture these natural qualities and draw out the virtue of each while we attempt to quiet the vice side of each.

Valerie is a wife and a mother to four (ages 7, 5, 4, and 8 months). She blogs at www.babywisemom.com.

Baby Ozz v0.5G

Pink BootiesDo you know what the “G” stands for in the title? Maybe the pink booties will give a clue. YES!!! Osborne Baby #5 is a GIRL!!!

I am not sure what came over us last week, but we decided to open the mystery envelope. It had been exactly one week since Sherry’s ultrasound. All the kids were in bed except for Riley. We got to talking about whether we would like to know if our new little one was a girl or a boy. While I was wavering on the side of waiting to be surprised at birth, I was not hard to be convinced to open the envelope. Sherry and Riley both wanted to know. We simply did not have good self control and I tore open the envelope. We were genuinely surprised, and as you can see from the picture, Sherry is really enjoying shopping for pink at the Summerville Flowertown Festival. Sherry went out to the festival on Saturday and was able to share the news with her best friend Adrienne while sitting under the tree planted in honor of Sherry’s mom Darla Pack in Azalea Park in Summerville. The thoughts of this little girl missing the opportunity to get spoiled by grandma was an emotional time for Sherry in particular.

The reason we were so surprised was that Sherry and I had grilled the ultrasound tech about whether she was certain about the gender of our baby during the ultrasound. If you have been through the 20 week ultrasound then you know they can usually let you know with a high degree of certainty the gender of your child. In this case the ultrasound tech said she was 100% sure. However, she had only a few minutes earlier told us a story about being wrong by telling a couple they were having a girl and then realizing in a later ultrasound that she had, uhm, missed something in the earlier ultrasound. That said, we thought that by saying she was 100% sure meant that we were having a fifth boy. So the surprise in the envelope caught us by surprise.

We are super excited. Now I just have to figure out a new budget line item for girl clothes.

101 Minutes – FreeTime

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 34Kindle FreeTime is FREE!

Let me just say right up front that this is a correction/clarification from my detailed review of the Kindle Fire (and FreeTime) parental controls in Episode 32. This correction should come as a pleasant surprise to you Amazon Kindle Fire owners.

Kindle FreeTime Unlimited is not free…and it comes at a price in more ways than one for Christian families.

Why not buy Kindle FreeTime Unlimited:

- Amazon makes content decisions for your child, not you.

  • SpongeBob SquarePants (Numerous)

  • Scooby-Doo (Numerous)

  • In Search of the Fog Zombie

  • The Avatar’s Return (The Last Airbender Movie)

  • Where does Love come from?
    Book description from Amazon, “Where does love come from? Does it grow on a tree? Or swim in the sea? This collection of silly questions explains a complicated emotion in a fun, entertaining way that children can easily understand. Where Does Love Come From? concludes with a declaration that readers likely already know . . . that “love comes from your heart.”

Privacy

Another example of how technology is breaking down your expectation of privacy.

StormFly Nowcomputing.com

The creators of  StormFly have cleverly packaged the same basic technology that many kids use to get around filters installed on home computers. The product was successfully funded through Kickstarter. The intent is to allow kids to take their computer wherever they go…on their wrists. Proceed with caution.

101 Minute Challenge

Use GOOGLE or Bing to search for “minutes in a week” and the answer you get is 10,080. Divide that by 100 and you get 100.8. So 101 minutes (100.8 rounded up) equals 1% of your week.

We revisit the Fathers Mandate part 1 of 8 which was highlighted in Daddy Life Episode #12. I challenge you to dedicate 101 minutes of your week to one of the following:

  1. Your family together for 101 minutes outside of normal meal times (Good)
  2. A total of 101 minute with each child throughout the week (Better)
  3. 101 minutes dedicated, uninterrupted, with each child doing what the child wants to do (Best)

Subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or RSS:

DaddyLife.net Podcast Daddy Life Podcast RSS Feed

 

Bed Wetting Sheet Trick

Bed Wetting Sheet TrickBedwetting is a fairly common issue that many parents deal with at some point. Medical experts give assurances that this is nothing to be alarmed over. However, there are some logistics to deal with as a parent. You may have your child potty trained during the day, but they are not quite there at night and that can create messes. You have a few choices in terms of using night-time pull-ups or some kind of underwear cover. Many of these things are not 100% solutions. They may leak or you may simply choose to bite the bullet and move straight to cloth underwear at night without plastic pants. When/if you find yourself facing reoccurring bed wetting mess, the following will help you manage the clean-up process.

The picture above shows a bed made with an allergen cover on the mattress  four fitted sheets, and some protective pads between each fitted sheet.  The process is very simple. We learn this trick from many hospital stays with our son Caden. He is now eight years old and still has accidents. He has some pretty severe medical special needs that causes him to mess up sheets regularly. Even still, this trick is a perfect solution for average kids who simple have bed wetting accidents. Since we have made the bed with multiple layers we only need to strip off one sheet and the bed pads between the top sheet and the next layer. The pads that are still clean can be recycled for when you make the bed the next time. The soiled pads are simply tossed in the trash.

Short sheeting a bed the long way

I call this short-sheeting a bed the long way. The hospitals actually use a short (partial) sheet under the child’s torso with a bed pad under the short sheet. The short sheet can also be used in a hospital setting to help turn/roll a patient with little assistance.

How to short sheet a bed the long wayYou will notice that we cover the entire bed. This is because our son gets up and often spreads the mess to the end of the bed as he is getting up to come tell us he has had an accident. The two pads near the end are not soiled as often, be they do protect the other layers of sheets, the allergen cover, and the mattress from accidents. Click for a closer look.  It is much easier in the middle of the night to simply strip off a layer and not have to worry about making a bed at 3:30 AM and then again at 5:45 AM. There have been nights that we have gone through three layers. And there are many nights when no layers are peeled off.

This last picture shows how many layers there on this bed. You do have to stock up on some extra sheets and some bed pads, but that is a small price to pay in my opinion. You will notice that we use a solid color sheet on the bottom. That is our signal that we are on our last sheet and that there is nothing below it except for bed pads and an allergen cover. That means it is time to do laundry and remake the bed. The process of making the bed only takes a few minutes per layer.

Teens and Internet Safety

Jaquelline Fuller from Google shares tips on parenting teens in a technology age.

  • Mom and Dad have social network passwords
  • Have regular conversations (Relationships, Relationships, Relationships)
  • Don’t be afraid to be the parent

 

I Love You, but…

One of the tenants in the Babywise series is using a parent-directed approach to child rearing and prioritizing your marriage. This has probably been one of the most important concepts that I support and appreciate. When I feel validated by my husband and feel like we’re on the same page, I feel on top of the world…whether my kids played through nap or whether we had the most unstructured day. Sleep training and structure are also extremely important, but focusing on my marriage and parenting with my husband has been one of the biggest blessings to me as well as an example to our children.

I don’t even remember where I read it but years ago I came across a bit of marriage advice that has stuck with me and truly changed me. The author warned against ever saying, “I Love You, but…” with an added stipulation.

I love you, but I need you to take out the garbage right now.

I love you, but I feel criticized.

I love you, but I really don’t want your mom to come to town this weekend.

{or even to your children} I love you, but I am really frustrated with your actions

It is perfectly fine to ask for help around the house. It is necessary to tactfully let your spouse know when you are feeling criticized and when you need space from family or friends. Most of us do not even realize when we say it. We want our spouse to feel loved even when we are asking for help or when we making our feelings known. However, it should never be tied to your unconditional love for your spouse.

Loving our spouse does not always feel unconditional, certainly not as easy as even loving our children unconditionally at times. When we add on to that sentence it really does lessen the impact. We are not truly trying to communicate love. We tie our love to a deed or a thought. We make it conditional, even though that is almost never the intent. Saying “I love you” should be one of the most special, thoughtful, well-intentioned, positive phrases that ever comes out of our mouth.

So since today happens to be Valentines Day, my challenge to you is to think carefully the next time you get ready to say “I Love You.” Make sure you leave it at that. Make sure your kids hear you tell your spouse that often but purposefully. Make sure that your spouse knows that you are expressing love and only love in that moment. Teach your children the power of that phrase and the importance of never tying it an action or adding on a stipulation. Look for ways to show unconditional love!

Bethany blogs at The Graceful Mom as well as works outside of the home. She is a wife, a mother, and also passionate about inspiring and encouraging other working mothers.

Character Training with a TV Remote

Daddy Life Podcast Episode 33 - Training Character with TV RemoteAnne Marie Ezzo shared a blog post on her Facebook page recently that was authored by Mark Gregston.

The Honest Truth about Dishonesty by Mark Gregston

”A recent Report Card on the Ethics of American Youth, by the Josephson Institute of Ethics, shows that 61% of teens admit to lying to a teacher about something important, and a whopping 76% admitted to lying to their parents last year.  Another study, this one conducted in Britain, indicates that an overwhelming 84% of teens said they’ve regularly copied information from the Internet and pasted it right into their homework.

But it wasn’t necessarily those numbers that shocked me.  What really rocked me back on my heels was that this recent study of American teenagers reported that while over 50% of teenagers admitted lying, cheating, or stealing within that last year, 93% of those same kids said they are “satisfied with their personal ethics and character.” In addition, 81% of those teenagers said that “when it comes to doing what’s right, they are better than most people they know.”

The point Mrs. Ezzo made was that (I quote),  “While this blog post is addressed to parents of teens, parents with younger children would be wise to heed the thoughts expressed and thereby wisely help to prevent this issues from developing in your own home. Remember “begin as you mean to go” if you desire to have an honest child, then even those ‘creative stories’ need to have boundaries, we want to set our younger children [let alone teens] for success and direct help keep them on the right path.”

Mark went on to offer advice to parents on how to shift the trends so that teens embrace the virtue of truth over the norm of lying. Mark’s very first recommendation to “Monitor Media” steps into my area of expertise so I want to expand on his advice.

We all know that we can’t monitor every single thing that our kids do. Even if we try we have to be realistic and admit that if we are faced with a kid that is already characterized by dishonesty, deception, and lying then they probably will take steps to avoid our efforts to monitor. How many of us can actually keep up with our kids in terms of technology anyway?

I have shared this example before, but I believe it is worth repeating again and again.  Technology security is more about behavior than the technology!

You can try to monitor and control your kid’s Internet or TV access, but you are only treating the symptom. You must get to the heart if the issue and then end result will be that your child will self regulate their Internet, TV, movie, and gaming activity. They are going to get there soon enough so you might as well teach them early.

Teach Your Kids to Use the TV Remote

Sounds crazy doesn’t it? One of the things we joke about as parents is how much more kids understand about the DVD/DVR and how to operate it. But do they really understand the most important features? As a parent, the two most important buttons on a remote are the “Last Channel” button (sometimes called a Recall or last) and the “MUTE” button. That’s right.

Subscribe to this podcast via iTunes or RSS:

DaddyLife.net Podcast Daddy Life Podcast RSS Feed

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...