I'm Jon, a single Dad of 4 amazing kids. Life gets chaotic, but I love it. This blog is my attempt to just share this amazing ride with you! I am enjoying life as a single Dad of four amazing kids in the Metro Detroit area.
Working from home, the kids still have their moments where they think I’m just sitting around, wasting time at the computer. So, they will ask me things every five minutes.
“Dad, can I have a snack?”
“Dad, do you have any money for V-Bucks?”
“Dad, can I go outside?”
While obviously, I don’t mind them coming to me about things, it’s constant at the times where I’d love for them NOT to come to me about things. Like…
…when I’m working
…when I’m watching the rare TV show
…when I’m playing a video game
…when I’m trying to relax in any way
“Dad, can I have another snack?”
Kids have a sixth sense, which is to know when you’re trying to relax or you don’t have a minute.
However, there IS a time when the kids don’t bother me. You want to know what time that is?
WHEN I’M DOING ANY KIND OF CLEANING
Yep. I’m convinced that if I cleaned 24/7, I’d never be bothered. Ha!
Humor is what gets me through the stress of being a single Dad. I have to find the humor in everything. I mentioned this to the kids once and they went and talked among themselves, then came at me, all 4 of them with “Dad! Dad! Dad!”.
Being a Dad is awesome…
“Dad, I’m STARRRRRRVING! Can I have another snack?”
…well, most of the time!
What are the moments where you wish you could just have some time to yourself that never seems to work out?
When is the last time you stepped on a LEGO? There is no other pain like it, is there? Well, I have some fun news! I’m talking about the free LEGO Life magazine!
What’s In The Free LEGO Life Magazine?
The free magazine includes comics, activities, competitions and everything you need to know about LEGO, including some sneak peeks at new sets!
Who is the free LEGO Life Magazine For?
The free magazine is designed for kids 5-10 years old, but let’s face it; we’ll be checking it out too. At least I will.
How Do You Sign Up for free LEGO Life Magazine?
Check out the free magazine sign up page! From here, you can click that green “Sign Up Your Child” button to get started. The sign up will ask things like your child’s name, age, gender and things like that. Nothing too crazy.
Yesterday was my anniversary. It would have been thirteen years.
In the early summer of 2016, my Wife had enough of being miserable and that was the end of it. While we made it to ten years, it was just a formality at that point, while we waited for the divorce process to complete. Talking about my marriage isn’t something I do too often here, because it’s a dark cloud in the distant sky, despite the sun shining right now.
Right now, you couldn’t tell, but when my divorce was happening and the year or so after, I didn’t see light at the end of the tunnel. I lost hope. I lost faith. I gave up.
It wasn’t until things began to shift when it came to the kids, that I started re-gaining that hope and faith. As time went on, the kids needed their Dad more and more.
Before you ask how, I could not simply just be there for them as much as possible as it was, I ask you to look at life for me at that time. Before the divorce, I was already withdrawing from my family. The end of my family was coming and I was powerless in my own depression to do anything. Of course, what I didn’t know was it wouldn’t matter if I did do anything, the end was already there.
If I didn’t hit bottom, God wouldn’t have used my situation to make me the Dad I needed to be today. No doubt in that statement. In a time where I questioned and cursed God, mocked His words and planned my own suicide, God was using these moments to strengthen me. Not the man I was then, but the man I was going to be at the end of that season.
If it weren’t for what I went through, the realism of how bad of a Husband I was, and how poor of a Father I was, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be this man who can handle so much more than I ever could before, despite there being only one parent at home.
It took a little over nine years for my Wife and I to realize that neither had hope anymore. It was in that moment where I began the journey I am on today, and that is putting these kids first.
It’s hard being a single parent, especially when working from home. The personal sacrifice that comes with the role is beyond what many can imagine. At any time during my marriage, if you said to me I’d be in this situation in the future, I would have laughed, then panicked. That wasn’t me back then. I was inpatient, selfish and many other words I’ll not go into.
I remember before I moved, my Wife and most of the kids’ stuff was already gone. It was the first night the kids were not home, they were with her. I opted to eat pizza, turn the TV on and get lost in my thoughts. I can remember getting up and going into the kids’ room to check on them and it hit me; I screwed up my life and my family’s life, and now I don’t have the options to go see my kids’ faces anytime I want.
I’m ranting. What I am trying to say is, without my divorce, I wouldn’t have found God’s strength through my weakness. I wouldn’t have found joy through my sadness. I wouldn’t have found out what it meant to be an involved Dad through my worldly instincts to pull away.
No matter what you are going through, there is hope. There is a light. Even if you don’t see it. I didn’t see it and almost took my own life in that dark time. Keep walking. God’s light is there, and He has amazing things for your life.
Welcome back, everyone! Kicking off the return blog post, we’re talking about summer activities. Last year, summer was spent getting moved into our new house! Many kids finished up school last week, and mine finish up this Friday. As a single Dad, summers get crazy, so I am always looking ahead to what we can do, and how I can do more than let summer vacation be a summer of doing random, everyday things.
There are many lists of things you can do with your kids during the summer. These lists are just exaggerated lists of everyday activities. I won’t lie – mine is going to be the same. However, what I want to do is share the a few things I absolutely love to do with the kids in the summer.
We don’t do this enough at home and that is about to change. It’s more than just exercise; it’s bonding. Sure, we can get out bikes, but you can’t walk and talk on a bike. You can’t point things out as you walk and discuss them. At ages under 12, my kids are at the height of curiosity and a good walk can help satisfy that.
Schedule A Park Get-Together
My older two kids (12 and almost 11) are “too old” to play at the park these days, or so it seems. But, when I mention getting together with friends, that changes. Nothing beats sunshine, laughter and the park. While our “park gear” is scattered between the house, backyard, and garage, we have go-to items we take. A football, Frisbee, baseball, and gloves if someone’s feeling up to it, and a blanket. Get some snacks together and some juice boxes, and you’re set. For me, the park is great because I can choose what I want to do and not worry about it degrading the day for the kids. Do I want to sit under a shady try and just enjoy watching them play, or do I want to join in with the football or chase them around? Most of the time, it’s both.
I came across this awesome website recently, and I hope to have a lot of fun with this beginning this summer. As I mentioned previously, my kids are at the height of curiosity right now, especially Joshua, my 3rd grader. Not only does a science experiment bring something fun to do together, but it also allows some teaching and learning to happen. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a child discover something new, or see their face light up when they “get it”.
Unfortunately, migraines run in my family and the summer heat just exponentially increases them. However, if there is one thing I’m willing to tough out despite my head feeling like it’s going to explode with every step, it’s a trip to the zoo. Growing up, we didn’t go to the zoo often, so it was this mythical thing, and I think that’s where it started for me. The Detroit Zoo is fantastic and if you do some planning, you can hit multiple items on this list in one day; zoo, going for a walk and going to the park. If you think it’s too hot to walk around in the park, you can’t show me one adult who doesn’t get the twinkle of a child in their eyes when they see a polar bear swim over them in the polar exhibit. Right?
This past Sunday evening, we did a bowling night at church, and while my arm still feels like spaghetti after 3 back-to-back-to-back games, bowling is an old school way to have some fun. With kids, bowling can be a fun way to offer crazy amounts of encouragement and praise. Only got 1 pin down? YOU HIT ONE! It’s also a way to have some fun poking at each other if your child understands that kind of humor. Throw a gutter ball? I’ll tell my oldest the objective is to hit the pins. A little parent-child banter is fun and builds on that relationship you already have.
While I can remember doing this as a child with my Sister, I don’t recall doing it with the kids. We’re going to change that this year. I don’t mean going putt-putt golfing somewhere, I’m talking about setting up a course in your house! Having carpeted floors can be very helpful in doing some longer, multi-room games, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with a hardwood floor. Setup a plastic cup and have fun. It will get that competition going.
Get Involved at Church
While this is something we strive to do all year, the summer is a great time to re-set with church volunteering. There is no school, meaning one big aspect of life is temporarily removed. In a house with 4 kids and a single adult, no school means afternoons are no longer packed with trying to fit in a snack, dinner, homework and showers, all while I finish working. This doesn’t have to be limited to volunteering at church. Get involved in your neighborhood. Why is this great? Because it shows kids that kindness and involvement are a priority, not a compromise.
Living in Michigan, there are plenty of beach options. It’s not the greatest thing I enjoy, but the kids love it. This year, we’ll be doing this more, which is a challenge for me. With a combination of not knowing how to swim and headaches caused by the heat, I normally stay clear of the beach. But again, the kids love it, therefore how do I say no?
Cardboard Box Fort
Sadly, we’ve never done this or done this to the scale it deserves. What kid wouldn’t love to build a fort? More importantly, what Dad wouldn’t love to build a fort? Right?! Whether it’s in the living room, bedroom or basement, get creative and let the kids be inspired. This year, I’m thinking we’re going to do something outside. There are quite a few other kids on the street, and I think everyone could have a great time!
What is in your area that you can do? There are many places to have fun with the kids on a budget, or some proper planning. This summer, we’re going to take a trip to the Silver Lake Sand Dunes with the kids for some fun.
What summer activities are you planning this year?
Being a parent is a tough job. We are responsible for little people and their well-being. It’s amazing when you think about it. Amazing how we can push ourselves to function when we shouldn’t be functional at all. Right?
If you’re an introvert, it changes the game quite a bit. Being an introvert parent can take exhaustion to a whole new level.
Yeah! Most people will classify an introvert as someone who is quiet, shy or even rude at times. That’s not the case. An introvert is someone who takes in more of their environment than others. Since their input is greater, they run out of energy faster. An introvert needs quiet time to process this input and “recharge”. Additionally, an introvert has higher brain activity, leading to limited input. Skipping a concert or a party? That’s just a choice an introvert will make to limit input.
An Introvert Parent
Now that you know what an introvert is, add being a parent to kids who provide constant input. It’s a recipe for anxiety, which is common among introvert parents. As a parent, we rarely get the choice to “turn off” our kids, or decide “No, I don’t want to socialize right now”. With less quiet environments for a parent to seek refuge in, it gives a new meaning to the word chaotic. What we’re doing throughout the day, is stress on the inside as we try to find quiet time to digest everything we’ve taken in.
Don’t worry. I’ve got your back!
5 Tips for an Introvert Parent
Make “Me Time” A Priority
We know that finding time for ourselves as an introvert parent can leave us feeling guilty. Truth be told, we question taking an hour to watch NCIS when we could be making lunches. You need this time! You need time for yourself. You need to be able to decompress, take the information you received thus far, and process it in a quiet environment, where you can look inward. Maybe it’s during your lunch at work, or getting up earlier in the morning. For me, it’s staying up a bit later to get that quiet time. Find it during your day. If you’re lucky, you’ll find multiple 15-30 minute times to take a moment and recharge.
Set a Consistent Bedtime
Last year, I wrote about parenting consistency. It’s the gold star all parents aim for. At least I do. To be consistent enough that a rhythm begins, that’s a happy place! There is more to being consistent, especially around bedtime than just consistency for your kids; it’s for you too! Imagine if your kids went to bed by 9 pm every night as planned. Even if you had an early morning and went to bed at 10 pm, there is still time for an introvert parent to recharge.
Find An Outlet
As an introvert parent, we don’t have many outlets available to us. If you’re a single parent, it’s much less, but not non-existent. You don’t need to be able to have hours or days without your kids to find an outlet that helps you recharge. Write. Writing is a great outlet, and I find it to be a dual-powered task! First, you’ll be able to get the things on your mind from the day out. Second, while doing that, you’ll be able to not just acknowledge the information, but also elaborate on it. Try it sometime. You’ll be surprised how you can go from “Man, today child #1 just would not stop talking” to getting other things like work or your relationship down in what you write. (If you call your first-born Number One as a tribute to Star Trek: The Next Generation, I salute you for making it so)
Separate Arguing Kids
Have more than one kid in the house? The arguing and bickering level escalates by one hundred per additional child. It’s a fact! I can’t count how many times I’ve had to raise my voice at the ridiculous arguing between two of the kids in the house, just because I was going insane hearing it. I’m sure you can’t either. Instead of raising your voice or losing it on all parties involved, separate them. Don’t question if you should be just “dealing with it”, or that they are just kids and they should learn to argue and resolve differences. Just separate them. There are other ways to work on sibling relationships, but what we’re talking about here is our own insanity as an introvert parent. The goal? Stop the arguing because it’s too much input and it’s causing a hurricane in our head. It’s difficult, I won’t lie. As introverts, we process more information than others, which means we’re often logical thinkers. So, we want to join the argument and try to explain why it doesn’t make sense. Maybe that’s just me, but I know there are others out there who get the same urge. Separate them. It works.
Get Some Headphones
This, is by far, my favorite. Not all parents can do this, but if you can, I recommend it. Get a pair of headphones and put on some music or an audiobook, and take a moment. With all of my kids being over six, I’m able to throw my headphones on and turn some music on when I fold laundry or do dishes. It allows me to escape from the noise and recharge. I grew up on music, and credit it as something that has always been there for me. So not only can I recharge with it, but it’s my favorite happy place.
Being an introvert is awesome and I will forever be grateful when I found out there was an actual word for the type of person I am. As parents, we have to find ways to integrate being an introvert into our lives, so we can maintain balance. Think you may be an introvert or interested more in your personality type? I cannot recommend taking the Myers Briggs personality test enough. I was so relieved when I found that I was an INFJ. The test is $49.95 plus tax, however, it’s worth it in every way.
Wouldn’t it be nice to see kids being kids again and minimize the screentime?
Really! How often are they face down in their phone or tablet? We can get a little deeper and ask, how often are we face down in our phones or tablets?
This summer in Palo Alto, California, a 17-year old was arrested for burglary for breaking into a house and waking up the 60-year-old residents to ask for their Wi-Fi password. The kid was lurking around the house, and others during the day.
How crazy is it to read this? In a time where certain people can knock on the door and get shot at, this kid breaks in for the Wi-Fi password. Now, I know we can read that and say I’m not that bad, of course. But how bad is it?
While it gets harder as time goes on to separate extended amounts of screentime being the norm, and it being too much, we can still aim to have a healthy screen relationship!
4 Ways to Manage Kids’ Screentime
1. Wait on Phones and Tablets
The average child gets their phone at ten years old. When I was 10, I was riding bikes outside with my friends or playing with action figures inside. Of course, it’s a different time now, where our kids don’t know a world without screens dominating their lives. My oldest (12) starting asking for a phone around 10. “Everyone has one” he would tell me. I held out until he was 11 – the start of 6th grade and middle school. There was no avoiding it, as different school ending times meant he needed a way to get in touch with me for an emergency.
Now, half-way through 5th grade, my 10-year-old is expecting.
2. Delay Social Media
If you can, delay social media. No, there shouldn’t be an if; we’re the parents. Delay social media. Most social media sites don’t allow tweens to sign up until they are 13 in the first place. If they manage to go around it, the world of social media for a pre-teen, or even teen, is not a happy one. Middle school introduces new words, slang, definitions, etc. Social media will expand on that in a way you cannot control. Hidden behind a screen, anyone can say anything they want. We see adults do it all the time, and these are people more responsible than a child. Well, most.
My 12yo has Snapchat, and I am quickly learning that it won’t work that way for my other kids as they get their devices, and my 12-year-old won’t be pleased to lose it, but it’s coming.
3. Set Expectations
Our kids don’t have the mental capacity to set expectations on something like having their device. That’s like me telling my 10-year-old on a Friday night that he can stay up late playing Fortnight but needs to go to bed when he’s tired. He’ll still be gaming when I get up in the morning. That’s what we are for. We have to set proper expectations, on what we expect, and rules for usage. In our house, for example, I am allowed to take my son’s phone at any time, without notice, and review anything I want. He has that expectation. I don’t let screen time on Sunday mornings before church also.
If you’re going to allow a phone or tablet, set expectations, and rules up front.
4. Actively Monitor Screentime
Here’s the hard part. Regardless of what else goes on. If you fail to wait as long as you want. You fail to keep your kid off Snapchat. Being active in their usage activity is critical. There is just no other way to keep a kid safe these days if we aren’t monitoring things. If we aren’t being active and engaging in discussions with them. If we don’t show our kids that they have a worry-free, open line of communication with us, then they won’t open up. They’ll be less willing, to be honest.
If you want some help, they have apps! I am a fan of Bark (this is a referral link, and I get a credit if you sign up and keep the service beyond seven days), which works on Apple and Android. Check it out and let me know what you think – they offer a 7-day free trial.
What do you do in your home to help manage screentime
As a single parent, life is busy. We’re playing Dad and Mom on many occasions, and most of our social interaction is with our children. If you work from home as I do, it’s almost all of your social interaction. It’s hard to balance life at times. Well, most of the time.
When our worlds revolve around our children without break, it’s easy for a single parent to get lost in the day-to-day grind of making breakfast and doing laundry. Unfortunately, this can lead to not having a good balance to your life. We all need a break every now and then so we can remember who we are when we aren’t parents. For many, parents are able to get out with friends regularly and have found that balance. For those like me, who don’t have as much help, it gets harder. Don’t give up, I have a few ways to help maintain balance if you’re a single Dad or Mom!
Have a Support System
Have a support system as a parent is essential. The phrase it takes a village is accurate in every way. Raising a child with two parents is rough, raising more is harder, doing it alone is a mix of your favorite horror and romance novel. Whether it be a family member, like a Grandma or Aunt, or friends, it’s beneficial to get your children used to other adults. These other adults are not just helping you, but they are spending time with your children, so it’s good for them to have the chance to build relationships with the kids.
Get into a Routine
I love being organized. I love the thought of being organized. Despite the fact that I fail constantly at this when I am able to get into a routine and be organized enough to maintain it for more than a couple of days, something magical happens. A flow begins to appear, and you find that you can squeeze in ten or fifteen minutes to yourself that you didn’t have before. Plan your days. I’m not talking about a prison schedule, though if that can help with guiding your days, go for it.
Recently, I started a new schedule for the house, where I have a suggested guide on what the kids should be working on. Whether it be doing homework, working on chores, reading, or family game night, it gives the kids an idea of what to expect and helps establish that routine you’re looking for.
Keep it simple stupid. KISS. You hear a lot about it when referencing goals or project management, but it applies at home too. Simplifying life doesn’t mean boring, it means to be reasonable. In the summer of 2016, all four of the kids were playing baseball. Four games a week, practices beforehand, on top of divorce and life being turned upside down. It was to date, the most exhaustive time of my adult life, without exaggeration. It was just too much. Sometimes, you have to break things down into a simple form, to maintain sanity. There is only so much of you to go around, Mom and Dad. Keep it simple.
Make Time for Yourself
This is a no brainer, and even when I wrote this I said to myself Yeah, okay. How can I add hours to the day? Well, there is plenty of time in the day for us to get “me time”. Remember, we’re not trying to look at how we can get eight hours a day to ourselves, that’s not practical. But, can we skip Facebook or Instagram in the morning and read? What about revamped chores for your kids? Can you shift responsibilities a bit to give yourself fifteen minutes or so? If you look, the time is there.
Ask for Help!
This is the hardest one. At least for me. As an introvert (INFJ), not only do I not want to bother people, but I don’t want to engage with people. It’s like that common phrase don’t tell an introvert “let me know if you need help” because they won’t. As single parents, we already feel like we’re doing a crummy job. I know when I start thinking about asking for help, I feel like I’m shifting a burden. My Sister will verify this. It’s hard, asking for help, but we have to. Even if it’s just to go for a driver with the music on to unwind. Or maybe it’s a drive to somewhere with your camera, to relax by shooting photography. It could be as simple as a family member picking them up from school, giving you thirty minutes to yourself that you wouldn’t have had otherwise. Not only do we need this time for us, but we also need it for our children. We need to show our children that it’s important to prioritize taking care of ourselves.
What Agent Smith was really trying to tell Neo in The Matrix, is that as your child creeps up to being a teenager, that teenage attitude comes well before the age. Some days, my ten-year-old is going on sixteen. For my twelve-year-old, the attitude isn’t as frequent and is usually limited to short responses to the conversation at hand. The season of tween attitudes is here!
My ten-year-old, on the other hand, goes from zero to sixty in a heartbeat. For him, it’s about feeling like his actions were validated. If one of the other boys put their hands on him, he has to put his hands on them. I try my best to encourage a hands-off home, but with three boys it’s hard. When the attitude arrives is when I talk to him about his actions, and what other choices there may have been to handle the situation.
Another example is bedtime. Every parent deals with this, and it’s the same song and dance. Why do I have to go to bed? Why can’t I stay up late? My friend Johnny Phillip Bob can stay up later? Why can’t I?
It’s a constant struggle, as all things as a single parent are, and I always strive to improve the way I handle these situations. Here are five ways to get a better handle on tween attitudes!
1. Be the Parent
This can be taken in many ways, but what I mean here is don’t lose sight that you are the parent. If you have a child that needs that explanation to accept an answer, you can easily find yourself sitting down negotiating and trying to back up your decisions. Your decisions don’t need backup. You are the parent, and they are the child. That’s all the reason for the choices you need. Adjust this as you see fit. My ten-year-old often tells his school friends on Fortnite that he has to go to bed. When they ask why he says I don’t know. To him, it doesn’t make sense. Now and then, I expand on my decision that he goes to bed at 9 pm, with the reasoning being that he needs proper sleep and I won’t let him sacrifice it. He still doesn’t accept it, but I never let the conversation get into a zone where my decision turns into a maybe. Stick with your choice. Modify it as you see fit, but don’t modify it because of their behavior. Make sure it makes sense to you.
2. Call a Timeout
You know the threshold of your child. If you believe things are going to blow up in your faces, take a step back and let your child take a few moments to sit and think about the matter. When things get close to that stage at home, I tend to acknowledge that they are too upset to talk about this right now, so what I want them to do is take some alone time in their room to calm down, then we can continue talking. It can be hard to do this, especially if you’re frustrated, out of patience, are trying to cook dinner, have another child needing help with homework, and the laundry needs swapping. Listen, the goal of your conversations with your child should be positive and a chance to turn things into a learning piece. That is what we’re here for – to teach our children, help them grow, mature and turn into responsible adults who won’t turn into Green Bay Packer fans. Well, that’s my goal. A timeout doesn’t only help your child, but it helps you too. I don’t know how many times I re-think things when they are doing the same, and I find another angle to approach the conversation. When I talk to my kids, my goal is understanding, even if they don’t agree.
3. Bring Back Family Time
Family time is hard, let’s not sugar coat it. I get off work at 5:30, then it’s dinner, cleaning up, showers, and before I know it, we’re doing bedtime routines (complete with “tell me about aliens Dad, because that talk will let us stay up later). In all honesty with you guys, I fail here. Family time is rare in our house; a house of four kids and one parent is busy. Having more family time is a commitment I’ve made in 2019, and you can too. How does family time help tween attitudes? I’m glad you asked! In today’s world, life is outside of the home. It’s on the internet, in a phone, on a PlayStation, with friends at school. When we as adults make sacrifices in screen time and replace it with family time, we’re showing our child it’s important. More than that, we get to reaffirm to our child that this place and people – home – is where they can be themselves. They don’t have to pretend to be someone else, like how they are tempted to when they are with friends, or on the internet. They can be themselves, and see that it’s okay and fun to be.
Now, does family time by itself improve these attitudes? No. But make it a habit, and watch connections get stronger, trust is more significant, and attitudes change. All you have to do is start. Us? It began with a game of Uno. I lost. We don’t talk about it.
This should be number one because it is a must if any other tip or strategy is going to be used. If your child sees you blowing up over any and everything, it’s showing them they can too. Then, when the “discussion happens,” it’s an argument right from the start. Staying calm teaches respect. It says “we’re having a bit of a problem here, but my voice and body language are treating you with respect”. Remember, at this age, they are starting to hear about “dating” and liking other people, so the way we treat others is going to be a huge influence; in a good way or bad.
5. Address The Behavior, Not the Child
Finally, if we can understand that it’s the child’s behavior you aren’t happy with, and not the child specifically, you maintain the respect you’re aiming for, and you don’t beat your child down emotionally. It’s similar to when I talk to the kids about wrestling characters. Anytime I would say something like “Man, I can’t stand John Cena,” the kids would ask “Is he a bad person or something,” and I would have to explain the character, acting, etc. Okay, so that may be a horrible reference, but still. Keeping criticism fixed on the behavior will prevent your child from reading too much into what you say. If I were to say “Dang it Andrew, why do you always do this?”, I’m attacking him, not his behavior. Not to mention, that phrase right there is common among people who are emotionally abusive.
Our kids are growing. We can’t stop it, though I miss when there were nap times. What we can do, is teach. We can educate them on how to be the best they can be, and that it takes effort. I tell my twelve-year-old all the time when he tells me about the things he hears in middle school, that his path as a Christian is going to be difficult, but he is not alone. None of our children are alone; we are here.
What are some strategies you use to handle your tween behavior?
In November, I decided to take a break from blogging. I chose to take a break, and think about if I really wanted to continue blogging. I was enjoying it, and the social media involvement that came with it, but I began questioning if I was happy with it.
In fact, it was more than that. It was deeper than just being happy with what I was doing. It was anxiety.
Unfortunately, the depression I’ve battled off and on over a fifteen-year span of my teenage and adult life manifests itself into anxiety and emotional fear. More specifically, I often find myself dealing with imposter syndrome.
When I stepped back from blogging and social media, it crept into my life, and told me I didn’t below here; writing about being a parent. How often do we think who does that person think they are when someone tries to tell us how to act, or what we should or shouldn’t say? Ever notice it’s often different when it’s your inner voice speaking to yourself like that?
When your self-esteem is already beaten up on the ground from years of depression, ongoing anxiety attacks and constant reminders of emotional bullying, it’s hard to fight that inner voice.
Some random almost-Friday thoughts to chew on as I get back on track
Depressed? Emotionally bullied? You’re NOT alone. if you need someone to talk to.
Growing up, if there is one thing I remember, it’s that I was loved. My Mom was a stay-at-home Mom who lived to take care of our home, my Dad and my Sister and I. On the surface, it was a good feeling knowing I was taken care of. However, the thing that was missing in this picture was the same thing from my Dad. The only time I can remember hearing “I love you” from my Dad was when there were complications from my first born’s birth. While I’ve come to terms with not getting that sort of thing from my Dad, it has shaped the type of Dad I am now.
I will be the first to admit that I haven’t always been the greatest Dad around. Back when I was married, the problems from my marriage affected everything else in my life, including being a Dad. However, the one constant over the last almost twelve years has been that I have never let my kids go a day without knowing I love them. It’s been a priority to me because I didn’t get that from my Dad growing up. Being a single Dad makes showing my kids love an even higher priority because they don’t have the traditional family at home.
Why Be A Loving Dad?
It is a weird question for me because it’s a no-brainer. However, we all know how busy our days get which make it easy to disregard telling our kids we love them. We don’t need a reason. Well actually, we should already have an idea; words of affirmation work with kids. We want to reassure them. Being a kid is hard work when it seems like every adult you encounter, is trying to correct you or make your opinion or feelings seem wrong. As Dad’s, we have a unique position to build up our children and show them that a Father-figure doesn’t mean rigid and lacking emotion. Remind your kids you love them because they deserve to hear it.
Show Unconditional Love
My 8-year-old, Joshua, is a ball of emotion. When he gets in trouble, it’s 0-to-60 in about 2 seconds. It’s not because he’s upset that he was punished (when applicable, of course), but it’s a sense of “I disappointed Dad, now I’m upset with myself.” Even if your kids don’t show the same level of emotion, it doesn’t hurt to remind them that you love them, and you always will no matter what. I commonly tell my kids in situations where I feel it’s needed, that nothing can make me love them any less, and it will never change. Kids find comfort in life’s lessons and learning to grow up, that no matter what, Dad has their back.
Be Loving. Don’t Be A Pushover
With unconditional love being mentioned, we want to be careful as Dads, to not cross over the line and be a pushover. God expects us to lead our houses and families, so we have to find that spot that’s best for us. It’s going to be different for everyone, but there is a spot on the line between loving and being a pushover. This is where we can remind our kids we’re here, we have their back and we love them no matter what, while still teaching them; even if it’s in punishment.
I could have gone into a list of “how to show your kids love,” but there are a million of those out there. As Dad’s, we have to see past the fog of life’s struggles and see the kids who depend on us. The kids who crave our attention, love and absolutely anything to do with us. It’s hard, I won’t lie about it, but when we find that rhythm, it’s incredible.