Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wisdom from the Dadly Ninja's Hero

From my hero, a master of the dadly arts: 
a few truths I have discovered over the years…

1)      When they are young, their favorite thing in the world is to be with you….even if you are doing something relatively mundane.  Relish that.  You’re going to miss it when it goes away.
2)      Every kid is different.  They each show their love in a different way, they have different passions and different things that cause them difficulty.  In many ways, you have to be a custom parent.
3)      Try to have a family dinner every night.  It’s amazing how much it means to them (and to you).
4)      Invest in their interests.  Dress dolls with your daughters, play video games with them, learn how to work their transformer toys. 
5)      Find something that you are passionate about that they love too.  For me, this is camping.
6)      Make sure they are accountable for their actions. 
7)      I was spanked as a child, and I don’t have a problem with it, but I realized that if I was consistent with my rewards and punishments, I don’t ever have to spank my kids.  Which is good, because it’s kind of ironic to tell them, “Hey!  Don’t hit each other.”  And then you hit them for it as punishment (even if it’s on the butt).
8)      Learn what they are learning.  It’s amazing how much I forgot about grade school, or cub scouts, etc.  I feel like I am getting a second education.  Plus, it’s a great thing to share with them.
9)      Dance with your kids.  They love it, it’s great exercise, and then in Jr. High or High School when they go to their first dance, they aren’t going to wonder what to do.
10)   Have pillow fights.
11)   Take them to museums.  If they start thinking it’s boring, ask them to pretend that they won a prize, and the museum told them they could take one item home and keep it…ask them to choose what that would be.
12)   When you fight with your spouse (c’mon, we all do sometimes), don’t hide it from the kids.  But, do it respectfully…no name calling, no “below the belt” shots.  Model for them how to properly resolve a conflict, compromise, etc..
13)   Admit when you are wrong.  Especially to your kids. 
14)   Teach sportsmanship – Insist that being a gracious winner and a gracious loser are both important. 
15)   Read to your kids.  It’s a lot easier than chasing them around the house, and plus, you can cuddle with them at the same time.
16)   Show them that you can laugh at yourself.
17)   Get them hooked on your favorite music and favorite sports teams.  Don’t miss the window…brainwash them now!

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