Wednesday, November 18, 2015

It's important to remember that you're the boss!

Thumb wrestling with Emma
     I can remember clearly my mother's first words of advice as a new parent. She said, "It's important to remember that you are the boss". When I first heard it, it went over my head, but like a seed grows, these words grew into a deep-rooted understanding of what she was trying to tell me. I observed parents who were in control of their children and those that weren't, it was easy to see the benefits in a child that does what they are told. If your child knows they can't do something, you don't have to build walls around them. Things like cabinet locks, door locks and outlet covers are acceptable because it eliminates high-risk dangers, but at some point you need to hold your children accountable. I started holding Emma accountable at an early age. At a time when most people were warning me about the "Terrible two's", I was standing firm in my position as head of the house.  In my home, Emma had many rules and expectations. Brushing her teeth, cleaning her room, drinking water and washing her hands, were just a few of the things expected of her. When she didn't do what she was told, It often ended up in long discussions and she sat through every one of them.

      Another thing my mother told me was "When your child doesn't behave, leave the scene". I found out real quick how beneficial this was because it allowed me to bring Emma away, where I could talk to her without judgement from other parents. I never liked rewarding bad behavior, but I saw parents do it all the time. At the park, I would see parents react to misbehavior by telling their kid not to do something, and then reward them with treats if they followed through. I can understand how a person would think they just conquered a parenting hurdle. However, in my eyes, they just taught their child to misbehave if he/she wanted something. I see that happen all the time! I would always pull Emma out of the environment when she didn't do what she was told. I wasn't afraid to leave the park, even if we just showed up. I had to leave the toy store a few times even though we talked all day about buying her something. I can remember one Halloween, we quit collecting candy after one block because she didn't use her manners. Believe me, those were often very difficult choices to make and hard to follow through with. The important thing for Emma to remember was that if she wanted to be at the park, the movies or in public with me, she had to behave.

     Before you pass me off as the drill instructor dad, remember that most of the choices I made are to benefit us as a team. I do believe parenting is a balance, you have to know when to guide them and when to let them guide themselves. Letting a child solve their own problems allows them to gain confidence in their choices, which encourages more independence from them. When a child believes they can make the right choices, they become more alive. It started simply in my home, I would ask Emma "What would you like for breakfast? Cereal or mud?" and I would follow up with, "I think cereal was a good choice". You could see the independence growing in Emma as the importance of her choices grew. Now that Emma is older, the choices she makes have more importance on her daily life and less influence on mine. Emma suffers the consequences of her choices, like spending her Sunday evening doing schoolwork, while I'm enjoying a movie and popcorn only rooms away. LOL. Trust me, that only had to happen once before she took better control of her schoolwork schedule.

     The fact that you choose to raise your child is more important than how you raise your child. As long as you have lots of love and some rules, I think you'll be ok. I'm just sharing my experience with those of you that are curious enough to read it. Feel free to leave me any comments below :)

Monday, November 16, 2015

Welcome to Philville :)

Children at play... This sign is located on the beach by my house
I always felt like it summarized my life with my daughter Emma
     Welcome to Philville! I want to formally welcome you all to my personal blog. I have wanted to create one of these for a while, but I was intimidated because my desire for perfection always stopped me from trying to organize my thoughts in writing. In this blog you will find an inside look into my life, along with many typos and important life lessons that I want to share. You will also see many smiley faces and LOL's because that is common in Philville. :)

     The idea of Philville came from friends that often told me I lived in my own world. I move to the beat of a different drum, or maybe it is the beat of a stick hitting a trash can, that sounds more like it. In my blog you will get a close look at my role as a father and a better understanding of what Fatherhood means to me :)

I became a father on September 19,2006. On this day, a seed started growing inside of me. I can remember a moment of self reflection and deciding that I wanted to be the best father I could. I got a few books that helped give me an idea of what I should be doing and made some life changes to reflect my dedication to my newborn daughter. This blog is about my journey to becoming a better father. I still have a long way to go, but I'll hope you join, enjoy and give me input along the way :)