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3Episodes
Category: Kids & Family

A Daily Parenting Advice Podcast. Non-Pretentious. In less than 3min a day!

June 19, 2019

S5-Ep174 - We are more important than we think

 Self care is a thing. So much of a thing, and an important aspect of our parenting success that I wanted to bring it back up today and talk about a little shift in my mindset that’s been working for me.

But first a little story about what it’s not – it’s not going to a t-ball team – end of season party at a local restaurant and sitting at the bar while your kids run amuck around the place and disturb everyone and everything. If being social is important to you, I understand. But you birthed this child, and that means you choose this. So pay attention!

And I tried to find other helpful ideas, because my little shift in mindset wasn’t enough to fill 3 minutes of dead air, and all I found were really stupid ideas. Article sections titled, “Celebrate the mistakes that are part of success.” And “Laugh” and my new least favorite idea and headline, “Buy an new outfit if it motivates you to exercise!”

 But there was one good idea and it helped me figure out what I’d been doing lately.

   That was to change how  you prioritize.

And my story is that work has sucked lately. I have had zero motivation to do it. What I’m doing seems trivial, but it’s time sensitive as the previous team already wasted 3 months of our time and we’re over our contractual deadline.

But I told myself – fuck it I’m working as hard as I can. And that final nail in the coffin made me prioritize myself.

Priorizing my health is important, but the hierarchy in my brain was work over top of me.

This literally put me back above my work.

And sometimes that’s all we need.

Tomorrow I’ll go to work and continue to try and finish it, same as the day before, but I will have a little more positive mental health because I’m prioritizing me.

June 18, 2019

S5-Ep173 - A life free of stumbles.

 Today’s stories are about bikes and briefs. Luckily, not at the same time.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/voices/2018/12/15/humility-social-media-bragging-depression-twitter-column/2227922002/

 

First thing first, I was doing that thing that Dads do today – Helping my youngest try out a pedal bike. That activity that involves walking at pace fast enough to make you breath fast, but slow enough that you look really awkward when doing it. I pushed him fast enough to keep stable, but caught him every time he started to wobble.

But when he got to a stop and had his toes down, from a stop, I let him try to catch his balance and his bike.

But he toppled over instead. And crying ensued.

I wondered if I was a bad parent for a second. I didn’t feel real bad. The bike scraped his knee a bit.

But luckily I read an article a while back which pointed out a key thing about life, and parenting.

 There’s no such thing as a life free of stumbles, mistakes, unfairness and failures. Failures make us human.

   So we need to tell our kids “Failure is how we learn and I’m proud of you when you do fail and learn something from it”.

I could have been more clear this evening when the knee got scraped, but I don’t think he wanted to hear it.

Still it’s an important lesson we need to keep in our minds as parents and one that our kids will eventually hear through their non-listening ears.

And that other story on briefs.

Well while my 3 year old is trying to ride a bike, my 6 year old forgot to put his briefs on getting into pajamas tonight. I started to be incredulous towards him, you know, “C’mon dude – how do you forget your underroos?”

But I let it go. I let him fail and figure it out.

The rest of the article talks about leading by example, and that means admitting failures to our children as well.

And to that side, we as parents are not only charged with a crazy important job: crafting our children and the culture of what the future is but also with walking the walk. (Per the article) “to live modestly; to know that you’re not the center of the universe or even your family, tribe, or group.”

If parenting was just giving directions on riding a bike or getting dressed – oh how easy this would be. All we’d have to do is make them follow those directions! But it turns out living our best life isn’t done on Instagram. It’s done by modelling good behavior – and that should make you feel great about yourself when you do it!

June 17, 2019

S5-Ep172 - 3 Things to do with your Child today (June)

 It’s time for a recurring feature today. The monthly ‘3 things to do’ series hopefully provides you a few different ideas of ways to connect with your kids.

 Let’s dive right into them this month.

  

  1. Go on a walk. That’s an easy one. But here’s a twist. Play I spy while you do it. I spy something big or something small. I spy something blue or something green. I spy something fast or something slow. Alive or dead. There are plenty of other things besides colors which you can spy. And I can almost guarantee you that you’ll strike up a conversation on something. Whether it’s some trash you see and pickup together or a turtle you see (did you know Turtles don’t have ears, but they’re not deaf. Thin flaps of skin cover internal ear bones, which receive vibrations and low-frequency sounds.) You’re the parent and you will be looked up to by your 6 year old because you know cool facts about turtles.
  2. Create a sand timer. This one is a bit of a project, but nothing worth doing comes easy. Roughly, this includes two coke bottles, some sand, and a piece of foil across the opening of the bottles. You poke a hole in the foil, and measure out how much sand goes through in a minute. Then you put this sand in between two bottles, put the foil between them and tape the tops of the bottles together so you can flip it up or down. Now your kid knows what a minute is. They have a cool device (and a memory with you) to see it. You and I know what a minute is. A kid doesn’t. This helps them see it.

 

  1. Tell them that they did enough. This is from our TED talk a few days ago. Tell them that you love them, however they are. And find something where they did enough. Tell them, “thanks, You’ve done enough, you may go play or eat or go, or whatever they want to do. Tell them that they did enough.”
June 16, 2019

S5-Ep171 - Your TV is on.

http://www.med.umich.edu/yourchild/topics/tv

 

 I am always amazed when I go to someone’s house and the TV is on. And I mean the TV is on, and no one is watching it! Kids are running around, parents are in the other room. But the TV is on, talking heads, or cartoon characters talking away at nobody.

Now, I have opinions on TV, and just because I have opinions, doesn’t make them right. But I’ve done my research, and I think there are benefits for reduced screen time and TV watching. And I think I see the results in my children as well. But it took me asking myself if I’m willing to sacrifice for my children – and the answer is yes – and that means my sacrificing TV time. Because if I have it on, even just for me, the kids are watching too. And I’m setting the example.
But I’m deviating from my point: My point is that the TV seems to be on all the time.

 And I found a university of Michigan study which quantified it. So here it is:

   In 51% of households, the TV is on "most" of the time.

So that means about 51% of the listeners out there are, at this very moment, justifying it.

Let me stop you. No need. You can do you. But if you listen on the daily, and we appreciate that, you’re here to get a few tips.

Well, I say shoot for above average. So my tip is don’t let your child be average. Because an average child “ages 2-5 spend 32 hours a week in front of a TV—watching television, DVDs, DVR and videos, and using a game console.”

32 hours!!

Be above average – make sure your kids are better than average – watch less TV is a statistically sound way to start. So turn off the TV on Saturday mornings when you’re all milling about the house. Get a timer. Get an app. Link it to an hour of playing out side. Monitor the cartoons or shows that your kids watch. Do Something.

Because if you don’t start doing these things now, if there are no basic rules now, you’ll be one of the “53% of households of 7th- to 12th-graders, where there are no rules about TV watching”.

That’s scary.

June 15, 2019

S5-Ep170 - If

 I want to break away from the “personality psychologists” talk that I started with 5 days ago. And a great way to do that is with poetry. It doesn’t get much different than psychology than that.

But before we do, I want to thank everyone out there for listening to us, for adding us to your day. It means a lot. And I hope we’re helping.

 So what can a poem teach us about parenting?

  To be honest, I’m not 100% sure if it can. But this poem has stuck with me for a long time and just as parts of it guide me, I think they can help guide you to. Give you some seeds to plant in your brain.

Now, no one I know is a “poet person”, but I still feel like they’d lambast me for such a popular poem if they were next to me. But I don’t care, it meant something to me in my formative years.

The poem is Rudyard Kipling's If:

I’m not going to read the whole thing.

But here are excerpts and what they mean to me:

 

If you can keep your head when all about you  

    Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, 

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

    But make allowance for their doubting too;  

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

    Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;  

    If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;  

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;  

Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,  

    And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

 

This, to me is the great goal of man. To be one thing, but also it’s opposite.

To be able to time your response or tailor it to the situation.
When he says “If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

    And treat those two impostors just the same;  “

This makes me feel like I’m preparing for something big. And I have reason to believe that there will be big moments through my life. Some good, a lot bad. The death of loved ones, or the achievement of a promotion. It’s best to be even keel through it all. 

   Here there are no lessons on raising children other than being the best version of you, that you can be. And which is more – you’ll raise a man like you, my son.

June 14, 2019

S5-Ep169 - TED Talk Review (Part 2)

https://youtu.be/CyElHdaqkjo

 Yesterday we gave a review of the Ted Talk listed in our shown notes. How to raise successful kids -- without over-parenting | Julie Lythcott-Haims

We talked yesterday about the checklist childhood.  You have to have kids that are athletic, community service, high SAT, piano playing, code breaking, social geniuises.

Phew. Exhausting just to write.

 But today we get into her statement to “Widen your definition of success”.

    Not all success stories end with doctor or lawyer.

It’s at this point she gets into my favorite spot. Of course it’s my favorite topic because I preach it all the time.

She labels it  “Self efficacy” The idea that one's actions lead to ones outcomes. 

Or defined another way, “an individual's belief in their innate ability to achieve goals.”

And newsflash – they don’t get to achieve their goals with the bulldozer parent writing the script for their lives.
As Julie says, “They have to do all the things for themselves. The hoping and coping.”

So we need to back off and let go right? No. That’s not what she’s saying.
And this is my favorite part because we’ve talked about the 4 parenting types, and I don’t condone the free range childhood-the total letting go. We do condone the authoritative type. That type which teaches lessons through reason and consequence.

 Julie goes on to say that our job as parents is to create a foundation. Again not a total checklist of goals completed. She wants us to build the ‘wellness to be successful.’ … that’s powerful man. Our job as parents is to create “well” children. Mentally stable and capable to succeed later in life.

She says, “Childhood is a foundation – and the best foundations are of love and chores.”

                Yup, chores she mentions specifically, you’ll have to watch the study to learn about the Harvard grant study, but chores are a betterment to the whole. And that’s a good lesson.

Your kids are not bonsai trees - they are wildflowers. Your job is to nourish them whatever genus and species they are.

June 13, 2019

S5-Ep168 - TED Talk Review (Part 1)

https://youtu.be/CyElHdaqkjo

 There’s a TED talk out on the youtubes. I’ll include a link to it … on my youtube account. My youtube account and our website house our show notes, so wherever you consume content, please bring us along.

Well the title of this TED talk – pretty straightforward: How to raise successful kids -- without over-parenting | Julie Lythcott-Haims. I felt a connection right away when she said, she never intended to set out to be a parenting expert. Yea, that was me too. A most unlikely person to be giving parenting advice. Not because we know too little, but likely because the more you start to know about any one subject, the more you see all endless possibilities within it. And that can be daunting for me.
The second thing she said that I understood: “The checklisted childhood”. You know, that list that we all believe is out there, maybe tucked away in a college admission counselor’s desk, which, if you can complete every item on that list, with distinction, then we can get our kid into that very fine university.

  But we also have that question in the back of our heads, “What’s it all for?”

  Success to you and I isn’t necessarily Duke, or Cornell. In fact, a lot of people I know would kick themselves in the ass had they become the type of person who is solely defined by their college.

In her speech, Julie says; maybe we're afraid they won't have a future we can brag about.

And that sounds so 2019. To be a good parent you have to have things to brag about … but not brag too much.

I’m a little 50/50 on this one: I mean, if parenting is the most important job we'll ever have then why the hell shouldn't I do everything in my power to succeed at it?

                And I will continue to try. And I will tell you all to try.

                But I think hoping for a degree of perfection. (One that we weren't asked to do either), is too much.

You know one thing I bet none of us have ever told our children?  "You've done enough"

And you wonder why the millennials lead in anxiety diagnoses.

Julie says, “If you have the courage to look at it. We're saying "You can't handle this without me".”

That’s a damaging thing to tell a child, and tomorrow we’ll be back here for part 2 of this response to help you understand How to raise successful kids -- without over-parenting.

We’ll see you tomorrow.

June 12, 2019

S5-Ep167 - Your parenting is not validated by their test scores.

 Viewer discretion advised. Today’s counsel comes from Jay Shetty. Jay Shetty is the man. And when I say “the man” I really mean he’s the man at making us feel like we don’t know shit. Yea, we want to live our lives in the right way. We want to find happiness deep inside of us that’s strong enough to battle, and beat, the demons. We want to look to people who have it figured out and are willing to give us the advice for free.

That’s Jay Shetty.

But you can say some pretty clichéd things on the internet and you’ll get a pretty big following.

 So I need your help to figure out if what he says is true, false, or somewhere in the middle.

   He says,

                ▪ Your worth is not defined by your kids bank balance. Your parenting is not validated by their test scores. Your success is not based on the car they drive.

                                ▪ What matters is the relationship with them.

                                ▪ If money power and fame didn't exist would you be happy with who your children are?

                                ▪ We're covering our insecurities with their success.

 

Remember what I needed help with? Is it true, false, or in the middle?
If you’re a listener of this channel, I think you’re smart enough to get the right answer. In the middle. Life is not black or white. It’s grey.

And while our relationship matters the most with our kids - that friendship relationship is one that you have to keep at arms length.
Are we covering our insecurities with our children’s successes? Maybe, but we all cover our insecurities with something. It’s better than booze, and it’ll make a lasting impact on the human race should we raise a successful nurse, receptionist, or banker. Remember nurses, receptionsists, and bankers turn out to be parents too. 

 But there are some good lessons – And one that we’ll get into tomorrow as well – let’s not limit our kids to the very narrow subset of careers that enable ultra high bank balances, or provide fancy cars.

Let’s love them for who they are and build a nice foundation for whatever success looks like for them.

June 11, 2019

S5-Ep166 - The Five Factors of Your Kid (Part 5)

 This week we started in to the 5 factors of personality. Do you remember part 4 from yesterday? Correct. Agreeableness. That being compassionate and cooperative rather than suspicious and antagonistic towards others.

Agreeableness is a goal. Everyone must get along in the real world. Except for one of my current customers, he’s trying to suck out every last ounce from our business, all for his gain, and that makes me hate my job. Working with people who are all in it for themselves – don’t get the most out of people.

 But part 5 is about Neuroticism.

  A scary word honestly. That balance between (sensitive/nervous vs. secure/confident).

It should be clear by now that I am to help you raise secure children.
We talk about developing confidence. We try to give examples how you push your children to do things on their own. We talk about how ‘kids are what they think you think they are’.

It all goes back to doing it for themselves. And at times learning from their mistakes.

 Neuroticism: The tendency to experience unpleasant emotions easily, such as anger, anxiety, depression, and vulnerability

Family life and the way someone was raised will also affect these traits. Twin studies and other research have shown that about half of the variation between individuals results from their genetics and half from their environments.

So conscientiousness, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and neuroticism are the 5 factors of your child.

Learn them, test them, push your kids to do more and be there for support. But love whoever they are and make sure you tell them that.

June 10, 2019

S5-Ep165 - The Five Factors of Your Kid (Part 4)

 This week we started in to the 5 factors of personality. Do you remember part 3 from yesterday? Correct. Extraversion. That ability to gain energy from a loud crazy surrounding, or Introversion, that ability to recharge your batteries from some alone time.

 Today we talk about agreeableness. That’s the 4th personality trait that we come up with.

  In researching these five factors, I found that there have been all kinds of theories about personalities over the years. Some crazy, some obvious. But someone spent a life’s work and came up with 4,000 different traits that define who we are. I feel bad for this person. A life’s work only to have the world devolve into a place where people form opinions over clickbait headlines, while tripping into mall water features because they were texting.

Anyway, Agreeableness is being between: (friendly/compassionate vs. challenging/detached).

So this is a clear winner right? Friendly wins. All day. Every day.

Probably wrong. High agreeableness can be seen as naive or submissive.

And some of the great leaders or maybe bosses you’ve had have challenged you instead of agreeing with you.

My belief is life is a balance of these two.
The challenge of raising girls who stand up for themselves, but also work well in teams (a requirement of the real world right?). That’s a challenge that’s always existed, but I think it’s made more tough today.

First, I think schools are actually great places for figuring this out. You don’t realize it but sending your kid to school is probably enough. Providing near constant social interaction is the game, and school is that.

I believe our job as parents is to talk with them when they get home about what they went through. To ask them if that group project was fun, or worrisome. To give encouragement that they can do it, but when they get home, they can hang in their room for 20 minutes to unwind.

If that’s what they need.

June 9, 2019

S5-Ep164 - The Five Factors of Your Kid (Part 3)

 This week we started in to the 5 factors of personality. Do you remember part 2 from yesterday? Correct. Conscientiousness. That efficient & organized attitude vs that easy going and careless attitude.

I concede on this one that raising highly conscientious kids is likely the proper goal here, but we all fall in the middle of that scale somewhere.

 But today we talk about extraversion.

   And when my now 6 year old was 2-3 years old, and being our little prince, and being the only one at the times, AND being around two more introverted than extraverted people – I found it completely understandable that he was very slow to open up or get comfortable in new surroundings with new people.

And I thought he would be like that well into middle school.
But, credit to my wife, we got him out there and did a variety of activities. When we took him to open gym time in the winter, we said, go have fun, and left it at that. Sure we’d comfort him in the beginning, but the goal was always to get him, maybe even require him, to break free.

And last year on the first day of school, and with some preparation, he walked into his classroom and sat down and opened a book and didn’t look back.
He’s still a ‘reflective’ personality. He’s still a bit aloof, and reserved, but we know that know. We, as parents, know that we can push him to be bigger than his feelings, and he has the confidence to believe that in himself.

 

Those are the wins you should be shooting for. It’s easy to shoot for best math student, best baseball player, or most funny/popular. It’s the getting them to be introverted or be extraverted, but be that on their own. Those are the wins we should be shooting for  

June 8, 2019

S5-Ep163 - The Five Factors of Your Kid (Part 2)

 Yesterday we started in to the 5 factors of personality. Do you remember part 1? Correct. Openness.

Do you remember which facet of openness (more or less) you should drive your kid to become?

Correct – there is no right answer. While we want to mold minds, we also need to understand and love who they are. Start with that, and use these to guide you on the parenting path.

   It is important to note that each of the five personality factors represents a range between two extremes. For example, extraversion represents a continuum between extreme extraversion and extreme introversion. In the real world, most people lie somewhere in between the two polar ends of each dimension.

So what’s number 2?

  Conscientiousness (efficient/organized vs. easy-going/careless).

To all the highly organized, always on time to their well prepared schedules – this will be a hard sell to raise an easy going, “Type B”.

 This is the tendency to be organized and dependable, show self-discipline, act dutifully, aim for achievement, and prefer planned rather than spontaneous behavior. High conscientiousness is often perceived as being stubborn and focused. Low conscientiousness is associated with flexibility and spontaneity, but can also appear as sloppiness and lack of reliability.

   I think it’s fair to try and raise conscientious kids. Kids who show self-discipline, act dutifully, and aim for achievement is a pretty universal goal. And we here try to help with that with our daily lessons. But understand your kid too. They may just feel a little more spontaneity than you and I do, and that can be allowed too.

June 7, 2019

S5-Ep162 - The Five Factors of Your Kid (Part 1)

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Big_Five_personality_traits

 Many contemporary personality psychologists believe that there are five basic dimensions of personality, often referred to as the "Big 5" personality traits. They are extraversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness, and neuroticism. We’ll get into these over the next week. But first we have to talk about the “Why”.

So to understand your kid – but really to understand any human – These are 5 things that start to define them. Where the “Them” is personality.

First, I’m blown away by the concept that the sum of these 5 parts is what makes all of us unique and individual. 8 billion people on the planet and they’re all different.

Second. We often think of the 8 billion other people as being different than us. Take a Mongolian, speaking a different language, growing up in a rural farm, never having heard of the ‘Grand Canyon’ and you think it’s impossible to find something in common. False. There is a Mongolian with these 5 similar personality traits as you. That’s crazy.

And third – like any good engineer I think I can build things and people. And to build my son up I think it’s important to try and guide – not create a personality – but understand my kid’s personality and help him based on what he is.

 So what is part number one?

  The first factor is “Openness to Experience”. (inventive/curious vs. consistent/cautious).

Appreciation for art, emotion, adventure, unusual ideas, curiosity, and variety of experience.

And I have to jump right in here and say there is no right answer. Your kid may be curious or he may be cautious.

Great for them. Tell them that’s what you love about them. Say, “I love that you request we brush our teeth each night.”

Now you think the right answer is that openness to experience is that the more open you are, the better you are. It’s not true. In this 3 minutes we can’t dive deep enough to explain the differences, so you’ll have to trust this snippet here:

  “those with low openness seek to gain fulfillment through perseverance and are characterized as pragmatic and data-driven.”

   What does a pragmatic, data driven, perseverance person look like? It may look like Zuckerberg. I don’t know Zuck, but that programmer’s mind he has is data driven. And he’s persevered through a lot – that’s called grit.

  So don’t try to mold your kid. Give him or her opportunities and see how they react. See how open they are to experience.

  We’ll be back tomorrow with Part 2 of the 5 factors of personality.

June 6, 2019

S5-Ep161 - Request, Don’t Complain.

 We made it through the whole winter. But now my 6 year old comes up with a cold. And he may have had a bug over the winter, I just don’t keep a logbook of every sniffle. But a small summer cold isn’t much to complain about, until it’s your 6 year old and he picks at his nose all the time.  So I find myself saying things like, “that’s gross”, or being very short, “Go wipe your nose”. But essentially, I’m complaining.

 So I as I was running through my podcast notes, I came across this phrase.

   Request, don’t complain.

And we all have things that get our goat. We do need to correct unacceptable behaviors as parents. But first – let’s go back to an old lesson and define what’s unacceptable. Is Swinging the legs at the dinner table unacceptable? It may not be. You may want control over your kids limbs … but their his limbs. If they’re kicking you. Yes. If they are damaging the table. Yes. If he’s just a fidgeter. We need to back off.

 

In fact - side story here.

                Kids need rules and limits in their lives. They need the structure. They need to learn how to delay their own gratification, especially in this instant-gratification, right-now world we live in. Do, however, choose your battles wisely, too many rules can cause rebellion.

 

But on the unacceptable things; in essence what we really want is for something to change.

And the most natural way is to yell. Or demand.

But the most effective way is to ask.

In the future, if you use a Kleenex, I would really appreciate it if you put them in the trash. Thanks."

And when it happens. Say thanks.

And when it doesn’t happen. Well, things can’t happen until it gets done. “Sorry, I can’t play with you with all of these Kleenex’s not in the trash”.

It’s hard. I admit. But it’s the best approach, if you can hack it.

 

June 5, 2019

S5-Ep160 - Wait – Helicopter Parenting Works?

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/07/opinion/helicopter-parents-economy.html

 Based off of a New York Times article, this article includes the obligatory clickbait headline.
And that’s the problem with today’s information – people judge the book by it’s cover. They justify their thoughts by a headline.

So more than just having The Parenting Fastcast get you the details, the guts of the article, we hope to be your trusted source. But that means we have to dive deeper.

 So what’s this article really say?

   Well it turns out that at its most basic it says that parents who spend time with their kids help their kids succeed. Parents who are active in parenting raise more successful kids.  And if that’s the wide definition of helicopter parenting that they want to use then I’m all for it. Increasing hands-on caregiving – that’s a good thing.

That’ll get you about 50% of the way there. So for all you mothers and fathers out there killing yourself over parenting – it’s a good start. For the uninvolved fathers out there – we need to work on it.

And the other points of the article are that there are more successful parents than others. And the drill sergeant parent we talked about in the VERY beginning of Season 5 isn’t it. It’s the “authoritative” parent that is the winner. It’s them that set their kids up for success, and a lifetime of increased salary, and happier lives.

Remember authoritative parents “use reasoning to persuade kids to do things that are good for them.”

 

So keep on listening here and we’ll keep on giving advice on ways to talk with your kids. Reason with them even if they don’t seem to reason on their own, and hopefully, just hopefully. We’ll change the next generation for the better.