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August, 2010 | Journal of a Dad
Archive | August, 2010

Dad’s Journal: The Big Move

Well, after a week of no internet access (which was not entirely a bad thing), we’re back and ready to embark on our next big adventure as a family.

As mentioned previously, part of this adventure involves the great one-on-one quality time I am getting with my 10-year-old son Casey and my wife is getting with 8-year-old Joshua 750 miles away. During the next week, we both are going to chronicle some of highlights of that time hoping that maybe you can relate or draw something from the documentation.

We are in the midst of a big move, from South Florida to Upstate South Carolina. There are so many things that go into a move, from leaving friends and family, to leaving a home and getting another, to new jobs, communities, churches, schools and people to get integrated with and somehow find a new comfort zone. In our situation, as in many it seems I’ve come across lately, the move also involves some sort of temporary separation of the family as well.

I know most to most of you reading this none of what I just listed is necessarily new at all – most of us have been through multiple moves in our lives – but it doesn’t make the stresses on the family unit any less difficult each time a move takes place.

I am hoping that with this documentation of our situation that you’ll consider commenting on any and every post, sharing your experiences in similar situations. And by having this entire ordeal chronicled and archived, I’m hoping to be able to not only learn but to share the good and the bad with those in the future who face similar circumstances.

So, rather than the regular informational features we have here, for the next week this blog will read more like a diary than anything else. I hope you enjoy it, can relate to it, and maybe even can learn from it.

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Four Benefits Of Quality One-On-One Time With Your Kids

It’s important to spend time – any time we can find – with our kids. It’s also very important, especially as dads, to carve out one-on-one quality time with each one of our kids as regularly as we can. The benefits are amazing, and also have a tendency to be residual in nature.

1)      Knowing by Learning. The more we learn about our kids, the more we know them, and the better we’ll do in the relationship, especially when there is conflict or challenges. It seems simple enough, but be honest about it – do you really know what makes your kid(s) tick? I was embarrassed when I put myself to the test. And another note – it’s never too late to start. While we should get into the habit early into our kids’ lives, if we haven’t done so (while it may be more difficult), it’s always worth trying – no matter what their age.

2)      Building Self Esteem. This is an easy one. When a kid is being paid attention, he/she feels important. We always want our kids to feel important and really know how much we care about them. In a world that is ever-increasingly “me first,” one-on-one quality time with each kid not only proves that they and what they are interested in are important enough in our schedules, but also teaches them to follow our lead. Studies have also proven this to be an especially great help for kids who struggle with ADD or ADHD.

3)      Reducing Sibling Rivalry. Where the bond between parents and each individual child is strong due to the one-on-one quality time being spent with each, it has been proven to greatly reduce sibling rivalry in the household. Since the parents really know (or at least have a clue) what’s going on, the challenges are generally met before they blow up into huge problems. We parents do need to be levelheaded in our approach, of course, because any appearance of favoritism will destroy this benefit.

4)      Handling Stress. Talking things out and knowing what stresses out our kids will greatly help the family deal with the inevitable stress monster. As was discussed in this post last week, our kids basically learn how to deal with stress from us. It’d be good and therapeutic for all of us to discuss our approach when such situations arise, whether it be their stress or ours.

It’s easy to be a parent, especially a dad, whose relationship with kids is basically a slew of barked out orders, threats of consequences and tough challenges. The flip side is often a dad who says nothing and then wonders why his kids don’t talk to him. We need to pay attention, ask questions, and study, because it is indeed an education.  Talk regularly, one-on-one, and enjoy the quality time.

For ideas on how to carve out that time, read our previous post.

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