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Happy Father’s Day!

Three links in honor of Father’s Day.  (I couldn’t find free stuff like I did for Mother’s Day–sorry!!)

1.  Was Father’s Day invented by Hallmark?  ;^)  No, but you can find the real history here.

2.  This article about a woman adopted by her (deceased) mother’s ex-boyfriend is sweet and heart warming–and made me tear up a little. 

3.  Barack Obama’s essay in honor of Father’s Day.  One quote: “I think about the pledge I made to [Melia] that
day: that I would give her what I never had–that if I could be anything in life, I would be a good
father.”  It reminded me of the oft-quoted comment from Jackie Kennedy: ” If you bungle raising your children, I don’t think whatever else you do well matters very much.” 

So for this weekend, and always: here’s to the sweet, strong, funny, playful, goofy, tender, protective, loyal, and hard-working–in all parents, but especially this weekend, in our Daddies.

Q: Should my child be allowed to have a TV/computer in their room?

Question:  Should my child be allowed to have a TV/computer in their room?

I advise against it.  Three thoughts regarding why: 

  1. It limits or reduces personal communication and interaction with family members.  Sometimes quality time is plain-ole quantity time!
  2. P*rnography on the internet.  Yes, you’ve got parental controls installed.  Yes, you don’t think your child knows about it/is interested in it yet.  And, I promise you that those things aren’t as secure of a safety net as you think they are.  Really.  I promise.  I’ve heard this story go wrong more times than you would think.  And it’s so unfortunate when it happens, because the internet really isn’t how you want your child to be educated about sex. 
  3. Missed teachable moments.  If your child sees, say, a “Wardrobe Malfunction” on TV in front of you and everyone else at your Superbowl party, you can talk to them about it later.  You can have a good conversation about nudity, privacy, and the like.  BUT.  If they see the same body part exposed while they are watching TV alone in their room, they won’t get the parenting, the guidance, the support, the understanding, or the values lesson they need to balance that experience. 

Follow up question:  But don’t we tell our child that we trust her?  Doesn’t it send a mixed message to say, “Yes we trust you but you have to use the laptop where we can see you?”

A:  There are many ways in which we trust our kids but still provide structure/limits/backup. Children absolutely live their lives in a ‘smaller’ world than the real world.  That way, when they make the inevitable mistakes, they don’t suffer big consequences.  You’re not sending a message that says you don’t trust your child, you’re sending a message that says you are her parent, and you will protect, guide, and support her as best you can, until she’s 18/21/30 years old and finally ready to leave the nest and take on the wide unfiltered world out there. 

The Best Gift Idea

Short and simple–the best gifts are often experiences, rather than things.

Most of the kids I know & work with don’t need any more THINGS.  They have too many already.  But what they do need, and want, are more connected, loving, fun, adventurous, memorable experiences–especially experiences with their parents.

Next time you have a gift-giving opportunity, consider giving an experience.  You can pre-pay, put the gift card, description, or photo of the experience in a box and wrap it up, just like a toy.  But when your sweet child opens it up, they get the promise of horseback riding, or a trip to the ice cream shop, or a special Mommy & Me spa day, or the guitar lessons they’ve been asking for instead of one more item to own & store.  Those are truly gifts that last.

PS.  Have you read this book?  It’s a hilarious kids’ book that makes fun of having too many toys.
PPS.  Check that book out from the library instead of buying it!  Otherwise this post ends up sending mixed messages.  ;^)

One more note:  What experiences have you given your kids before?  Leave a comment and share some of your great experience-gift-ideas.  Here’s a few more to get us started:

  • music lessons
  • pottery-painting together
  • ride in horse-drawn carriage in downtown Austin
  • dinner out at fancy (very “grownup”) restaurant
  • pedicures together
  • laser tag with a couple of friends
  • daytrip to a cool mountain biking park
  • daytrip to the dinosaur park