Dad Tip #28 – Be considerate of your body language.

Remember that they’re constantly watching your movements and your kids learn from you. Be calm and considerate.

July Parenting News Recap:

Article: Dads now spend 3 times as much time with their kids than previous generations

For some people, bashing millennial’s has become a running joke. It’s really popular to call us lazy and unmotivated and to say that we’re afraid of hard work. To those, I point out this article and say that so many of the people in this generation are committed, dedicated and caring. “Back in 1982, a whopping 43% of fathers admitted they’d never changed a diaper. Today, that number is down to about 3%”

The title of this article speaks for itself. This new generation of dads may not be perfect, but in many ways, we rock.

Baby Food Has Too Much Sugar And Is Marketed Wrongly, WHO Says

My wife and I often make our own baby food using fresh fruits and vegetables in a baby cook, but we still rely on purchasing baby food from the grocery store. It’s critical that parents have truth in advertising and it’s sad to see that according to a new World Health Organization report, “Baby food often contains too much sugar and is incorrectly advertised as suitable for infants under 6 months of age.” Baby food has been one of the most important things that I’ve worked to research and it’s vital that parents have a healthy option that is not overly reliant on sugar. It can be a challenge to know what to feed a child after the six month mark, but if the community of parents put pressure on the major food companies, they will work to provide better labeling in baby food.

Father tries to grasp how he could have left twins to die in hot car

The reality is that no matter how tired, exhausted, or if you’re running late, always check the back seat. This is one of the most tragic things I could ever imagine, but it’s important that we don’t simply say “that would never happen” and instead, put some onus on ourselves to save these children.

What you can do: Write or contact your congressman and ask them to support The Hot Cars Act of 2019. According to this article, this act, “would mandate the installation of technology that at a minimum would remind drivers to check the back seat.”

We have had four straight years of summers with record heat and the data shows that July is the worst month for child hot car deaths. This data shows that the problem is getting worse with rear facing car seats and as “Stress and sleep deprivation can make these memory lapses more common,”. Parents are feeling stressed in raising their children and these mistakes are happening far too often. “Since 1998, about 440 children nationwide have died of heatstroke after being forgotten in cars, generally not because of a lack of love… but because of how human memory functions.”

We must address this issue because there are 440 kids who should be smiling, learning to walk, playing catch with their parents, learning algebra, volunteering their time, writing a college essay graduating from college or entering the workforce. One child is too many, but 440 is something that MUST allow us to have a broader conversation. The memories of these kids can save lives in the future. We must act now to prevent the next hot car death.

June Parenting News Recap: Dad Shaming, No Kid Fantasies and Cell Distractions.

1) NY Times – The Damage of Dad-Shaming

My thoughts after reading this:
My Dad-Shame came on a chilly winter day at the library. My child’s full diaper could not wait and she tried to roll off the changing pad of the family restroom. As we got ready to head to the car, I struggled to put on her jacket and get her into the stroller. Just then, a young woman walked by, smiled at my frustration and condescendingly said, “Dad’s day with daughter.” The “Dig” implied that I was struggling due to inexperience and it hurt because I was a stay at home dad who was with her all the time. If the woman saw the exact same behavior with my wife, I suspect the comment might have been “oh she must be hungry,” or “she must be tired.” It was something that stuck with me, but it also made me appreciate the countless people who have had kind words and positive interactions with my daughter.

Key Article Takeaways –
* When Dads are criticized or shamed for their parenting, it often leads to them wanting to be less involved.
* There can often be a double standard where dads get an undue amount of praise for doing things that moms are simply expected to do.
* Dad’s want to be involved but often have a different parenting style.

2) Wall Street Journal – It’s okay to feel ambivalent about your children

My thoughts after reading this:
The article references several examples of parents who are struggling with the notion of their own individuality, including a reference to a dad who feels like his kids have kept him from leading the life he wants. This makes me think of an important quote from Pastor Stephen Furtick: “We Overestimate what we could do with an opportunity we don’t have and underestimate what we could do with an opportunity we do have.” It seems like in society, there’s so much focus on “What If” as opposed to “What now”. I feel sorry for the father who questioned his decision to have kids, but I think that it’s important to remember that kids don’t have to get in the way of our dreams, they can make us move mountains to accomplish them. Before my daughter, I used to write in-depth analytical pieces about politics, race and the challenges of growing up as a millennial. I literally used to wake up some nights, stressed out about what I was writing about, but now I am enjoying every moment that I get to write about parenting. My child hasn’t stolen my individuality, she’s enhanced it.  

Key Takeaways –
* The article begins with a dad struggling with his decision to have children and wondering what his life would have been like if he never had them.
* Studies are paying more attention to depression in fathers and parental feelings of ambivalence (having mixed feelings or contradictory ideas about something or someone.)
* Ends with an intriguing quote “You can love your kids and still want to flee from them.”

3) Thrive Global – Parenting While Distracted

My thoughts after reading this:
I’ve been hearing a lot about distracted parenting in the news and recently downloaded an app to track my own screen time. I think it’s incredibly important to put your phone down and focus on the moment when you are with your kids. Play is the business of children, and it’s important that we help facilitate their learning with our attention.

* The article cites a phenomenon known as the “Still Face Paradigm” in which infants grow weary if their parent is physically in the room but expressionless and emotionally unavailable.
* References a Global study surveying children, who believe that their parents checked their devices too often and felt “unimportant” when they did.
* States the importance of being wary of where we focus our attention.

Thanks to the family and friends who have shared news and information with me. Each month I plan to highlight relevant articles and share them.