Thursday, December 31, 2015

Feeling Ignored?

Hey older single dads. Share how you handle the holidays when your grown kids have not contacted you. In what ways do you deal with the pain of indifference? Please respond in the comments below.

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Can I vent for a minute?

I was attempting a quiet breakfast while preparing for a full day of meetings on a recent business trip. In the hotel breakfast area, a dad was checking his mobile device while his two boys ran back and forth to the waffle maker spilling batter on the floor and pouring syrup into the hot griddle just to watch it sizzle and smoke.

A moment later they were grabbing cereal with their hands and screaming at each other. The dad looked up, momentarily annoyed, but did nothing. The other guests were aggravated too, but these days everyone is afraid to confront or say anything for fear of backlash.

A serving spoon hit the floor, flinging scrambled eggs across the floor. Shaking their heads, an elderly couple decided to leave without finishing their meal. The front desk staff walked over and smiled at the boys gently asking them to have a seat.

"You're not my Mommy" one brat protested, turning his back on her.

The woman and I glanced at one another as my mouth dropped.

I looked at the father, expecting his intervention. He was still "busy."

As the smaller child reached for another handful of cereal. I grabbed his arm and stopped him. "Oops, let me help you young man. You seem to have jelly on your hands. Would you like a bowl for cereal?"

He nodded and smiled. "Okay, go have a seat with your father and I'll bring it to you."

The woman rolled her eyes, thanked me and walked back to the front desk.

I took the bowl of Fruit Loops over to the table and the dad looked at me confused.

"I thought I'd help your son with this. He was making a mess and you looked distracted. Happy to help." I smiled.

The dad mumbled something that might have been a "thank you" but I'm still not quite sure. It might have been "I didn't ask for help." Either way, I decided to say "Your welcome" as I turned to finish getting my own breakfast.

That was it. The chaos had ended and the hyper little boy settled down to eat.

I'm not telling this story to bring attention to how wonderful I am by intervening. Forgive me if it sounds this way. I just thought it was a typical story I see all the time. In stores, in libraries, in museums.

Dad's there's a time and place for allowing your kids to run off energy and be rowdy...it's called parks and playgrounds or your own backyard. Even then, we dads need to pay attention and engage in our child's world.

To the man at the hotel. Im not sure what your story is. I want to think the best. Perhaps you were taking care of an emergency or the death of loved one. Maybe you won "Dad of the Year" last June. Whatever your story, please make a small effort (that's all it takes at times) to control your kids and take responsibility as a parent. It's dads like you who make us all look like self-absorbed idiots.

Okay Im done.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

October Photo Caption Contest


Come up with the funniest caption for this photo and win a free copy of The Single Dad Detour. Previous winners cannot enter. Contest ends October 31st.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Looking for a good investment in your son?

You all know how passionate I am about creating a secure sense of safety for your kids after a divorce. It helps them establish their family identity. Every child needs to know the love of their parents. It's that foundational knowledge that can bring families closer together or break them apart if it isn't there.

My friend and fellow author Ben Wolf wrote "I'd Punch a Lion in His Eye for You" as a tangible way to show his son Liam how much he loved him. He has since started a Kickstarter Campaign to help fund its production.


I'm a big fan of Ben's work, and I believe in this message. I know you do too. Would you consider joining me in supporting his campaign to produce this much-needed book? If you can't give at least share this link with others.

Check out this fun and quirky children's book now.

LEARN MORE


Thursday, September 3, 2015

When Kids Want to Live with the Other Parent

When a 5 or 15 year old says to a judge at a family court hearing, “I want to live with my dad [or mom]” most judges will take the child’s statement literally and side with him/her.  

With that said, parents or judges that think it’s the best interest to do what is said by the child during or after a divorce may be mistaken. It could come back to haunt all of them (judges, parents, and the kids when they grow older).

Anyone involved during a legal proceeding when it comes down to “the best interest of the child” will tell you, it’s not a pretty situation for all involved. 

What do you think? Ever been through this yourself?

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Tips for When your Kids do Household Chores

It’s very important for children to help out with small chores around the house. Kids will grow into responsible, caring and considerate people in society. If you have children, you have probably experienced them resisting simple house chores. Every kid should feel appreciated and playing a role in helping around the house can achieve that goal. Here are some tips on encouraging your children to help out.
  •  Always Show Appreciation

It always feels good when people appreciate our good work. This is the same goes with kids. Never take anything a child does for granted. Kids love it when their parents show appreciation for small jobs done at home. Appreciating what your child does helps produce confidence. They will be more willing to chip in next time without being told. Further, appreciating what your kid does models them to appreciate and show gratitude in life.
  •  Always Encourage Them

Encouraging your child whenever they mess up is probably the most important tip. Kids will always make mistakes as they learn. Don't sweat the small stuff, bite your tongue and encourage them. Children learn by making mistakes, always be understanding as they navigate the learning curve. Criticizing children lowers their morale and makes them shy away from duties. Don’t grumble about the mess, teach your child and let them try things over and over again.
  • Be specific 

In most cases, children have a hard time cooperating with you when asked to help out. Instead of telling your child to clean the house, be more precise about the kind of job you want them to do. Instead of asking them to help you with the laundry, ask them to take ten minutes each to help you with the laundry. Being more specific makes the child set their mind to the particular task to be done. Allocate the child tasks that are less time consuming as they slowly learn to help out.
  • Take Time to Train

Kids need to learn how to do simple things in the house like cracking an egg. It is important to give quick and fun tutorials to your child. Children don’t know how to perform simple tasks like sweeping or washing dishes. Engage them in these tasks as you explain to them how to handle them with ease. Teach them how to wash the different utensils. Assign them few tasks after the tutorials and encourage them as they perform them. Most children use the lack of skills as a reason for not helping out. Sneaky devils.
  • Conclusion

Our children make our family complete and it is important to make them help out with small house chores. They must be made to feel wanted and contributing to the well-being of the family.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Father's Day Caption Contest

IN HONOR OF DADS EVERYWHERE

Get your free copy of the CD "A Father's Lullaby" by Nick Lachey

Come up with the funniest caption for this photo and win our Father's Day contest.

Previous winners not eligible. Contest ends at midnight on Father's Day. Winner will be announced June 22.

Ready, set, go!

The prize is a beautiful CD  filled with tender songs performed by Platinum-selling artist Nick Lachey, including classic and original music. A perfect Father's Day gift to yourself or any dad.

Monday, May 18, 2015

But how?......

Radio interview with Tez

How do you respond when you've lost your temper?
How important are family traditions?
How do you create a welcoming home for your child?
LISTEN NOW!

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Leading Your Family Spiritually

“I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
—Jesus, from John 10:10 (NIV)

I really desire to have a life more abundant. That’s what we all want for our families isnt it? But where to begin? And where do we find the time?  
Focus on the Family has some great ideas:

Make it fun.

Help your kids explore their faith, with gentle course corrections along the way.

Keep it simple.

Ask leading questions that feed your child’s curiosity and fuel conversation.

Watch for opportunities.

Make simple observations in the teachable moments that happen in everyday life.

Talk to God together.

Pray with your kids about the things they care about — and celebrate when God answers.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

And the winner is.....

Thanks to everyone who entered to win my Day with Dad giveaway! I'm pleased to announce the winner is Mark Watson. Congratulations Mark! 

Litfuse Publicity will be in touch with you via email to help you claim your $150 prize.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Valentine activity with your kid

Saw this on Facebook and had to try.  It works!!

Just boil and peel a normal egg. Then place it in a piece of folded cardboard, put a pencil on top and tape it all securely together. Chill for 20 minutes and tadaaa! You have a fun heart-shaped egg for your kids to enjoy.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Valentine's Day and Your Daughter

     My wife is the bomb!
   
     I love reminding her she is the most important person in the world to me. Valentine's Day is one of the times I can show her all day long. But why is it my mind also drifts toward my three girls on V Day?

My eldest daughter is grown and lives three states away from me. I have two more daughters still at home. Yet each Valentine's Day my heart is drawn to show them affection as well.
 
     I think it's because of an unbreakable connection a girl and a daddy share. Even abusive dads who have done horrible things to their kids have this connection (however damaged) that girls can never sever as hard as they try.
   
     That's why we dads (especially if divorce touched our family) must carefully steward that rope that is forever connected to our daughter's heart.
   
      I often fail to do this well. Just being male brings misunderstandings between us. I bark orders that to me, are just observations or requests. Like a coach that spurs on his team. I dont expect anyone to take it personal.

     "Let's go! Comb your hair, get your shoes on, you're gonna be late. Watch the clock. Why are you staring out the window? Get going!"

     I'm just asking questions and making observations. I'm not angry nor do I have anything against them.

     What my girls often hear is a prison sergeant hissing out angry oppressive accusations.

      (Heavy sigh). Girls are so sensitive.

     So tomorrow is Valentine's Day and somehow I want to show them how loved they are. I want to let them know how crazy I am about them. They are all intelligent, clever, and beautiful young ladies that have to ability to transform the world. I'm proud to be connected to them.

     What better time to show this than V Day. Of course I never want to place my girls in a position of replacing the romantic relationship I can only find with a wife. Putting them in that role is unhealthy and a little weird. Yet I see a lot of single parents do this. That is dysfunctional and unfair to the child. But that's a topic for another day.

     What I'm talking about is buying a cute stuffed bear or some candy hearts for your little girl. Or if she's older, a nice card. Until she's finally married off, she must know that YOU are her knight in shining armor. Your extravagant affection might just keep her from too soon looking elsewhere for love.

     For the record, it's my belief that after your daughter is married, her husband should be the one filling those needs. It's time for Dad to step back and let Mr. Right do his job.

     So what ways do you model how precious your daughter is? Comment below and share how you have trained your daughter what to expect from a man--how they should be honored and loved.

   
     

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Caption Contest

Here's your chance to win a free copy of my book The Single Dad Detour.


Come up with the funniest caption for this photo. 

Contest ends Feb 20th
Type in your entry in the comments section below.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Protecting Your Teen Daughter from Heartbreak

So a few days ago, a DJ on the radio says his teen daughter just experienced her first heart-break over a guy at school who dumped her for another girl. He tells the other radio host, "So we're giving her some space."

I was shocked that this dad's response was so casual and nonchalant.

I had a million questions I wanted to ask this preoccupied dad:
Why didn't you ever make an effort meet this guy?
Did you talk to her about getting your permission before letting a guy capture her heart?
Have you trained her how to protect her heart from becoming defrauded like this?
Do you plan to talk to his parents? Have you even made an effort to meet them?
Why don't you protect her from these romances until she's ready for marriage?

I wanted to call in to the program. There was so much wrong with this situation I didn't know where to start. First of all, our family home schools and his probably doesn't...so we can't even relate on the philosophy differences of that topic. But it does bring up some great points in favor of home-schooling. One of those being that we don't ever have to worry about my daughter spending 6 hours a day at school with a boy... with no parents around to monitor the relationship and what kind of romancing this boy is trying to pull off. Does he have business wooing someone's daughter if he casnt afford to marry and support her? Isn't he just "playing house"--having the fun of romancing a girl with no need to be a responsible man? He cant even follow through on any promises he's making to love this girl. But isn't this what we teach our boys to do? ....to practice for marriage for several years, using some girl(s) and leaving a trail of broken and defrauded hearts until they want to settle down? I know Im on a soapbox...sorry.

I'm so sad for this girl. Her parents are just following society norms. My ideals are so wierd to most I don't share them unless people ask. Besides I have no idea if my plans to protect my girl will work in the end. I've seen a lot of kids who are home-schooled rebel as young adults. So I don't want to come across like some parent with the perfect plan, then end up eating crow later down the road. I'm so prone to self-righteousness and pride. Hate that.

What about you other dads out there? How do you protect your daughter's heart? Which camp do you find yourself more comfortable in: societal norms, or counter-cultural ideas? Or somewhere in between?

Friday, January 16, 2015

Monday, January 5, 2015

How Important Are Traditions To Your Kids?


Find out how important traditions really are in helping your kids establish their identity during and after a divorce. to access the article just hit "free preview" when prompted, to see the complimentary issue. My article is on page 76-83

This is a photo of my four children just a few years ago. Sharaya and Caleb (the older kids) and my two little girls Jadyn and Anicah.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Interview #3 with Tez: Author of "The Single Dad Detour"

Part three of a 3-part interview with Tez Brooks,
Author of The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce


The Single Dad Detour: Directions for Fathering After Divorce
(Kregel/February 27, 2015/ISBN: 978-0825443602 /$14.99).

Q: Why are some men tempted to become absentee fathers? What are some of the consequences for their children if they do so? As I interviewed men in my research for The Single Dad Detour I ran into guys who said they were tempted to be absent. I think this comes from the insecurity men can develop as a single dad. There’s already an expectation from the world that they are going to fail, coupled with just the normal low esteem that comes with a failed marriage. It can make a guy feel like maybe their child would be better off without him in their life.

What happens is actually the opposite. Studies show more boys end up in prison who don't have a father around. And little girls are more apt to be promiscuous teens without the influence of a dad. It’s imperative we encourage dads to cast down those lies the Devil tells us and to be intricately involved in our kid’s lives.

Q: Some believe the court system can be unfair to men in divorce and custody decisions. What advice do you have for those men on fighting resentment and bitterness? While many states have become more progressive and friendly toward the father having custody, there are still many judicial systems that are old-fashioned. When that happens we can fight for our rights as fathers and still have a Christ-like manner about us. Especially when dealing with our ex-spouse. Jesus was angry when he knocked over the merchant’s tables in the temple…yet he was without sin. Too often we forget to model Christ in the midst of defending our rights. Our anger toward the courts can get misdirected to others.

We often need to lay down our rights…Christ did this too. That being said, when bitterness and resentment rise up—and it will—we must fight that with prayer and forgiveness. Easier said than done. It’s so important we throw ourselves at the foot of the cross every day.

Q: Men are “fixers” by nature, but it can be tempting for them to fix parenting problems without the Lord’s help. You had one such moment after Christmas shopping with your daughter once. Tell us about that.
I had been shopping with the kids and had my fill of the holiday crowds and traffic. I just wanted to get home. My daughter was crying in the back seat because she didn't get to have her photo taken with Santa at the mall. My impatience was building but I didn't expect it to boil over like it did.

Her whining wouldn't stop so in a moment of exasperation I screamed out “Be quiet! “Santa’s not real, he’s dead!” The crying stopped as she blinked in disbelief. I knew I had messed up as soon as I said it. I could see by the look in her eyes, my words slapped her in the face. No Father of the Year Award this year I suppose. My daughter started her crying again but this time it was more of a high-pitched squeal. “Nooo, Santa’s not dead!”

I remained silent all the way home. Considering how I might cover over my mistake. But there was no hiding my outburst and all I could do to make it right was apologize. When we got home I hugged her and asked for forgiveness. She sunk into my chest as we rocked back and forth. I realized that night I must make it a habit to initiate an apology when I screw up. Even more, I learned I’m a pathetic father without God’s grace and help.  

Q: How can a dad have a strong spiritual impact on their children even when not living when them all the time?
Your kids are watching you no matter where they live. For kids who watch their fathers, there’s no mistaking what their dad is passionate about. It’s going to be obvious. Kids observe when you react to things in your flesh, rather than respond with Christ’s character. I messed up a lot. I showed my anger, my selfishness my pride…but I tried to live a life of repentance. I think if we make the Lord part of our every day conversations our kids will be able to discern that our Christianity is more than a hobby, it’s a relationship with the Creator.

Q: What is the number one thing you want single dads to get from reading The Single Dad Detour?
I’d like them to walk away encouraged to keep going strong. That the Lord is on their side. I want to challenge them to step up yet still offer hope and the grace to be able to laugh at themselves when they aren’t perfect. There’s too much pressure as it is. If dads can celebrate what they’re doing right, while still leaning desperately on the Savior for hope, it will make the road they’re navigating much easier.

QUESTION FOR READERS: Tell us what you feel like you are doing right as a single dad.