Monday, October 31, 2011

The Family Spirit of Halloween

Family in Crayon Costumes
   The Family Spirit of Halloween.

Hello Kitty Witch Pumpkin
   Living in Germany causes a problem for Trick or Treating. For the most part Germans don't celebrate Halloween. So if you want to go Trick or Treating you have two choices. First you can try to guess which of your neighbors are Americans and hope they have some treats. Or you can do as most military families do, go on base. On the military base Trick or Treating is set up to be very family oriented.
   To start off, it begins at 1700 (5:00pm) and ends two hours later, just when it starts to get dark. Next, the housing  area is pretty much closed to traffic and the military police have a strong presence. Then large groups of families go door to door often waiting in line to pose that famous proposal of Trick or Treat.
My Honey Bees
  The focus being a family event with the majority of kids no older than grade school. I can't understand why some people feel that it is appropriate to wear Sexy costumes. There are two groups that do this tweens and adults. Both fall under the responsibility of the adults or Parents. As the father of a little girl, I don't want my daughter viewed as a sex symbol. Therefore she will not be allowed to dress in that manner until she is old enough to vote and even then I hope that I will have instilled enough self-confidence that she doesn't seek that kind of attention. There are also adults that dressed in sexy costumes. I am not against grownups dressing as they wish, but I do feel that there is a time and a place. Trick or Treating with hoards of kids around is not the time nor place to be dressed as a Naughty Nurse or sexy Little Bo Peep and should be kept for adult engagements or behind closed bedroom doors.
  Going to a military base to trick or treat for Halloween while living overseas is as close to being back home as possible. Seeing the smiles on the kids faces especially my little Honey Bee makes me glad the military provides us these opportunities.

--UPDATE: The reason that I wrote this post is because while waiting at the end of a driveway for my daughter to trick or treat. I heard some guys commenting on a sexy witch costume saying "did you she that witch," at that point the girl turned around and she was no older then 13. The mistaken guy quickly said, "Oh, no she is too young." But for a minute they were looking at her in an inappropriate way. I wonder if her parents knew that this would happened if they would let her out of the house in that costume?  Even with the actions of a few bad apples this was still a wonderful event.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Someone Else's Child - Step In or Let It Go?

 When is it okay to intervene, correct or possibly discipline a child that is not your own? 
   Just the other night at a dinner party, the topic of children came up as it often does, but this time was different. On this night we were discussing if it was OK to correct or discipline someone Else's child, even if you don't know the parents. The story that was brought up was about a boy that was out of control at a campground. There were plenty of adults around and the parent did not stand out as the authority figure. Even though the boy was causing all sorts of ruckus no one said anything until he tried to throw a small dog. He also but the same dog into an empty cooler and sat on it. At this time someone told the boy "OK, it's time to let the dog go."  Later in the evening someone asked were the dog was and the answer they received was with the boy. The parent was in close proximity to all of these events but said nothing. Since  the parent refused to stop the boy from harming the dog should one of the other adults step in to correct someone Else's child or should they let it go?
No kids in the basket of a shopping cart!
   The day after the dinner party, I remembered a time when I stepped in to correct a child and it took an odd turn. At the time I was working at Home Depot designing custom windows and doors. I had this customer come up to place an order with a child in the basket of a shopping cart. Now this was against store policy but we let it slide if the kid was sitting and well behaved, which was the case at the time. Just after we started to go through the options the little boy started to act up and he kept jumping around in the basket of the cart. Obviously this is very unsafe. Well, it turns out not to be so obvious, because the parent my customer ignored the behavior. I could not let this behavior slide, but I didn't want to take away the parents authority. So at first I simply brought it up with the parent. Apparently they were not worried because my warning fell on deaf ears. A few minutes later, I had enough of this kid risking his safety right in front of me and his parents. I think he was taunting me. So I calmly interrupted his mother and told the boy to be careful and sit down and he did. Both of his parents looked at me as if they were in shock. From then on every time the boy acted up his parents would tell him to stop or calm down before the mean man(me) would yell at him. A few times they even asked me to tell him to stop. The act of making me a villain angered me beyond belief. How could they neglect there parenting duties and make me the bad guy? Should I have just stayed out of it and let the boy possibly get hurt?
   NO! Angry as I was about those people, who I have been calling parents, making me out as a villain it was worth it. You should always step in and either correct the child or notify the parents. Sometimes you may have to do both correcting the parents and stopping the child from the unsafe behavior, like I found out. Now as a parent  I take pride in making sure my kids are safe even though they sometimes see me as the villain. When the safety of children or others(dogs included) are at risk it is always okay to intervene, correct and possibly discipline a child that is not your own.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Go the Fok to Sleep

   Most nights, I am in charge of putting the kids to sleep. This, like all of parenting has tremendous rewards. With that being said, it also presents some of the most aggravating moments in parenting. Even though we have a bed time routine; you know; bath, milk, book, hugs & kisses, sleep. Well, that is how it is supposed to go. As every parent knows routines help but are no magic sleeping potion and since driving around the block all night is impractical, the fight begins. Kids just don't like to sleep. As the battle rages we have all said it... Go the Fok to Sleep. Ok, maybe not out loud but you have definitely thought it.
   When I saw this book title I laughed to my self. Then, I was a little ashamed that I let something like a child not wanting to sleep, anger me to the point of swearing(to my self of coarse). That was quickly washed away with the joy of knowing that somebody else not only has gone through this nightly process, but was brave enough to write about it. To often us parents are to embarrassed to talk about the hardships of parenting candidly. Not the case with Adam Mansbach, besides writing about the anger that come with a child not going to sleep, he jokes about it. In this book he puts on display how as the parent you try your hardest to be kind and sweet while guiding your kids in the right direction, in this case to sleep, despite our actual inner feelings.
   This book hit so close to home I didn't think there was any way to make it better. Then here comes Samuel L. Jackson to add his colorful take in this audio version of Go the Fok to Sleep.  Check it out and tell me what you think.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Parenting.. the role of father.

   I have been expanding my definition of The Role of a Father since I became one. Through this process I have intended to share the good content I came across along with self discovered thoughts on the topic. I also hope to hear the views of my readers. I understand that everybody has a different opinion on this, and that is what I want to hear.
   One of the first composed lists that I found was on a blog Chapters From My Life. It opens by explaining that" Parenting is a combination of TWO words: Mothering and Fathering." Although I don't totally agree with this statement, many single parents do a great job, I think the rest of the article has some valid points.  One that comes to mind is" Accept your child's uniqueness" and "Never compare" children as this may hinder the self-esteem of your child. There are six in-depth ideas on a dads role, most are in line with my idea of this role. I will dedicate a post to my current ideas on the role of a father in the near future.
   For the rest of this thought provoking list from Chapters From My Life which is not just about the role of a father, but good parenting tips overall follow the link below.

Chapters From My Life: Parenting: role of father.