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3 Traits the World Doesn’t Want Your Kid to Have

David Lindner | January 18, 2023

Do you remember when you were young, and you’d hear an older man talking about “kids these days?” I do. I remember my grandpa talking about how kids these days just don’t respect our seniors anymore, how some of the typical character traits for kids weren’t being taught anymore. I’d think, “Does he want us to start calling him Sir or something? Maybe he wants us to ring a bell for him every time he speaks?” I didn’t know what he was talking about. Now that I’ve had a chance to work with some of the next generations of men, I’m the old guy griping about the kids these days.

The truth is, as culture has evolved over the past 20 to 30 years, some crucial character traits for kids have been lost. The world is actively engaged in a war on good character, erasing traits in a way that will have massive consequences for our kids, the people they love, and society at large. We need to emphasize these traits for kids, otherwise they will not only be at the mercy of society but will be a part of its demise. Here are 3 traits the world doesn’t want your kid to have.

1. Honesty

Our culture doesn’t value honesty. What does it value instead? Winning. Whether it’s politicians trying to win an election, pro athletes trying to avoid a suspension, or a coach stealing the other team’s play signals, we have decided it’s more valuable to win than it is to be honest. In business, we praise dishonesty as shrewdness while honesty comes off as naivete. By honesty, I don’t just mean telling the truth, though that’s also a part of it. You also need to be the kind of person who wants to tell the truth. But it’s still even more than that. An honest person doesn’t cheat, whether anyone is looking or not. A 2009 study in Ethics & Behavior (Vol. 19, No. 1) says, “Researchers found that nearly 82 percent of a sample of college alumni admitted to engaging in some form of cheating as undergraduates.” The same article cites two studies that show how cheating on a test may make the person more likely to “break rules in the workplace, cheat on spouses and engage in illegal activities.”

Being honest means you do the right thing, even if it might cost you something in the end. For example, if your teacher gave you a better grade than you earned on a test, the right thing to do is to point it out to the teacher. If the sales clerk gives you back too much change, you give the extra back. Are you teaching your kids this kind of honesty?

2. Reliability

Remember how contracts used to be made with a handshake? Well, neither do I, but I’ve heard about it. We’ve had to replace them with contracts that are saturated with unintelligible legalese. Why? Because people break handshake and oral agreements. Our culture doesn’t value reliability nearly as much as it values individualism. If something I want to do conflicts with a commitment I made to you, my commitment to you gets the shaft. According to a Pew Research study, 49% of Americans attribute “the decline in interpersonal trust to a belief that people are not as reliable as they used to be.”

As Zig Ziglar says, “Ability is important in our quest for success, but dependability is critical.” Being reliable means I do what I say I’m going to do even if it costs me personally to follow through. When you tell your boss you will complete a project, do you do it? When you tell your pastor you will be there to help with an event, do you show up? We used to say that “your word is your bond.” When our kids say they will do something, do we hold them to it? When they promise to mow the lawn in exchange for a new video game, do we hold them accountable for their commitment?

When we don’t have humility, we’re unteachable.

3. Humility

This might be the biggest one. I still remember when the press started celebrating the hubris of someone famous. It stood out to me because we celebrated humility until that point. We didn’t exalt people who thought a lot of themselves. We exalted people who served and thought of others. Today, we’re teaching kids to have hubris about everything. We want athletes who strut across the field after a big play as though their solo effort made it happen. We exalt celebrities who talk about how awesome they are, not even mentioning the hundreds of people it took for them to shine in the spotlight.

When we don’t have humility, we’re unteachable. We falsely believe we know better than everyone else, so who could possibly teach me anything? How will we fix the many issues we face in modern society if no one can be corrected? Am I showing our kids an example of humility, even when I might deserve the praise? Am I teachable? Do my kids see me seeking advice from older and wiser people?

Sound off: What are some other important traits for kids?

The post 3 Traits the World Doesn’t Want Your Kid to Have appeared first on All Pro Dad.

3 Types of Dads to Avoid Becoming

Andrew Linder | January 18, 2023

From the first moment I held each of our newborn children, I immediately had a burning desire in my heart to be the very best dad possible to these cute little humans. But a great sense of weighty responsibility and emotion overwhelmed me.

Most dads genuinely want to be good parents. But sometimes it can be a real struggle. How do some dads find themselves sliding into complacency over the years of fatherhood? Regardless of how it happens, it doesn’t have to happen to you. Here are 3 types of dads to avoid becoming.

1. The “It’s No Big Deal” Dad

I’m sure you’ve stood talking to a parent before who justifies all the reasons why their kids misbehave—and they do it in front of their kids. The “it’s no big deal” parent quickly excuses wrong behavior by always having a good reason for why his children act the way they do. “They’re just tired! They’ve had a long day. They’re just different from other kids. Kids will be kids, right?” Although legitimate concerns may be glaringly obvious to others, these dads may still be oblivious to them because they’re not being intentional.

The Solution: Don’t make excuses for your kids or for yourself. Hold your kids accountable for their actions rather than excusing them.

2. The “Not My Kid” Dad

This parent has what I like to call “the NMK syndrome.” He is always convinced that his child could never possibly do the things that his child is alleged of doing. He sees his son or daughter as an exception to the rule, and so he goes to bat for his kids’ shortcomings and failures. He may do this by helping his children find ways to escape following through on their commitments. The “not my kid” parent has a hard time allowing his children to learn from their own mistakes and face the tough realities of life. You might hear him say some of these things: “I know that’s what most kids do, but my kids would never do that” or “My child is a ‘good kid’ who would never manipulate me or take advantage of my trust.”

The Solution: Always be your children’s parent before being your children’s friend. Do what’s best for them, not what’s convenient for you.

Always be your kid’s parent before being their friend. Do what’s best for them, not what’s convenient for you.

3. The “If You Do That One More Time” Dad

This parent naturally threatens a lot but does very little. Through his actions, it is apparent that he has bought into the lie that louder parents raise more obedient kids, so he often uses increased volume to demand conformity. You might hear him say things like “I’m going to count to three” or “If you don’t listen, you’ll never get to ______ again.” This parent talks tough like he carries a big stick, but he rarely if ever uses it.

The Solution: Let your words, without increased volume or threats, speak for themselves through consistent consequences and follow-through.

Sound off: Which of these three types of parents do you have to work hardest not to become?

The post 3 Types of Dads to Avoid Becoming appeared first on All Pro Dad.

3 Things to Remember When You’re Talking to Your Kids

Jonathan Manke | January 18, 2023

My 3-year-old son came out to the garage one morning to play with his monster trucks while I was working out. He likes to be near me as often as possible, and having someone to distract me while I’m doing abs always helps shift my focus away from how much I hate sit-ups. While in the middle of doing some heavy deadlifts, he noticed me struggling, and walked over to “help” lift one side. In my urgency to get him out of the way, I shouted “MOVE!”

His eyes welled with tears as he timidly went back to playing with his monster trucks. As I set down the weight and sat down next to him, I apologized for yelling and expressed the safety concerns I had for both of us at that moment. My urgency to get him out of harm’s way caused me to shout. Although an understandable time to raise my voice, it caused me to reevaluate how to communicate with kids. Here are 3 things to remember when you’re talking with your kids.

1. Slow things down.

When past conversations used to turn into arguments, I would become so consumed with proving my point and “winning” the argument that there was often a huge disconnect between my response and what the other person was actually trying to communicate. As I’ve matured, I’ve learned to hold on to the advice found in James 1:19, which says, “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger.” Using this as a rule of thumb in communication, I’ve been able slow down, process the information, and respond in a way I’ll be proud of later. It helps me to stay consistent and not let my emotions get the best of me.

2. Seek to understand.

Imagine driving down the road and someone cuts you off to the point that you need to slam on your breaks or swerve not to hit his or her vehicle. Frustrating, right? Now, imagine you know a woman in that car is in labor and is on the way to the hospital to give birth. Your anger changes quickly simply because you have understanding for her actions. Now shift that same thought process to a conversation when someone was rude or interrupted you.

It’s so important to gain an understanding. Proverbs even says, “… and with all thy getting, get understanding.” (Proverbs 4:7b) If we can better understand what our kids are facing, it will help us to understand why they’re responding negatively. That doesn’t mean we condone bad behavior, rather, it helps us to get a better perspective to navigate the problem together.

In most circumstances, communication is more caught than taught.

3. More is caught than taught.

Life with kids can be a neverending teaching opportunity. Sometimes it’s sitting them down to give guidance or instruction but, in most circumstances, communication is more caught than taught. That means each engagement with your kid is a learning opportunity, even if it doesn’t feel like a teaching moment. How you choose to communicate will directly impact how your kids learn to communicate with their siblings, peers, teachers, and anyone else they encounter.

Sound off: What are some other pieces of communication advice you’d give to a dad?

The post 3 Things to Remember When You’re Talking to Your Kids appeared first on All Pro Dad.

3 Reasons Your Child Needs to Struggle

All Pro Dad | January 18, 2023

As a parent, I am always looking for teachable moments with my children. A few years ago, when my son was 5, I was trying to teach him what it means to be a gentleman. One day, as my family was walking into a department store, my son ran to the door to open it for his mother and attempted to open it by himself. He struggled to open the door because it was a large, heavy, glass door. He managed to pry it open but struggled for a minute to open it all the way. My wife looked at me and asked me to help him. I said, “The struggle is good for him.”

By feeling the weight of the door and the struggle of opening it, he got a feel for what it’s like to keep pushing when you’re tempted to quit. In the process, he learned how to overcome a struggle. He walked around the rest of the day with his head held high and with a little swagger in his step. In hindsight, I discovered 3 reasons why your child needs to struggle.

When your children learn to overcome a struggle today, it gives them confidence to do it again in the future.

1. Struggles prepare them for the future.

As parents, we need to remember that today’s struggles are stairways to our children’s futures. When your children learn to overcome a struggle today, it gives them confidence that they can do it again in the future. As a parent, you intuitively know that things only get harder the older you get. The military understands this principle as well, as they knowingly put every soldier through a boot camp filled with struggles. The outcome is that the soldiers are trained to overcome the struggles they will face on the battlefield. Likewise, the struggles your children face today will help them learn to overcome life’s difficulties tomorrow.

2. Struggles forge their character.

Struggles have a way of refining your children’s character. Your child needs to struggle because it helps him develop patience, perseverance, and grit. It’s good to want to protect our children, but as adults, we understand that it’s the struggles in life that made us who we are today. These characteristics become invaluable as children strive toward future goals in education and in the workplace.

3. Struggles teach them that failure is a part of life.

If we don’t let them struggle and fail now, they won’t know how to respond later when it really counts. History is full of people who have learned that failure is a part of life. Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team before he would go on to win six NBA championships and five MVP awards. The author of the Harry Potter series, J.K. Rowling, was rejected 12 times before her first manuscript was accepted. Walt Disney was fired from his first journalism job because he was told he lacked creativity. The founder of Apple, Steve Jobs, was fired from his own company. Later he founded a little company called Pixar, which would go on to make some of the greatest blockbuster animation movies, including Toy Story, Cars, and Monsters, Inc.

If it had not been for the struggles, these people would not have been able to accomplish what they have today. It was through learning to overcome the struggles that they grew and developed the skills they needed to become leaders in their respective fields. When your children struggle and fail, they need to know they’re in good company. They can also know that struggles don’t have to be final and can serve as stepping stones for their future.

Sound off: What are some other reasons your child needs to struggle?

The post 3 Reasons Your Child Needs to Struggle appeared first on All Pro Dad.

4 Times Your Kids Need You to Drop Everything

Bobby Lewis | December 18, 2022

I was out in the garage working on a project and was on a tight deadline. As I worked, and even over the buzz of my noisy sander, I heard a scream from inside my house. I stopped working and listened. Was this a big deal or something minor? The screaming continued.

I dropped my tools and went inside to find splatters of blood by my daughter’s bed. She and her brother had been jumping on the mattress, and he had fallen and hit his chin. It was completely split open. I took him to the bathroom, hoping to patch him up quickly and get back to my sanding. No Band-Aid in the world was strong enough to close this gash. We had to get him to the emergency room. That project was going to have to wait. If your child should be your first priority, it means an immediate response to his or her needs is more important than a deadline. Here are 4 times your kid needs you to drop everything.

1. After a Breakup

My wife spent years as a high school swim coach, and that means she’s practically a trained psychologist. I joke, but handling teenage breakups can be difficult. She spent many afternoons at the pool consoling girls whose hearts had been broken by the “love of their life.” People fall in and out of love, and not every relationship will last forever. When your child goes through the end of a relationship, it’s time to drop everything and sit with him or her in the hurt. This may not be your comfort zone, Dad. I know I tend to avoid emotional conversations. But, rather than letting our kids figure these moments out on their own, lean in. If we take this same approach, our kids will feel seen, loved, and understood.

2. When They Fail

My daughter took ballet lessons for a while and really enjoyed it. I remember her first recital. Dozens of kids, all dressed in matching outfits, pranced around the stage in unison. When it came time for a big solo dance, a small child stepped into the center of the kids—and fell. It was an embarrassing moment and a reminder that we are all going to fail. When your child stumbles, consider how Jesus reunited with his friend after Easter (John 21:15–18). Days earlier, Peter had denied knowing Jesus three times. But Jesus was there to forgive his friend and remind him that he loved him, no matter what. Dads, you get the same opportunity when your kids don’t score well on a big test, or miss the game-winning shot, or fall during the ballet. Your kids are more than the sum of their failures. Encourage perseverance and ooze forgiveness. Remind them that sometimes they will come up just short but you love them anyway.

3. When They Are Sick

A friend of mine had a difficult decision to make. He had a lunch meeting scheduled with a local businessman to discuss a great work opportunity. But the meeting fell on the same day his kids became very sick. His 2-year-old son had fever of 104. His even-younger daughter was suffering with a temperature of 102. This friend knew he’d have to delay the important meeting at the risk of hurting the company. The local businessman wasn’t happy about being canceled on, but sometimes we need to drop everything for our sick children. Jesus modeled this in a story from Luke 8. While on his way to see a dying child, a very important meeting, a chronically sick woman touched the hem of his robe, just hoping to be healed herself. He dropped everything to tend to her even though he had an important place to be. If he can stop, we can stop. When our kids are hurt, they need to know that their well-being is our top priority. When we drop everything and tend to them in their most vulnerable moments, they learn how much we care for them, cherish their health, and prioritize their safety.

4. They Get in With the Wrong Crowd

Our children’s mental and emotional health should be important to us as dads. Their peers have a major influence on how they behave. Kids want to be liked and sometimes fitting in requires changing who they are. When we see our kids sliding into bad decision-making patterns, set aside time to sit down with them. Discuss who they’ve been hanging out with and what has brought about their behavioral changes. It may be an awkward conversation, but it’s one that can steer them away from trouble in the future.

Sound off: What are some other times when your child should be your first priority causing you to drop everything?

The post 4 Times Your Kids Need You to Drop Everything appeared first on All Pro Dad.

4 Times Most Dads Overreact

All Pro Dad | December 18, 2022

I stood in the kitchen scolding my 9-year-old son. I wanted him to understand the times we were living in and the value of money. My lecture was accusatory and went on for several minutes. By my reaction, you would have thought he had embezzled money. I am embarrassed to admit it, but I was actually lecturing him because he accidentally dropped his fork in the garbage can.

Once again, I had overreacted. I suspect most parents can relate to times like this. Parents overreact in the heat of the moment often, but when we do, we lose the possibility of having a teachable moment with our children. Here are 4 times most dads overreact.

1. Dads overreact when their kids bring home a bad grade.

Every dad wants his kids to do their best and earn good grades. Our society often focuses too much on earning a good grade and not enough on character development. Grades are important, but education is more about who they become in the process. If your children bring home a bad grade, it’s a good opportunity to coach them on how to improve and how to learn from their mistakes. Instead of losing your cool when your kids come home with a bad grade, use it as an opportunity to help them identify ways they can implement better study habits in that subject.

2. Dads overreact when their kids drop a pass or miss the ball.

Most dads are competitive and like to win. We need to remember that for children, sports are not just about their performance but more about their progress. For most children, organized sports will not be their future profession. Sports should be more about building character traits, such as teachability, resilience, and perseverance. In the end, it will be these traits that cause your children to be successful in the future. Instead of overreacting when your kids miss the ball, use it as an opportunity to help them focus on improvement and progress rather than perfection.

We can replace stuff, but we only get one shot at raising our children.

3. Dads overreact when their kids break something.

If you live in a house with children, something is bound to get broken and many parents overreact. When something gets broken, it’s important to keep things in perspective. Most things are replaceable, and it’s not the end of the world. Give them the benefit of the doubt and assume it was an accident. What’s more important is that our children see us react in a proper manner. It’s better for your children to see that you value their worth more than you do the broken thing. We can replace stuff, but we only get one shot at raising our children. Rather than getting upset when something gets broken, use it as an opportunity to show your children that you love them more than things.

4. Dads overreact when their kids leave toys or clothes lying around.

I can always tell when my youngest daughter is at home. She leaves a trail of shoes, socks, and clothes from the back door to the bedroom. For my wife and me, it’s a never-ending saga of reminding her to pick up her stuff. If I’m not careful, I can allow her disorganization and easily-distracted personality to cause me to overreact. When this happens, I have to remind myself that she is only 8 years old, and that is what most 8-year-olds do. At the end of the day, her wayward shoes are not going to have a direct effect on her future. Instead of constantly getting upset when your children leave their shoes at the door, you could give each of them their own space to put book bags and shoes in. If each has his or her own space to manage, you no longer have to worry about misplaced items.

Earn some points: Are you married? If so, share this iMOM article with your wife: 5 Tips to Survive Angry Land.

Sound off: What are some other things that make parents overreact? How do you control your reactions?

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