Parenting Archives - Dadstractions

What Are Your Kids Watching When You’re Not Watching?

Aug 20, 13 What Are Your Kids Watching When You’re Not Watching?

Posted by in Parenting

I try to monitor what my kids watch and I assume most other parents do too. Since we don’t have cable, monitoring what my kids watch is probably a little easier than it was when I was growing up (I’ve spoken before about the types of things I watched when I was younger because I had access to 24/7 cable TV, a TV in my room and a lot of time on my hands.) Thankfully(?) my kids watch most of their TV via Netflix via XBox. Netflix has added some useful filters to their system over the past year to help better monitor exactly what it is your children are consuming when you’re not around. Netflix Kids: Netflix Kids is a special area of Netflix Streaming that is designed for the “12 and under” crowd. It has easy to navigate menus (what they call a “Character Navigation Bar”) and will only show family friendly titles in the search results. It’s a safe zone. Personalized Profiles Netflix finally launched Personalized Profiles for every member of the family who is watching Netflix Streaming under the same account. Not only is this useful at keeping “Wild Kratts” and “Fetch! With Ruff Ruffman” out of my own personal “Recently Watched” queue, it also helps to tailor the user’s personal experience by using algorithms to suggest similar content to what has already been watched on that profile. Plus, each account can have separate parental controls assigned to it so if the kids happen to not log into the “Netflix Kids” section, at least their own accounts are also set up to allow them to only view content that is suitable for “12 & Under”. Recently Watched Each profile has a “Recently Watched” queue to show the user what their past viewing habits have been. This is a really helpful tool to check to see what the kids have watched and whether or not it’s something you need to discuss with them. Prior to the individual profiles and Netflix Kids...

read more

Is ‘My Little Pony’ Setting A Bad Example For Children?

Jun 20, 13 Is ‘My Little Pony’ Setting A Bad Example For Children?

Posted by in Movies, Parenting, Television

On episode two of the Dadstractions podcast, I briefly discuss the upcoming “My Little Pony: Equestria Girls” movie that is creeping me coming out this summer. I question why they felt it was necessary to have the ponies turn into humans in an alternate universe and WHY THE HELL ARE THEY SO CREEPY!?! Seriously, look at this picture: Pinky Pie looks like a Grey! Well, The Daily News recently published an article where they asked “Gen-X” moms in New York City what they thought of the pony-to-human metamorphosis the girls go through in the upcoming film. Beside the ham-fisted dozen or so equestrian-related jokes throughout the article, The Daily News offered up the typical fair I’ve come to expect whenever any iconic female character goes through a re-imagining. Comparisons to Barbie, complaints of the ponies-turned-human looking anorexic, dressing in mini-skirts and hooker boots and setting a bad example for young girls everywhere all sound very similar to the complaints about other major iconic female characters that have undergone changes in recent years. The 2009 confusing change to Dora The Explorer and the Minnie Mouse super model makeover in 2012 both garnered similar outrage from the public. Is this really an issue? Do kids really try to model themselves after the cartoons they watch? Are they really trying to compare themselves to Dora, or Minnie, Barbie or Ponies? I grew up watching He-Man, G.I. Joe and Transformers and I never felt I needed to get all crazy muscular, run around shooting guns and, I don’t know… transform? There was that time the Decepticons got wasted on Energon though… These characters are the property of their owners and they will do with them as they wish. They’re nothing but a giant marketing ploy designed to sell toys to kids anyway. And, if your kids look up to these characters as role models, help your kids to know the difference between emulating the behavior these characters portray versus trying to model themselves after the characters’ clothing or physical appearance. I’m against the...

read more

The Last Thing I Ever Said To My Father

Jun 15, 13 The Last Thing I Ever Said To My Father

Posted by in My Life, Parenting

With Father’s Day coming this Sunday I’ve been thinking about the relationship I had with my father, and how my kids will think back on the relationship they had with me. This was also part of the impetus behind my post on yelling. I don’t want the prominent memory of my kids’ childhood to be about how miserable they were because there was constant negativity and yelling going on in the house. Yes, yes, I know a lot of my recent posts have been “next time, on a very special episode…” type posts, but I’m really not that much of a downer – I swear. I’ve just been doing a lot of introspection lately; trying to get a better understanding of who I am as a man, a husband and a father. I had this post written for a few days and almost shelved it until my friend wrote a post about how the Saturday before Father’s Day should be “Bad Father’s Day“, for those people who survived living with Bad Dad’s and are trying to break the cycle. His post encouraged me to publish mine. My father was definitely not the best role model. He was, from what I’ve come to understand, a functioning alcoholic. In my teenage years, it was just my father and I in the house. My older brother had moved out and my younger brother lived with his mother (my ex-stepmother). There would be times where he would be gone for one or two days, or he would come home for a little while, we would grab dinner at McDonald’s or the local Mexican restaurant, and then he would go back out. There would be other times where he would come home drunk and talk to me for hours on end about nonsense. And then there were times when he would come home and yell at me for no reason and accuse me of being on drugs. If I did the slightest thing wrong it would lead to an...

read more

Is It Possible For Me To Stop Yelling At My Kids?

Jun 04, 13 Is It Possible For Me To Stop Yelling At My Kids?

Posted by in Family, Parenting

I’ve become a yeller. It is not something I am proud of. Yelling has been a topic of discussion between my wife and I for many years. We’ve gone from fairly laid-back individuals to stark-raving lunatics in the span of about four or five years. It gets so intense at times that I actually actively look to see if the windows are open and wonder if the neighbors think there is some type of maniac loose in our house. I had the idea for this post brewing in my noggin for the past few days, but seeing a fellow Dad post about his yelling experiences and reading more about yelling from links in his post finally got me to sit down and write this. And what was it that had this floating around my head for the past few days? This entry from the “My Dad” sheet Chris filled out for Doughnuts With Dad: My Dad: Q: “What does your Dad like best about being a Dad?” A: “He gets to yell at me” Go ahead, read it again and let that sink in. When I posted Chris’s “MY MOM” entry from Muffins With Mom day at his school, I said that I would be having Doughnuts With Dad soon and I would do a similar write-up. After reading that post, my mother asked me, “Are you worried?” I knew what she was getting at. My son and I do not have the greatest of relationships. He is lackadaisical, inconsiderate and willful.  Pretty much every single trait I had as a child (though I would like to think I was more considerate than him…). I’m constantly asking him to do the same thing over and over again. Chris, turn off the light if your not in the room any more. Chris, pick up the toilet seat if you’re going to pee. Chris, wash your hands after going to the bathroom. Chris, stop putting your fingers in your mouth. Chris…Chris…Chris… We’ve tried to instill good manners...

read more

No one needs a butt kickin’

May 02, 13 No one needs a butt kickin’

Posted by in Kids, My Life, Parenting

It was a beautiful day yesterday. It seems (knock on wood) that the Cleveland weather is finally changing over to Spring and it’s safe to leave your house in a short-sleeve shirt without fear of the temperature dropping below freezing before you get home. Since it was such a beautiful day, I decided to do what all great fathers do on beautiful sunny days: mow the lawn. I also kicked the kids outside and instructed them to play. While I walked around in circles for two hours, the kids dutifully played outside. I’m so glad they are finally at the age where I don’t have to continually break them apart, or chase them down, etc… I can actually leave them outside by themselves and not have to constantly be on top of them. Well, usually anyway. Our back yard connects to other back yards of the houses around us. There’s a boy, a year older than my son, who lives in one of the houses our yard connects to.  This boy is the youngest in his family (with multiple older brothers and sisters) and is very, let’s say, “mature” for his age. I mean, this kid is 8 and he’s outside running the lawnmower; unsupervised. Due to (my opinion anyway) the “maturity” disparity between the two boys, I’ve found my son’s interactions with the neighbor have been less than desirable. There is definitely a lot more rough-housing and, in the past, Chris had always seemed to be on the receiving end. After a few past incidents, we asked Chris to keep his distance from this boy (just like we did here). But, kids will be kids, and it’s been months since Chris has actually spent any real time with this neighbor so I was willing to give it a chance again. For the most part, things were fine. I’d see them all playing in the neighbors yard, on the swing set, running around, etc… Then, about an hour and a half in, Sam comes running...

read more

Three days, and maybe longer.

As soon as I walk in the door from work on Friday, my son asks if he can go down to a local girl’s house to play. “Dad, can I got down to Hayden’s house to play?” Me: “Isn’t this the girl who kept calling you annoying?” “Yes, but she doesn’t do that anymore.” Me: “How long has it been since she called you annoying?” “Three days” Hayden, as well as some other girls on the bus, were calling my son annoying and teasing him in front of everyone on the bus. Apparently this was going on for months. One day Chris just came home and broke down at dinner about the teasing he was getting from these girls. My wife and I talked to him about bullying and ignoring the girls. About walking away and not interacting with them. He was so upset about everything that he asked the bus driver if he could have his seat moved so he didn’t sit by them any longer. The boy was deeply upset about the whole thing. Now, three days without her teasing him and he’s willing to forget all of that because she asked him to come over to play. I told him I didn’t want him going to her house to play because of the past issues he had with her and all he kept saying was “She doesn’t do that anymore.” “Three days” I tried explaining to my son that he doesn’t need to be around people like that; that he needs to be around people who like him for who he is, and that he’s smart and funny and doesn’t deserve the way he was being treated. And that three days without teasing is not a long enough time to determine if a zebra has changed its stripes.  But, of course, he’s only seven. He doesn’t understand all of this yet, or just has a hard time processing it. He just collapsed to the floor crying, kept saying that she doesn’t...

read more