Results tagged “parenting” from Ye Olde Rad Blog III

The Bug Rides .. without Training Wheels!


The Bug rode a bike for the first time this week. I mean » a 2-wheeler, without training wheels. One of the major milestones on the road to manhood.

Bicycle I was excited (.. even more than he was) .. running alongside, shouting » "Oh my God! You're riding!" Waiving my arms like an idiot.

But later disappointed. Cuz I had anticipated spending a few days teaching him. Instead, he just hopped on and rode off (.. his very first try).

I didn't say anything, but was thinking, "Doncha know you're supposed fall & crack your noggin a few times .. like I did?"

I've been talking to various dads the past few weeks, learning different techniques on how to teach him to ride ...

.. such as » remove the pedals & let him push himself along, allowing him to become accustomed to the bike's balance at his own pace .. or » grab him by a snug-fitting t-shirt between the shoulder blades and run alongside .. again, giving him most of the balance .. and also » the 'broomstick technique.'

Riding a bike is all about » balance. I think the reason he picked it up so quickly is cuz he's been riding a 2-wheel scooter around town the last few weeks. It's actually called » a razor. (He's a little demon on that razor.)

Conditional Love = Manipulation


An article posted in last week's NY Times has been gnawing at me all weekend. It cites a study performed by two Israelis & a "leading American expert on the psychology of motivation." The single-page piece is titled » "When a Parent's Love Comes with Conditions" .. or » "When 'I Love You' means 'Do as I Say'."

Conditional Love = Manipulation The article can be summed with the following quote:

"The primary message of all types of conditional parenting is that children must earn a parent's love. A steady diet of that, Rogers warned, and children might eventually need a therapist to provide the unconditional acceptance they didn't get when it counted."

Doesn't it seem odd that a study was required to determine that rationing of love & acceptance (like gasoline during a shortage) based on 'performance' .. is detrimental to children? Duh.

First, conditional love is not love. Let's call it by its real name » manipulation. And it's the worst kind of manipulation, cuz children, especially young ones, are at the mercy of their parents.

Moreover, they do not yet possess the skills necessary to recognize and defend against such insidious tactics  .. from people they're so dependent upon (for eveything).

Now, do you know anyone who enjoys being manipulated? Cuz I don't. Heck, even people who enjoy pain don't like being manipulated. Cuz it doesn't really hurt; it just feels slimy. [Speaking of slime & pain, refer to my comments about boiling a frog near the end.]

Not very difficult to tell the difference, either. Kids (who happen to be particularly sensitive) can spot a fake all-the-way across the coffee shop and will turn away .. while gravitating wholeheartedly to the genuine. You can actually observe this play out.

There are many things a parent can use as leverage to encourage (or discourage) a particular behavior. But love should never be included in the leverage toolkit. Same goes for affection & attention .. things too precious to be used as mere bargaining chips.

Withholding love & affection based on behavior is cruel. Sure, it might elicit the desired response .. in the short term. But the child will grow to resent it (.. as does anybody who's being manipulated). Used consistently and frequently enough, it will instill deep-seated feelings of inadequacy .. that may never go away. (You might even know someone like this .. with deformed self-esteem.)

Many times, when a child is acting out, I'd wager it's *because* he or she is not getting the emotional support they need (from a parent). That would be like telling a hungry child » "Stop fussing or I won't give you any food."

[ In the military, we had a saying » "The beatings will continue until morale improves." Same principle. ]

Whichever side of the great nature vs nurture debate you tend to favor, you always return to » the parents .. as the prime causal agent for how a child turns out .. whether it be on count of their genes or their parenting methods (.. or a combination of both).

We were all kids once. (Well, most of us.) So we all have many years of first-hand experience from which to derive our opinions .. of what works, and what doesn't (.. and what really suks). My point is, it's not rocket science.

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"I want my mommy."


The Bug woke last night, crying, "I want my mommy". Very unusual. That's only happened a handful of times in the last 4 years .. usually when he was nursing or sick. But he's no longer nursing and doesn't seem sick.

Jungle BookI tried for 10 or 15 minutes to see if there was something I could do. But it was clear he really wanted his mom.

I tried calling several times, but there was no answer. So I drove him there and knocked on her bedroom window (midnight).

The thing is .. I see him so little as it is, and really look forward to our time together. Plus I have been criticized (in court) for bringing him back before.

But I don't really care what lawyers think (or say). And it's not about me, anyway. So when I could see he really wanted his mom, there was no question about what to do.

But now .. I am feeling very weird. A slew of confusing feeling are running around inside. Did I pay enough attention to him? Shower him with enough love? The thing is, you can *always* pay more attention to your kids, and you can always show them more love.

Whenever I return the Bug, after having him a few days, it can be emotionally disorienting. I mean, for days he's my focus, my whole life. Then suddenly .. nothing. It's like part of me is ripped away.

Manny the Mammoth in Ice Age the MeltdownThere's a scene in Ice Age the Meltdown where Manny the Mammoth gets hit by an exploding geyser.

When the smoke clears, Diego the Sabertooth Tiger is standing in front of him, yelling for Manny to get up. But Manny hears only a distant echo. In his dazed state, everything looks pleasantly dreamy.

That's a decent representation of how I feel, sometimes. Shell-shocked. Numb. Like somebody tossed a flash-bang into my life.

It goes away. Always does. Usually after a few hours. So I know it's no big deal. But initially, it can be difficult to cope. There have been a few times when I've been driving, and forgotten where I was going, and had to turn around and head back home. (That sux.) Most of the time however, I just stare off into space.

Used to think there was something wrong with me .. until I heard other dads describe similar experiences.

Best to be alone during these times, cuz most people can't relate (understandably). Some even take the distance personally. A walk in nature is usually the best therapy.

It's not always this way. (Maybe every third or fourth week.) But I haven't been able to figure out the variables that accompany the disorienting times. They seem to follow no particular rhyme or reason. So I haven't been able to stop it.

Tho I suspect the more the separation bothers the Bug, the more it affects me. So I try to make the transition painless as possible.


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