Category Archives: Fatherhood

5 Ways Porn Hurts Our Sons and Daughters

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*This post courtesy of AllProDad.com*

When the only thing they hear from adults about sex is that it is bad and you shouldn’t do it they know they aren’t hearing the full story. When parents fail to give the full picture of sex kids will go looking for answers somewhere else. The “somewhere else” is porn. I was recently speaking to a father who caught his twelve-year-old daughter watching porn. He remarked, “I’ve seen plenty of porn during my life, but the stuff she was watching was disturbing.” His experience is the new normal. The average age a child encounters porn for the first time is between the ages of nine and eleven, and mainstream porn continues to get more extreme, violent, and degrading.

The internet and smartphones have opened the door to an invading army of porn into the minds and hearts of our kids. The consequences are devastating. Here are 5 ways porn hurts our sons and daughters.

1. Sexualizing Our Kids

The term “teen” has been in the top three highest searched words on porn sites for the past three years. One year, 2014, it was number one. That should make us all sick. We are talking about kids. This means a majority of people looking at porn on the internet desire watching kids. When porn site visits outnumber Amazon, Netflix, and Twitter combined, think about how many people are looking to watch kids having sex. Think about how many child predators are being fueled and emboldened. What is all of this communicating to our sons and daughters?

2. Losing Innocence

The culture surrounding porn is reinforcing the idea that kids can be sex objects. [Tweet This] This was evident in 2010 when eight-year-old girls danced in a competition to the song “Single Ladies” with highly sexualized moves while wearing lingerie. The crowd on hand, which included the girls’ parents, wasn’t horrified. Instead, they hooted, hollered, and cheered. We are teaching our sons and daughters at a young age if they want to be noticed they need to be sexy. It all starts with our pornified culture. And kids have gotten the message loud and clear.

3. Feelings of Shame, Guilt, and Depression

What happens next is tweens and teens play at being sexy. They quickly believe the lie that the best place to learn how to be sexual is through internet porn, which is easily accessible and affordable in large quantities. The images of mainstream pornography they encounter within one minute of searching are violent and graphic. The images are burned into their brains forever. The pornographers are telling them that this is the sexual experience. Deep down they know they have seen something they shouldn’t have seen, but their brains can’t make sense of it. They are excited and embarrassed, but they don’t know why. They feel ashamed and guilty, but too scared to talk to anyone for fear of being in trouble.

4. Addiction

Little do they know what their developing brains have been doing while viewing porn. It’s released large amounts of dopamine, which gives the feeling of pleasure in the rewards center of the brain. This gives them the urge to come back again and forms a connection with the image (a connection meant for a person). This causes an addiction, which is more powerfully ingrained the younger their ages when they’re introduced. Since the feeling of euphoria helps them forget about their problems momentarily, porn becomes an unhealthy coping mechanism to distract them from the feelings of shame, guilt, and stress. Unfortunately, it only leaves them feeling emptier so they watch more and the cycle continues.

5. It Fuels Disconnection and Disrespect

Ultimately, porn leads to relational disconnection and degradation. They draw expectations of what sex will be like. Rather than sex being about connecting intimately with someone in the safety of commitment, it becomes a selfish pursuit of getting off. Sex gets cheapened to a physical act and people are reduced to objects of fantasy. A good and rich life is found in relationships. Sadly, this porn culture is leading our sons and daughters far from them. The best thing you can do is educate your kids about the lies and the dangers of pornography. Start early rather than later. At some point, they are going to encounter it and will need you to help them make sense of it. Keep the line of communication open and engage them in conversation so they don’t go it alone.

 What other ways do you believe porn effects our sons and daughters?

Tell us if you agree or not!

10 Things Confident People Don’t Do

Today’s material comes courtesy of Travis Bradberry who is the author of “Emotional Intelligence.”  I hope you enjoy the read and can utilize some of these tips as we head into 2017 to become a more confident person in every aspect of your life.

In The Empire Strikes Back, when Yoda is training Luke to be a Jedi, he demonstrates the power of the Force by raising an X-wing fighter from a swamp. Luke mutters, “I don’t believe it.” Yoda replies, “That is why you fail.”

As usual, Yoda was right—and science backs him up. Numerous studies have proved that confidence is the real key to success.

Studies exploring the performance gap between men and women in math and spatial skills have found that confidence plays a huge role. Women who were asked to identify their gender before taking a spatial skills test performed more poorly than those who weren’t. Women also performed better when they were told to envision themselves as men, and both genders performed better when they were told that their gender is better at the task.

What’s even more interesting is that the gender gap practically disappeared when participants were required to answer every question. Apparently, when the women were allowed to skip questions, they did so not because of a lack of knowledge, but because of a lack of confidence.

“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” — Vincent Van Gogh

True confidence is very different from egotistical swagger. When people believe in themselves and their abilities without bravado, there are certain things they simply don’t do.

They don’t make excuses. If there’s one trait confident people have in spades, it’s self-efficacy—the belief that they can make things Image result for making excuseshappen. It’s about having an internal locus of control rather than an external one. That’s why you won’t hear confident people blaming traffic for making them late or an unf
air boss for their failure to get a promotion. Confident people don’t make excuses, because they believe they’re in control of their own lives.

They don’t quit. Confident people don’t give up the first time something Image result for Don't quitgoes wrong. They see both problems and failures as obstacles to overcome rather than impenetrable barriers to success. That doesn’t mean, however, that they keep trying the s
ame thing over and over. One of the first things confident people do when something goes wrong is to figure out why it went wrong and how they can prevent it the next time.

They don’t wait for permission to act. Confident people don’t need somebody to tell them what to do or when to do it. They don’t waste time asking themselves questions like “Can I?” or “Should I?” If they ask themselves anything, it’s “Why wouldn’tI?” Whether it’s running a meeting when the chairperson doesn’t show up or going the extra mile to solve a customer’s problem, it doesn’t even occur to them to wait for somebody else to take care of it. They see what needs to be done, and they do it.

They don’t seek attention. People are turned off by those who are desperate for attention. Confident people know that being yourself is much more effective than trying to prove that you’re important. People catch on to your attitude quickly and are more attracted to the right attitude than what, or how many, people you know. Image result for Seek attentionConfident people always seem to bring the right attitude. Confident people are masters of attention diffusion. When they’re receiving attention for an accomplishment, they quickly shift the focus to all the people who worked hard to help get them there. They don’t crave approval or praise because they draw their self-worth from within.

They don’t need constant praise. Have you ever been around somebody who constantly needs to hear how great he or she is? Confident people don’t do that. It goes back to that internal locus of control. They don’t think that their success is dependent on other people’s approval, and they understand that no matter how well they perform, there’s always going to be somebody out there offering nothing but criticism. Confident people also know that the kind of confidence that’s dependent on praise from other people isn’t really confidence at all; it’s narcissism.

They don’t put things off. Why do people procrastinate? Sometimes it’s simply because they’re lazy. A lot of times, though, it’s because they’re afraid—that is, afraid of change, failure, or maybe even success. Confident people don’t put things off. Because they believe in themselves and expect that their actions will lead them closer to their goals, they don’t sit around waiting for the right time or the perfect circumstances. They know that today is the only time that matters. If they think it’s not the right time, they make it the right time.

They don’t pass judgment. Confident people don’t pass judgment on others because they know that everyone has something to offer, and they don’t need to take other Image result for Passing judgmentpeople down a notch in order to feel good about themselves. Comparing yourself to other people is limiting. Confident people don’t waste time sizing people up and worrying about whether or not they measure up to everyone they meet.

They don’t avoid conflict. Confident people don’t see conflict as something to be avoided at all costs; they see it as something to manage effectively. They don’t go along to get along, even when that means having uncomfortable conversations or making unpleasant decisions. They know that conflict is part of life and that they can’t avoid it without cheating themselves out of the good stuff, too.

They don’t let a lack of resources get in their way. Confident people don’t get thrown off course just because they don’t have the right title, the right staff, or the money to make things happen. Either they find a way to get what they need, or they figure out how to get by without it.

They don’t get too comfortable. Confident people understand that getting too comfortable is the mortal enemy of achieving their goals. That’s because they know that comfort leads to complacency, and complacency leads to stagnation. When they start feeling comfortable, they take that as a big red flag and start pushing their boundaries again so that they can continue to grow as both a person and a professional. They understand that a little discomfort is a good thing.

Bringing It All Together

Embracing the behaviors of confident people is a great way to increase your odds for success, which, in turn, will lead to more confidence. The science is clear; now you just have to decide to act on it.

Tell us if you agree or not!

When Should You Say No To Your Boss (Courtesy of Travis Bradberry)

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Happy hump day people!  As the mornings continue to get cooler and cooler (even if the afternoons don’t) I am getting more and more excited for the fall season.  If you are a frequent reader of our blog than you know how important I believe work-life balance is not only to a healthy lifestyle but also to a successful marriage and family life. Thus, whether you are single or married balancing both is an important aspect that should be taken seriously.

I am a big fan of Travis Bradberry who has authored several books including Emotional Intelligence 2.0 This is a highly recommend read regardless of your career path, experience level or age. Whenever I see a new article he has written on LinkedIn I always make it a point to read it as soon as possible.  I have found his insights invaluable while I was debating my next career move.

Below is his most recent article on LinkedIn and since many of my readers have demanding jobs and in turn demanding bosses, I wanted to share this with you.  I have learned the hard way that balance is key and wished I had used some of this advice 12 months ago.  Enjoy!

The typical workday is long enough as it is, and technology is making it even longer. When you do finally get home from a full day at the office, your mobile phone rings off the hook, and emails drop into your inbox from people who expect immediate responses.

While most people claim to disconnect as soon as they get home, recent research says otherwise. A study conducted by the American Psychological Association found that more than 50% of us check work email before and after work hours, throughout the weekend, and even when we’re sick. Even worse, 44% of us check work email while on vacation.

A Northern Illinois University study that came out this summer shows just how bad this level of connection really is. The study found that the expectation that people need to respond to emails during off-work hours produces a prolonged stress response, which the researchers named telepressure. Telepressure ensures that you are never able to relax and truly disengage from work. This prolonged state of stress is terrible for your health. Besides increasing your risk of heart disease, depression, and obesity, stress decreases your cognitive performance.

We need to establish boundaries between our personal and professional lives. When we don’t, our work, our health, and our personal lives suffer.

Responding to emails during off-work hours isn’t the only area in which you need to set boundaries. You need to make the critical distinction between what belongs to your employer and what belongs to you and you only. The items that follow are yours. If you don’t set boundaries around them and learn to say no to your boss, you’re giving away something with immeasurable value.

Your health. It’s difficult to know when to set boundaries around your health at work because the decline is so gradual. Allowing stress to build up, losing sleep, and sitting all day without exercising all add up. Before you know it, you’re rubbing your aching back with one hand and your zombie-like eyes with the other, and you’re looking down at your newly-acquired belly. The key here is to not let things sneak up on you, and the way you do that is by keeping a consistent routine. Think about what you need to do to keep yourself healthy (taking walks during lunch, not working weekends, taking your vacations as scheduled, etc.), make a plan, and stick to it no matter what. If you don’t, you’re allowing your work to overstep its bounds.

maxresdefaultYour family. It’s easy to let your family suffer for your work. Many of us do this because we see our jobs as a means of maintaining our families. We have thoughts such as “I need to make more money so that my kids can go to college debt-free.” Though these thoughts are well-intentioned, they can burden your family with the biggest debt of all—a lack of quality time with you. When you’re on your deathbed, you won’t remember how much money you made for your spouse and kids. You’ll remember the memories you created with them.

Your sanity. While weCTivGgYUsAAz9lF all have our own levels of this to begin with, you don’t owe a shred of it to your employer. A job that takes even a small portion of your sanity is taking more than it’s entitled to. Your sanity is something that’s difficult for your boss to keep track of. You have to monitor it on your own and set good limits to keep yourself healthy. Often, it’s your life outside of work that keeps you sane. When you’ve already put in a good day’s (or week’s) work and your boss wants more, the most productive thing you can do is say no, then go and enjoy your friends and hobbies. This way, you return to work refreshed and de-stressed. You certainly can work extra hours if you want to, but it’s important to be able to say no to your boss when you need time away from work.

Your identity. While your work is an important part of your identity, it’s dangerous to allow your work to become your whole identity. You know you’ve allowed this to go too far when you reflect on what’s important to you and work is all that (or most of what) comes to mind. Having an identity outside of work is about more than just having fun. It also helps you relieve stress, grow as a person, and avoid burnout.

Your contacts. While you do owe your employer your best effort, you certainly don’t owe him or her the contacts you’ve developed over the course of your career. Your contacts are a product of your hard work and effort, and while you might share them with your company, they belong to you.

Your integrity. Sacrificing your integrity causes you to experience massive amounts of stress. Once you realize that your actions and beliefs are no longer in alignment, it’s time to make it clear to your employer that you’re not willing to do things his or her way. If that’s a problem for your boss, it might be time to part ways.

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Bringing It All Together

Success and fulfillment often depend upon your ability to set good boundaries. Once you can do this, everything else just falls into place.

What do you do to set boundaries around your work? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below, as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

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I Hope My Daughter Will Be Brave

 

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Being a father to a little girl, who will one day be a smart and beautiful woman, causes my mind to race a million miles an hour at times.  I didn’t grow up with sisters (or brothers) and feel I have a greater obligation to my daughter than I might if I had a son.  I am not saying that is right or wrong just how it feels in my heart.  At the very foundation of those feelings of course is a desire to protect her from all the evil and bad things out there in the world.  It isn’t possible to do so, but any father worth his salt is going to try his damnedest.

Despite all the progress we have made in the world I recognize that Samara is likely to face a number of battles she shouldn’t have to. Some of those will be due to her sex and some because of her ethnicity.  Many of those battles are things I have not had to face personally growing up, nor have I had to face them as an adult.  I am not sure how well equipped I am to help her with some of those potential challenges.

As a father I pray that she is both book smart and street smart, beautiful, compassionate and loving to others.  I hope as she gets older she finds more happiness in the day-to-day of life than I have been able to.  Even now when we are together I tell her to never stop dreaming, never give up on what you want and to always be kind to others.  I tell her to be fearless and brave.

It’s the last one I want to emphasize here..  Whether you are a man or a woman there will be fearful times, moments when you doubt everything you have ever believed, opportunities to shrink back and live less of a life than you deserve.  I want Samara to be brave and courageous in the face of fear and doubt.  I want her to trust in her abilities rather than the words of others.  It doesn’t matter to me if she wants to be an astronaut, doctor, lawyer, professional soccer player, teacher or magician.  All I want is for her to do whatever she wants, to the best of her ability and to do so fearlessly.

Bravery comes in many forms and has many uses.  Whether it is the confidence to go in to her bosses office and negotiate a raise or to stand-up to a significant other who isn’t treating her properly, she will need to be brave.  Perhaps it will be bravery to enter a field that is under represented by women or ethnic minorities.  It could be the courage to try out for the varsity hockey team (or any team.)  It doesn’t matter what the situation.  I hope that Sharlay and I are able to teach her to seize those  opportunities and to move forward even in the face of fear.

If I am being honest I have no idea how to do that.  I fear that in the complacency of each day teachable moments to show her courage and to instruct her on being brave will go by unnoticed.  I worry that in my own life I won’t be a good example of bravery or courage to her.  Worse than that I am afraid I won’t even realize the example I am setting until it is too late.  As a young person it took me a long time to take risks and be brave because that wasn’t something I was encouraged to do.  In fact it was often the exact opposite.  It certainly saved me broken bones (I still haven’t broken any bones in my body…yet) but it also made me afraid to play football in school which is something I still regret to this day.

I came across this Ted Talk recently and as part of this post I wanted to share.  It touches on a few of the issues I mentioned above and who doesn’t love a 12 minute Ted Talk?  Click here to watch the video or play it in the background and just listen.  Many years from now I hope that Samara will say to those who are listening that her father taught her many thing but above all of them he taught me courage and how to be a brave woman.  I love you more than anything in this world Samara.

Until tomorrow, make it a better day!

Tell us if you agree or not!

Why Daughters Need Their Dad So Much

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Most you know I am a sucker for blogs like the one I am sharing below.  This isn’t something I have written personally but did manage to find it in my Facebook feed a few weeks ago.  I held off reading because it seems every time I read something like this I get dust in my eyes and they water uncontrollably for several minutes. Sure to the outsider, it may look like I am crying but I assure that is not the case!

Anyway, the blog was written by Dr. Meg Meeker.  She has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for 30 years. It will certainly tug at the ole feels (if you have them) and isn’t for the faint of heart if you are a father of a daughter.  I hope you enjoy.  Get out the dust rags.

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Men, we need you.

We — mothers, daughters, and sisters — need your help in raising healthy young women. We need every ounce of masculine courage and wit you own because a father, more than anyone else, sets the course for a daughter’s life.

After more than 20 years of listening to daughters — and doling out antibiotics, antidepressants, and stimulants to girls who have gone without a father’s love — I know just how important fathers are. As a pediatrician, I have listened hour after hour to young girls describe how they vomit in junior high bathrooms to keep their weight down. I have listened to 14-year-old girls tell me they have to provide sex acts that disgust them in order to keep their boyfriends.

I’ve watched girls drop off varsity tennis teams, flunk out of school, and carve initials or tattoo cult figures onto their bodies — all to see if their dads will notice.snm-dad-daughter

And I have watched daughters talk to fathers. When dads come in the room, the girls change. Everything about them changes: their eyes, their mouths, their gestures, their body language. Daughters are never lukewarm in the presence of their fathers.

They might take their mothers for granted, but not you. They light up — or they cry. They watch you intensely. They hang on your words. They hope for your attention, and they wait for it in frustration, or in despair. They need a gesture of approval, a nod of encouragement, or even simple eye contact to let them know you care and are willing to help.

When she’s in your company, your daughter tries harder to excel. When you teach her, she learns more rapidly. When you guide her, she gains confidence.

If you fully understood just how profoundly you can influence your daughter’s life, you would be overwhelmed.

Boyfriends, brothers, even husbands can’t shape her character the way you do. You will influence her entire life because she gives you an authority she gives no other man.

Many fathers, particularly of teen girls, assume they have little influence over their daughters, or certainly less influence than their daughters’ peers or pop culture. They think their daughters need to figure out life on their own. But your daughter faces a world markedly different from the one you did growing up. It’s less friendly, morally unmoored and even outright dangerous.

After age 6, “little girl” clothes are hard to find. Many outfits are cut to make her look like a seductive 13- or 14-year-old girl trying to attract older boys. She will enter puberty earlier than girls did a generation or two ago. Boys will be watching as she begins to physically mature even as young as age 9. She will see sexual innuendo or scenes of overt sexual behavior in magazines or on television before she is 10 years old, whether you approve or not. She will learn about HIV and AIDS in elementary school and will also probably learn why and how it is transmitted.

If you’re reading this, you are a motivated, sensitive and caring father. You are a good man, but you’re probably exhausted. For you, there is great news and bad news.

The great news is that to experience a richer life and raise a fabulous daughter, you don’t need to change your character. You need only to indulge what’s best in your character. You have everything you need for a better relationship with your daughter.

Here’s the bad news. You need to stop in your tracks, open your eyes wider, and see what your daughter faces today, tomorrow and in 10 years. It’s tough and it’s frightening, but this is the way it is. While you want the world to be cautious and gentle with her, it is cruel beyond imagination — even before she is a teen.

Even though she may not participate in ugly stuff, it’s all around her: sexual promiscuity, alcohol abuse, foul language, illegal drugs, and predatory boys and men who want only to take something from her.

Don’t think you can’t fight her “peers” or the power of pop culture. fatherdaughterExactly the opposite is true. Yes, the four Ms — MTV, music, movies, and magazines — are enormous influences that shape what girls think about themselves, what clothes they wear, and even the grades they get. But their influence doesn’t come close to the influence of a father. A lot of research has been done on this, and fathers always come out on top. The effects of loving, caring fathers on their daughters’ lives can be measured in girls of all ages.

When you are with her, whether you eat dinner and do homework together or even when you are present but don’t say much, the quality and stability of her life — and, you’ll find, your own  — improves immeasurably. Even if you think the two of you operate on different planes,
 even if you worry that time spent with her shows no measurable results, even if you doubt you are having a meaningful impact on her, the clinical fact is that you are giving your daughter the greatest of gifts.

Your daughter will view this time spent with you vastly differently than you do. Over the years, in erratic bursts and in simple ordinary life together, she will absorb your influence. She will watch every move you make. She might not understand why you are happy or angry, affectionate, but you will be the most important man in her life, forever.

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When she is 25, she will mentally 
size her boyfriend or husband up against you. When she is 35, the number of children she has will be affected by her life with you. The clothes she wears will reflect something about you. Even when she is 75, how she faces her future will depend on some distant memory of time you spent together.

Be it good or painful,
 the hours and years you spend with her — or 
don’t spend with her — change who she is.
 Come on, men. We daughters need you!

Tell us if you agree or not!