This week marks 14 years of publishing tips and helps in weekly articles here. I appreciate the opportunity to think out loud and help other families at the same time! Over these 14 years and the dozen years ahead of that, I’ve tried to focus on anything that could connect a father better with his family. I’ve mentioned a lot of tools and tried a lot of methods. I thought I would review the best of my discoveries in one place today.
The fact is, I’m knocking on the door of 30 years of effort to strengthen parents and families. Some of these tools are older than my work. I don’t include them because they started a long time ago, I mention them because after all these years, they still work!
The number one tool on my list is a method of parenting—an approach or philosophy that is grounded in reality and one of the most important parts of family life—love. I quote Dr. Jim Fay and Dr. Charles Fay often in these articles because they approach parenting with Love and Logic. Use empathy when you communicate with your children and allow the consequences of their actions to teach responsible behavior. Some school systems think they’ve moved on and don’t need these principles. Trauma intervention is built into Love and Logic; it would be wise to stay effective in these time-tested techniques.
The second tool I have come to respect comes from Dave Ramsey. His Baby Steps to Financial Peace have stood the test of time. I listened to his review of five ways to grow wealth and his rant about people who try to say his methods don’t work. It was a classic. Your money can work for you when you follow his simple guidelines—which he says came from the Bible and your grandmother. Who could oppose that?
The third tool came from Boot Camp for New Dads. When a father met with a few friends in his basement in California a few decades ago, who knew that his words and research would go worldwide? Engaging dads in the process of supporting mom through pregnancy, childbirth and breastfeeding will always be a good thing. I’ll teach my final class of 13 years tomorrow night.
The last tool may be the newest to me. I recently talked with a distraught parent who had discovered that the sex ed class at school had motivated her child to Google a subject that landed them squarely on a porn site. If that family had subscribed to the new monitoring service called, “Bark,” the parents would have been notified about the need for a conversation with their child along with some tips for making that discussion successful. As a Bark Ambassador, I can get you a week’s free trial and a 20% lifetime discount on the monthly service. It isn’t spying; it’s just using a complicated algorithm to scan your child’s device use for dangerous sites or comments, just so you can intervene.
When I get tired or think I don’t really have anything to share anymore, I think of these and other opportunities like WatchD.O.G.S., Prepare-Enrich, SmartStepfamilies, and your local Sunday School and congregation. There is no reason to battle against the forces of danger and evil without the support to help you succeed as a parent.