How You Can Be a Kick Ass Dad (or Mom)
Disclaimer: The materials and content within this podcast are intended as general information only and are not to be considered a substitute for professional legal advice or a consultation with a lawyer.
1. Family Law Tip of the Week
If you have gone through a recent divorce or separation and have found love again, think long and hard about the best time to introduce your kids to your new partner. Although they may not show it, they are going through some “stuff” as a result of the separation of their parents. The most important thing for them is to have consistency in their lives right now. Be sure your new love is going to be around for a while before you go and get the kids attached to him or her.
2. How to Be a Kick Ass Dad (or Mom)
This week’s guest is Michael Mataluni. Mike is the founder of the Kick Ass Dad Podcast. The podcast is a passion project for Mike, and he and his wife started it to provide a way for parents to link arms, unite and help each other out.
To start off, Wendy asks Mike how to balance being a parent against all the other things each of us has to do in life. In other words, how can a person not feel guilty about not being with their kids when they are not with them? Also, how can people help themselves not think about work that needs to be done in other areas of life when they are with the kids?
Mindfulness for Kick Ass Parenting
For Mike, it comes down to mindfulness and being in the present moment. We are taught to believe the grass is always greener on the other side. With the state of technology, we are conditioned to focus on the next thing we have to do.
If we could do a better job of staying in the moment, that would certainly help things.
Mike teaches parents they are not going to be perfect (and to accept their imperfections). He also starts his day out with meditation (even if for just a few minutes). (Check out The Deep Energy Podcast by Jim Butler which Mike recommends.) Mike also repeats affirmations “I am healthy, I am wealthy and I am wise,” for example.)
Wendy asks Mike how to “handle” the kids when you are with them and you are trying to accomplish things that must get done (like cooking, cleaning, paying bills, etc.) For Mike, this is about forgiveness of the self if you don’t treat the kids the way you would like when you are feeling pressured. Mike and his wife make a habit of joking with each other and laughing. This translates over into their interactions with their kids.
Mike believes it is important to raise kids to be mindful. (This is part of being a kick ass dad!) You can teach them to do this by being mindful and by taking care of yourself. It might take some time before you see your children become mindful, though. Don’t expect to see mindfulness in a 2 year old.
You are planting seeds. Your kids are growing slowly. When you are a parent, you are like a gardener. When the kids come into this world, they have their own skill sets and purpose. You can’t change that about your kids. Figure out what your children are and nurture their individual qualities.
Oftentimes, parents have different parenting styles. Because of this, the parents complement each other in the raising of the children. Having a support system creates a balance in the raising of children.
Co-Parenting With Your Ex
In the case of two parents who are no longer together, but are often in conflict, Mike recommends being mindful in the face of the conflict. Recognize that a lot of your reactions are the result of your own personal baggage. Empower yourself to be a leader in your relationship and take ownership of your own behavior.
For the person who wants to bridge the gap with an unwilling ex, the relationship can shift. However, it takes constant practice and mindfulness not to get sucked into the drama. You can’t change the other person, but as you change yourself, you gain the wisdom to put yourself in a better situation with the other.
When two parents aren’t getting along and the kids start asking questions, it is important to be honest and genuine with the kids. Kids are master truth seekers, and they will find out the truth. Be aware that any negative comments you make about the ex to your kids will reflect upon you.
Parenting With Your Current Partner
For parents who are still together, they are constantly negotiating their own desires and needs. Mike believes that successful negotiation comes down to personal accountability. Oftentimes people mistake what their partner is really willing to do because they are so wrapped up in their own childhood programming.
While you may have been subjected to certain (horrible) childhood experiences, now you are an adult. Stop using the old story of who you were. Stop blaming your parents and take responsibility for yourself.
In this day and age, we’re not to taught to live life from the inside out. We are taught to live from the outside in. Mike thinks that meditation and journaling is important. Stop judging yourself and choose to make a different decision. As you practice doing something different, it gets easier!
Closing Quiz on Being a Kick Ass Dad
Q: How does a kick ass dad handle a tantrum in the middle of a restaurant?
A: One of the parents takes the kid, goes outside and has a conversation with the kid (if appropriate).
Q: How does a kick ass dad handle it when the kid smacks you or something out of your hand?
A: If you want to get a young kid’s attention, it might be OK to give him or her a pop in the butt. BUT–DON’T hit out of anger. If you are wanting to hit out of anger, walk away.
Q: How does a kick ass dad watch a sporting event in peace with a toddler who wants his attention?
A: Mike suggests building a giant cage. Kidding!
Seriously, Mike suggests compromise and support between parents and/or the people helping raising the kids.
You can find Mike at kickassdadblog.com.
His e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org.
His podcast is on iTunes (Kick Ass Dad).
Mike is also on Facebook and Twitter, as well.
3. Thoughts From the Life Coach
This week James talks about Space Invaders. Woo woo!!! It’s a good one.