Tag Archives: support

5 Things I’m Doing To Help My Wife More

I’m learning more and more that the key to a happy home is a happy wife. The key to a happy wife is making her feel appreciated and keeping her from feeling overwhelmed. The key to both of those is to  help her. It’s basic I know… but like so many things with relationships, it’s not knowing what to do, it’s buckling down and just doing it.

I’ve always figured that if my wife needed my help that she would ask. But she’s the type that things she should be able to handle it all on her own. She’s not good at asking. So these are things that I’ve just started to do on my own. I just made a list of tasks that seemed to drain her the most and took ownership of them. These aren’t things she’s asked me to do… they’re things I added myself and just let her know. She didn’t complain.

Here are a list of 5 things I’ve added to my Husband Portfolio that are really working wonders in my home.

1. I’ve started putting the kids to bed every night. We used to trade nights… now it’s my responsibility.

2. Bathing the kids… it’s my job now.

3. Cleaning the kitchen and doing dishes after dinner? My job now.

4. I must find and complete 5 tasks that help her around the house every evening after work.

5. I’ve secured a babysitter every other Thursday night so I can take her out to dinner.

She literally told me the other night, “You’re coming as close as you ever have to being the perfect husband”. I still have a bit to go I suppose. 🙂

Husbands, I put it to you. What things could you be doing (or are doing) to keep your wife happy, healthy and appreciated? Share your ideas in the comments so that we may all gain strength from your great wisdom!

An Attempt To Thank A Supportive Wife

jennandblackberry.jpg

When trying to describe the amazing job my wife does in supporting me… I would have liked to use an analogy. Nothing I came up with really said what I was trying to say.

She keeps me uplifted and where I’m supposed to be… just like a good bra.

She helps me in my daily walk… like a Dr. Sholes shoe insert.

She keeps me straight… like a retainer.

Like a neck brace… she keeps my head on straight.

She helps me take things slow when I should… like a speed bump.

Like a Jr. High yearbook photo… she reminds me of how far we’ve come.

She keeps me focused… like a locker room peephole.

She keeps me motivated… like a pound bag of Peanut M&M’s.

And last, but not least…

Like a glass of water from Mexico… she helps me get rid of my crap.

None of these things do her justice. She is truly amazing. I know that not only am I a better person because of her… but that my life, and every other life she shares hers with, is a better life for it. Literally, opportunities would not otherwise be a possibility without her with me. She is a close rival for 1st place in my heart… the only one who beats her is The One who gave her to me.

Thanks Jenn.

How To Properly Manipulate Your Husband

Yesterday I talked about the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Mom and Daughter were talking. Mom says, “The Husband may be the head, but the Wife is the neck.” or something to that effect. I love that line… because it’s so true.

Today’s post is for the ladies. I want to give you the inside scoop on how to get we men to do pretty much anything you want… assuming you’re intentions are pure.

1. Be nice.

We married couples tend to forget how to ask for things nicely. We tend to take one another for granted. It’s assumed that we’re supposed to do this or that. Men like to be treated the same way you do… like they’re not expected to do things. Ask and you shall receive.

2. Don’t assume we know anything about what you want.

I used to get into a lot of trouble for not doing things that I never knew needed to be done. If you want your man to do something, you can’t hint around… clearly say what you want.

2. Tell us what you’re thinking AND feeling.

We don’t know what your thinking. Even if we have a clue… we don’t know what that means to you. We think differently… so even if you tell us what’s going on in there, we don’t know how it makes you feel. So when you communicate, you might say something like this, “When you don’t do this… it makes me feel….” Sometimes we don’t do what you want because we don’t see it the same way you do. When a loving husband knows how much something bothers his wife… he will change it, fix it or hit it with a club or something.

3. Let us do it our way in our time.

We’re not going to do it exactly the same way you do. Most of the time we won’t do it exactly when you want… and it’ll probably take longer as well. Be ready to truly delegate whatever it is you need. Give it away. If you’re going to worry and fret over it the whole time, you might as well keep the task for yourself.

4. Ask permission to nag in advance.

Nagging is okay… if it’s done right. Tell us a due date on a project… by the weekend, or maybe a week or so. If you give us a due date, and we don’t do it… that’s permission to nag all you want. We can’t even fight you on it. Reminders work better than nagging. Reminding is gooder.

5. Treat us how you want to be treated.

It’s the old Golden Rule. We want the same treatment you want. So even if we’re dropping the ball a bit, give us the benefit of the doubt. Offer to help. Find out if there’s something you could do to help us get motivated. Some of us don’t like making phone calls… maybe you could help us with that part. Some of us hate shopping. If you’ll take the lead on this attitude thing, assuming we haven’t, most men worth a crap will reciprocate.

6. Brag on every little thing we do. Three times each.

Men are not as simple as the media portrays us… except in this one way. If you brag on is OMG! OMG! We will lift mountains to get you to do it again next time. Sometimes wives take what we do for granted. If you wanted the roof fixed… then we fix it… it’s not a problem anymore so we’re on to the next issue. Take a moment and be grateful. It’s good for us… and it helps you enjoy the good things that are going on around you.

7. Pray for us.

Please, pray for us ladies! We’re a mess. And the better your man is… the more you should pray for him! Being a good man in this world is like running up a down escalator. It’s hard work and we need your support! We’re like computers in that way… if you put good stuff in, you’ll get good stuff out. I guess that’s another way we’re simple.

I know there will be readers who may be angered by this post… that’s fine. Everyone has been hurt by a stupid man, even we men, but that doesn’t give us the right to hate on all of them. There are good men out there… and sometimes they’re ruined because they’re taken for granted and unappreciated. Let’s hear it for the boys. 🙂

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Expected & Rewardable Behavior: When to reward a child’s good behavior and when not to.

Natural Rewards & Consequences

Children, at their core, are simple creatures. They’re not so different from us. Behavior that has benefits to them is repeated. Behavior that has negative consequences are not. Two simple categories right? Yes… but they both apply in two ways. Let me break it down like this:

  • Good behaviors that have naturally occurring benefits will be repeated.
  • Good behaviors that have naturally occurring (seemingly) negative consequences will not be repeated.
  • Bad behaviors that have a naturally occurring benefit will be repeated.
  • Bad behaviors that have a naturally occurring negative consequences will not be repeated.

Basically I’m trying to point out that some good behaviors are their own reward… other good behaviors are not. Some, like cleaning a room, have built-in benefits. Others, like telling the truth, can seem to have consequences rather than rewards for our kids. Our goal as proper disciplinarians is to exaggerate the benefits of good behavior and the consequences of the bad. This becomes especially important when life seems to reward the bad and punish the good. Parents are wise when they provide incentives for children to choose the right over the wrong in spite of naturally occurring consequences.

Rewardable Behavior & Expected Behavior

If you’ve read any of my other articles on Proper Discipline then you know that I believe in setting Minimum Standards for your Child. Minimum standards help you to be consistent when discouraging unwanted behavior. On the other end of the spectrum is what I would call Expectations. Expectations is a fair and achievable set of goals we set for our children’s behavior.

Have a look at the diagram below:

ExpectedRewardableBehavior

Anything between your Minimum Requirements and your Expectations is Expected or Good Behavior. Note that even the color of the background has a purpose. Expected behavior is not Perfect Behavior. Children are still allowed to have moods, bad hair days and etc… as long as they don’t drop below our Minimum Requirements. Anything above our Expectations is Rewardable Behavior… and anything that drops blow our Minimum Requirements is punishable. I keep this diagram as a mental image in my mind when dealing with my children. Placing a mental pin on based on their current behavior helps me know what my reaction should be.

Practical Application Time

Enough theory… let’s put this into practice. There was a time that my daughter got a Skittle every time she went potty. Back in the day going potty was an action that rose above her expected behavior at the time since she was still wearing diapers. Once that behavior became standard and expected, the reward was removed. I’m not going to be giving her Skittles for the rest of her life! That girl goes so much she’d be bigger than me by now!

I also don’t reward her for keeping her room clean. It’s expected behavior and it has it’s own reward. She loves her room once it’s clean. She’s learning to put things away faster so she can enjoy it once she’s done. Currently there are rewards for eating or at least trying certain foods. My girl is a very picky eater… and though we don’t make her eat things she outright doesn’t like… we insist that she tries one bite each time we have it. Our Minimum Requirement is that she eat at least one bite. Our Expectation (or Goal) is that she will develop a taste eventually and eat it all. She is praised verbally when she tries the food, and she has gotten better at it, but we save dessert for when she eats a fair bit or all. Recently she finally decided she liked mashed potatoes (told you she was picky) and she was rewarded.

Conclusion

  • Some behaviors have their own rewards and consequences.
  • Parents need to make sure good behaviors are rewarding and bad behaviors have consequences especially when life rewards bad behavior or punishes good.
  • Expected behavior is appreciated but not rewarded.
  • Rewardable behavior is that which exceeds your expectations at the time.
  • Today’s Rewardable Behavior is tomorrow’s Expected Behavior.

If this made any sense at all… or if you have questions… please post them in the comments. If there are ever any more specific questions I can answer concerning discipline, please email me at geeklovesnerd@gmail.com

Why Parents Don’t Discipline

screaming-child

It only takes one trip to Walmart to realize something… folks don’t discipline their children very well anymore. You can hardly find a child you’d want to spend any amount of time around while strolling through the isles. Restaurants are even worse. Kids shouting out, squirming, crying or complaining. It’s not just the young ones either… often times the older the child is the more out of control they are.

I think the lack of discipline in the home is the leading contributor to the degrading quality of our neighborhoods, our schools, escalation of chemical imbalances and rising crime rates, drug use and gang activity. It’s a big deal.

So why aren’t we doing it? Why are kids getting away with so much? Why are we pacifying and distracting rather than directing and correcting?

1. Discipline is a dirty word to most of us.

So many adults today were abused or otherwise mistreated under the banner of “discipline”. Proper discipline is not abuse or an overbearing parent… it is a relationship that allows a parent to direct a child into becoming the man or woman God has for them to be.

2. Complicated family situations.

When a family splits up… things get complicated. When money is tight… the urgent will often push the important to the back burner. We love our children… but proper discipline is hard work and so quick fixes become the order of the day. If the child spends time between two households, the rules are different every other weekend. Parents tend to parent out of guilt or as a competition with the former spouse. Since there is almost no consistency parents switch into survival for the moment mode and situations are handled, but not the behavior.

3. Vices

If a parent has problems with smoking, drinking, drugs, gambling, late nights, dating or any other self-destructive behavior it makes it almost impossible for them to be a good parent. If a parent is a liar how can they correct a lying child? If mom has a boyfriend over for the night and the child acts out in school the next day, the parent is defensive against the teachers because she is to blame. Meanwhile the child is left thinking he can do no wrong and will continue to take out his frustrations on every available adult outside of his home. 99% of parenting is leading by example. They will only do what we say for so long… then they’ll do what we do. We must become the people we want our children to be.

4. Simply don’t know how!

There are a ton of parents who would love to have a well behaved child… but they simply don’t know how to do it. They’re trying… but nothing seems to work. I know of several parents who have 3 or more kids… then the 4th one comes along and nothing that worked with the older ones work with him. They have to learn all over again how to get the behavior they need. If you have never seen a model of proper discipline, it’s difficult to know what to do. My hope is that the articles I’ll be writing over the next few days will be of service to you.

Proper discipline is one of the hardest jobs in parenting… but it’s the most rewarding. It’s an investment in your own future… and because of the fruits of your labor… it’s not only the best thing you can do for your kid, it’s the best thing you can do for your own sanity. Children not only need structure, they crave it. Like grass that grows better when it’s cut regularly, children flourish when they are given proper boundaries. They make better choices and avoid common mistakes. They’ll become a blessing to you rather than a drain on you. Check back for more.

Discipline Children With The Big Picture In Mind

I have noticed that a lot of folks have a different approach to discipline than I do… and I’d like to share mine. I constantly see stressed out or embarrassed parents trying to address misbehavior in a public place trying to get the kid to be good in the moment. When I find a behavior that needs to be corrected or redirected in my children my goal is to change the behavior forever, not just for the moment. I think this makes all the difference.

It’s the difference between dealing with the same issues over and over case by case verses changing the behavior so that the child can mature (and move on to the next major issue). Many parents find themselves correcting behavior for the moment because it’s quick and gets the job done… only to find that the same issue arises again and again.

A great example is how children act on a shopping trip. Let’s say a child sees a toy they want. We tell them they can’t have it… so the child pitches a fit. Our knee-jerk reaction is to correct the behavior. We want the child to stop embarrassing us and shut the heck up! But the crying is a symptom of a deeper issues. Shutting them up can be easy… but does it deal with any of the following issues that caused the scene?

A child who pitches fits may be dealing with any of the following issues:

  • Anger
  • Lack of control over impulses and emotions
  • Lack of gratefulness, thankfulness or contentment
  • Lack of respect for parents and others

Quickly pacifying or conversely threatening a child to shut them up does not correct the behavior in the big picture. We must slow down, move past the embarrassment, back up for a moment and look at the big picture when we properly discipline our children. Our goal isn’t to teach our children to be good… it’s to help them be good children. Good behavior is a natural outcome of having a good child.

Here is a list of steps I find myself using when dealing with behavior issues in my family.

What is behind the outburst or behavior? Why has it happened?

Not every outburst is due to bad behavior. Before I run in with guns blazing I like to look and ask questions. What’s wrong? Why are we crying, screaming, spray painting graffiti or whatever? If they’re hurt or being tormented by a sibling… I don’t want to go off half cocked and end up jumping on the wrong kid for no reason.

What is the expected behavior or response I want in future instances of this event?

It helps for you to have a vision of the kind of person you want your child to become. I find myself constantly comparing my children to that standard and working to encourage behavior that leads them to it, and discouraging behavior that would lead them away. If you know what you want from them… it’s easy to know what to correct the moment you see it.

What tools can I give to help my child to behave or respond that way next time?

Kids need to know what is expected. They need to know the reasons why things are bad. If they understand, they’ll take ownership of the standards. They’ll obey the rules because they believe in them… not just because they’re forced to. This makes the difference between a child who acts good and is good.

My daughter threw trash out of the car the other day. She didn’t realize she was being bad. I wanted to modify her behavior so that next time she wouldn’t do it. I explained to her that throwing trash out was wrong. If everyone did it the world would be super messy. That trash belongs in the garbage can or recycle bin. I told her she would be punished the next time she threw trash out the window. Now she knows. Just today she saw some trash outside and told us how someone was being bad and should have thrown it in the trash. A standard I set has now become one of her own standards.

Sometimes we’ve told them, but they have chosen not to listen. They willfully lie, have a temper outburst, or refuse to do something they’re told to do. Talking is still important… but it only works after a punishment that more than fits the crime… but I think consequences are a topic for a future post.

So it’s not enough to squash out bad behavior… you’ve got to deal with the source. It’s like seeing a roach in the kitchen… you can step on him… but you also need to deal with the infestation behind the walls unless you want him to come back. So next time, take a moment, get past the stress and trauma of the situation, keep that vision in mind and help that child move in the right direction.

Thoughts On How To Handle The Way Things Are Now

Comedy Tragedy

The world’s been turned on it’s ear it seems. The economy is jacked to heck, celebs are dying by the boat load, folks are losing their jobs and home budgets are being shrunken. Is ‘shrunken’ a word? It is today!

With all of this constantly staring you in the face, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by it all. Here are some things I’ve come to that help me through it.

I can be concerned, but not worried.

I can’t ignore the obvious… but I can’t control it either. Concern allows me to face things realistically and think clearly enough to consider solutions. Worry, on the other hand, assumes that I have some kind of control… but keeps me from thinking clearly at all.

I will be thankful… as in full of thanks.

At my church they say, “God is good, all the time… All the time, God is good”. Though it does get old sometimes, it is no less true. Every good gift comes from God. Being full of thanks, and giving thanks, keeps you focused on the things that aren’t going wrong in your life. So often the things that are going easy are taken for granted because the things that are going wrong demand our attention. Thankfulness will help you remember how much in your life is good.

It will not affect my relationship with my spouse.

No matter how much we struggle financially, why in the world should it affect our marriage? If we’re on the same team and have the same goals… there is no reason. Let’s say the worst happens. My salary is severely cut… or I’m laid off. We become poorer, have to sell our home, forced to move and find work… if we’re on the same team with the same goals, these things should serve to bind us closer together… not become a source of contention and strife between us. Plus, we have small children… what do we want to teach them about how married couples handle life’s drama?

God has a plan.

Not everything in this world is in God’s control. He allows people to make their own choices… good and bad. So his Will is rarely actually done… but I take great pleasure in knowing that God does always have a plan. Take the Garden of Eden. It wasn’t God’s will for Adam and Eve to sin and leave the Garden… but he did have a plan to get them back after they left by sending his Son Jesus thousands of years later. In my own life, I’ve even seen Him use my mistakes in my own favor. It comes from having a heart that truly wants to follow God’s will. The Bible says it this way: “…we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.” It also says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and not on what you know. Acknowledge him with everything you do and he will make the way obvious.”