Parenting Principles

December 10th, 2009 by S F

To help M’s self image, self worth, self esteem.

For her to feel good about herself as a person

To be physically fit, to understand the value of excersize, to have excersize as part of her life,  this will help with self confidence, body image and self worth. I want to do a lot of role modelling here.

To learn good eating habits, and to understand food. This will help to understand that your body is important, and to be looked after.

To help make M learn to make good  choices, to learn about consequences, and develop her own wisdom.\

I want to help M understand relationships and family. And have that form a good part of her life. Relationships with relatives and family is a controlled safe environment to learn how to interact.

I understand 0-2 is a lot about learning to trust. To trust the people around you will take care of you. To trust the world is a good place.

Its from 2-6 that this self image is mostly built. So the focus needs to be now, to help M grow into the best person she can.

Especially as they head to school, the influences are much heavier, peer pressure/bullying all come up. Issues of fashion and trends etc. So we need a strong base to start to work on these.

By the time she is a teenager, its really too hard for a parent to help mould their child, as other influences become more dominant.

I want to help M build her skills with emotions and communication. I want M to feel I am available to her, to talk, and discuss what she is going through.

A lot of parenting is focussed on the right foundation, so she makes her own right choices for herself. As opposed to making them because that’s what her parents told her. When she becomes a teenager, she will start making her own choices. I need to innoculate her against poor choices, and the evils of the word before she is a teenager. She needs to respect her mind/body/herself enough to choose for herself on things life friends, lifestyle, drugs, etc.She needs to believe in the good things in life, and that she is deserving. When poor choices are presented, her good self needs to assert itself, understand there is a choice, and make the choice that best fits her self.

I want to have strict rules, this protect kids, and makes them feel safe and loved. At the same time, I want M to enjoy choices and freedom within those bounds.

I need to continue to develop the PPP concept of quality time, being small burst of attention when M requests it. And then allow her to let my attention go. But so she knows she can get it when she needs.

I want to be available , approachable, and understanding. I want to employ active listening. This all leads to a relationship where I can share and engage with M when she needs me in her life.

I want to end up ‘on the right side’ of every issue. This means I wont have any overly strong messages, and that she can always come talk to me, even about the worst things.

Building up a body of family values and traditions. This helps a lot with a feeling of a place in life, and connectdeness, and continuity.

PPP outcomes and learnings

December 10th, 2009 by S F

I just concluded my PPP aka triplep course.

The most prominent things I learned included:

– not to focus on the child as wrong/bad, but their actions. So the message is ‘i love you, but you just did a bad thing, you shouldnt do that thing’

– the use of logical consequences, swift, direct, consistent

– if the child is acting wrongly, look first at the parenting, not the child for solutions

– flexibility in thinking. alternative strategies. avoiding and planning for high risk situations.

– focus on rewarding the positive. This was difficult to grasp at first, but I get it now.

Positive Rewards

Say your child is getting upset, and hitting back at the other child.

You can off course punish them everytime it happens. But that is only a partial solution. And the child will need to learn themselves what to do.

The better solution is active listening, and find out why the hitting is occurring. Understand the emotion behind it. And give your child an  alternative strategy when they feel that emotion. Like walk away, telling the other child they don’t like that, telling their parents, getting another toy, deep breathing, etc etc. And when you see that alternative behaviour, reward that achievement.

effects of post natal depression on the baby

December 4th, 2009 by S F

I am just watching a program on ABC “Help Me Lover My Baby”.

Its about a mum with post natal depression. I thought post natal depression was only about the mum, and perhaps the dad trying to support the mum.

But this program shows how much the baby needs the mum’s appropriate interaction. The baby needs the smiles. The mum in the program was ill with post natal depression early on, so the baby looks away from her mum. And the mother has trouble comforting the baby. They said the baby is really good at picking up on emotion queues – the baby in the show looks about 6-9 months old.

This really scares and upsets me. As I am pretty my daughter’s mother had post natal depression. Iwas always the one that went and helped M at night. The mother’s only way to comfort M was breast feeding. M just wants smiles, and being held close, and physical comfort and safety. Breast feeding isn’t really an appropriate response.

I am even more upset thinking about how formative the first 2 years of a babies life is, and how much the mother restricted me seeing M, and how artificial the environment was. M really needed me in those first 2 years, and I wasn’t there for her. I am so sorry M, I know I can never make it up to you, I know I can probably never fix it for you. All I can do is really really focus on being a support for you, helping you develop a feeling of being safe and supported. The time I do have with you we really need to help you to bond better with me.

It was really important that I balance the time with the mother, to help support M and her development, her feeling of comfort and safety. Even more important if the mother wasn’t providing the right queues and emotional support.

M already shows some signs of being insecure, and unsure. One of the words she knows is scared. I have encouraged her to talk to me about when she is scared, so that is working well. But there is no real reason 2 year old should be able to know fear.

I’ll make sure you never see anger on my face, or in my voice.

I am going to make sure I protect you, both physically and emotionally.

They finished saying the relationship with her mum, will help her the baby lay down an emotional blueprint. I want to help M with that emotional blueprint. I simply need more than a fleeting hour of time with her twice a week.

tried some of the love and logic magic today

November 24th, 2009 by S F

It worked better than expected.

I gave M the choice of cups, organge or blue, and she dithered, eventually choosing blue.

I gave her a choice of chicken or sausages for lunch whilst in coles. I used the packet of chicken legs and packet of sausages. And M got upset, and choice neither. I said ‘Uh Oh, that’s sad, Daddy will choose sausages’. She complained, and sooked, and we just walked away together holding the basket.

I showed M the slightly low fruit bowl, it has 1 peach and 1 apples, and no bananas. She quickly worked out there wasn’t any bananas, and we headed of to coles.

M and I cooked the snags on the bbq, she loves to be held up, and look and talk about the snags cooking.

Funny thing though, she wouldn’t eat the snag. So I said ‘Oh oh, that’s sad, the sausage is going away’. And I put it on the bench out of site. I continued to eat mine, and she asked for it back. Cool …. I gave it back, and she ate the whole thing. Ask for a banana, played with it, and didn’t eat any. I said ‘oh oo, that’s sad, the banana is goign away’, and it went to the bench and back in no time, and she ate most of a HUGE banana.

I gave her other choices, when playing, where to stick the photo on the fridge (but I always gave her that choice).

I even remembered to comment on that she likes drawing, and there was something else (I can’t remember just now).

I also used some of the PPP quality time, 30 second stuff. When M came to me a few times, I stopped what I was doing, and attended to her instantly, she seemed happy, and went on to play.

Noticing without judging

November 23rd, 2009 by S F

This was an interesting thing (chapter 3)

Notice some of the things your child really likes, and no ‘that’s great’ on the end.

“wow, I noticed you really like to eat chicken legs.”

“I noticed you really like drawing.”

Its simple, even though I notice all these things, and perhaps I talk about them to the parents around, I don’t generally say it to M. I’ll try to start that tomorrow.

I am also going to try to start some choices tomorrow. Perhaps sausages or chicken. Or blue cup or green cup.

Trust Cycle

November 23rd, 2009 by S F

Chapter 3 talks about the trust cycle.

Its about meeting kids basic needs in their first 2 years, feeding, changing nappy, cuddling, smiling, holding etc.

When they get these things, they feel good about themselves, and the people around them. They learn they are good, the people around them are good, and the world is good. They learn to trust their carers, people and the world.

I guess my daughter is at the edge of this. I hope her mother and I did a good job of this. I really only had 9 months to help my daughter like that. But my memory of it was I was always right onto things. I changed her every morning. I got up to her every night if she cried. I talked to her, cuddled her, tickled her. I really love her.

Love and Logic Magic

November 22nd, 2009 by S F

Just sarted reading ‘Love and Logic Magic’ by Fay and Fay.

Its it a fascinating, engaging and insightful read. The forward even says its written to be fun to read, and it really is a joy.

It focusses in on the concept of self, and trying to help develop your child’s concept of self.

We are trying to invest in M’s self. We want to make small deposits everyday for her self.

Scalding, or degrading comments, or raised voices close down your child, so they can’t learn and don’t listen, as its all about the anger. We can’t really you this approach to help M.

We want to maintain the firm limits, and reinforce them, without raised voices.

The idea is to give choices, and control over to M when we can. This builds self for M. ‘Do you want bannana or no bannana ?’, ‘do you want a hug, or no hug ?’, ‘do you want to play with your doll or read a book?’. Lot’s of choices that give control over, in situations that don’t overly effect me.

When occasionally we need control back, we make a ‘withdrawal’ from our investment and say, ‘you have had a lots of choices today, not its my turn, its time for bed.’.

The other concept is learning. Let them  make the mistakes, and learn. Don’t save M all the time. If she makes small mistakes now, and can learn from them, its great at building self and wisdom.

The book says on page 20, that this image of self is mostly built before they are 6. So its NOW that is important to M that I help her, not in 5 years, its NOW, between 2 & 6. Page 20 talks about the evils of the world, and how to help protect teenagers (drugs, alcohol, sex ). It isn’t strict rules, it building up their self early on, so they can make their own good choices. I am there, I am all for building up a foundation of values and self. M needs to love herself, he health, her body, her mind. She needs to believe in the good things in life, and that she is deserving. When poor choices are presented, her good self needs to assert itself, understand there is a choice, and make the choice that best fits her self.

Its NOW that I help her to inoculate against the harsh realities and poor choices in life.

A few summary boxes from Chapter 1:

Build High Self

* empathy, understanding, and unconditional love
* allow M to struggle, and make her own decisions
* encourage M to learn to succeed through personal thinking and learning

Share the Control

* small deposits, many times a day

Empathy and consequences

* relate to M with empathy
* let M learn through consequences

Share the thinking

Four Powerful Actions

1. raise M to feel good about herself
2. develop a strong bond of love and trust
3. allow M to make plenty of mistakes and learn from them
4. give M plenty of practice thinking and solving problems.

Just finished reading Dad’s place – a new guide for Fathers after Divorce

November 22nd, 2009 by S F

Its by Jill Burret.

Its a little fatalistic in terms of a father’s role after divorce. Saying the mother is bringing up the child, and giving the values and lessons. And the father is more of a taker, and has little influence.

I think in some regards its reality. I has good ideas about adjusting to that reality. Not trying to change the mother’s mind on topics. Not even trying to make your point, as it wont be listened too.

It focusses a lot on what your motives really are.

It also focusses a lot on the kids, and not putting them in the middle. It has a interesting chapter about not jumping to conclusions about what kids say. Like ‘the new boy friend is mean’ – can really mean a lot of things. Questions the kids isnt going to help. It could be the kids testing your integrity. Even if you say something to the mother, its not going to be acted on. The answer the book proposes is to just listen, and try to pick up on future clues.

The book isn’t clued into the possibility of 50/50 time. So I am not quite so sure of the need to be fatalistic. I am still confident of the court’s support of 50/50 time. But this gives me a livable solution if 50/50 time isn’t granted.

Muddling through feelings and things

November 2nd, 2009 by S F

I just bought a gift set for M (my 2 yr old daughter).

It by Tracey Moroney, it has 4 books and a CD of stories and songs. The books are ‘When I’m Feeling … ” jealous, loved, kind, Angry.

I want to get books that help M to learn about herself, and others around her. It’s easier to buy wiggles books, but they don’t teach as much. Sure the wiggles promote good eating.

But teaching about communication, and how to understand your feelings, and how to communicate them, and how to interact with others around you, now that is the stuff of life.

I went past ‘constant reader’ book shop on the way back from the bank. It’s a lovely shop, with a ‘Kids Corner’. I saw the box set of ‘winnie the pooh’ – and it brought me to tears. I dont think I had this box set, but it seemed sweet, and I could imagine M liking the box, the books, and the stories. I could imagine sitting with her and just taking out a pooh bear book to read.

I saw another ‘dad’ book, it was lovely. It was ‘I spy my dad’ or something similar. I can see a dad mowing, etc etc, and I wonder if I can spy a dad specially for me ….. that really tugged at the heart strings. I miss my daughter and step son ssssooo much ….. I wonder if they miss me ?

I saw a nice little miffy book, she looks at a tree, a beehive, and a house. I guess its developmental helping to talk about the pictures etc.

Hooray its my daughter’s 2nd birthday today

October 24th, 2009 by S F

We didn’t really celebrate as such, but we had a nice 2 hours together.

It was one of the best visits yet. M ate well. She played with lots of things, including toys in and out of her new toy box.

Nana skyped us video style. M was a busy bee showing Nana toys. And M got out her bear book to read to Nana (its the only book she seems to enjoy). Nana had a few toys. Its good to have a hip nana that can video skype.

She practiced a bit laying down in her bed. She was so cute, and asked to take her shoes and sox off. Layed down for about 3 seconds, and asked to get up. I wasnt acutally putting her to sleep, but it was good practice for a few weeks time when I move to 4 hours contact.

We glued up a few more photos onto the fridge. This is a blast, M loves looking at the photos on the floor, and pointing to people. She looks for the E photos, she must really love her big brother. Then she points to different photos on the fridge.

M did a drawing and said there was to ‘nanas’ (banana’s). We pretend to eat the bananas, she thought that was hilarious. She actually knows most colours now, so her Mum must be working on that, great work mum.  Then M asked ‘wall ?’ – so we put it on the wall. She has 2 other paintings on the wall, and loves to show visitors both her paintings. If your about to have kids, dont buy paintings to decorate your place, your kids will make plenty.

M sat on me to read a fire engine book. Its a rather odd book, lots of flames, and you seeing the water going onto the fire. But there is no page that shows the fire is out. odd !!

She ate her head off with water melon. Oh does she love that sweet waterynous ? I took quite a few snaps of her eating water melon, and pointing at the photos on the fridge. And a few snaps of her drawing.

No tantrums, no playing up. I said once in the car to ‘not hit the car with stick’. I was even toned and quiet. Didn’t make it a question or request. Made no room for it being misunderstood as a request or a game. I did have to ask twice, but that is her job, to test boundaries, and my job to set them firmly and fairly.

I am organising a party for her in a few weeks, when we have 4 hours. I have pooh bear, plates, cups, hats, horns and invites. I am going to ask on the invite for for 1-2 6″x4″ photos for our fridge.

active listening practice

October 13th, 2009 by S F

I practiced my active listening a few times now.

A situation where M was a little scared, and wanted me to carry her. Instead of telling her don’t worry. I said ‘oh, you are scared M, I will help you’. But it was a short conversation, as M doesnt really talk.

I tried with one of my nieces, A. She, out of the blue, said ‘I am worried’, I asked ‘about what’, she said ‘her test on sunday’. My immediate thought was to say ‘dont worry’. But instead I asked about what she was worried about, and why, and more details, and asked her how was she going solve it. She gave ideas, and I told her to be more specific with her mum, and dance teacher (its a dance test), and practice those pieces she doesnt feel confident with. It seemed to really help.

I also practiced assertive parenting. A nephew was making a game of his spoon, and levering his plate. His mum told him not too, but indirectly, and gently asked him not too, it was obviously making a game of it. His mum said 8-10 vague ‘please don’ts’. I stepped in , said firmly a spoon is not a toy, removed the spoon and put the plate in the right spot. He didn’t argue, or get upset, but instantly stopped, and didn’t retry the game. awesome.

what do we need to teach our kids

October 9th, 2009 by S F

Have you seen these ‘did you know?’ videos ?

I find them highly emotional, and highly engaging. They fire ideas and passion in me. And one new thing – fear and wonder.

Schools aren’t keeping up with the changes of pace. By the time kids leave school, the world will be so different, no one will understand what skills they need.

M as she grows up will want TV, computer games, and online time.

I remember growing up, wanting these things (although online was programming).

How do I influence, manage that. How do I impart values and wisdom. How to I protect M ?

I can’t say – NO. She needs to learn to interact in an online world, that is an important skill.

I have to make sure its balanced with other pursuits, family, excersize, fitness, chores.

I would like to be able to teach her skills, thinking, communication, collaboration, on the web. No matter how much I think I know stuff, I won’t know the current tech and fashionable sites at the time.

What will M need as skills after school ? I assume uni will remain relevant. From what i can see, uni’s  are more flexible, and change their courses reasonably quickly, to address new areas of skills demand.

to other separated parents

October 2nd, 2009 by S F

I wrote this a while ago

Working through all the emotions of being seperated, not only from my wife, but the children was overwhelming.

There was restricted access to my baby daughter, and no access to my step son (that grew up calling me daddy).

Add to that allegations.

Then the cost of lawyers – and my life savings going up in smoke.

The feeling of need to fight against the injustice and unfairness.

It was only through counselling and time (now 12 months separated), could I start to see through the fog. Interrelate coparenting type counselling was good, and so was my psychologist.

Seperating my feelings about the mother of my children, and the children themselves was the first step. Then the next step was focussing on the kids needs, just not my own.

Some sort of trust in the legal process against the unfounded allegations helps.

I found letting go of the negative feelings around the injustices the mother is perpetrating slowly helped. The time is lost with my daughter, fighting about it doesnt get it back. I have to look to the future, and what I can do for my daughter, and not dwell on what is lost.

I have largely worked through a grieving process with my step son, and dont expect to have any meaningful relationship with him.

Knowing my stepson will lose his relationship with me, just because my wife hates me is hard. This was the hardest part – just giving up on that. How can you just give up on someone you said was family just a few months ago.

the dreaded TV

October 2nd, 2009 by S F

I can even remember my parents hating us watching TV.

The book talks about plugging into the TV, and switching off the brain. With dull eyes and a gaping mouth. The worst part is absorbing everything they see, behaviours, language, emotions. This isn’t parents passing on values, and providing a stable emotional backdrop, its TV influencing kids.

I remember E watching a lot of Beristone Bears – they were teaching real values, had good language, and had an extended family. This would seem OK.

Even ABC tv, with the likes of Sesame Street, should be fine.

I think I’ll make sure I avoid all commercial TV, cartoons, anything that doesn’t the exact right message/values/emotions/language that i want.

I’ll have more videos that do have the correct message.

Clearly books are a huge step up – I’ll role model that one.

Even computer games seem a little better, if not based no carnage, atleast there is interaction.

Social computer might be OK also. Atleast that’s focussing on the stuff of life. Obviously safety comes into it.

6-18 months is exploring

October 1st, 2009 by S F

eating and touching and grabbing everything in site. This is what kids 6-18 months are meant to do.

I missed this with both E & M.

I did have 1hr per week with M, but in a shop, not much to explore. Not allowed to touch anything much.

I am sad of those things my wife has stolen from me, never to be retrieved. I tell myself, it wasnt he fault, it is her mental illness. I dont get angry, and I try very hard not to hold it against her.

I have recently learned crying is about letting go, mourning, and absolving. I have done a lot of this of the past year.

I have to look forward, how can I help M on the next step ?

positive, focused, what can I do for M? what is M lacking ? where to from here ?

extended family

October 1st, 2009 by S F

The book talks about the benefits of extended family.

It also uses ideas of people closer that might like to be involved, other parents, single people, grand parent stand ins, playgroups etc.

This actually sort of ties in with something I heard on ‘body and brain overhaul’. It talked about hedonistic pleasure, these are the more obvious pleasures – like chocolate, partying, alcohol, gadgets, movies, TV.  Elysian pleasure, but it talked about the pleasures of relationships, families, visiting relatives, volunteering, social groups, etc. perhaps reading falls into this category, and perhaps learning about oneself.

Its interesting , as previously, I hadnt given too much weight to that sort of thing.

But more and more, I am drawn to it. I do enjoy my nieces and nephews, and my brothers.

More and more I understand that is what I cant give M at the moment. The small time I have, I cant go and make those connections with M. We cant go to playgroup, or visit cousins, grandparents etc.

E has been stripped of his relationship with me, and my parents, and his step cousins. Its very sad his mother has done this to E.

being assertive

October 1st, 2009 by S F

the last chapter was great

kids need boundaries.

the boundaries make them feel safe. They know their place, and what is expected.

The enemies are:

– passive

– agressive

– manipulative


September 25th, 2009 by S F

The next chapter (of happy children) is about emotions.

Its about helping kids understand the 4 basic emotions, anger, fear, sadness, happiness.

The idea is to name them with words, for both me and M. Instead of physical displays, like temper tantrums, or me yelling, we learn to talk about anger. ‘I am getting angry’. It seems important to role model discussing your emotions.

My brother G, seems to do a good job of this. I have scene him tell his son, that he is upsetting him. He uses a slightly gruff voice, by the book says that is fine. This way the kids understand a reasonable approach to communicating anger. Instead of acting out on it, they can put words to it.

Throughout, you must remember not to put the kids down, as discussed in the first chapter.

One fascinating idea was for toddlers (like M), is to use a wall chart of faces with different emotions, and get her to point to the emotion she is feeling. What an awesome idea. I will try to implement this in November (when we have sufficient time to get away from the park).

I have been discussing with my own counselling the lack of fear of feel. I think I simply don’t understand what it means to be scared.

I am getting better at anger, the anger management course helped with that (which I should spend more time to complete). But the book re-iterated you need anger in your life.

The book also said sadness and crying is important. I know I often encouraged E to cry. His mum often took the common line ‘dont cry like a girl’ – which the books says is pretty bad.

Kids abuse emotions to get parents to react, so watch out for:
– tantrums – which are misuse of anger
– sulking – misuse of sadness
– shyness – misuse of something …. basically get them to atleast say hello to people.

Listening to Kids

September 25th, 2009 by S F

The next chapter (in happy children) was about active listening.

I’ll have to admit, this is somewhat new to me.

I think perhaps my counsellor (R) once touched on this. But I didn’t understand.

Its about not only listening ‘yes dear, your upset about school’. Its about really getting behind the issue, firstly understanding the emotion, and not trying to solve the issue.

This is sort of covered in ‘mens are mars’ book.

But this chapter is clear in its depiction of how easy it is to be patronising or lecturing.

It also had an awesome idea about teaching your kids to solve their own issues. That will help M mature more, than me providing the answer.

It was also bring us closer together. Active listening will have the side effect of being the ‘go-to-person’ for M. If she feels that I will understand and comfort, as opposed to solve, it more likely she will bring more tricky things to me. This is a real opportunity for me, to gain real trust with M at an early age, to better help us both through her teenage years (where I think the trust is harder to earn, more sorely needed).

I want active listening to be one of my pillars as a father.

What kids really want

September 25th, 2009 by S F

The next chapter in the book (The secret of happy children) was about spending time with your kids.

It talked about when kids are playing up, they are looking for attention.

Even when they are doing things they know are wrong, being scowled is better than being ignored.

I have known this for a long time, the best thing you can spend on kids is your time.

It talked a lot about physical contact and love, and being sincere. All this rang true.

What did alarm me was a graph that said at about 12 kids will pull back from the physical contact …. ouch. This sort of reminds me of my relationship with my youngest brother, he loved cuddles when he was little, but at some stage he found it smothering (I think it was more like 10 though).

I immediately thought M has through 2 of 12 years of this stage, 16% of being a little kid. I felt a small amount of anger against the mother minimising my time over the last 14 months with M. But I quickly separated those feeling, and understand that its about my ex’s mental health surrounding anxiety, and it cant be helped.

It talked about doing things together. I had already worked this one out also. I am keen to find hobbies with both can enjoy. I have recently copied some music to my ipod shuffle, and we (M & I) listen to it at lunch in the park. Its my music (and not the wiggles), so I am a little more interested, and I feel that is a good thing. M sits there, eating, swaying to the music, its ssssooo cute. I caught a small amount on video this week.

my family

September 24th, 2009 by S F

There is 2 of us , me and M (my daughter, a few weeks from being 2).

It took me a while to come to that realisation, until I changed the private health cover. To a single parent family. Yep, I am a single parent. I thought that was only for young unmarried mothers, nope, its for 30 something separated greiving fathers too.

Nothing can take away M from me, not my ex, not the courts. M has a right to live with me, and I have a responsiblity to care for M.

Its likely to be the most important relationship for the rest of my life. So I am going to do a damned good job of it.

It was only recently I realised that, no matter what, I will never loose my daughter, our relationship. It’s really up to me not to fuck it up. Its not like dating someone, its not even like marrying someone – they all might go away, leave you, discard you. My my daughter is for life, she is for keeps.

I only see her for 2 x 2hrs per week. She is on my mind for a lot more than that. The legal side of things is a part of that, but only a small part. A big part is remembering the small fun things we do together, how much I love her. What we are going to do next. What things I want to teach her. How different she is to E at the same age.

My mind is always racing ahead, 5 years, 10 years. I want to learn now, make a strong foundation, make the world a safe place for my daughter.I want her to grow up emotionally secure inside. I want to be the rock for her. I want to be her best friend. I want to communicate with her, and not talk down to her. I want to give her strong foundations and values, and let her make her own decisions. I will support every decision, no matter how bad, or how much I disagree. I want to always be on her side. The communication and closeness is the most important long term goal, if I support her decisions, we have no real reason to cut each other off.

I am her father all the time, even when I am not with her. I am her father.

I love you M.

The secret of Happy Children – Steve Biddulph

September 24th, 2009 by S F

This is a newer book, from the author of ‘raising boys’. That interestingly, my ex banned me from reading ‘raising boys’. Probably as she didn’t agree on the chapter on masterbation (which I would assume there would be on any parent boys book).

I have only read the first chapter so far, and its powerful stuff.

Its about brain washing your kids. It talks about the wrong way, like ‘your an idiot !’ – this demeans kids, lowers their self esteem. They believe their parents. The right way, is positive encouragement, that is realistic and honest – ‘wow – you are getting very strong’.

These ideas seem natural to me. I can’t remember anytime I put down my step son E (now 5, that I lived with for 3 years). His mother, put him down every day, more often when the mother was upset and frustrated, or angry with me (which was always).

I can remember some powerful messages from my parents, but I cant for the life of me, think of even one put down. Perhaps I was lucky to escape if from my parents.

The books talks about lots of it is passed from your parents. And it more often occurs when emotions and tempers are high.

I can remember my ex contstantly threatening E, ‘if you don’t finish your breakfast, you won’t go to school’ (meaning pre school). She never ever, carried out even 1 threat to my memory. She often swore at him. Calling him an idiot. Basically every bad thing in the book, my ex did it.

Now, I am not saying I am a saint. Perhaps its because I was older. Perhaps because my parents didn’t do it to me. Perhaps it was my maternal grandmother’s influence, she always saw the silver lining, and that has been powerful influence on my life. But I gave all the positive enforcement to E I could, like:

– ‘smart idea’

– ‘ was that your idea E ? good idea’

– ‘does anyone have any good ideas how to fix xxxx ?’

– ‘ that was a good idea E. where did that come from ?’ … answers in my brain … ‘wow you must have a smart brain’

– I helped him throw. Kick the soccer ball. I always gave him a good word and a cuddle, after such excersize.

– ‘good throw, you have very strong arms’

The worst I remember from the ex was:

– ‘fuck off’ – shoves E out of the bathroom ‘just leave me alone’

– E slumps on the ground crying whilst playing in a park, we are separated, and I have come to dinner. ‘get off the grounds, stop crying you girl’

– at the restaurant that same evening : ‘if you dont stop crying, and eat your dinner, I’ll take you back to B (natural father), and I’ll leave you there, and I wont come back’

She has kicked this poor kid from pillar to post, and she doesn’t even know it.

I was the best thing in his life. Positive, reasurring, calm, confident. I hope to get back to help him. But its unlikely I can help much, even if I do get time, it was be so small, as to have no chance to counteract the evil that the mother does. I can only hope his natural father does a better job.

The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers

September 24th, 2009 by S F

I fired my lawyers last week.

They were costing money, and they were too conservative.

I decided that the money could probably be better spent on the kids somehow, like education, holidays, or a house deposit.

I have read lots of case law, read the legislation, and family law just isn’t that complex (IMHO).

The second brush with the lawyers actually yielded some results.

The first was over a contravention, the mother stopped contact for illness of M, claiming she had gastro. Last time this occured the GP said the child was bright and happy and could have attended. Again the GP said the child was bright. I am pretty sure there is 2 breaches of the orders, but this blog is only going to contain light coverage of legal issues. I am basically not taking the breach to court as such so as not to aggravate the mother needlessly. I am likely to draft up the papers, and keep them handy.

The second brush, I was asking for non-adversarial ideas. We came up with the name of a reputed counsellor that specializes in  separation, co parenting.  They even do mediation. So I think we might have struck gold. So I am more than thrilled, that we might have a way forward.