Emotional Recovery and Parenting

Posted February 4, 2011 by singledadpa
Categories: adultery, affair, cheating, children, custody, dating, Divorce, divorce and dating, family, internet, kids, living, parental advice, sacrifice, separation, single dad, Single Father

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Ok, Dads, there are actually two distinct parts to this blog.  The first part, I was planning on writing anyway, due to some questions I got from some people going through divorce, and the second part comes from some personal events that happened yesterday.

So first, lets call “emotional recovery”.  I have dealt with this somewhat before, but the questions I have gotten seem to show maybe I haven’t dealt with this particular aspect in the detail it deserves.  Now, dads, it can be an ego thing for us to “jump back in the saddle” in the wake of a separation or divorce.  We want to feel attractive to members of the opposite sex, and so we throw ourselves back into the dating world as quickly as possible.  For some dads, that’s trying to seek sex, for some, it is an emotional relationship to bury the pain of rejection, and for some, they just can’t handle being alone.

I have seen many friends throw them back out as quickly as possible, and to be honest, I was just as guilty of that as the next guy.  BUT, this approach is a MISTAKE.  As I have stated repeatedly, you are going through a trauma, and though we call it “Divorce” as if it is one single thing, its NOT.  It is a series of events, the MIDDLE part is you and your spouse separating.  As with ANY traumatic event, your recovery from it is going to come in STEPS, and your EMOTIONAL recovery is included in that.

Simply put, dads, unless you marriage had been DEAD, in your mind, for a LONG time before the divorce, your emotions are bouncing around like a ping pong ball on crack.  So, you may think “Yeah, I can handle a relationship again.  I am already past things.”….um NO YOU AREN’T.  Not at six months, not at a year….sorry to disappoint.

Your emotions are in turmoil, and going around in your head.  You are going between grief, sadness, anger, happiness, in some cases, and these emotions can literally change between one minute and the next.  Now, being guys, we can fool ourselves about our emotions, because we don’t like to deal with them, and we can lock onto one emotion and cling to it like a drowning man clings to a life preserver.  We can do that in such a way, we can suppress our inner emotional struggle….for awhile.  But the other emotions will come roaring back at the most inopportune moment, demanding we recognize them and deal with them.

And because we lock onto that one emotion, we may also not realize that emotion MAY be  a false one, or the object of that emotion may NOT be what we believe them to be, or even what we truly want.

So when venturing out into the dating world, we need to be careful.

So, for example, if you seek out a group of divorced people, either in the real world, or on line, as I did, you find a community that actually GETS what you are going through.  They understand your pain, your emotions, and in these rooms, you find both men and women going through it.  It is a WONDERFULLY therapeutic thing!  Then you find yourself talking to one particular woman, who you connect with, because of your shared trauma.  You find yourselves talking to each other for hours, and a bond is formed because of this shared trauma.

NOW is where you need to step back.  You need to take a deep breath and you need to regroup.  Its time to ask yourself some question, before you cross that line of sharing pain, to actual romantic involvement.

Its simple, and its not.  YES, you have this bond, YES,  she gets your pain.  BUT (You knew there would be a but!)…What ELSE do you have in common ASIDE from that trauma?  What interests do you share?  How about philosophies of life?  Religion?  Music?  Views on child rearing?

Sharing trauma only gets you so far, dads.  It helps you heal, as sharing ANY traumatic event with someone does…but does THAT translate into something that can actually LAST?  Eventually, the trauma is going to fade for both of you.  Eventually, you are both going to heal, and then you are going to have to actually BUILD something with this person that has a SOLID foundation.

“But she GETS me!”

NO, she gets your PAIN.  You are NOT your pain, as much as it FEELS like you are in those early days.  You are a person with beliefs, and interests, passions and desires, hopes and fears, and so is she.  And if those things DON’T match up to a significant degree, then once the trauma that bound you together is gone, what do you have left?

Because men DON’T, in general, deal with their emotions well, they can lock onto this release, this balm on our pain, like it is the answer to all our problems.  I saw SO many men, AND women, jump from partner to partner within the chat community I was in.  And MOST of them were not doing it to be players, or be mean…they were CONFUSED.  That is NATURAL!!!

Almost three years into things, there are both  men and women from that room that I consider CLOSE friends.  But they are people I found OTHER interests with, aside from the divorce.  Our conversations, these days, still touch on the divorce, but also roam through SO many similar interests, that I would have been close to them, if we had met and had NEVER divorced.  And the women I DO find attractive?  Well, there is far more to what we have in common, again, than that pain!

In the early days, you have to be more careful, and more AWARE of where your emotions are, than at any OTHER time in your life.  You don’t want to be hurt, and you don’t want to hurt someone else.  So TREAD CAREFULLY.  Don’t leap at an opportunity that somehow SEEMS a Godsend, when it is simply a part of healing, no MORE and no LESS.

Take your time, and ask yourself the HARD questions, as much as you now want something SIMPLE.  Otherwise, one of you is going to be hurt.  We all want to think our particular romance, or situation, is unique, and will buck the trend…and it MIGHT…but there is a reason the OTHER way is the TREND….because that is the way it usually ends up.

Dig into your emotions, dads.  Root them out, acknowledge them, and you will HEAL far more quickly and be MUCH more likely to actually find a person you CAN match up with long term.  Again, easily said, not so easily done.

PART TWO:

Okay, another part to the divorce process, is being a parent.  Whether your children are with your part time, or full time, you are STILL A PARENT, with ALL the responsibilities that entails.  It is natural to want to spare our children from going through any MORE pain than they already have.

BUT again, a natural thing, for SOME parents, is to become OVER protective, and actually drive our kids away.  Now…much as I hate to, I gotta drag my ex into this again, because it is DIRECTLY about what she is doing that is alienating herself from her daughter.

My step daughter called me yesterday.  I make sure I am available for her to vent to, because she and her mother have some serious issues.  Unfortunately, my ex creates many of these issues by lying to her daughter, and being hypocritical.  And even MORE unfortunately, my ex thinks one of the things she needs to do is listen to ALL of her daughter’s phone conversations, including ones with me.

Now, she demands her daughter tell her everything, talks about how they have to trust each other, but demonstrates HER clear lack of trust by this intrusiveness. “Do as I say, not as I do.”

Folks, you can’t be a hypocrite with your kids.  Kids have better BS detectors than ANY adult I know.  They know when someone close to them is lying, being false, or giving off the “Do as I say, not as I do” vibe.  Sorry. They do.  And if you think YOUR kids don’t, you are LYING to yourself.

My ex pretends she is NOT listening in, but my step daughter KNOWS she is…there is no doubt in this.

Now, when we were growing up, you ALL knew those kids who had the overly strict parents…the ones who always had to know where the kid was, who never believed what they said, who monitored the children like they lived in a concentration camp…lets call this the “Dick Cheney” approach to parenting:

“Yes, you can live your life, but I am your parent, I know better, and to keep you from screwing up, you have NO rights and NO privacy while you are under MY roof.”

Now, what happened to those kids, almost UNANIMOUSLY?  They became the kids that got into the most trouble, had the worst emotional issues, and went off the deep end far more quickly than any OTHER kid.  It ALWAYS happens, and if you think back to your teenage years, you can name at least ONE kid I am talking about.  We ALL can.  Unfortunately, some of those kids, in their over-reaction, ended up dead.

It is SO easy, as a parent, to think:  “Well, I am older, far more wiser, I knew what I did, and I need to prevent my kids from doing those same things.”

And it is SO easy to think exerting absolute control is the answer to this.  ITS NOT.  IF you let yourself become one of these parents, you are actually setting your kids up for a FALL, and you only have YOURSELF to blame.

There is a fine line in parenting, folks.  You want to be FRIENDLY, but you CAN’T be your child’s “friend”.  You need to ARM your kids to handle the world, but you CAN’T prevent the pitfalls of the teenage years, and it is FOOLISHNESS of the highest order to think that you can.  YOU CAN’T.

There is a balance to be struck here.  Part of it involves treating your kids as individuals WORTHY of your respect.  This means talking to them about grown up things, in terms they can understand, not sheltering them.  For example, again with the ex, my step daughter is 13, almost 14, and a couple weeks ago, my ex FINALLY had the “talk” with her…this is NOT the 1950s…holding that talk off till then merely made my ex’s efforts PITIFUL, and look like a JOKE to our daughter.  That talk should have been a couple years ago.  To compound her error, my ex used words like “boy parts”….

Look, the “Talk” with your kids, is going to be uncomfortable, but you NEED to, as with everything else, show your kids you think they can handle truths…so suck it up and use the appropriate language.  Don’t fool yourself. Your kids already KNOW the terminology from other kids in school.  So, where my ex talked about a girl using her mouth on “boy parts”…this doesn’t mean you say “blowjob”, pardon my explicitness, but you DO say “Oral Sex”.  If you DON’T give the appropriate respect in these instances, you might as well say NOTHING.

There is a woman I know, who is the BEST mother I know, bar none, and she and I talked about this, and she used an example that made me remember my parents had the EXACT same approach.

Lets use underage drinking as an example.  Again, lets not be hypocritical.  I drank underage, and 90% of the teenage kids I knew did as well.  The odds are YOU did too…so what is the APPROPRIATE way to arm our kids?

The approach my friend used was the exact same one my parents used with me.  You let your kids know you consider it to be WRONG, but IF they are in a situation where there has been alcohol and drugs, then that night, they can call you for a ride, because you DON’T want them to either drive drunk, or RIDE with someone who is drunk…For that NIGHT, there will be no questions, and no recriminations.  You will come get them NO QUESTIONS ASKED.

Now, the next DAY is a different story, and there WILL be consequences.  And they need to KNOW that…the point is to make sure that if they DO screw up, you will get them through it, and THEN you will deal with it.

And you know what?  I DID drink underage, but I NEVER drove drunk, or rode with ANYONE who was drunk.  I can hear some people saying “Well then your parent’s approach didn’t work!”

Get with reality.  Yes I drank, SOME, not much.  Yes I had sex.  But I didn’t drive drunk, I made sure I used condoms, and as result, I am alive, and have NO children from a young age…so WHICH, in the end, was more effective do you think?  SERIOUSLY, don’t be HYPOCRITICAL.

Another example, going back, is my step daughter told me about the “talk” my ex had with her.  My response was simple.  I said, “Good, I don’t need to go over the mechanics with you, but now, here is the GUY take on things.”

I talked with her as an adult. I told her how boys and girls have hormones running through them on a level adults don’t.  How boys can and do say ANYTHING to get sex, including saying “I love you.”  I told her flat out, I had concerns, given her mother’s situation with men, that she might be vulnerable to the first guy who paid serious attention to her, and to KEEP him, she would give in when she didn’t want to.  I told her the perfect guy is the one who says “I will wait till you are ready”…and then she should WAIT with him.  I told her the mistakes I felt I made as a teenage guy, and I treated her as a young adult the entire time, and refused to look uncomfortable about this conversation for a single second. I looked at it as a NECESSITY that my discomfort could AFFECT.

As parents, we need to face reality.  Our kids are going to make errors, and do things we don’t want them to.  You can’t prevent it, you can’t stop it. ALL you can do is chart a course through these rapids of teenage years, that let them make it through it as well adjusted, and ALIVE adults.  BE REALISTIC, be honest.  Think back to when YOU were a teenager, about what things got through to you and what didn’t.  SPYING on your kids, hounding them, treating them as INFANTS….all this is going to do is make your kids resent you, and drive them to push the envelope more, folks.

Be friendly, be honest, stand by rules, but also, be your kid’s safe place…be that place they KNOW you will catch them if they fall.  Let them know that YES, there are consequences for screw ups…but those consequences are REASONABLE, MEASURABLE, and treat your kids with the respect of talking HONESTLY….that is being a TRUE parent!

Allons-y!

Violence, Divorce and Life

Posted January 31, 2011 by singledadpa
Categories: abuse, adultery, affair, cheating, children, custody, Divorce, domestic abuse, domestic violence, family, kids, living, parental advice, separation, single dad, Single Father, Uncategorized

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Dads, we usually hear alot about violence when something big happens, such as the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and the murder of the six innocent bystanders in the wake of that event.  Our hearts break when we think about how frightened 9 year old Christina Taylor must have been in the last few seconds of her life, far from her parents, dying alone.

And, as parents, our hearts break for Christina’s  parents, who innocently let her go to that event, with a trusted neighbor, to a gathering that was SUPPOSED to give her the beginnings of an appreciation for how government works.

But for all Christina Taylor will be remembered, hundreds and thousands more children and partners are murdered or injured EVERY year  at the hands of someone they  KNEW  and even TRUSTED.  MANY times, this happens in  the event of a divorce, or separation, when infidelities are discovered, abuse escaped, or life begins falling apart.

Now, I  have talked about all  of this previously, but I feel a need to stress one major point here yet again:  VIOLENCE IS NOT ACCEPTABLE.

Having  said that, I am not someone who is a wimp about violence, or thinks there is NEVER a time it is acceptable.  I have had to fight for my life on one occasion, and that person found out just how NON pacifistic I can be.  Although I am NOT practicing martial arts any longer, I did for quite some time, and between my brother and myself, we own enough guns to hold off a company of infantry.  (I do need to point out these guns were ALL inherited.  I have NEVER purchased a gun in my life.)  HOWEVER, those times where violence is called for are few and far between.  Violence is acceptable when your life is threatened, or the life of someone around you is threatened.  EVEN then, a proper response, is one that ends the threat with the MINIMAL amount of violence possible.

So we all make noises when an event like the shooting in Arizona happens.   And MANY of us look for SOMEONE to blame for these events.  Although I think I have about as LOW an opinion of Sarah Palin’s mental faculties, as it is possible to have, I find it ridiculous to blame what one person  posted on their website, for the actions of ANOTHER, mentally competent adult.  And if it is shown this idiot is NOT  mentally competent, then SOMETHING would have set him off no matter what.  Of  course, that is a  topic for another time.

My purpose here is to  REMIND newly separated or divorced fathers that VIOLENCE is NOT an acceptable response to the events that lead to the end of your marriage.

Now, if you were someone who was abusive towards your spouse, you get what you deserve, if they left you or had an affair.  Abuse is the sign of a WEAK person who has issues with THEMSELVES.  I have talked EXTENSIVELY about this issue both here and on my Facebook page.  If you abuse someone, it is ALWAYS wrong.  ALWAYS.  No excuses, no exceptions.  She, or the kids, did NOT deserve it.  YOU are ALWAYS in the wrong.  And, unfortunately, nothing I am going to write here is  going  to help.

My appeal here is to the fathers who WEREN’T abusive, but due to events, now think that  maybe they DO need to be violent towards their soon  to be ex, or even, to their children.  The news is replete with stories of  men who kill their ex, and maybe even their kids, because they feel their life is hopeless, or they want to blame someone for their lives falling  apart.

I truly do understand the desire to lash out in pain.  I have been there and I get it.  It is, I believe, a natural urge in men, to ACT to fix things any way they can.  But that urge has to be controlled, redirected, and harnessed.  If you haven’t read some of my previous blogs, believe me, I have been there.

When I caught my ex cheating, I had it all figured out how to kill my so-called friend she was having the affair with.  To be honest, it would have worked, I wouldn’t have been caught, and that would have been that.  And to be MORE honest, I STILL think the world would be a better place without him in it.  He contributes nothing of value in this world, and can best be described as a parasite that few would miss.

HOWEVER, this is NOT how civilized, GOOD people act, and at my core, I want to believe I am a good person.  So do we ALL.  Now, in MY case, I was VERY foolish and did NOT channel that violent impulse well.  That led  to my suicide attempt.

So, as you read this, don’t think I don’t get that violent impulse.  I DO,  on a VERY fundamental level.  I  redirected it at myself when I realized I would rather be good than be a killer, and that impulse needed to be directed SOMEWHERE.

DON’T make that mistake, Dads.

So use this event, and others like it, to figure out WHO you are inside.  You are ANGRY….and that is NATURAL.  You are in PAIN.  Again, that is NATURAL.  BUT BUT BUT…how you choose to ACT with that anger and pain helps define who you are at your core.  Are you a GOOD person, dad?  Of COURSE you are.  Of course you want your kids to see the RIGHT example, the RIGHT actions, and the BEST way to deal with adversity in life.

So in these early days, you have to take CONTROL of yourself and your emotions.  You have to CHANNEL the darker urges that we all have, into  something CONSTRUCTIVE.  I know I am making it sound easy, while at the same time it is one of the HARDEST things you will ever do in you life.

Its easier for me now.  Time, and the fact I have an 8 inch scar to look at on my wrist, always restrains me from my own worst impulses.  But, after I got out of the hospital, from my suicide attempt, for WEEKS, I woke up EVERY single morning, after only four hours of sleep, and my body felt like massive adrenaline was shooting through it.  As I lay in my bed, my entire body went rigid, my muscles locked and twitched, and my first ten minutes of being awake were spent fighting my own body for control.

Every morning I faced that physical battle, and the accompanying mental battle, and every day was a new fight that I knew I needed to win.  SO I GET IT.  And having come THROUGH it, I can tell you, as trite as it can sound, LIFE WILL GET BETTER.  This is NOT the end of the world, just a massive change that you have to adjust to.

So, find ways to channel your destructive dark impulses that DON’T hurt people.  If you don’t go to a gym, go out into the woods, pick up a good size stick and start smashing things.  If you can, exercise yourself into exhaustion.  Its hard to be angry ALL the time, so once you get past the initial urges, they should fade.  Do something that, although it is physical destructive or draining, hurts NOTHING.

Its simple.  If you are a good person, you are going to have a struggle between your instinct, and what you know is right.  Use all of the resources around you to go with what is right, and slam your instinct back where it belongs…into those dark parts that we never let out.  Once you are able to channel those instincts and lock them back into place, you will realize that NOTHING is served by being violent towards your ex, and CERTAINLY NOT towards your kids.

Allons-y!

New Years Resolutions for Divorced Dads

Posted January 6, 2011 by singledadpa
Categories: adultery, affair, cheating, children, custody, dating, Divorce, divorce and dating, family, internet, kids, kids and dating, living, parental advice, separation, single dad, Single Father


Ok, dads, its time to plan the rest of your lives, post separation or divorce.  Now, I don’t mean a detailed, day by day plan, but there are some things you NEED to get it  into your head that you are going to accomplish this year in order to take your live back, and to make yourself, and your children HAPPY.

So what you need are some GOALS to set, or things you need to get done, to get to the point where your life can PROGRESS.  Without these, you are going to find you are in a holding pattern, and this year will be just as unhappy as the last.

Get past your Ex: Now, I know, I can hear the NEWLY separated saying “Easy for you to say!”  And yes, it is true that time DOES aid in this.  However, I know people who ten years later are STILL hung up on their ex, and their lives are unhappy and miserable.  You need to get it into your head that THIS part of your life is DONE.  Its not going to return, she is NOT going  to suddenly see the light and throw herself back into your arms…and to be honest, even if she WOULD, why would YOU want her back?  So how do you do this?  The GOAL is to interact with your ex as LITTLE as possible!

  • Don’t follow her life: Be it online, via facebook, or by talking to mutual friends, you may be guilty of keeping tabs on your ex.  STOP!!!  DON’T look at her facebook page, don’t ask your friends what she is up to, and completely SEPARATE yourself from HER.  If you DON’T do this, you are going to continue in misery.  Once you have gotten away from what SHE is doing, you have energy you can now devote to what YOU are doing, and your kids!
  • Don’t engage in petty conflicts with her: It is a common psychological thing.  BAD  attention is at LEAST attention.  For SOME people, if it is the ONLY way they can interact with their ex, so either consciously, or unconsciously,  they SEEK OUT this conflict, because on SOME level, it VALIDATES their existence.  STOP THIS.  If there is a GENUINE disagreement over your KIDS, fine.  Fight the good fight.  But if it DOESN’T involve the  children?  There is NOTHING worth fighting for.  REFUSE to engage if SHE is the one pushing this, and, pardon the pun, divorce yourself from this practice.

Become YOURSELF again: When we go through the trauma of divorce or separation, many of us become hermits, and the things that made us HAPPY fall to the wayside.  We wrap ourselves in our pain, and stop being the person  we were.  Dads, a divorce does NOT  mean you are NOT a good person.  It does NOT mean every other woman must also see  something WRONG with you.  So KEEP doing the GOOD things that make you who you are.  If you are a joker by  mature, BE A JOKER.  If you are someone who was  into reading, and  being cerebral, KEEP BEING that.  IF you are going to meet someone who is RIGHT for you, they have to see YOU, and they can’t do that when you hide away the parts of yourself that are IMPORTANT.

Do the things that made you HAPPY: Hand in hand with being yourself is doing the things you LIKED.  If you were a person who liked traveling, KEEP traveling, if you liked playing in a softball  league, KEEP doing it!  You can’t CHANGE who you are, and what you did, because ONE person didn’t think that was what she wanted.  There are things you did that you ENJOYED.  KEEP doing them, and SHARE them with your CHILDREN!

If you think there is room for LEGITIMATE change, then make THOSE changes: Look, we ALL can improve  things about ourselves.  BUT these things are NOT drastic.  If there ARE some things you think  you can  IMPROVE about yourself, then by all means, do THOSE.  Case  in  point:  One of MY problems is it is all to easy for me to withdraw from the people around me emotionally.  I shut down and push people away if I think they are too close to me.  Trust was an issue with me LONG before my marriage.  It could be genetic, it could be ME, I don’t know.  BUT, I make an effort to check that negative impulse now.  I recognized it and countered it…this it DIFFERENT from me changing WHO I AM.

Figure out how you can make your CHILDREN happier: Look, your child, or children, are going to be having a rough enough time with everything,  so despite the fact  YOU are in pain, you need  to figure out what you can do to make your KIDS happier.  So give them routines when you have them, DO things with them.  Don’t just give them to the Wii, or the PS3, and go do your own thing.  When you have them, BE with them.  Take them places and do things.  INTERACT with them and let them know, in NO uncertain terms, that you LOVE them.  Listen to them, comfort them, and leave NO room for doubt  that they are STILL the IMPORTANT part of your life.  This WILL make them as happy as they can be, and help them get through THEIR pain.  I will use the same reference I did in my last  blog about my ex:  ANYONE will say they will DIE for their kids…will you LIVE for your kids?

Give your kids some CONTROL in their lives: This does NOT mean letting your kids steamroll you, or buying them tons of things.  What it means is letting them help make your new place a home. Let them have control in decorating their bedroom, choosing the movie you go see, helping  choose dinner…LITTLE  things.  But these  consistent times of input and choice let them know they MATTER, they have some CONTROL, and their lives  are not directionless and out of their hands.  This is VERY important.  Make it a PRIORITY.

Plan to get OUT: I am guilty of this one at times.  If you AREN’T in public, you aren’t going to meet anyone.  So, make sure you regularly are around PEOPLE.  Go hang out with your friends, go do things  with your kids  where they may also be single MOTHERS, and don’t become a HERMIT!

Get it into your head that your ex is NOT all women: Guys, when you divorce someone, that someone does  NOT represent  the ENTIRE population of females.  You had issues with ONE person, and that’s life.  It HAPPENS.  But how many people do you know who were divorced and have again found happiness?  TONS.  Be one of those people, and be ready, when the time comes, to give the NEXT woman a chance.

So these few things, dads, should be your STARTING  points to taking your life back.  Make these simple things GOALS for the new year, then figure out the details.  Lets make this year the year we learn to be HAPPY again!

Allons-y!

Teach Your Children Well

Posted January 4, 2011 by singledadpa
Categories: adultery, affair, cheating, children, Christian, custody, dating, Divorce, divorce and dating, holidays, kids, kids and dating, living, parental advice, sacrifice, separation, single dad, Single Father

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

For those of us who are separating or divorcing, many times, it can be because there are some FUNDAMENTAL differences, in our outlooks  in life, that have surfaced between us and our ex.  Those differences were ALWAYS there, but ignored until the divorce.  Unfortunately, this means that the children can be trapped in the middle, despite our BEST efforts to keep that from happening.  Now, this is NOT because we WANT our children caught in this conflict, but because there is an impasse that cannot be bridged, no matter how much we may not want this to be, at this point.

Dads, it is our JOB as a parent, to teach our children the differences between right and wrong, and to teach them the things that we find acceptable in living our lives.  It is also our job to counter negative  influence, be they from friends, family…or even from the other parent.  At THAT point, we feel caught between the conflicting forces of wanting our children to know both parents love them, and protecting them from something we see as harmful to them.

I don’t normally delve TOO deeply into my personal stuff, but it is needed here to make a point.

As I have mentioned previously, my ex, who claimed for years to be religious, had multiple affairs, and married one of the men she had an affair with.  This man, aside from the fact that he had claimed to be a friend of mine, had been a LOUSY father.  Hands down.  I saw it for YEARS and had NO questions about the fact.  I STILL don’t.

My ex, as I had previously mentioned, had been given a choice:  I didn’t care if she dated the guy, stayed with him, but if she had him move in with her, then she gave up the right to have her son stay nights with her.  I didn’t do this to be vindictive, or hurtful.  I did this because the man is NOT acceptable to be around children.  Not ANYONE’S children.  And DESPITE what my ex may think, this was NOT an easy decision to reach.

My ex chose the man over her son.  To this day, she claims it is my fault for FORCING this choice on her.  This is the difference in parenting philosophies:  If I had been in her shoes, the significant other would have been gone in five seconds…no contest.  It would not have even been a choice in my book, and would have taken no time to decide.  No matter HOW that choice had been forced on me,  I would have chosen my SON, and  not looked back.

This past weekend, my former mother in law wanted  to have a belated Christmas get together with her family  And she wanted my ex, her husband, and my son to all be there.  Despite what I know my ex thinks, I don’t trash her to my son.  I REFUSE to do that, for NO 8 year old should think ill of EITHER of their parents. They have ENOUGH to deal with  in a divorce, without feeling they have to take sides.  So I left the choice to my son, letting him know if he decided to go, that was more than fine with me.  I made it clear it was COMPLETELY his choice, with NO adverse consequences on my end.  I told him I would back him to the HILT no matter WHAT he decided.

Now, this isn’t bragging about my son, much as I would like to, but he is an observant boy who sees EVERYTHING….sometimes I fear he sees too much.  He took all of ten seconds deciding he didn’t want to be anywhere around this guy, so he passed on the family get together.  I still talked more with it about him to make sure he was SURE of his choice.

He caught grief  from my ex and her mother.  They don’t think they gave him much, but they never actually TALKED with him about his FEELINGS, just pestered him about why he didn’t want to go.  In fact, my ex, to his FACE, said I was poisoning his mind against her husband.

Now, the TRUTH of the matter is I find myself, ironically, having to REMIND my son that his mother loves him, and DEFEND her actions…and if THAT isn’t a smack to the head, I don’t know what is!

His response, after our fourth talk about it was as follows:  “Dad, I know mommy is a good person on the inside…she just isn’t such a good person on the OUTSIDE.”

See, as I said, he sees far more than I want him to.  It turns out, he still resents my ex for picking her husband over him, and he has NO desire to meet the man as a result.  He has formed his own opinions and desires on the matter.  As he has worded  it on more than one occasion:  “I love my mommy, but I don’t like her very much.”

BUT, my son INITIALLY asked that I take the blame for him not being there.  He wanted ME to say I said no, not him.  Being the protective parent, I had NO problem with this…at first.  As I thought about this request I also talked it over with some friends.  They were friends who are ALSO parents, and I respect their decisions greatly.

See…this goes back to teaching your children.  And  one of the things they HAVE to learn is to stand up for THEMSELVES.  The kicker of being  a parent is we want to protect them from EVERYTHING, but have to teach them to  STAND UP for themselves…even against a parent, when they KNOW they are right.

A parent’s JOB is to prepare our kids to be ready to face the world.  Our DESIRE is to protect them from EVERYTHING as fiercely as possible.  And that leads us to our OWN conflicts.

It was not an  easy decision, but I finally decided to tell my son he HAD to state HIS desires on the matter clearly to his mother and grandmother.  That I would BACK his desires, and if anyone gave him grief they could bring take up the issue with ME.  I told him, when it came to what he FEELS, he had the right to say to my ex, or to ME, that he didn’t agree, WHY he didn’t agree, and I would NEVER come  down on him for expressing his  opinion.

And here is the line we have to learn as parents, especially as SINGLE parents:  Its NOT our job to PROTECT our children from everything…its our job to  ARM our children so they can protect THEMSELVES from everything.  We need to teach our children how to cope with adverse  situations, how  to express  clearly and rationally what their desires are, and they need to learn we are the people who will ALWAYS listen.  Now, we may not, in fact WILL not, always AGREE.  But we are teaching our children to  stand on their own, to face the world and not be overwhelmed by it.

Unfortunately, this also includes arming our children to protect themselves from a bad parent.  BUT…and this is a BIG but…this doesn’t mean slamming your ex to them, it doesn’t mean when you and your ex have minor disagreements that you drag your kids into it, or even make them aware of it.  This is for the BIG things.

I was raised that affairs are wrong, despite the fact my own father had one.  I was raised to believe that someone certainly would NOT marry a person they were having an affair with and have that CONDONED by everyone around them.  I was not raised to think a child would have to TOLERATE a partner of a parent, who had an affair.  I will NOT allow my son to think that is an  acceptable life choice,  I will not have him think it is something he could do to HIS family when he is grown.  These are things I feel VERY strongly about, and there is no room for compromise on such an issue.

Thus, the fundamental conflict with my ex.  I am fortunate.  She has no REAL desire to be a parent, or to put her children first.  Her world, ultimately, revolves around HER, and everyone else going along with her choices because SHE wants them.

As a parent, MY belief is that your child comes FIRST.  Over a partner, over your desires, over what MAY bring YOU happiness, yet make your child miserable.

We are PARENTS.  It is the MOST IMPORTANT thing we will do with our lives.  More important than jobs, accomplishments, or wealth.  Being a parent is the SINGLE most important thing we EVER do with our lives, hands down.  And THAT should be the attitude of ANY parent.

Its my JOB  to impart these fundamental beliefs and  philosophies  to my son, then let him DECIDE if he agrees. Its my job to ARM him, to protect himself from his mother’s poor choices, her selfishness, and her pettiness.  Its my job to teach him how to stand up for himself against these things, not protect him from them.  Giving him illusions about how life works will only result in MORE pain for him later life.

So, dads, you need to make sure that these fundamental conflicts are INDEED fundamental.  Not to spite your ex, not even reject her future partners out of hand.

“Yeah, well YOU did!’

Nope, I knew the man for nine years.  Knew him as a parent and a person.  He is a LOUSY parent, and I have no question or hesitation in saying that.  I wouldn’t let him around ANYONE’S kids, period.  This has NOTHING to do with the affair and everything to do with HIM as a person.  See, you do protect your kids from harm, just not discomfort.

Further, it has even MORE to do with my ex.  She has readily claimed she would die for our son…she has NEVER shown she would LIVE for him.  She loves him, as much as she is capable of loving anyone.  I don’t doubt that for a second.  But in HER world, she is the center of the universe, and so whatever is good for HER, must therefore be good for everyone else…and if it isn’t, they need to shut their mouths and go along, because its STILL good for HER.

Now, this sounds like sour grapes, and a total slam of my ex….its not.  It is recognizing who she truly is.  I am NOT saying her philosophy is wrong, or mine is right…just that they are FUNDAMENTALLY opposed, and I am confident in my OWN beliefs.  No more, no  less.  It has been a bitter pill to realize I once  loved someone who was such the complete opposite of myself and  my beliefs…we live and learn.

But dads, ARM your kids.  Teach them how to protect themselves…and  BACK them  when they do!  Be there as the rational voice, the sympathetic shoulder,  and the sounding board for their emotional state.  Don’t view your kids as a weapon to be used against your ex, and THINK long and hard before any conflict.  BUT, when you are sure, don’t hesitate to BACK your children.  Don’t hesitate, out of a sense of loyalty to something long gone, to ARM you kids with the tools they need for  their lives ahead.  Its your JOB to give your kids the ability to be their own person!

And if this means arming them to defend  themselves against the other parent…think long and hard, but IF it does, then DO IT!

Allons-y!

Humor is a Necessity.

Posted December 20, 2010 by singledadpa
Categories: adultery, cheating, children, custody, dating, Divorce, family, holidays, kids, living, parental advice, sacrifice, single dad, Single Father

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Ok, dads, the holidays are firmly here.  At this time of year, it is ALL to easy for those of us who have gone through divorce, or who are going through an initial separation, to find ourselves feeling down, or seriously depressed, as we face a holiday that has drastically changed along with everything else in our lives.  I know several people who face this time of year with dread, sadness, and a longing for a different time in our lives when things were either simpler, or happier.  This can be even more true when children are involved, and you are splitting their Christmas schedule with your ex.

Well, as with everything  in life, ATTITUDE is half the battle.  You can let yourself be depressed, at this time of year, and  mope around.  But this will cause several problems.  First, its going to make YOU miserable.  Second, your KIDS are going to sense this, no matter how well you think you are hiding it.  (Remember, children see FAR more than we think they do, or we want them to!)  In turn it brings THEIR holidays down.  And third, attitude ALSO affects health.  So, at this time of the year, if you are down, its also ALL to easy to find yourself getting PHYSICALLY ill.

The  emotion that is BEST going to arm you, protect you, and make things EASIER for you is to get back your sense of HUMOR.  That’s right:  Humor.

Now, I have always had a slightly bizarre sense of humor.  Its much more British, and dry, than most of the people I know.  That may come from having grown up watching Monty Python’s Flying Circus, Fawlty Towers and other shows in that vein.  It may have come from living in the UK for awhile.  It may also just be my family and upbringing.  That’s  irrelevant.  The POINT here, is I had always, up until my divorce, LOVED having a wicked sense of humor.  I enjoyed shows that were mainly comedy, like “Who’s Line is it Anyways”, or the “Colbert Report”, and others.  My sense of humor had extended to life in general, and I always found something amusing everyday, be it dark or light, serious or silly. I enjoyed bad puns, practical jokes  that didn’t harm anyone, and just being silly with my son and step-daughter…and I LOST all of that when my divorce happened.  Looking back, I realize that I actually lost it WELL before my marriage  ended.

I mentioned, in a previous blog, that I had to force myself to go back to the TV shows and movies that made me laugh when I was younger, and watch them even when I didn’t feel like it.  I had to force myself to smile around my son when he showed some  of my silliness, and was feeling playful.

Well, humor was too fundamental to my character to stay gone, and eventually, with some work, it came back.  Now, the first holidays  after I was divorced, my humor wasn’t there, and I let myself be miserable, down about the holidays, even while I was doing my best to make sure my son sensed none of my inner  turmoil.

And, it was a lousy Christmas, my son wasn’t fooled for a second, and I was sicker than I had ever been in my life, catching round after round of the flu.  I wasn’t following my OWN rule of “Fake it till its real” enough, and even though I got my son far more presents than I should have, and he loved the gifts he got, he still later told me he didn’t particularly enjoy that holiday.

Now,  granted, going through divorce is a serious thing.  By and large, when divorce is new, we DON’T feel like getting into the holiday spirit, or having a sense of humor, and to an extent, who can blame us.  But here is another point I have made continually:  The KIDS come FIRST.  You may be longing for the Christmases of old, but  THESE are THEIR “Christmases of old”.  You only get SO much time with your kids, and THESE are the days THEY are going to remember when they are older.  These are the days THEY are going to look back on with nostalgia when they have their own  families.  This is THEIR childhood, and THEIR time to be the ones who are the center of attention.  Are you going to let your ex take that away from them?

So you need to do what you HAVE to.  This means getting past your pain and sadness, and the key to THAT is to get your sense of HUMOR back.

“Easy for you to say, you are a couple years past YOUR divorce now.”

Yup, I am, so hopefully YOU won’t be as stupid as I was, and you will LISTEN to this.  EXPOSE yourself to humor, HOWEVER you have to do that.  Watch and listen to funny things.  If you USED to be a joker, CONTINUE to be a joker.  “Fake it till its real”.  EVENTUALLY, you will find it coming back.

With your humor, make sure you CONTINUE the traditions, with your kids, that YOU loved as a kid.

So, how do we GET that sense of humor back?  Well, the FIRST thing is to remember what USED to make you laugh.  Now, my particular humor crosses alot of boundaries.  There is the innocent humor that makes me laugh, like listening to “Wait,  Wait, Don’t tell Me!” on NPR, to raunchier humor, like “Foamy the Squirrel”, who a friend recommended to me last summer, on  You Tube.  There is the darker humor I have, like the even MORE funny movie, “War of the Roses”, having now experienced divorce myself, or even watching “Phineas and Ferb” with my son.

Humor is all around us, and we NEED to remember what used to  make us laugh.  Go back to what USED to make you laugh and DON’T avoid it.  When your pain is interfering  with your sense of humor, USE your humor to push it away.  Look, we all want to think our situations are unique, that no one can understand our pain…but even in cases of an affair and adultery, like I endured, it ISN’T unique….its DEPRESSINGLY common…so USE that  to find the DARK humor in your OWN situation.

Humor is actually a SHIELD to pain.  It can PROTECT you from your own worst instincts.  So go back to the basics…what are the classics that made you laugh?  For example, I am showing my son the movie “Scrooged” with Bill Murray….GREAT to share, and a wonderfully funny movie.  When he was asleep the other night, I watched “The Ref”, a Dennis Leary, a movie that is NOT appropriate for kids, but dark and wonderfully biting.  Both are GREAT holiday movies.

My new job is one involving the public, and I am finding ALL kinds of humor in watching THEM over-react to the holidays. (I did say some of my humor is dark!)  I don’t let MYSELF get stressed, but THEIR stress, and as bad as it may sound, this has provided me HOURS of amusement this holiday season, not that I would EVER let THEM see it!

Last week, I took my son and step-daughter to Ci-Ci’s Pizza, an american restaurant chain.  I started a quiet spitball fight with my kids, using our straws.  Now, I DID make sure we cleaned up ANY mess we made, but it was the MOST fun meal we had all had in AGES.  We laughed for an hour and a half, and were COMPLETELY silly.  I am sure some of the people around us thought we were slightly crazy, but to be honest, I didn’t CARE.  It is something both my kids and I will remember.  To be honest, my dad used to act this way, and I ALWAYS was embarrassed by it…and it reconnected me to him on a FUNDAMENTAL level, even though he has been dead since 1984.  So it brought the past and present together in a way that TRULY made me feel uplifted!

And with my humor having come back, I have found that THIS Christmas is actually enjoyable!  Granted, it will just be my son  and I on Christmas morning, although we will be spending the rest of the day with friends.   Granted, I am not  in any kind of a relationship right now.  But you know what?  My son and I have done all my old traditions MY family did, we have laughed, played, and done MANY fun things…and MY attitude has been COMPLETELY uplifted by the sense of humor I have rediscovered.

Humor improves our mental well being, and by that, improves our PHYSICAL well being.  Attitude and health are inextricably intertwined.  When your MOOD is better, your immune system is BETTER.  There are SO many reasons your sense of humor is necessary to getting your life back.

And, again, as I have said constantly:  “Are you really willing to let your ex have power enough over you to STILL change who you are?”

So, go back to the basics, dads:  What used to make you laugh?  What used to let you enjoy things?  What sense of humor did you USED to have?  GET IT BACK!!!

Remember what made you laugh, remember what made you silly, and remember what made your KIDS and you have FUN!  Go back to the basics and TAKE YOUR HUMOR BACK….the rest  WILL follow!

This blog is shorter, but the fundamental KEY here is to take back your sense of HUMOR.  Learn to laugh again, and you will find the holidays are NOT the depressing  time you feared!

Allons-y!

Family and Work

Posted October 29, 2010 by singledadpa
Categories: children, Christian, cooking, custody, Divorce, family, gay, homosexual, kids, living, parental advice, politics, sacrifice, separation, single dad, Single Father, work

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Okay, I have not ventured into politics too much, and to be honest, I am NOT writing this to push either a particular party, or a political philosophy, per se.  I want to make a point here, that has kind of disappeared in recent decades.  This is the idea that FAMILY comes before WORK.

When I was single, it didn’t bother me too much, that the companies I worked for expected me to be on call, and to be willing to work extra hours at the drop of a hat.  BUT, I DID sympathize with the parents who had to miss too much of their children’s lives in order to even put a roof over the heads of their families.

Now, I am a divorced, single father. My ex is worse than useless as a parent, and I have had to make some decisions in regards to work and family lately…it got me thinking.

How did we go from being a country where ONE parent could bring in income to pay for a mortgage, STILL have a life, and be involved in the lives of their children, to where we are today?  Now, a single parent may have to have two or even three jobs to provide basic livings needs for a child, and yet they then miss out on the IMPORTANT part of being a parent.  When did we decide that we would allow companies to assume the fact that we work for them is somehow MORE important than our lives outside of work?  How did we get to the point that in many cases, BOTH parents HAVE to work in order to live?

Lets talk messed up priorities here, folks.  Lets talk about getting back to the IMPORTANT thing;  FAMILY COMES FIRST!  You family is MORE important than ANY company, ANY corporation, and ANY wealth.  If you DON’T believe this, spare the REST of us from your mentally defective processes!  The fact you even believe this shows some degree of both inhumanity, AND mental illness.  You NEED counseling!

Now, I get that some people are workaholics.  Heck, I am a type A personality myself.  I get some people LIKE to work a 90 hour week, and they find that kind of life to be desirable.  But SOMEHOW, we have let people, who think that way, set the rules for the REST of us!

If you are one of those struggling single parents, you know EXACTLY what I am talking about.  If you are married, you STILL probably have an idea of what I am talking about.  The boss doesn’t want to hear your child is sick, or they have their ball game, or that you have ALREADY busted your ass for the 40 hours you are salaried for.  The company that embodies this ideal WORST of all is Wal-Mart.  I have known DOZENS of people who worked for Wal-Mart, from being simple employees, up to store managers, and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them says the SAME thing, which I will sum up in a sentence a former assistant manager said that his manager said to him:  “I own your soul!”

That’s right, that is what the store manager said to his subordinate.  Anyone ELSE see something wrong with this attitude?  I sure as hell do.  No, you DON’T own my soul.  You and I have an agreement that I will work for X and you will pay me Y, and if your company disappeared tomorrow, the world would be NO worse off.  And YOU personally, for saying that, are a POOR excuse of a human being!  This is a CORPORATE attitude on Wal-Marts part, from the TOP OF THE COMPANY on down.

Look, again, I am NOT gonna get into the whole SOCIAL conservative versus liberal thing.  But I AM going to venture into THIS area:  The people at the top think they are ENTITLED and SUPERIOR.  They have managed, over the last few decades to get MORE and MORE wealth concentrated in their hands and they have done it by destroying OUR lives.  They don’t CARE about Christian values, or morals, or ANYTHING other than MONEY.  They pay LIP SERVICE to ANYTHING else.

Lets look at actual facts:  Banks, and their employees, in their desire to create more and more money for themselves, jammed tens of thousands of families into mortgages they couldn’t afford.  YES, to an extent, MANY families bear the responsibility of knowing they could NOT afford it…but MANY of them were deceived, had paperwork switched, were NOT offered the mortgages their credit ENTITLED them to, all in the quest for the almighty dollar!  So the banks screwed up and we bailed their asses out…and NOW we find out they are LYING under OATH, on court documents, as they rush to foreclose as many houses as possible…their defense?  “Well, it was a minor paper work error.”

YOU LIED UNDER OATH.  You signed NOTARIZED documents filed in COURT claiming you did things you did NOT do.  Hell, in many cases you aren’t even SURE if your bank OWNED THE DAMN HOUSE!  This is called PERJURY.  It is a CRIME that would send any of US to JAIL.  Minor paper work error?  Obviously, these companies and their employees think they are BETTER than us and EXEMPT from the LAW!

Meanwhile, they CLAIM all these people delinquent on their mortgages are trying to get a free house…so in OTHER words…they are just trying to act like the BANKS have so far?  Honestly, MOST of these families are TRYING to find a way to afford the house, but the banks and their SHAREHOLDERS think it is more IMPORTANT to squeeze the last penny outof a dividend, than that the people, they were supposed to HELP, are able to even LIVE.  You know what, at THIS point I am ALL for letting the people KEEP the houses for free just to SCREW THE BANKS!  Too big to fail?  Your company is NOT that important, nor is your industry!  You CREATED this, you REAP the CONSEQUENCES!  Lose the superior attitude and realize the ONLY reason you STILL have those banks jobs is we were STUPID enough to think you would actually GET IT when we HELPED you!

Corporations are complaining we want to impose regulations on them, when they CREATED this situation in the FIRST PLACE.  That’s like your teenager complaining you grounded them after you caught them at an underage drinking party!  They CAN’T be trusted.  They will WILLFULLY and PURPOSELY act in NON Christian ways, destroying and controlling LIVES because they consider MONEY to be MORE important than PEOPLE.

No, this is NOT a plea to redistribute wealth…sorry to disappoint.  This is simply saying its time to force rationality back into this country.  Yes, you have a right to be wealthy…to an EXTENT.  Yes, you have the right to choose to waste your life chasing money and keeping up with the Jones’s…what Companies and Individuals do NOT have the right to do is to do this. while DESTROYING everyone ELSE’S lives, or demanding WE also embrace that philosophy!  Further, we ALL have an OBLIGATION, with those rights, to HELP improve the country and people in it…and that sense of obligation has all but DISAPPEARED.

We are NOT on this planet to be a job, we are NOT on this planet to be a part of a COMPANY.  Work is ONLY something that enables you to get the necessary things to be able to let your FAMILY have a life, and yet be able to spend TIME with your family.  And to be honest, the MAJORITY of BIG shareholders in companies do NOTHING to make this world a better place.  They don’t PRODUCE anything, they don’t INVENT anything…they get rich by shifting MONEY around and getting a PERCENTAGE of that!  (Yes, those of you who have ever read Marx can say I am treading on dangerous ground here.)  BUT, there is a GRAIN of truth in that point:  People should be rewarded for PRODUCING, people should be rewarded for IMPROVING, DISCOVERING, INVENTING and CREATING, not for moving MONEY around!

And for those rational people among us who merely wish to be able to take care of our families?  We SHOULD be able to make reasonable money for reasonable work WITHOUT giving up our lives for a CORPORATE ENTITY.  I AM a type A…when I work a job, for those hours the company has me, I am DEDICATED to that job.  UNLESS my son is SICK, there is NEVER a reason I won’t be there, doing my absolute BEST.  I do take PRIDE in my work, as do MOST people.  But when those hours are done?  Sorry, I could care less about you.  I did what I agreed to, and NOW is the MOST important thing:  BEING WITH MY SON.

Recently, I switched jobs.  And as I went through the task of applying for jobs, I read carefully through the help wanted ads both on line and in papers…I am fortunate, given my skills, I found a job that, to a degree, is going to allow me the freedom I am looking for.  I will NOT get rich doing it, but I WILL be able to maximize my time with my son AND keep a roof over our heads, and be able to do things with him like occasional dinners out, bowling, movies….we are NOT extravagant, NOR do I WANT to be.  I see no point to having the newest car, or the latest gadget, or spending tons of money I don’t have.

But, I ALSO decided, after reading these ads, that there are certain companies I am no longer going to buy from.  I encourage you to spend some time looking at the job requirements out there and do the same.  Wal Mart will NOT get another PENNY from me, nor Schwann’s (Who require their drivers to work 60 hour weeks), nor Target.

“Will, that’s all well and good, but it won’t be doing anything other than making a small point to make yourself feel better.”

Yup, if I am the only one who does it you are right.  So, since we know the companies ONLY value dollars, then you hit them where it hurts and withhold those dollars.  And the higher employees of those companies?  Simple, NAME and SHAME them.  It is time to start realizing, DESPITE what the Supreme Court CLAIMS, that CORPORATIONS are NOT PEOPLE.  They AREN’T citizens, they don’t have Constitutional RIGHTS.  The is NO fundamental RIGHT for a company to make the MAXIMUM profit at the expense of EVERYTHING else.

Forget all that liberal and conservative CRAP…its a DISTRACTION.  The true BATTLE here is the RIGHTS of PEOPLE to LIVE.  The ONLY way to accomplish this is to REMOVE the incentives for the companies to continue to act as they do and to SOCIALLY CENSURE the INDIVIDUALS who create this culture in the companies.

There is an “entity” called ALEC out there.  They enable state politicians and companies to get together and let BUSINESS WRITE THE BILLS the politicians enact.  That’s right, that’s how rigged the game is.  Then they MANIPULATE the public, by claiming its a SOCIAL ISSUE.  Case in point:  The Arizona Immigration Act.  Okay, we ALL have views on illegal immigration…but THIS bill was NOT created to deal with that.  THIS bill was created by the private prison industry, then GIVEN to a politician to introduce.  Why?  Because the PRISON INDUSTRY considers it to be MORE important to make MILLIONS from us taxpayers than to worry about pesky things like moral rights and legal rights.  They don’t give a DAMN about the best way to deal with the immigration issues (Which are best solved by pressuring Mexico to become a stable government free of corruption, so that Mexicans WANT to stay in their country.).  They saw an opportunity to manipulate public opinion to make MONEY, and they are going to become even WEALTHIER, because they pulled it off.  The bill was about MONEY and NOTHING more.

ALEC does this ALL over the COUNTRY, with politicians WILLINGLY (BOTH Republican and Democrat) joining and enjoying MANY perks, while placing the interests of the PEOPLE they are SUPPOSED to represent, a distant second.  Here are some facts about ALEC:

More than one-third of state legislators are ALEC members, and about 100 hold senior leadership positions. Nine sitting governors and more than 80 members of Congress either pay dues or are alumni. ALEC doesn’t publicly release its membership list but, according to spokesman Bob Adams, about 65 percent of its members are Republicans and 35 percent Democrats.

If you have NOT heard of ALEC, you should start reading about it.  It is creating more laws, and suborning more politicians, than ANY individual lobbyist EVER has, or even ALL of them combined.

Are we that stupid?  Has it really come to the point where we have allowed POLITICIANS and CORPORATIONS to manipulate us into fighting with EACH OTHER, instead of fighting for our rights of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of HAPPINESS??!!

Look, its simple, first we have obligations.  Among those are not living beyond our means.  So first, PUT AWAY THE CREDIT CARDS.  Is it REALLY that important to get that 50 inch plasma when the 42 inch still works?  Is it REALLY that important to LEASE that Mercedes when you could OWN a Camry?  Will it REALLY make you that happy?  Do you have to eat out THREE nights a week?  Come on, learn to COOK and eat with your FAMILY!

Now, with the MONEY you save by doing those things, QUIT BUYING FROM COMPANIES THAT TREAT THEIR EMPLOYEES LIKE CRAP, and LET THEM KNOW WHY YOU ARE DOING IT!

Second, write your state representatives.  It doesn’t matter WHICH party they are, if they belong to ALEC, VOTE FOR THE OTHER GUY!  That simple.  This FIRST fight has to be fought.  We HAVE to be able to take our lives back.  We are MORE than our jobs, we are MORE IMPORTANT than our companies, and MONEY is NOT the most important thing out there.  Money is a MEANS, a TOOL, and it is simply there to enable us to LIVE.

If you are friends with people who put money first, let them know you don’t APPROVE.  Make it UNCOMFORTABLE for these people who think THEIR way is the way the world works.  You want to bitch about the liberal media?  The media will report what sells…start getting on news media to REPORT on these groups, on politicians, and get things out into the light.

And DON’T assume, when politicians start making noises about an issue YOU find important, that they are doing it because they agree with you. THEY AREN’T!!  They are doing it because SOME company sees a potential for PROFIT, and you need to QUESTION who is manipulating behind the scenes and WHY.

So People on the Right?  If you are TRULY living a Christian life, while you talk loudly about Christian values, remember that compassion, sympathy, and SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY to help are a LARGE part of Christianity.  Yes, there are people who are lazy out there taking government programs..but there are FAR MORE PEOPLE who NEED that help, for a short time.  Yes, the lazy ones get some benefit…but don’t think they have the cushy life. Pity them and look at them as being the price of democracy.  But, as a CHRISTIAN, you should KNOW you need to be there for your family and the people around you…you CAN’T do that if you are chasing the almighty dollar.  Honestly, gay marriage is NOT the primary danger to the family.  The PRIMARY DANGER to family, and family values, is that CORPORATIONS see the FAMILY as the ENEMY of making money.  Which can destroy a family quicker?  Two gay men you have never met, who would never marry women, getting married, or the fact Wal-Mart makes their managers work three months straight without a day off, so their spouse eventually divorces them?  Direct your anger where is properly belongs.

People on the Left?  Look, communism DOESN’T work.  EVERY country that has tried it has FAILED MISERABLY.  Don’t think that the every day person wants anything MORE than to be able to make a DECENT living, and be with their FAMILIES.  Direct your energy at the MIDDLE ground if you TRULY want to make the world a better place.  RESPONSIBLE BUSINESS is the BEST way to ensure this.  So look at the things that let a company do well, yet restrain their worst impulses, ala Enron, or Bear Sterns.  Its great you think you can solve all the world’s ills….you CAN’T, you aren’t that SMART.  NO-ONE is.  Pick your battles that actually IMPROVE people’s lives.

People on BOTH sides:  Let’s AGREE that PEOPLE are what matter, not THINGS.  Take a step BACK from NEEDING things, and look at the difference you make to the people around you.  Reward people and businesses that do that, withhold your approval and money from the ones that don’t.  Start finding common ground and realize we are being MANIPULATED.  It is classic military strategy, ala Sun Tzu, to get an enemy to turn on itself, and destroy themselves.  We are AMERICANS, we are PEOPLE, and we NEED to get BACK to placing importance where it belongs:  on PEOPLE, not COMPANIES and THINGS.  The FUNDAMENTAL battle here is NOT Right and Left, the fundamental BATTLE is about the BASIC important thing:  FAMILY.

As for me, I made my choice:  My son matters more than ANY job ever will.  A job is something that enables me to do things for my son.  When that job begins to INTERFERE with it…well, I know where MY priorities are….do you?

 

Allons-y!

When Only One Can Parent

Posted October 11, 2010 by singledadpa
Categories: abuse, affair, bully, bullying, cheating, children, custody, cyber bullying, dating, Divorce, divorce and dating, domestic abuse, domestic abuse awareness month, domestic violence, kids, kids and dating, living, parental advice, sacrifice, separation, single dad, Single Father, tolerance, Uncategorized

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Dads, and moms to be honest, this one has come up ALL too often in talking to my other divorced friends over the years.  Too many times, ONE person takes being a parent seriously, and the other one expects the children to just adapt to whatever whim has struck their life.  The bad parent’s actions, bewilderingly, seem to indicate either that they have totally decided to abdicate their parenting responsibilities, or they make decisions that OBVIOUSLY harm the kids, but they don’t seem to care.

It used to be this was the father that acted like this, but today, it seems that this trend ignores traditional gender lines.  Too many times, after a divorce (And it may have also been a CAUSE of the divorce!), one parent starts doing things that show they no longer consider their kids to be the most important thing in their life.  The odds are, they never really DID consider the kids to be the most important, but they were able to give that impression for awhile.

Time and again, my divorced friends, both male AND female, and I will relate to each other the latest misadventures of our exes, and we wonder”  “What the &%$@ are they THINKING?”  Their actions seem to fly in the face of common sense, and go against the best interests of their children, and it leaves us completely dumbfounded.

Now, I had previously talked, in my blog “All you can do is all you can do” about some things you can do to help your kids in this situation.  Today, I am going to talk about how to help your kids in two specific areas.  They may not seem like much, but they are two ways to make sure your kids are getting things worked through, and two ways to make sure your kids know you love them.

It is SO IMPORTANT to help your kids work through ALL of their anger, aggression, pain and hurt.  Its something you CAN’T ignore, and you can’t hope it will go AWAY.  It won’t.  You either HELP them with it, or it will fester and twist them.  With that in mind, here are my two recommendations:

The first thing is simple:  Get them engaged in physical activities.  Now, I don’t mean to OVERDO it, but a consistent PHYSICAL outlet is a good way to get aggression out.  Personally, I can not recommend martial arts ENOUGH to people.  There are some excellent reasons for this, and some things you need to check out when going down this route.

The reasons are these:

  • Martial Arts give confidence. As they progress, they learn how to use their body and mind together.  They learn how to think things through, and they learn control.  A GOOD Dojo teaches a specific philosophy, and I will deal with that further down.
  • Especially if they are a GIRL, it helps protect them: Look, one in three women are abused, as I mentioned before, and you DON’T want your daughter to be one of those three.  This is more than she could beat someone up.  If you study the psychology of abusers, there is a type of person they target.  One who is vulnerable, unsure, and who carries themselves a certain way.  When someone is actively in martial arts, the odds are the “vibe” they give off is one that would scare an abuser away.  They AREN’T insecure, their body language is CONFIDENT, and this is projected.  Even when it comes to street crime, criminals target a certain type of person…and its NOT a person with physical and mental confidence. It also could help them with the PHYSICAL aspect of dealing with bullys and the bullying they face in school.
  • It helps them with any OTHER sports they wish to do: Look, Martial Arts teaches you how to use your body.  it teaches you to learn how your muscles work together, and it teaches you how to get the most out of your efforts.  This easily helps them with ANY sport, be it football, volleyball, basketball, gymnastics, etc.
  • Physical confidence can translate to mental confidence: As they begin down the path of martial arts, and their accomplishments grow over time, that physical achievement, coupled with the MENTAL aspect of martial arts, becomes confidence in themselves MENTALLY as well.  Mental confidence is the one thing you NEED to rebuild in your children after a divorce.
  • It burns off aggression: Now, it does depend on the SPECIFIC martial art you do.  But who DOESN’T feel better after breaking a board, or landing a solid kick, and working up an honest to God sweat.  It gets the endorphines going, and lets some of the aggression and anger your kids feel be channeled in a POSITIVE way.
  • Its something you can do TOGETHER: You know what…maybe you need to lose a few pounds?  You certainly have your own aggression and anger after the divorce.  Sign BOTH of you up and its something you can SHARE and GROW in together.  It is another area you can SHARE and be closer.

Now, there are some things you need to look for in a Martial Arts School, or Dojo.  I am NOT recommending a particular DISCIPLINE here, although I DO think Judo is a good STARTING point.  Most people who do martial arts end up competing in a few different disciplines, be it Kempo, or Tae Kwan Do, or Aikido, coupled with Jeet Kune Do, or Judo, etc.  Every discipline has its strengths, and every discipline offers its challenges.

So with this in mind, look for the following:

  • A Martial Arts School that offers SEVERAL disciplines. That way its conveniently in one place.  Many Dojos offer a flat monthly fee no matter how many of the disciplines you do there.  So whether you take one discipline or three, you pay the same amount, and you can work your schedules around that.
  • A Dojo that teaches fighting should ALWAYS be a LAST resort. You don’t want your child going out and picking fights with their new found skills.  The GOOD dojos teach that martial arts is a MENTAL discipline FIRST, and that avoiding a fight is ALWAYS the preferable route.  Talk to the people in charge and make sure they teach this philosophy.  The POINT of martial arts is to master YOURSELF, not other people, and THIS is the mindset both you and your kids need to learn at this point anyway.  This goes back to helping build confidence as well.
  • A Dojo that seems like a community center: You can get the vibe of a place when you watch the classes.  If it seems the parents talk, the kids are friends, and the atmosphere of the place is friendly, its a good place to be.  This doesn’t mean that the times of the classes themselves aren’t disciplined.  But humor, closeness, and a sense of “this place is a good place to be” can help your kids make friends with the type of kids you WANT them to be friends with.  And you can make some new friends yourself.

Now, this doesn’t mean not to let your kids get into OTHER sports as well.  The thing here is that the RIGHT dojo can help your kids right in the area they need it most.  They can still play football, or baseball, or basketball…but no other physical activity is going to teach them the mental and physical discipline COMBINED that they need at this stage of their lives.  This doesn’t mean you are trying to find Mister Miyagi, or some deep mystical experience.  It is simply that THIS activity can help where no other one can.

The second thing to do  is to give your kids a MENTAL outlet.

Look, this doesn’t mean you think your child is the next Einstein, but something that engages the BRAIN on a regular basis is going to help them too.  This could be band, debate, 4H, community service, SOMETHING that requires them to use their brain on a regular basis while interacting with others.  I will not PERSONALLY recommend Boy Scouts, due to their stance on gays and atheists, but that’s my PERSONAL opinion.   But, the brain works on the same principles as muscles:  The more you exercise it, the stronger it gets.

The more your children use their brains, the more they will learn to handle their emotions, and the questions they have about life.  They will learn to observe…and there is the thing:  They will learn to observe how both you and your ex act around them, and they will come to understand right ways and wrong ways of doing things.

And again, make the time to take them YOURSELF, and this gives you more time with them.  If you pick the scouts, or 4H, become one of the adults who helps…again, it gives you more time with the kids.

So, its pretty simple, to counter your ex, engage your kids, body and mind, and be INVOLVED with those things as much as you are able.  Your kids, again, will learn over time which parent truly loved them, they will want to emulate YOUR morals and ideals, and they will grow up as well adjusted as is possible in this situation.

Yes, this can be hard in this day and age, but do as much as you can, talk with your kids about these activities, and stick to it.  Be the proactive parent and let the other parent slack off on their duties…time will show where the love was, and who cared….in the END, that is what will stick with your children.

Allons-y!