Tag Archives: kids

For your enjoyment, I present this, the best idea I have ever had in my entire life.

grocery shopping, kids, families, teaching responsibility

Problem 1: My kids (Theresa and Paul) always complain about the dinners I cook.

Problem 2: My kids have a poorly formed understanding of money.

Problem 3: My kids are looking for ways to assert their independence.

Problem 4: Our bank claims that we need to be better about budgeting — and eat out less.

Enter the best idea I’ve ever had in my entire life:

Solution, Part 1: Give the kids an allowance. Not like a huge allowance or anything. Let’s say $5/week.

Solution, Part 2: Take the kids grocery shopping every week. Go with a shopping list and a meal plan that takes every night of the week into account. Have the kids help find all the items on the list.

Solution, Part 3: Have the kids decide whether they want to use their allowance to buy food to replace any meals that they don’t want to eat. For example, if I’m making eggplant parmesan (which they’ve decided is awful for some reason, in spite of it being one of Wendy’s and my favorites) and they decide they don’t want it, they can get a box of mac and cheese or whatever they want — as long as they can buy it themselves. They can even have their own grocery cart and go through the line on their own. The catch, of course, is that $5 won’t buy meals for every night of the week.

After the novelty of buying their own meals wears off, they might even decide they want to use their allowance for something other than avoiding eggplant parmesan! Maybe they’ll decide they want to save up for a new game or something … and just buckle down and eat the eggplant parm, thus learning an important life lesson about making tough choices now for a future benefit.

So, what am I missing? What have I forgotten that makes this a bad plan?

Image: climbingcrystal/Flickr

On the Embarrassment of Parents

“Have you ever noticed how parents can go from the most wonderful people in the world to totally embarrassing in three seconds?”

― Rick RiordanThe Red Pyramid

There’s nothing like chaperoning field trips to gauge where kids are when it comes to being embarrassed of their parents.

Take my son, John. He’s in the second grade. I saw a girl in his class sucking her thumb the other day when I was picking him up from school. Sure enough, when I help chaperone his field trips, he’s right by my side, holding my hand. When I chaperone my daughter Beth’s field trips I get a more fourth grade treatment. Not unfriendly. Not overtly embarrassed. Just a little more wary.

The seeds of embarrassment have been planted.

As a human and a dad, it can be a tough pill to swallow. I mean, where do my kids get off being embarrassed about me?

A) I’m cool. I have shiny aviator sunglasses that make me look like an out of shape extra from Top Gun.

B) I spent multiple years handling their poop. That should preclude them from ever thinking that I’m an embarrassment.

Still, the fact remains. Kids spend an inordinate amount of time being embarrassed by the existence of their parents – even in the midst of realizing that we parents are actually the most wonderful people in the world.


It’s really, really, really normal. Kids are actually at the beginning of a grand experiment in becoming individuals, who are separate from their parents, around the same time parents begin to notice that their kids are beginning to be embarrassed by them. How are they supposed to develop into grown up, independent people if they are constantly reminded that their existence depends upon us? And yet, they do depend on us and that dependence is tied to an attachment that makes them feel safe and loved.

There can be a really powerful conflict in kids’ minds between those two impulses — feeling independent vs. feeling loved, protected, and safe.

It hurts to feel like my kids are ever really ashamed of me. But I know that what they’re really ashamed of is their own ambivalence about fear, dependence, and becoming a grown up. My presence is just a reminder of it.

So I let it go. And I let them know I’m okay with standing back. And it’s okay for them to be independent and try out being a big kid without me. And that I’ll be there ready to love and protect them as much as they need when they’re ready for it.

But I don’t tell them all that in front of their friends.

Good Quote for February 12, 2014

“I never, even for a moment, doubted what they’d told me. This is why it is that adults and even parents can, unwittingly, be cruel: they cannot imagine doubt’s complete absence. They have forgotten.”

― David Foster Wallace

via Goodreads

Update: Thanks, Todd, for reminding me of “This is Water” by DFW. I’m putting a link to the video here in case people don’t make it down to the comments. It’s ABSOLUTELY worth a watch!

Good Quote for February 3, 2014 — Raising Rebellious Kids

rebel, kids, parenting rebels, raising rebels, rebellious kids

“So few want to be rebels anymore. And out of those few, most, like myself, scare easily.” 

― Ray Bradbury

The other day my daughter, Michelle, came home from school all chattery about a plan she had for Valentines for her class.

This struck me as weird, and, frankly, not terribly important. Nothing I’d ever heard that had anything to do with homemade paper Valentines had ever struck me as important. Regardless, I spent all last week in a state of heightened awareness of the importance of listening to my kids instead of just preaching to them about whatever thoughts stagger across my mind, so I listened to her.

Her plan involved a poem she’d seen on pinterest (Michelle is a big fan of pinterest – particularly cute animal memes). As related to me on the walk home from school, it was a picture of Grumpy Cat with this poem:

Continue reading Good Quote for February 3, 2014 — Raising Rebellious Kids

Good Quote for February 2, 2014

“We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real?” 

― Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I’m most often bothered about something to do with my parenting. That’s why I like this quote. It makes me feel like maybe that’s good — like if I stop being bothered by my parenting, then I’ve stopped growing as a parent.

It also gives me the Bradbury stamp of approval to bother my kids about things. And that’s something every parent should be happy to hear!

Dad Jokes Are Not Funny

funny, not funny, dad, dad jokes

Today, while I was putting together the kids’ after school snack, my son, Jack, laid this on me:

Jack: You know, daddy, we’re the same.

Me: We’re the same?

Jack: Yeah. We both want to be funny, but we’re both not that good at it.

Me: Oh. That’s how we’re the same?

Jack: Yeah. Also, we both have all our teeth. Except I still have some that haven’t grown back in yet, so I don’t have all mine.

Me: So, we’re the same because we’re both not funny and because both of us except for you have all our teeth?

Jack: Yeah.

Me: Here’s your snack.

Now I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Which, apparently, has been a problem for me for longer than I was aware.


Image: andrewblack/Flickr

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, kids. Behold! I am the Beholder of Legend!

beauty, kids, teaching about beauty, dads, talking about beauty, self esteem


“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.” ― Confucius


In the movies, one of the markers of being a good dad is telling the kids about who’s beautiful. I have no data to back this claim, but I feel like I’ve seen it a lot in popular culture, which surely can’t be wrong. On TV, the good dad always tells his daughter how beautiful she is and/or tells the kids how beautiful their mother is.

I’ve never really done this with any regularity, and it’s nothing to do with how beautiful my family is because they’re all drop dead gorgeous. But, for whatever reason, it occurred to me recently that I should maybe think about this. And when I say it occurred to me, “for whatever reason”, what I mean is “for the simple reason that I worry about all the things all the time, for no reason.” Continue reading Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, kids. Behold! I am the Beholder of Legend!