Three Lies I Tell Myself

I can be normal.

I suppose it depends on your definition of normal, but I will never meet the status quo and that makes me sad so I tell myself that one day I will even though I know that I will not. Sometimes it is better to openly lie to yourself instead of completely accepting something that will crush part of who you are.

I will be Superdad.

I will be the best dad I can be, but that will never be enough for some people. I have days when I think it won’t be enough for my kids either. I have already failed my six year old, will I fail my two year old as well? Will good enough be good enough for me and my kids? Will I be what they need or will I fall short giving everything I can? I will never be Superdad, I will be lucky if I am Decentdad.

I will one day be healed.

This is the big one. I will never be healed. I will be “sick” for the rest of my life. I will be a burden to those around me forever. I will always be that guy with schizophrenia. AND as an added bonus I could pass it on to my kids. Yea!

We tell ourselves lies to soften the blow of reality, but when we live in a world of lies reality has a way of breaking through and crushing us. I try not to be crushed, but I fail most of the time.


Why Do Our Youth Become Entrenched In A Mental Battleground?

Do you understand what it means to be bullied? Do you know what the signs of being bullied are? Are you sure about whether or not your child is being bullied? If they are bullied is it only at school?

Or is your child bullying other children? Are you bullying your children?

I often talk about myself here. The reason is that I have experienced a lot of things in my young life. I have not experienced everything and those things I will draw on other’s experiences, but for this I will draw on my past.

I was a bully. I was bullied – both at school and at home. It has effected the way I have lived and I am trying to ensure it does not effect me for the rest of my life.

I cut myself and I tried to kill myself. I lost myself in drugs and sexual proclivities. I was disrespectful and fearful. I was scared and alone, even among my family and friends. I wanted it all to end.

And when I was the aggressor I found a high that I only found with the first hit of whatever narcotic I chose to experiment with. That is what bothers me most now. I have tried to find those that I hurt, but it is difficult and some of them did end it all and some of that weighs heavy on my conscious.

The only thing I can do now? Open up and tell you everything I can about what I have been through.

Was it the result of my choices? Were those choices and everything else my parent’s fault?

I honestly don’t know.

It would take me a year to tell you of my life from first memory to now and so I will not even try right now. I will tell you I was physically, mentally, and emotionally abused as a child. I was sexually abused as well but not by my parents. I have a lot of trauma in my life and I have yet to deal with it all.

My step-father was a physically intimidating man. It was not only the fact hat he was a coke addict, but the fact that he treated me like his son, in his way, and by doing so treating me like a punching bag and a door mat. I know that sounds odd, but he only treated me as he was treated as a child. I know this now, but not then. Then I thought he hated me. Then I wanted to kill him – I even made several plans.

He was not the only one I wanted to kill. I was very homicidal as a child. I wanted all the kids at school dead who called me names, in jest or not – it still hurt. I wanted the teachers dead who did nothing to stop it – some made a joke out of it. I wanted my friends dead because, even though they were experiencing the same thing I was at school, they had relatively normal families – or so I thought. And most of all I wanted my mom dead because she stood by it all, put her head down and pretended it was not happening under her nose. I would tell her about it, beg her for help and she would brush me off, not understanding and not knowing how to deal with any of it.

I was not only homicidal. I was suicidal as well. In elementary school I would hurt myself by biting myself or slamming my hands or legs in the door in order to forget about the pain around me and focus on the pain at hand. As I got older, I cut myself. The cuts got deeper and deeper so that I could again focus and also the rush of the blade slicing through my young flesh was indescribable. In high school the drug use became worse than some Columbian drug lords’ best customers. I would seek out self-harming activities from drinking contests to Russian roulette where I saw two friends blow their brains out (it left a scar, but I never noticed the wound).

It came to a head when I learned to be assertive and stopped caring what others thought. I turned the tails and used the abusive phrases and actions to torment my tormentors. It seemed like the right thing to do. They laughed at first, but eventually they avoided me and then went so far as to run when I was around. Was it the right thing to do? Absolutely not.

An eye for an eye never brings peace.

This was my experience. Is it unique? Yes. Every situation is unique and so every situation needs individual special care.

Have you had an experience with bullying or do you think you have?

  • Always actively listen.
  • Always show that you care.
  • Always genuinely care.
  • Do something about it.
  • Do not result to any form of violence (verbal, physical or otherwise).
  • Remain calm.
  • Comfort, comfort, comfort.
  • Understand or seek to understand the individual’s individual needs.
  • Share the experience so that others can benefit from it.
  • Always think of the individual and not yourself.
  • Be open, honest and always firm but pleasant.

Above all love. Show love. Be loved. Spread love. Love will reign. Love is all.

Two Nights Without Mommy And Daddy

We hate being away from our daughter for any amount of time, but sometimes a break is required. A little one on one time is needed to ensure each other that the love is still there. We cannot justify having that alone time overnight without a reason that both of us are comfortable with – wanting to sleep through the night is not it.

My wife is obsessed with a certain band (Blue October) and would follow them around, attending every show if she didn’t have to work, but she does and so she only sees the shows that come within a certain distance to us and only if she can get the time off from work. I really enjoy the band as well (they are in my top 10 of all time) and am delighted when we get to go. My schedule is open more than(insert crude joke here). When we heard the band was coming to our hometown (something they haven’t done in a very long time) and two hours away we decided that we would make an outing of it. We would see the show two hours away and then the one in our hometown. The original plan was to have my in-laws watch our baby girl while we were gone and then she would still sleep in her own bed. As time went on my wife’s parents convinced us to leave her there for the entire time. One concert was on Thursday and the other on Friday so our daughter would stay there from Thursday afternoon until Saturday afternoon. It took some convincing but my wife agreed.

Two nights alone with my wife and no toddler to wake us up during the night. It was going to be heaven.

We got up to the first show and stood in line for nearly six hours waiting to get in so we could have a choice spot in front and at 11:00 pm, we decided that we were getting a hotel and not driving our wearied bodies home. The hotel was not what we expected and not what we paid for, but it was a bed, no interruptions and a late check-out. We headed home and ran some errands, without the toddler tornado, and made arrangements to meet up with friends who had never seen the band live but were fans. They were also going to the show and we all had VIP tickets (seats, no line, drinks, etc.). It was a good experience, different from the night before and almost not as good, but we still had a blast.

When we picked up our daughter we found out that she was not the perfect angel my in-laws had been telling us she had been over the phone and that they had been bending to her will in nearly all things.

Great. That meant possible days of trying to get her back on the routine we have been working so hard to get her on.

The master manipulator was still in her shorts and t-short from soccer that she apparently refused to go to and instead of pushing her to do it they just caved at the first whine and brought her home. No bath because she didn’t want one (she’s two – she doesn’t want a lot of things). She only ate what she wanted or she didn’t eat what was not exactly what she wanted and so had only eaten a can of tuna a few bites of food from a breakfast restaurant and a bit of fruit. From Thursday to Saturday morning!

At home I have made a CD of me singing songs to her that we play on repeat all night. We sent the CD player, the CD and instructions with her so that she would sleep. We also told them that she sometimes screamed for a half an hour. They swear they put the CD on, but she just wouldn’t stop screaming so they got her up (possible since she was out of routine). She finally fell asleep around 11:30 pm not in her bed and woke up at 1:30 am demanding tuna. This is where the can of tuna came in. At home we would calmly and with love, tell her no and that we loved her but she had to go back to sleep – and she would. They gave her the tuna and wondered why she didn’t go back to sleep. After further probing it turns out that she did fall asleep in her bed to the CD, but they didn’t hit repeat so when she woke up and it wasn’t playing she was awake and that was her way of convincing mamaw and papaw to get her out of bed.

The second night she went down at 9:00 pm (only an hour after her normal bedtime) because my father-in-law wouldn’t let my wife’s mother to deal with it and she slept until 7:30 am (they hit repeat on the CD player).

I was grateful to them for everything, but I regretted my fun even though it brought my wife and I closer together – which we desperately needed.

Saturday night could’ve been hell on earth, but she was out in ten minutes and hopefully stays down.

No Sweetheart, That’s An Adult Word

There are a few inappropriate words in this post.

To me, ‘god damn’ it is not a bad series of words, but to my wife’s aunt (who watches our daughter and is a Southern Baptist) it is. So we cater to her and do our best not to say it in front of our lovely daughter who repeats everything she hears – like every toddler. The other day she stubbed her to and said god damn it that hurt. I smacked my forehead and said the first thing that came to mind:

You can’t say those words sweetheart. They’re adult words.

I got a sideways look and I took a minute to explain that mommy and daddy were adults and she was a kid. She kind of understood it, but it didn’t stick. I over-explain and I am trying to work on that.

The first time she dropped the F-bomb we were eating dinner and she spilled ranch on her dress. Mommy and I stopped eating and tried hard, without success to not laugh. Through my stifled giggling I again told her:

No sweetheart, that’s an adult word.

Again she was confused but I think it sunk in – for that brief moment. She still wanted to know what was the difference between and ‘adult’ and a ‘kid’ and I was trying to figure out what to tell her without over-explaining. It was more difficult than one might think.

Did I mention we were at Thanksgiving dinner with the whole family?

For the most part our princess does not have a potty mouth, but when she hears an inappropriate word slip from mommy or daddy’s lips that is the first thing and the only thing to come out of her mouth for quite a while. We both understand that we need to watch our mouth and I believe I am a bit more successful as I was raised not to say certain words whereas my wife was raised in a ‘heathen’ home and those words were just as common as ‘milk’.

I do no believe in indoctrinating your children into a religion when they have no choice and no ability to choose, but it has been shown that those with a religious upbringing of any kind are more polite individuals than those without. That only means we are going to strive to make us not number in the majority.

I know we are not the only ones who have issues with children and ‘adult words’, so it gives my some solace that there are hundred of thousands, if not millions of people out there grinding their teeth and hiding a giggle as there child says:

Fuck my damn finger got caught in the door. That shit really hurts.

Positive Or Negative Reinforcement – What Works Best

We have tried spanking, hand smacking, yelling, time-out, removal of privileges and others. We are at a loss. We are currently researching positive and negative reinforcement. I am not an expert in … anything, but I will share what I have found and my opinions.

To figure out whether positive or negative reinforcement works best for you and which works best for me, we need to understand what they mean.

  • Positive reinforcement

    1. In behaviorism, positive reinforcement occurs when a reward, sometimes called a reinforcer, is given for a specific desired behavior. Other behaviors, even those that are negative, are simply ignored. Over time, this will lead to an increase in the desired behavior.
    2. Positive reinforcement must be individualized to the specific person receiving it. What reinforces one person’s behavior may not have the same effect on someone else.

My notes on Positive Reinforcement

    • There is absolutely NO discipline. My daughter is 2.
    • She throws things, kicks the dog, bites mommy and daddy, colors on the walls, tries to break the windows, spits on everything and more.
    • I can not begin to imagine just ignoring that behavior and praising what little good behavior she does have.
    • I understand the theory, but I don’t believe it will work with my little one.
    • It may, however, work for my six year old as he would understand the benefits of it.
    • I would also recommend explaining what “prizes” the child receives for each good deed.
    • And last I would keep the rewards steady and once a sticker is given for cleaning up their dinner plate then they always get a sticker for doing so, not an extra ten minutes of TV.
  • Negative reinforcement

    1. In behaviorism, negative reinforcement involves the removal of an unpleasant stimulus when a desired behavior occurs. It differs from positive reinforcement as the stimulus is taken away rather than given when the behavior happens. The principles of negative reinforcement may actually worsen a phobia.
    2. In negative reinforcement, a response or behavior is strengthened by stopping, removing or avoiding a negative outcome or aversive stimulus.
    3. Aversive stimuli tend to involve some type of discomfort, either physical or psychological. Behaviors are negatively reinforced when they allow you to escape from aversive stimuli that are already present or allow you to completely avoid the aversive stimuli before they happen.
    4. One of the best ways to remember negative reinforcement is to think of it as something being subtracted from the situation. When you look at it in this way, it may be easier to identify examples of negative reinforcement in the real-world.

My notes on Negative Reinforcement

  • This is what we are probably going to do.
  • It is close to what we have been doing and I believe it will be an easy transition.
  • It will mean less discipline, but we will not be ignoring bad behavior.
  • We will reward the good behavior by rewarding our daughter not the behavior itself.
  • Just like negative reinforcement we will set the rewards ahead of time and explain them to our little girl and hope that she understands them.
  • Instead of spanking or hand smacking we will attempt to divert her to a positive action (i.e. coloring on the walls to coloring on her easel)
  • My hardest transition: no time-out.

Our pediatrician suggested time-out only and if she ran away from it or tried to get away at all we should strap her into a five point harness while she is in times –out which should be 2 (her age) +1 minutes. I know that after a minute and a half she forgets what she has done and I refuse to restrain my child. I like the pediatrician, but I think that was a bit harsh.

Stickers and Mickey Mouse here we come. Time-out chair, you have served us well, but it is time to retire you – for now.

Some Of The Many Lies We Tell Our Children

There are no acceptable lies. There is no one who has not told a lie. To lie to someone whose world revolves around you is failing that person. Every child’s life revolves around their caretakers (mothers, father, aunts, uncles, grandparents, guardians, etc.). There is no caretaker who has not lied to the child(ren) that they are entrusted with.

There are lies that we consider little and lies that we consider big and still other that we count as inconsequential.

Some of those little lies (that I tell my children) include:

  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse is on vacation. You will have to choose a different show to watch.
  • We are all out of juice, you will have to drink milk.
  • That is chicken, I swear.
  • Your plate won’t let me put ranch, ketchup, mustard and barbeque sauce on it all at once.
  • If you don’t stop it I am going to spank you.

Some of the lies that I believe some parents consider either big or inconsequential include:

  • Santa Clause is watching you so you better be good or you will get a lump of coal in your stocking.
  • That gift is from Santa Clause.
  • Santa Clause/The Easter bunny/The tooth fairy/etc. is real.
  • If you keep making that face it will get stuck like that.

There are countless others in our daily life. My wife and I try hard not top lie to our daughter, but it is extremely difficult. She is very inquisitive and sometimes the true answer is not fit for a two-year old’s mind. A lie is a disservice to the child(ren).

Religion is not a lie. Telling someone that it is absolute is. Scientific and religious theory is not true because there is not sufficient evidence to make it so. Faith is truth because by definition is cannot be proved.

Your children are your own and you have the right to tell them and teach them what you wish, but just know that you are usually doing them a disservice not letting them know what is out in the world. The world will not be so nice in its lessons.

Mommy Loves Her Baby Girl And Me, But Pays More Attention To Her Electronics


The Culprit

Mommy gets home from work at 5:45 pm during the week and lies on the chaise part of the couch, sitting her laptop on her lap and surfs the Internet until dinner. During dinner she browses the Internet on her smartphone. After dinner she gets back on her computer until Shortcake goes to bed. She then asks if I want to spend time with her and watch a television show. We agree on something and she gets back on her computer. She does to homework for about fifteen minutes, but does not put the computer up after that. When confronted about it she yells and screams that she is always doing something important. Meantime I play with Shortcake the entire time. Her idea of playing with our daughter is turning on Mickey Mouse so she is not bothered while she surfs the Internet.

I am not saying she is a bad mother because she isn’t. Most of the time, when I am not around, she is not on the computer – most of the time. During those times she takes the time to play with our princess. She rarely gets frustrated with her – rarely – and mommy really enjoys her time with her daughter.

They play dress up and have tea parties as well as color and read. This mainly happens on the weekends or when I can’t help but write because I just have to get something off my mind. I know, I complain about her being on the computer all the time and then I say that I am on the computer while my wife plays with our baby girl, but I get on the computer maybe twice a week, whereas my wife is on it 7 days a week for a minimum of four hours a day and an average of six hours a day. That is a quarter of the day. That may not sound like much but my daughter is only awake for 12 hours, so half the time she is up my wife is on the computer (on an average day).

If she wants the news, which she says she reads, she could turn on the TV and still pay attention to our daughter and me. If she wants to play games on her phone, she should wait until after 8 when our daughter goes to bed. I wouldn’t mind if she played with her phone while we cuddled, just if she asks me to spend time with her then put the frigging phone away and spend time with me.

I thought I would be smart and turn off the Wi-Fi, but the phone has 3G and can still connect. I figured her battery would die, but she just plugs it in and sits next to the plug. So during the week her attention is almost completely focused on her computer and her phone. On the weekend she does put it does occasionally and spend time with our daughter, but I rarely get alone time with her without the interference of her toys. I guess it could be worse – she could be addicted to video games.

The worse (at least in my opinion) is when we go to bed. If I do not initiate intercourse then she is glued to that phone until she falls asleep. No cuddling. No touching. Nothing at all. We have a king size bed and She lays so close to the edge that I am scared she might fall off. If I go to her and cuddle she pretends I am not there.

I have had the separation talk with her and she cried so I am relatively sure she still loves me, but she doesn’t show it and she concerns me with how little she shows it for Shortcake. She even ignores her when she cries for mommy and to me that is a horrible thing. I have brought that up, but she thinks I am calling her a bad mother. I just don’t know what to do.