Welcome Back!

User Name
Password
Not Registered?

Tell us a little about yourself.

My child’s birthday is (for newsletter customization):

Enter an email address:

This is where your newsletters will be delivered to and where GreatDad.com will contact you with your new account information.

About Victor Rodrigues

Here are my most recent posts

When Should Dads Stop Being Naked in Front on Their Kids?

The Naked Child Growing Up Without Shame/Social Nudity/Its Effect on Children

Click to Buy

Though anthropological studies suggest that nudity is not
inherently harmful, our society tends to make us feel ashamed of both showing our bodies and seeing
others naked. In whatever way you decide to handle this issue with your children, keep in mind that
they will have to function in a society that’s moderately prudish. Parental nudity and going naked
at home in front of other family members is acceptable in some European cultures. Semi-nude
sunbathing is completely accepted in many countries outside the United States.  Nudity in
public is acceptable in some aboriginal societies and in nudist colonies. However, being naked in
front of anybody other than your spouse is not acceptable in most of the developed world.

It
is natural for parents, especially the mother, to expose body parts to children when they are
babies. Though nudity is not the same as sexuality, we are raised in a culture that does not
separate the two. Since society will eventually make kids associate nudity with sexuality, parents
need to stop being naked in front of their kids sooner or later. The question arises,
when.

There is a school of thought that says it is good for kids to be comfortable with
seeing their parents in the nude and vice versa. They believe that the more you hide the more
fascinated your kids get with nudity and sexuality. They may not endorse a father going naked in
front of his daughter or mother in front of her son once they are past the age of 2 or 3. However,
they don’t see anything wrong with kids seeing the same sex naked even at higher ages. In fact,
they think it may be healthy for pre-adolescents to learn about what will be happening to their
bodies—that this encourages a healthy attitude towards nudity and prevents children from associating
nudity with sexuality.

However, even the proponents of this idea propose the following
safeguards:

  • Be genuine. Don’t force yourself
    into being comfortable with parental nudity. If you are starting to feel awkward about exposure to
    your nudity, it is likely time to be more discreet.
  • Be consistent. Don’t juggle between
    being bashful about your nudity at times and unmindful at other times.
  • Explain the difference in attitudes. If your child brings up the
    fact that his friends parents are never seen naked, be ready with a well thought out
    explanation.
  • Be attentive to cues. There will come
    a time (age 2 or even much older, like 7 or 8) when your kids will no longer feel comfortable with
    your nudity or their own in front of you. (Hint: watch for giggles or silly smiles). Respond to this
    and act accordingly.
  • Consider your own privacy. You may not wish your private parts to be part of a discussion between your son and his
    peers.

Coming soon: A discussion on nudity in children. When should you start giving them complete
privacy?

Sibling Rivalry

Competition and emulation between siblings is normal. However, when jealousy rears
its ugly head, this healthy competition or emulation can degenerate into sibling rivalry.

Sibling rivalry may occur in the following typical situations:

  • When children do not receive adequate love and affection
  • When parents make comparisons between the appearance and talents of their children
  • When one sibling is handicapped in any way
  • When one sibling is gifted
  • When parents try to settle
    differences by taking sides
  • When parents show affection to or favor one
    child while neglecting another

Siblings generally react by expressing
rivalry in the following forms:

  • Kidding or teasing
  • Quarrelling
  • Yelling
  • Physical violence

If not handled correctly, sibling rivalry can leave lifelong scars and negatively
affect all relationships even into adulthood. 

Here are some tips for
defusing sibling rivalry:

  1. Children need maximum attention during infancy. Keep a sufficient gap between one
    child and the next so that each child is able to receive the required share of attention.
  2. Connect with your child even before birth.
  3. After the
    sibling’s arrival, gently evoke dormant parental instinct in older siblings. Help them understand
    and assume their protective and responsible role towards the new entrant.
  4. Recognize that each child may need a different measure of love and affection.
    Connect with each of your children to gauge what would be each child’s requirement.
  5. Impartially devote special hours of your time to each child, according to each
    child’s need.
  6. Be generous with an overdose of love and affection.
  7. Parents may naturally like one child better. This is normal. However,
    recognize that liking a child is not the same as loving a child. Though you may like one child
    better, love all your children equally.
  8. Identify the child who is least
    lovable (if you think you like and love all your children equally, observe how others respond to him
    or her) and target him or her for maximum love and affection.

– Victor Rodrigues

Kids and Alcohol

When dads drink, they are often faced with a situation where kids may want to tryalcohol and kids.jpg the stuff. Kids also see alcohol on sale all around them, in supermarkets, pubs, and restaurants. This can make it difficult for them to understand that alcohol can be dangerous.


 


What parents of younger kids can do


It may seem too early to talk to your kid about alcohol, but talking about it now may help prevent problems in the future.

Training kids for character

character 

















kid.jpg

Raising kids of character demands time and attention. While having a kid may come naturally, being a good dad can be quite a challenge. Here are a few tips to help your children build the kind of character best suited for their environment:

 

  1. 1. Parenting first. This is hard to do in a world with so much to do and only 24 hours a day to do it. Decide that parenting is going to be your number one priority. Consciously plan and devote time to parenting.

      

  2. Parenting Time Review. Make a quick list of the number of things you got done last week and the time you spent on getting them done. Then jot down the amount of time you approximately spent with your kids. Next, check your list to spot any activities where you could have included your kids. Plan how you can weave your children into your social life and knit yourself into their lives.
  3. Be a good example. Face it, kids learn firstly through modeling. In fact, you can’t avoid being an example to your kids, whether good or bad. Being a good example, then, is probably your most important job.
  4. Tune in to your kids’ antennas. Develop an ear and an eye for what your kids are absorbing. They are like sponges. Much of what they take in influences the development of their moral values and character. Books, songs, TV, the Internet, and films are continually delivering messages—moral and immoral—to our kids. As parents we need to control the flow of ideas and images that are influencing our kids.
  5. Be consistent on values. Don’t say alcohol is bad and then drink like a fish. Children cannot develop a moral compass unless people around them use the clear, sharp language of right and wrong.
  6. Punish with a loving heart. Kids need to learn limits. They need reasonable punishment when they ignore these limits on occasion. Kids must be made to understand what the punishment is for and know that its source is parental love and not mere retaliation in anger or irritation.
  7. Learn to listen to your kids. What we may dismiss as kid talk, may be mature, reasonable talk for the level at which kids talk. It is easy for us to tune out the talk of our kids. One of the greatest things we can do for them is to take them seriously when they talk. We need to set aside time to listen and learn to look at things from our kids’ perspective.
  8. Involve yourself in your kid’s school life. School is the main event in the lives of our kids. Their experience there is a mixed bag of triumphs and disappointments. How they deal with them will influence the character they eventually develop. Taking an active interest in our kids’ learning and school interactions can help them acquire strong character.
  9. Make a big deal out of the family meal. The dinner table is also a place for the teaching and passing on of our values. Manners and rules are subtly absorbed over the table. Family mealtime should communicate and sustain ideals that children will draw on throughout their lives.
  10. Character education cannot be reduced to words alone. We need to practice what we preach. Parents should help their kids by promoting moral action through self-discipline, good work habits, kind and considerate behavior to others, and community service. The bottom line in character development is behavior—their behavior.

As parents, we want our kids to be the architects of their own character crafting, while we accept the responsibility to be architects of the environment—physical and moral. We need to create an environment in which our kids can develop habits of honesty, generosity, and a sense of justice. The best way to learn something is for us to teach it. For most of us, the greatest opportunity we personally have to deepen our own character is through the daily blood, sweat, and tears of struggling to help our kids develop their own character.

Camping with Kids

There’s nothing 6 year olds or older kids Camping with dadlove more than being in the outdoors. Camping is an outdoor recreational activity involving spending one or more nights in a tent, a primitive structure, a travel trailer or recreational vehicle at a campsite with the purpose of getting away from civilization and enjoying nature. National parks and other publicly owned natural areas are popular venues for camping. Camping is often restricted by law to designated sites in order to prevent campers from damaging the environment.

 

You can use camping to teach the kids independence and self-sufficiency. Survivalist campers set off with little more than their boots on the roughest of trails—the idea being to really gut it out. However, you might prefer to set up a tent within a few hundred feet of a campsite. This can serve as base camp from where you can set out on nature hikes, which include fishing and swimming.

 

Camping usually is a breeze with kids this age. They can help set up the tent and unload the car and can be trusted to remain nearby without continual supervision. One thing though—every child must have their own flashlight! Everyone loves making cool shadows on the tent walls and all hell breaks loose if sharing is required. Kids enjoy looking at the different kinds of insects that they can find. They might even catch frogs and minnows near the lakes and streams. You could let them examine these creatures and return them unharmed to the wild. Also, carry bug jars, nets, and buckets.

 

Hiking with six to eight year olds is generally a comedy of errors. Buy some of those disposable cameras or provide your kids with cheap cameras at the start of a hike. The novelty of being able to carry their own cameras will get you through your travels that day. Get the photos developed at a one-hour place if possible while you are still traveling – and then make a huge deal about their incredible pictures. Alternatively, you could provide them with some of the latest digital cameras that give an instant printout—however, you better be a “richdad” if you decide to make this choice. The next time you hike, the kids will be eager as long as you provide them with enough batteries and enough film or digital storage media!


Pick a theme for the trips. It helps you organize activities around a central concept. Much easier! Some favorites are “Western” including a chuck wagon meal, corn bread muffins and tea. You could come up with 20 ways to use a bandana around camp and practice tying knots with one-foot sections of rope. At night, you could have a small campfire with twigs and sing old western cowboy songs, try some cowboy poetry and learn a little about the stars.

 

The “Survivor” theme is another hit, focusing on back-to-the-basics camping essentials. Children this age can grate cheese, stir a cooking pot, fetch water, hand wash and hang laundry, clean up around camp and even pitch the tents with a little help. They love to hike (1 to 2 miles) with frequent breaks. Be sure to take along a trail mix snack the kids can make themselves. You could even make it a bit of a competition. Kids love competitions.

 

“Explorer” themes like Lewis and Clark are great for this age group, too. They naturally love to explore. Take along magnifying glasses, containers, nets and plastic cups to catch and examine insects. Set a firm, no touching policy for reptiles, insects and plants until they’ve been identified—this saves a lot of worry. Use handbooks to make an identification.


Always involve the kids in the basics of the camp. If the adults do all the preparing, cooking, and cleaning, the kids don’t learn. The look on children’s faces is priceless when they’ve made their first wood campfire or pitched their first tent. The best advice is plan with the kids, but always leave plenty of room for running, swimming, biking or just kicking around a ball. Kids love to comb beaches, draw in the dirt and gather rocks. Always have paper and crayons handy, cards are good, too – but don’t worry about entertaining the kids 24×7. Camping is all about learning to entertain yourself without TV and games. Throw in a book or favorite magazine for yourself, and use your imagination to fill in the rest.


If the kids behave well, reinforce their behavior with a prize. The prizes can be simple little things usually picked up at the local five and dime store…i.e. bubbles, a comic book, a toy car, a box of crackerjacks…etc. You could also shop for your prizes online. Wrap the prizes to make it even more exciting. Gift wrapping material is available in an assortment of colors. With the short attention spans kids have, the new prize will tide them over ’til the next stop.


The camp journal. Take plain white paper – about 5 sheets per kid. Get you kids to fold the pile in half and hold it together with a paper clip. Get them to color the front cover and title it My Camp Journal. Kids are very proud of their journal. If there are some kids who can’t read or write yet, tell them to do pictures instead of writing in them. They will have a nice memory of their first trip.

 

Bring cards. You can play many games with a simple deck of cards. They can even be a deck that is missing cards. Young kids don’t know/care. Go fish, and war, and let the kids explore their wild side under controlled conditions.

 

Pack lots of socks for each child—at least two pairs or more per day. If there is a drop of water, or mud puddle of any kind to be found, they will find it! Don’t expect the socks to come clean even with the best of detergents.

 

If you have an FRS (family radio service walkie talkies), one of the neat things you and your kids could do, is a game of high tech hide-and-seek of sorts… they can hide out, and you have to find them (providing they can see you when they hide, for safety’s sake)… and vice versa… lots of fun, and you can use the walkie talkies all the time, in stores when you go shopping and she is with her stepmother, or other times. A walkie talkie is a wonderful little gadget for kids!

For bedtime take the illuminated “glow” sticks (the kind in the foil cover that you break and shake) to use for night lights.
Tie one to the ceiling of the tent when the children retire and untie
and lower it when you retire. Bring one for each night of camping. The
soft glow becomes softer as the night wears on and is gentle on adult
eyes! You may prefer the green ones versus the red one—the red are
brighter it seems.


 

Just use your imagination and remember what it was like to be a kid… ideas of things, little things you can do to make anything more fun will fill your mind almost instantly! One last thing, when talking with a kid about anything serious, get down to their level! Squat down or get them up on something high so they can see eye to eye with you and not feel intimidated… hug your kid, and be thankful everyday for the blessing they truly are… they can be a challenge, but they are there for you too… remember that.

– Victor R.