From parks to schoolyards, bullying has been a way of life. Some insecure youngsters need to feel bigger, better and badder than their peers, so they pick on vulnerable students without a second thought. These victims used to be able to keep their distance, but a new trend is expanding bullying from the playground to all areas of digital life. Cyberbullying affects millions of students. It’s time to learn about this dangerous new form of harassment.
Cyberbullying occurs when technology and the Internet are used to threaten, humiliate or attack someone. In many ways, cyberbullying can be much worse than other forms of bullying. Not only does the Internet allows bullies to attack their victims in the privacy of their own homes, it often provides them a veil of anonymity.
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, more than 50 percent of students have reported being cyberbullied at some point. These children are often the subject of vicious threats, malicious lies and degrading or humiliating comments. Children who are being cyberbullied often become depressed and some are driven to contemplate or to even commit suicide.
After a recent spate of highly publicized suicides that were linked to cyberbullying, lawmakers in a number of states have either passed or are attempting to push through anti-bullying legislation, according to thomsonreuters.com. For example, New Jersey passed an anti-bullying law after the 2010 death of a Rutgers University student. Under this law, schools must create protocols to deal with bullying. The Florida senate also approved a similar measure that allows public schools to discipline students who have used or been on school property to commit cyberbullying acts, according to cbslocal.com.
Parents and teachers need to be alert to any emotional changes they observe in a child. Often, children who are being bullied, whether in person or through cyberspace, will begin acting differently and become withdrawn, according to ncpc.org. If you notice changes such as these, make an effort to start a dialogue with your child. Discuss the benefits and pitfalls of technology. Sure, technology enhances our lives, but when used improperly, technology can have devestating effects.
Teach your child basic cyber skills, such as being careful of what pictures or posts they put on the Internet and that even private emails, instant messages and social website comments can be copied or forwarded and used against them. Teach them that cyberbullies can even alter innocent remarks or pictures to use against your child.
Limit your child’s time online. As more children get smartphones, this has become increasingly hard to do, so some parents require their children to give them their passwords and account names for social websites. According to www.cable-tv.com, you can add passwords to different levels of content to monitor your child’s media habits. Although most children will grumble about this, in reality, if a post or a picture isn’t appropriate for a parent to see, then it probably has no place online.
If you child tells you that he is being cyberbullied, act on his behalf. Make copies of any cyberbullying comments or posts and then take them to the appropriate authority, whether that be the police or school officials or both. While cyberbullies often believe they are hiding behind a veil of anonymity, law officials can usually easily discover the parties behind the attacks and work to stop them.
The single biggest frustration I’ve encountered while learning how to live as a non-custodial parent (a.k.a. single dad), has been dealing with my local child support enforcement agency and adapting to paying my ex her child support payments – both from a financial standpoint and also a psychological one.
Don’t blame. It’s easy to say “yeah, fuck her too…” but remember what got you here in the first place.
I’m willing to bet the majority of non-custodial parents actually wouldn’t mind paying monthly child support if 1) it was a reasonable amount based on the child’s real-life needs and 2) 100% was guaranteed to go to expenses directly for their son or daughter. Unfortunately, this is not usually the case.
Because of this, a landslide of issues land in your lap the day the child support summons gets served to you. Since I am writing a blog post and not a novel, I’ve chosen to cover three of the most important aspects of living with child support payments as a non-custodial parent and not as a deadbeat dad. The two are not synonymous.
Of all the things I’ve lost throughout this fiasco, I miss my mind the most. If you’re like me, you’ve busted your ass through school and your career to make the money you do now. It doesn’t matter if you are lower, upper or middle class – you’ve made the sacrifices you have to get where you are and you’ll be damned if you have to give away hundreds or possibly thousands of your hard-earned money away each month to someone you only think of in only a malevolent way. I’d rather donate money to a neo-nazism movement.
The best way to mentally move on? For me it was actually doing everything possible to forget about it. Ban family and friends from asking or talking about it. Don’t complain. Don’t blame. It’s easy to say “yeah, fuck her too…” but remember what got you here in the first place. Don’t put up a facade. You are partially here because of the decisions you have made too.
Make peace with the fact that you will likely make payments every month until your child turns 18, or whenever they are emancipated. There’s no point in worrying over a situation that you have little control over.
Put your effort into earning more, not reducing your expenses to make up for your monthly loss. Focusing on increasing your income and not cutting out your morning Starbucks is not only better for your lifestyle and your child’s, you won’t have to wake up thinking about what you are sacrificing on a daily basis. True, earning more canresult in higher child support payments, but the increase in payments typically isn’t linear.
If your wages are garnished, just think of it as additional taxes being taken out or money that you are having automatically withdrawn and placed into a savings account for your child. If you manually pay your child support, see if you can automate your monthly payment so you don’t even have to think about it.
Although money is very near and dear to me, I had to realize that it was only money. I will make a lot more of it in time and things like adequate, quality parenting time with my daughter was far more important than just a number (however large it may be).
When my child support payments began, I was living a comfortable life with a small savings stashed away, a 401K and an 810 credit score. But for the most part, I was living paycheck to paycheck. I watched my spending and had set monthly budgets on mint.com for everything from food to entertainment. I knew what I could reasonably afford going into the child support hearing, but when I was ordered to pay over 2x that amount, I knew I was going to be living in the red.
In my opinion, this is the worst part about paying child support. You are forced into a budget and a lifestyle you likely wouldn’t be living so that someone else can maintain or improve their own. Many states currently have an “income equality” model, which in theory allows the child to live in two households but not in two different economic environments. In my case, there is no amount of money that would satisfy the socioeconomic differences between the two households and I felt that my ex was actually profiting off of this. A nearsighted conclusion, yes, but consider looking at your own situation reversed. How far does $250…$500…$1,000 a month really go?
If your child support payments put your finances in the red or begins to cut it too close for comfort, there is little you can do other that tightening your bootstraps.
Focus on what will make a big impact on your budget: reducing your rent or re-financing your mortgage, ending of your car payment by selling your car and cutting out any extravagant spending.
You’ll know where you can cut back in your budget. If you don’t already know all of your expenses each month, now is the time to figure that out and look at what services your can cancel or cut back on.
Again, cutting out the lattes or switching to LED lighting in your home isn’t going to make a dent in your budget. See coping tip #2 above.
In Arizona where I reside, the child support enforcement agency records all of your calls. I would pay to hear my calls from three years ago when I began paying child support. Although I was always as respectful, you can’t hide pure anger and resentment in your voice. I had a hatred for these people and literally, even their automated prompter that required me to press the number two “for all other people” when option one was “if you are a parent…” Apparently, non-custodial parents aren’t parents according to them.
However, after a recent and my first physical visit to the Department of Child Support Enforcement (DCSE) office, I’ve made some huge realizations. My opinions change as the facts change. So should yours.
In just about every state’s child support enforcement agency, they are underfunded and overworked. The people you speak to most likely hate their jobs and they are doing just that – their job. Don’t get angry at them, it’ll do you no good. They have huge case loads and think about the majority of the people they have to deal with throughout the day – not exactly the pick of the litter. It’s the worst customer service job ever.
Keep records of everything. I can’t stress this enough. Every payment you’ve ever made. Request audits whenever you can so you can ensure the DCSE’s records are on par with what you have made. I recently did this and found a $1,300 discrepancy (they were missing records of that amount – they found them and fixed it). They were super nice about it, apologized profusely for their error and even – get this – followed up with me to see if I had found any additional errors that they should review. Are you kidding me? I can’t even get the IRS to do that.
If your circumstances change, file a modification. Always, always, always try to modify. This is an underutilized process that is there for your use. Check with your state’s statues on what circumstances you can modify for and file for one as your situation changes. Typically a filing fee is required, but you can do this without a lawyer. Know your numbers, get your evidence and go to bat swinging.
Unless something drastic changes, my 40th birthday will be my happiest as it’ll mark the first year since I was 24 that I am child support free. I won’t stop supporting my daughter then, nah…that would have begun when she decided to start dating against my will. This is the time I can finally hang up the gloves for good, relax, take a deep breath and finally know what receiving 100% of my paycheck feels like for the first time in over a decade.
Good luck gentlemen, my hat’s off.
Have a child support story you’d like to share? Need advice on your situation? Leave a comment below!
You’re growing up right before my eyes. I’m sure every parent can relate. It seemed like just yesterday that you were just a baby and now you’re headed off to middle school soon. Before I know it, you’ll be a teenager (egads!).
I know what it’s like to be a teenager. Believe it or not, I was once one myself. Let me tell you a little bit about my experience as a teen in the hopes of preparing you for this transition.
Teenagers (Think They) Know Everything
Been there. Done that. Got the t-shirt. I was a know-it-all teenager once. I know what it’s like to think that your parents were absolutely clueless. As a teen, you have such clarity when it comes to, well, everything. Once you’ve got that 13 or 14 years of experience under your belt you suddenly see the world from a new view. It’s as if you’re on a mountaintop and you can see everything below you.
You may not realize it (you know it, though – you know everything) but your parents understand this as well. We know you know everything. That’s why we ask you so many questions. Questions like:
Where were you after school today?
Is your homework done?
When is your assignment due?
How are your grades in science this semester?
Who did you send 10,234 text messages to this month?
I know they’re annoying questions. But, unlike you, we don’t know everything so please bear with us as we learn from you.
My Teenage Epiphany
I remember it like it was yesterday (I’m 37 right now). I was 18 years old. I was just about to graduate from high school. I was standing in the foyer of our house, getting ready to leave to go to work. I was talking to my dad about an upcoming trip that I was going to be taking to Europe as part of a foreign exchange program. It would be the longest I’d be away from home in my entire life.
My dad was bestowing some wisdom upon me about spending money for the trip. At that moment, my brain just froze.
Something happened. I looked at my dad; he looked the same as he always did, but I saw him differently. He wasn’t stupid after all. He was actually rather wise. The stuff he was telling me about making sure I carried some cash but not too much actually made sense.
Holy s*#@, my dad knew what he was talking about all this time and I was just now realizing it?
Knowledge vs Wisdom and Understanding the Differences
My dad was wise. He knew a lot about a lot. From the age of 13 until I was 18, he would provide me with unsolicited advice and I would often scoff and proclaim, “Geeze, dad, you just don’t understand!” The truth is, he probably understood (me) better than I did.
Now, later in life I find myself calling my dad all the time asking for advice. Even if I don’t agree with his advice, I appreciate it. I know that his advice comes from years of experience. That experience has turned into wisdom. Children won’t always follow their parents advice, and that’s okay. Sometimes you need to make your own mistakes to truly learn a lesson. But just remember, your parents are smarter (and more knowledgeable) than you give us credit for.
I’m sure you’ve been asking yourself the question, “Are people inherently good or bad?” a lot lately, given all that has been happening in the world. Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question, but as a dad, I don’t like giving you “I don’t know” as an answer.
I’ll give this one a shot, but it will be more about what I feel than what I know. I hope that’s okay.
Are People Inherently Good or Bad?
I know, still not really an answer, huh? I’ll give you two answers, because I really do feel that people are both good and bad. Sometimes the bad in others brings out the good in us.
People Can Be Bad
History tells us that some people have the capacity to be very, very bad. There have been unimaginable events that have taken place in the past that have been started by one or a few bad people. Take the recent Boston Marathon terror attacks as an example. The casualties from this attack were all innocent people – one of which was even a child about your age. There was absolutely no reason to take this child’s life, or anyone else that was killed or injured during the attack. Bad people are often very selfish and they do things without thinking about anyone but themselves. Do they regret what they’ve done afterward? Sometimes, perhaps. But not always. Lack of remorse or regret is one of the worst things that makes them bad people, in my opinion.
People Can Be Good, Too
The good in people comes out in both large and small ways. It’s too bad that it often takes tragedy for the good to come out.
Sometimes the worst in one person can bring out the best in others. We see this time and time again, whether it’s the attack on the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 or the recent Boston Marathon bombings. The good in people comes out in both large and small ways. It’s too bad that it often takes tragedy for the good to come out, though. If we could only remember that feeling we have during times of tragedy that brings us together on ordinary days, can you imagine how much better of a place this world would be?
Good or Bad Is Up To Me And You
It’s a simple truth – it’s up to each of us to decide if we want to be good or bad. Some may argue that it’s not a choice; that people are genetically bad. Or they were raised in such an environment that that would make it impossible for them to be good.
I don’t buy that, personally. I’ve seen and heard of people that have gone through unimaginable personal tragedies in their lives and they made the decision to learn from their experiences. They grew from their experiences. They didn’t blame others or “the world” on what happened to them. They took that negative energy and turned it positive. They became better people. We all have that inside of us.
What do you think? Are people generally good or bad by nature?
Someone needs to say this to our children: It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to fall down every once in a while. Heck, I fall down all the time – on a daily basis, in fact.
In my experience, what sets those that are ultimately successful apart is that they have the ability to fail and pick themselves back up. Failing at something shouldn’t necessarily be the end. It should be a learning experience. Part of my job as a father is to be cliche. Here comes a bit of that responsibility.
Have you ever heard the saying that we learn more from our failures than from our successes? There’s a lot of truth to that statement. We can learn a lot from our mistakes – often times more than we learn from our successes. But we have to take the time to acknowledge our failures and examine why we failed and how we can improve ourselves.
Self-improvement only comes as a result of failure.
Parents, How Can We Honestly Expect Perfection?
I know there are a lot of parents out there that expect perfection from their children. How is that fair? Perfectionist parents are robbing their children of an important piece of their childhood. They’re stealing potentially life-changing learning experiences from them by not allowing them to fail.
I have a perfectionist son in an imperfect world. I spend part of my time teaching him it’s okay to be IMperfect. I spend part of my time undoing some of his perfectionist ways. I see colossal disappointment in his future if he doesn’t learn how to fail gracefully and learn from his mistakes. I see his world (proverbially) crashing down around him the first time he experiences anything other than an “A” on a report card. I see him giving up opportunities to discover something he would really enjoy or genuinely be good at if he only took the time to work through his initial failures.
Not Everyone Can Be a Winner
I don’t typically get involved in Facebook debates, but I saw a recent one that was rather interesting. Here’s how the debate started:
I honestly think that one of the most important lessons you can teach your child is how to lose at something. It is OK to not be perfect. It is OK to suck at something. Give it your best and you should get the same award for 10th place as 1st. No one is great at everything, but everyone is great at something.
I agree with 99% of this statement, with the only exception being the same award statement. Just as our children should be allowed to fail, first and foremost, our children should also be allowed to succeed and excel. Competition can be healthy; it should be healthy. The original poster went on to say this:
Ok I guess I should have specified that we should reward them as parents just as much for first place as tenth. They need to know that its ok to not be perfect and its ok to lose something, and that the world doesn’t end when they mess up. Yes, in a contest or game etc there’s always a defined winner, but they should all feel like winners just because they gave it their best shot. Just because they don’t walk away with the ribbon doesn’t mean they didn’t win.
I agree. I think it is our job as parents to help build up our children’s self-esteem, while also maintaining the balance between “winners” and “losers”. We can’t always win and as parents we shouldn’t always just gush approval, but rather, we should gush support.
What do you think? Do you have a perfectionist child or parent in your life? How do you handle winning versus losing? Do you try to teach your children that it’s okay to fail, too?
Need to know if you might be the father? Have you considered your options? Did paternity testing cross your mind?
Paternity tests are, by far, the most reliable method you have of confirming whether you are the biological father of a child or not. It is a quick and simple process that will ultimately appease those rather disconcerting thoughts that tend to resurface from time to time.
But where do I get a paternity test from?
Understandably, the issue of anonymity and privacy is important. Luckily, online DNA testing is just a click away and allow you to do everything in the most discrete way possible. Once you have entered your search keywords, you will get several companies offering paternity testing services at very competitive pricing. You just need to make you pick one and order your test. Once you have placed your order, you will be asked to provide a physical address. This is because a kit will need to be sent out to you. You will need to use this kit to collect the DNA samples needed for the test.
There are of course private clinics or hospitals that also offer DNA testing and this is another option you might want to consider. However, you might not have any such facility in your town. In such cases, a online DNA test is definitely more convenient.
How do I use the kit and what does it contain?
Whether you are just doing an at home paternity test (what might be called a peace of mind test), a legal test or a DNA test for immigration, you will be using a sample collection kit. The kit contains cotton bud like buccal swabs which need to be rubbed inside the mouth to collect cheek cells. Important is not to eat, drink or smoke anything for around one hour before collecting your sample. Once you have completed the ten second rubbing procedure, the swabs are best left to dry so that no spores can germinate on them. Any mould could actually alter the DNA rendering samples useless.
Following the sample collection, you will then have a form to fill in. All DNA tests needs some form of consent from the people taking part in the test or the people requesting the test (in other words the person paying for it). Once you have filled in the consent form, you can send everything back for analysis.
What about my results?
Results of a paternity test are extremely accurate. Once samples are in the laboratory, certain genetic markers on the alleged father’s DNA profile need to be compared to the same genetic markers on the profile of the child. The tested man can only be confirmed as the biological father if all the genetic markers analyzed are the same. This is of course because a child inherits half their genetic material from their father and half from their mother.
If the tested alleged dad is the biological father, a minimum probability of paternity of 99.9% will be displayed. Conversely, if he is not, this probability will be 0%.
A word about legal testing.
Paternity testing is often used in court cases when there are child maintenance issues, custody issues or to change the name on a birth certificate. In some cases, the paternity test might actually be ordered by the judge who in such an instance, might also decide on a laboratory to carry out the test.
In a legal paternity test, the main difference is the way in which the samples are collected. Test participants will not be able to collect the samples themselves. A sampler (a person responsible for collecting the samples) will need to be appointed. In many cases, it will suffice to use a doctor or a professional who can vouch for the provenance of every sample. The documentation is also a bit different for a legal test. Test participants will need to take copies of a form of identification and passport sized photos. Results will also take longer as they need to be signed by a notary. Usually, the laboratory will have their own notary who can sign the result so as to make it legally valid.
Can I use other samples?
For an at home test, you can submit samples other than oral swabs. Say, for example, the child is not around for the test and you are unable to collect an oral swab sample, you can opt instead for having other DNA samples belonging to the child tested: a pair of reading glasses, a cap, a tooth brush, some nail clippings, teeth or cigarette ends. However, when it comes to legal testing, you cannot use any sample other than those collected using oral swabs. Every person who takes part in a legal test will need to fill out a consent form which will be witnessed and signed by the sampler too. Children under the age of consent will have their section filled in a signed by their parent or legal guardian.
Prior to any type of DNA test, it is always advisable to get some advice on which ever laboratory, clinic or company offering the test.
Keeping children healthy through the winter is a top priority for parents. Fathers playing an active role in their children’s lives, including their health and safety, can make a positive difference. Dads, you can take several simple steps so colds and flu don’t stop your kids and you from spending time together.
According to the National Responsible Fatherhood Clearinghouse (NRFC), setting a good example is the most important way to teach your children healthy behaviors. Even if you don’t share a home with your children, following healthy habits when you are together encourages them to do the same.
Modeling healthy behaviors is key for any parent seeking to teach their children healthy habits and behaviors. For example, if your children see you washing your hands often, they likely will too. Step in at the sink to help the littlest ones wash thoroughly. Again, the earlier they experience this, the greater the chances that they will retain and continue these healthy practices. Once you are done, be sure to dry your hands completely after washing them. To prevent the spread of germs, cough or sneeze into your elbow so germs are not spread to your hands. Also, show your children how to turn their heads away from others and use and toss tissues properly. Be sure to exercise, eat foods that help you have a healthy weight and energy, and get proper rest. When your body is in good physical shape, is well rested, and has appropriate nutrition, it is better able to fight off germs and infections.
Taking care of your own health should not be limited to wintertime. It is a year-round process that is as important to your children as it is to you. Fathers can accompany their children on annual check-ups to help reinforce key health messages from the pediatrician. On occasion, children may accompany their fathers to their check-ups, too. Resources available on the NRFC website (www.fatherhood.gov) confirm that healthy fathers are more available to emotionally and financially support their children and families.
To feel great and stay that way, you need to take into account more than just your physical health. Your psychological and social needs also have an impact on your overall well-being and your ability to be positively involved with your children.
Life can get complicated and overwhelming. So being a loving, involved father isn’t always easy. If you are depressed, are abusing drugs, or have other issues that affect your emotional and mental health, they can cause problems between you and your children. There are many support and treatment options available to help you get past the barriers that could be holding you back from a better relationship with your children.
Exercise regularly. Find an activity that you enjoy so you are more likely to maintain a routine. When planning your workouts, discuss them with your children. Explain your exercise routine and how they can join in too. Set realistic workout goals. Be sure to balance your workouts with proper sleep.
Eat healthy foods in moderate amounts. Drink water and snack on fruits and vegetables. Discuss your diet with your children. When in the grocery store point out healthy choices. Read the labels on food items with your children and discuss nutrition information. You are what you eat, so be sure to encourage and model healthy eating habits for your children.
How you conduct your adult relationships has a direct effect on your children. Studies show that people who enjoy healthy relationships have more happiness and less stress. If your relationships in the past were stormy or troubled, you can start now to undo attitudes and behaviors that might have contributed to an unsatisfying personal life. Dealing with past mistakes allows you to move forward by establishing positive, fulfilling relationships.
Healthy interactions are often the most neglected component of well-being. Healthy relationships take time and effort. Look for ways to add laughter to your activities with your children. Make sure your children know and understand your values by living them every day. Focus on your successes and not what you consider to be your failures. Let your children know that it is OK to fail and that no matter what, you’ll always love them.
Children need involved fathers in every aspect of their lives. Similarly, dads can take control of every aspect of their health. Show that you value your health and you’ll be a positive role model for your children. Pass your healthy habits on to the next generation.
Getting up-to-date, accurate information is a vital part of health and wellness. The NRFC offers practical tools and resources to help fathers build and maintain stronger connections with their children in every season. Visit www.fatherhood.gov or call 877-4DAD411. Stay in touch with the NRFC on Facebook and Twitter.
Selfishness. I can’t think of another word to describe why a parent would voluntarily leave their child in any circumstance.
My sons ask some pretty pertinent questions sometimes, despite their young ages. They’re regularly firing questions like “Dad, what is a father?” at me and I try to answer them the best way I know how, but sometimes coming up with answers to our children’s questions can be quite challenging.
You may not know it, but I’m getting married – this spring, actually. Yeah, thanks, I’m getting really excited, too. Of course, there are a number of challenges that come with blending a family together like we’re doing. JenB and her Chunky Monkey came as a package deal, as did my son and I. We’re fitting together rather nicely, despite a few challenges along the way. But when we announced we were getting married we had also decided to take another step to make our family closer.
One of our family-blending challenges has been trying to explain to my ten year old why Chunky Monkey doesn’t have a dad and why JenB and I decided that it would be best that I adopt him. More questions ensued:
See what I mean? These are all very good questions, but some of them come with rather difficult answers. The reasons for a step-parent adoption are obviously many – Chunky and his older brother are brothers. We want to make it formal by adopting him so that we can be as close to one nuclear family as we can be. It’s more difficult to answer questions about why his father left. We never want Chunky to feel like he isn’t part of the family or to feel like he was unwanted in any way. When you’re a child and you find out that one (or both) of your parents just up and left… by choice… that can be incredibly damaging to your self-esteem. We never wanted him to feel that way.
I thought I’d take my best shot at answering my son’s questions. Here goes nothin’…
Dad, why doesn’t Chunky have a dad?
Well son, actually Chunky does have a dad. I’m his dad. I met him when he was only two months old and JenB and I are getting married in just a few months. He’ll never know anyone other than me as a father figure in his life. He and I play together. We have fun. We eat dinner together every night. I changed his diapers and I tuck him into bed at night.
I may not be his father, but I am his dad.
Dad, what’s the difference between a dad and a father?
That’s a great question, son, and one that gets into a bit of a “birds and bees” discussion. Let’s just say that you don’t have to be a father to be a dad and not all fathers end up being dads. Chunky’s father made him but decided not to participate in his life and be a dad. I didn’t make him but I’m here for him now, therefore that makes me his dad.
Dad, did Chunky’s dad not want him?
That’s a very good question, son, but it’s also a very complicated one as well. Honestly, I can’t explain his father’s actions. I don’t understand why he did what he did. Sometimes people have children and they’re not ready to be a parent. I think that was just the case here. (A brief adult version of the story can be found here.)
Dad, why did Chunky’s dad leave him?
Selfishness. I can’t think of another word to describe why a parent would voluntarily leave their child in any circumstance. He was selfish. He wanted something from his life and saw his son as a barrier to whatever it was that he wanted to get out of life. Most parents lose their selfishness when they welcome their first child into the world. I think Chunky’s father had some growing up to do.
Dad, won’t Chunky’s dad regret leaving him?
It’s hard to say, son. It really depends on the person. I would think that he’d strongly regret leaving his son, eventually. But clearly he and I aren’t much alike because I would never have been able to walk away as he did. Part of me hopes that he has regrets, but without clear evidence that he has a conscience, I’m not convinced that he ever will.
I am a father of two and I think I speak on behalf of all parents when I say please don’t outsource the production of your assembly instructions to off-shore writers.
My Yearly Post-Christmas Realization
I seem to have the same realization every year, post-Christmas, as I (and parents nation-wide) embark on attempting to assemble all of the treasures our children received over the holiday season. That realization is that your assembly instructions SUCK.
Yep, I said it. They suck.
Why do I feel your instructions suck? I’ll share with you a few reasons why your instructions suck.
Your Assembly Instructions SUCK for the Following Reasons:
Poor English grammar
Terrible ordering of steps
Skipped important steps
Photos taken by your cell phone?
I just spent the better part of a day trying to put together this season’s hottest toy while attempting to follow your terribly-worded, horribly-illustrated instructions.
My ten year old son could have crafted more coherent and logical instructions than you provided.
And the illustrations photos? I’m a man; I often skip some of the instructions in favor of those helpful diagrams and photos you like to provide. Except your photos and diagrams are neither helpful nor clear. Your photos look like someone took them with their camera phone. Your diagrams look like you had a toddler draw them on a chalk board.
If you’re going to take photos or create illustrations, can you provide your technical writer with a decent tool to do so? It would also be nice if said writer had some experience in diagramming as well. Yeah, that would be nice.
You Need to Cut Corners, I Get It
Listen, I understand wanting to outsource the production of your toys. I get that it costs pennies on the dollar to manufacture your toys in China as opposed to the USA or Europe.
I don’t like it, but I get it.
What I don’t get is why you’d have the instructions for those products that require “some assembly” and are clearly intended for English-speaking consumers written by someone that clearly is NOT an English speaker.
Your product could be totally awesome but guess what happens when you provide consumers with sub-par assembly instructions? Well, for one thing, you piss off quite a few parents.
It can also be a safety hazard to provide poorly-written instructions. If it’s not clear how to properly assemble your product there’s a good chance someone is going to assemble it incorrectly. Incorrect assembly leads to accidents, which leads to our children getting injured.
I don’t like injured (or worse) children. No one does; I know you don’t.
So why not invest a little in the instructions you provide consumers and stop outsourcing them to people that don’t know what they’re doing and couldn’t write proper instructions to save their own life?
I really don’t like the word “hate” but when I saw the new book coming out by clinical psychologist Edward D. Farber I knew that I had to check it out.
Like many co-parents, I’ve had my fair share of post-relationship difficulties since my ex and I split back in 2007. I take all the advice I can get when it comes to parenting. While each situation is unique in its own right, I still think there’s a lot of valid knowledge out there to be had.
Farber’s new book is titled, “Raising the Kid You Love with the Ex You Hate” (Greenleaf). I just got my advanced review copy in the mail last week. I still don’t like the “H” word but I am looking forward to reading this book – for a multitude of reasons. If you’re a single or divorced parent, or if you’re headed in that direction you may want to pick up a copy of Ed’s book when it drops on January 29th.
I asked Ed if he had any advice for divorced or estranged couples that are going through the challenge of the holidays. He had the following words of advice to share:
Let’s keep in mind the holidays are a time for children to experience the wonders of the season, not a time for them to watch their parents try to score points against each other. It is just hard for your child not to see both of her parents to celebrate Christmas and other holidays and special occasions. Spending Christmas with only one parent because this is an even numbered year may work for the parents, but it ignores the needs of the child. Not spending time with both parents over Christmas is going to leave your child feeling empty and hollow. A scheduled phone call and getting a boatload of presents is okay, but not seeing both parents because of an agreement the parents made several years ago simply underscores for your child the split in the family.
Try to let your child see both parents and families over Christmas. Work it out with your ex. What goes around may come around in the future. You may give up a little time this year; you may get it back next year. In these confusing and troubled times for all of our children, focus on the spirit and meaning of the holidays.
I’ll be reading the book over the next month or so and providing a review with my thoughts once I’ve had a chance to properly digest the book’s message. In the meantime, the Amazon.com description provides a bit more insight into what to expect from Dr. Ed’s new book:
Powerful advice for you and your ex-spouse on how to reduce conflict and protect your children’s well-being while co-parenting
You and your former wife/husband are struggling to be civil to each other and you recognize the conflicts could be damaging to your child. Dr. Farber, a clinical child psychologist who’s been in practice for 30+ years, knows what you’re up against. He writes compassionately and insightfully about the concrete, doable steps you can take to avoid letting differences with your ex get in the way of being the best mom or the best dad you can be.
Conflicts inevitably arise from living in two households. You don’t have to like your ex, but, if you are going to co-parent successfully, you will still have to deal with your ex. Dr. Farber helps you navigate the upheaval with practical advice based on real-world families. His book shows you how to
- Know what to say, and not to say, to your child about separation and divorce
- Cope with child support and other money issues
- Handle the holidays and special family occasions
- Choose and adjust to new schools
- Introduce your child to a potential new partner
- Co-parent when an ex has a personality disorder, addiction problem, or is a bully
- Decide when to recruit the help of a parent coordinator
- Raise a healthy child while co-parenting
You’ll draw strength and encouragement from the positive outcomes he’s helped hurting parents and children achieve as they confronted such gripping problem areas. Dr. Farber’s expert analysis and counsel will show you how to use co-parenting to turn your broken marriage into a working divorce that supports the emotional and developmental health of your children caught in the crossfire.