Tag Archives: advice

Will You Still Need Me, When You’re Thirty-Four?*

Letting go is easy.

Not grabbing them when they’re falling. . . that’s much, much harder.

Rearing children means that you’re responsible for not only their safety and well being at the very moment (and every moment), but that you’re supposed to be laying the groundwork for them to take control over their own lives and make good decisions on their own.Burning magnesium is really, really, really, really bright.

The first part of that last sentence is enough to drive just about anyone to the edge of sanity. The second part is what will take you, pick you up and hurl you like a caber so far over the line that even on a dark night you wouldn’t even be able to see it if it were etched in neon and burning magnesium.

Children are the living embodiment of the thought that everything has consequences. What you do with and to them now will have lasting ramifications in their later lives.

As parents, we want to make sure our little dudes and dudettes learn not only from their own experiences, but our experiences. That way, they won’t have to suffer like we did. That is the platonic ideal of parenting, but you know no teenager ever actually listens. Why would they? I mean, they already know everything already.**This is an example of a very stupid punishment. Firstly, twerking? That's what you're worried about? I'd think peer pressure would be enough to curtail that after a few tries. Secondly, if you think public shaming will teach her any lesson beyond "Don't get caught," you're crazy.

Which is why punishing kids ever more extravagantly as they grow older isn’t going to work all that well for you later on.

The most important lesson you can pass along to your little dudes is the instinct to, when they don’t actually know what to do or where to go, actually ask questions. Ask for help. And more, turn back to their parents for the first shot at offering said help.

Even now, I’ll use my dad as a sounding board before making certain decisions. I know he’s got my best interests at heart and has experienced a lot of what I’m already going through and he’s one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. And I say this long after the parent-worshiping phase has worn off.

It took a while, I will admit. I didn’t look to my parents as sources of help until some time after college. Before that, I was bound and determined to do it my way because I was the smartest man (I am a MAN!) in the room.

Fortunately, my parents didn’t start screaming at me when I made a bad decision or did something stupid as I was growing up. They offered advice, let me know what was expected and, for the most part, were calm but firm when I crossed the line.

The teenage years didn’t irreparably damage our relationship. Thankfully.

As the young dudes grow older and the consequences of their dumb decision-making become more significant, the urge to tighten our grip and tell them exactly what to do can become overwhelming. If you want to have any influence in your little dudette’s life as she grows older, you must let her make her own decisions.

That doesn’t mean you don’t set rules or allow her to do whatever she wants, whenever she wants. However, once you’ve made clear your expectations and the consequences of not meeting said expectations, you have to simply drop into an advisory role and pick your battles with extreme care.

I’ve always felt that, as long as it’s not disturbing class, my young dudes could wear whatever they wanted, have whatever hair cut they wanted. If I thought they looked horrible . . . Well, my being horrified by their looks probably was a plus.Didn't we already do that? When they were 18? I'm almost positive they were supposed to move out at one point.

Provide options, help them understand probable scenarios from various actions, but don’t’ try to force your decisions on them.

It’s never easy watching as your darlings make a mistake, but it’s one of the necessary steps they have to take if they ever want to grow up and be independent.

After all, we all want to use that extra bedroom as a place for us, not as the room for your adult child who’s moved back in.

Footnotes & Errata

* Still apologizing to the Beatles, still not regretting using the allusion even one little bit.
** For the sarcasm-impaired among you, that was sarcasm. Teenagers don’t really know everything. They just think they do. This has been a friendly reminder from Mr. Obvious.

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Pregnancy Brain Is A Real Thing*

This is her brain. This is her brain on pregnancy.

When we were pregnant (and, if you’ve read that nearly-a-bestselling-book A Dude’s Guide to Babies: The New Dad’s Playbook, you’ll know it’s a two-person event, pregnancy), we liked to refer to it as PIS, or pregnancy-induced senility.

That way, she could say she PISed off and we could laugh when she locked her keys inside the car in line at the car wash and I had to leave work to come rescue her because she was crying and upset. It was that or start screaming my own self and that would have been a bad idea.

Hell might have no fury like a woman scorned, but even they run in fear of pregnant women. And it’s not simply because of the wacky hormones running amok in their bloodstream. But that is a post for another day.A woman's brain really does change during pregnancy, but I'm pretty sure that would be a bad thing to mention to an actual pregnant woman. Because pregnancy also does wacky things to their emotional lability.

What my wife, known to me as She Who Must, While Pregnant, Be Getting What She Wants So That I Might Be Allowed To Continue My Miserable Existence, and I called PIS also is known as pregnancy brain. There are those who say it is a myth.

They are, according to science, very much wrong. Pregnancy brain is real. However, it’s more than merely pregnant women forgetting stuff.

“Pregnancy brain” definitely exists, but it may not be as negative as you think. In fact, it can make you more perceptive of other people’s emotions, according to new research presented at British Psychological Society Annual Conference in the U.K. 

Pregnant women were more sensitive to facial emotion in all of the pictures, which could mean that the right hemisphere of their brains (the one usually responsible for recognizing visual emotion) was more active in them than in new moms, meaning they could process emotion from all angles. This might be the body’s way of preparing a soon-to-be mom to be more responsive to a baby once it’s born.

But, I hear you calling**, dude! That has nothing to do with putting a box of cereal away in the fridge. True, but this does.

One meta-analysis of 14 studies in 2007 found some evidence of memory impairments in pregnant women, though the findings weren’t totally consistent. Another 2010 study says that hormonal changes during pregnancy can affect your memory of spatial locations, but the research only looked at less than 50 women. 

All of which goes to show that, while pregnancy does make some demonstrable physical changes to a woman’s brain, we can’t say with certainty that it’s what causes her to forget stuff, to lose stuff, to become absent minded, to get mixed up with simple directions or any of that stuff.

In fact, I’d go so far as to say, even with conclusive scientific evidence to back you up, it’s probably a good idea to not mention any of the negative stuff that might have something to do with pregnancy brain.

If you’re not able to simply turn and run (which, oddly, seems to be my most frequently offered bit of advice for dudes dealing with pregnant women), I think your best bet would be to say that, yes, pregnancy does change a woman’s brain.

But it’s for the good. Pregnant brains are actually changing so moms-to-be can better bond with the little dude or little dudette.

Then turn and run.

Footnotes & Errata

* But don’t think that gets you off the hook for even considering the possibility of maybe mentioning it. Sort of like saying the word menopause when talking to ladies of a certain age. Not a good idea.

** But I’d better not hear you call me Beth. (Wow, that was an obscure and very old joke.)

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Escape From The Steep Gravity Well Of The Mediocre

This is one of those strange sorts of days here at Casa de Dude. By strange, I mean we’re having someone other than Barry or me step in and talk for a bit.

In this case, please welcome Shawn Anderson, author and speaker. Miss-ter Ann-der-son (heh heh heh) sent out an e-mail I quite enjoyed. Instead of adapting it for you dudes, I thought I’d just let the man himself do the talking since I liked what he had to say.

So, take it away, Shawn Anderson.

Wake-up alarm sounds. Hit snooze button. Steal ten minutes more sleep. Groan. Get coffee. Wake kids. Take shower. Get dressed. Yell at kids. Drive to work. Slump into chair. Check email. Check Facebook. Meet deadlines. Waste time chatting. Watch clock. Check Facebook again. Sneak out early. Wait in traffic. Get groceries. Chaperone kids. Shout about homework. Make dinner. Watch TV. Go to bed. Repeat.

Of course, there is no way this sounds familiar. Right? Maybe to our friends, but never to us. Not to worry…this is for them. (The friends.)

To help those “friends” who are stuck in a life rut, motivational guru Shawn Anderson shares three quick rut-escaping tips you can provide to those who need emergency advice and are living the same day over…and over…and over:

TIP #1: Quit living in Mediocreland.

Stuck on mediocrity? Well, look in the mirror at the person responsible. It’s you. You created your average-ness…and you can un-create it, too. Want out of the rut? Quit making excuses, quit pointing fingers, and quit waiting for a miracle to fly you out of Mediocreland. If you’re ever going to leave the world of average, you need to start creating the changes you seek. Cast a vision. Create a plan. Take massive action. Passive residents are not allowed to fly.

TIP #2: Don’t expect an overnight miracle.

It’s impossible to go from “ice cold” (in the rut) to “red hot” (out of the rut) overnight. Massive change just doesn’t happen that way. Don’t expect it. Do expect, though, that you can grow to “red hot” if you hold yourself accountable to take one step a day towards the changes you want in your life. Single steps daily add up to big changes eventually.

 

TIP #3: Don’t wait for perfect.

Waiting for the perfect scenario to unfold before making changes? Your reasons to wait before taking action might sound good in your head now. The problem is that five years down the road those same reasons will probably still exist…and you’ll probably still be in a rut.

Life is too short to wait for the stars to fall into perfect alignment before we take life action. Live and live now. Otherwise, waiting too long for the right risk-taking moment eventually leads to paralyzing fear…which leads to complacency…which leads to “I don’t care” acceptance.

The author of six motivational books, including A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose, Shawn Anderson lives and breathes all things related to “going the extra mile” in order to live a life we love. Last year, Anderson’s Extra Mile America organization led 444 cities to declare 11/1/13 as “Extra Mile Day”… a day recognizing the capacity we each have to create positive change for ourselves, families, organizations and communities when we go the extra mile.

“My feeling is ‘we get one life’ so why ever choose to live it with anything less than our deepest passion and most ardent dedication? We create the life we live…one way or another,” Anderson says.

Shawn Anderson is a six-time author, keynote speaker and motivational success coach. His book titles include A Better Life: An Inspiring Story About Starting Over and Extra Mile America: Stories of Inspiration, Possibility and Purpose. For more information, visit www.ShawnAnderson.com.

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