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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

Archive for October, 2010

It is all in the game

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th October 2010

My two kids were playing together today Chutes and Ladders. This is the latest craze in our house. They love it and they even love it better when they win. I always dare them to win me telling them that if they win, I will beat them. We all laugh and when they win, they all jump at me to wrestle me to the ground.

Today, they both played against each other when I stepped to their room to sit with them. I let them continue play and noticed something very interesting. My son has become too over competitive. How I know it? I have noticed that he started cheating. When it is his turn to role the dice and the number is not to his favor, he does not count correctly his steps avoiding the pitfalls of the game. I caught him cheating several times and commented him on it.

Tomorrow, however, I plan to take him for a short chat and tell him that a game is not necessary about winning but about the fun and good time you have with your friend (or in this case – his sister). I do not want him to grow up to be an over achiever or over competitive. I want him to enjoy the game and not only its outcome.

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Breaking and fixing

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th October 2010

We have a towel bar in our bathroom. For whatever reason, my little girl who is almost 5, decided that the towel bar is a good place to try her new exercise routine and she jumped on it and broke it.

I did not punish her. I did not even yell at her. I decided on a completely different approach. I want to show her that her action cause more trouble for us and that fixing what she breaks takes time and money.

Tomorrow, I plan on going to Lowe’s and buy with money that she has been saving several screws for the towel bar and have her fix it with me. Show her what to do, help her with the screwdriver, fit the bar back in place and overall show her that fixing is a lot harder than breaking and that she should think about her actions better next time.

I do believe that this is the way to have kids use their internal processes to understand the consequences of action and reaction.

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Is this really dinner for kids?

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th October 2010

We went to see some friends last night. One of their kids is 3 years old. When we arrived our kids already had their dinners but he did not. We already know that he eats when ever he feels like and not when the whole family sits down to eat. We of course think it is a big mistake, but he is not our kid.

We were sitting down, the kids were running around and only the 3 year old clanged to his mom and refused to let go. After a while he obviously asked for food and she gave it to him. A bag of pop corn. That was the beginning of his dinner. When he finished that, of course making a mess on the kitchen floor because he does not know how to sit down and eat quietly and he asked for the main course – ice cream – and he got it. His mom gave him a cone with vanilla ice cream. He was all happy and finished it. Now, the grown ups were having cake and fruits. The mom was sitting and chatting with us when he was pulling her sleeve asking for the cake. She turned around and told he could have only one bite. He agreed. She sat him on her lap (instead of in his own chair) and gave him a bite. I already knew that he will not give up after one bite and indeed, as soon as he finished it, he asked for more and the mom gave him more.

That was his dinner. It is not surprising at all that with no parental control the kid will do what ever he wants and I strongly believe that since he is not getting the proper nutrition his body is not developing correctly and that is a shame.

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Breaking your bones

Posted by Barack Levin on 26th October 2010

Recently several of our friends’ kids have broken a limb. One girl fell from a moonwalk inflatable and broke her arm, another fell when her dog jumped on her and also broke her arm and another boy fell from a fence and was leg was in cast for several weeks.

I do not think that it is unusually for kids to fall off of things while they play. It is only natural. My kids fall quite frequently and do hurt themselves. It is not the falls that bother me – it is the results. Kids are like rubber; they fall and bounce right up. Their bones are so elastic that it really surprises me how they manage to break them from such falls. After all we are not talking about falling for a 3 story building or being crushed by a car, these are simple falls and my theory for what is happening goes like this.

These kids are not eating properly. Their bones do not develop correctly and as a result or more brittle. When they do encounter a fall, their bones can not take the impact and absorb it and they break.

I have no doubt in my mind that if a research is done to find a correlation between good eating habits and the development of bones, the results will show that kids who are picky eaters are more likely to break a bone.

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At the bank

Posted by Barack Levin on 25th October 2010

I had to run some errands today right next to my kids’ school, since it was my turn to take them from school today, I decided to try to finish all of my chores before the pick up time. Unfortunately, I was not able to and had to postpone my bank visit. I decided to pick up the kids and with them go to the bank. I thought it would be a 5 minutes deal.

As I was picking the kids I told them where we are heading. They did not really care. We get to the bank and as always everyone had a job to do. My little girl was carrying my wallet, my son the check and deposit slip and we enter the bank. There was no line and I figured that I will be leaving within 2 minutes max. The cashier took the checks and found a problem. We had to wait for a banker to take care of the deposit. She sat us down at the waiting area. I knew we were going to wait so I found 2 pens and some paper and asked the kids to draw. While my son was drawing, I took my girl to the ATM to withdraw money. I showed her step by step what to do and she was proud when the five twenty $ bills came out.

We were waiting and the kids were drawing. Quietly. After 5 minutes we were called to the banker. We all sat at his desk and the kids were still busy drawing. We sat there at least 15 minutes while he was entering the deposit information. The kids behaved and continued with their drawings. No one yelled, shouted and screamed. No one complained or threw himself on the ground.

It just comes to show that when you trust your kids and raise them with the ability to stay quiet even when they do not feel like, everybody gains.

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Childproofing the house Vs. Disciplining

Posted by Barack Levin on 24th October 2010

We met with some friends of my daughter (almost 5) yesterday. The kids were playing around and the adults talking. Some of the parents started talking about their kids and how they escape the house. I could not understand their meaning and they explained. They lock the doors in the house but the kids still find ways to open the locks and run outside. One mom gave an example. She said she was sitting in her living room doing something when she heard a commotion outside in the street in front of her house. She looked outside and saw that the traffic stopped so she went outside to check. To her horror she saw her son who is 3 years old in the middle of the road. He managed to escape the house. Another mom said that her kids (5 and 7) are so sophisticated that they manage to drag a chair to the door and get to the locks she put at the top of the door.

I could not hide a smile. We never lock the door with the kids and they are allowed to go out. We have a little bridge at the front of the house and they know that this is how far they can go without us. I had NEVER, at any age, had to lock any door in my house, none of my kids every escaped and ran away from me. I believe in a different approach – let the kid know his boundaries and then like magic, child proofing the house is not needed.

Simple and basic disciplining is all that you need. But when your baby knows that No is not really No from you, he will do what ever he wants.

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Play time or TV

Posted by Barack Levin on 24th October 2010

Lat night we were invited to some friends for dinner. When we arrived we found out another mom with her kids. All together we had 6 kids ages: 2,3,4,5 and two kids at the age of 6. The evening started casually and we chatted. The TV in the living room where we sat and where finger food was served was on. I could have never understood what is the fascination of having the TV on when you have guests, but that was the least of my problems. The channel was on a kid appropriate channel but on the show called Cops which I think can easily be agreed by all – is not child appropriate. I turned it off, and one of the kids asked me why I was turning it off, which meant to me that it is always on in that house and again, I can not see the reason for it on all the time.

We set up all the kids in the basement and let them play. They played very nicely. No screaming, no yelling and most importantly, no one came upstairs to complain. We had our dinner quietly and chatted. About an hour into our conversation the father said: “I will go downstairs to start a movie for the kids. It is the only way to keep them quiet”. I was amazed. What caused his need to put on a movie for kids who are already playing quietly? Why does he need to stop their active play and their imagination to vegetate them in front of the TV? But I did not say anything. He went downstairs and started the movie.

From what I could tell, this was the parents way of keeping their kids quietly. Place them in front of the TV, lose all contact with them down in the basement and gain a few moments of peace. How sad is that to raise kids this way.

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Jaw Aches

Posted by Barack Levin on 23rd October 2010

Several months ago I started experiencing a new type of pain – jaw pain. It starts right under the bottom jaw line and radiates backward. I got to a point that when I took a bite my jaw hurt to the point of almost tears. I could not chew anything hard. I was about to go to my doctor to check it out. Who knows, may be it is cancer? But before I had the chance, I had my bi-annual cleaning at my dentist. I sat down and he started examining me and almost immediately told me that I am grinding my teeth. I mentioned the pain I have been having and he confirmed that my jaw muscles are tensed. He told me that at night I might be putting so much pressure on my teeth that my muscles suffer the consequences. He recommended a mouth guard and I gave it a try.

Within 2 weeks the pain subsided and two weeks after it was gone.

I can only imagine that all the stress I have been having shortly with my disease and the transplant finally took its toll and came out in a form of grinding my teeth. Who would have guessed?

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Stress Test

Posted by Barack Levin on 22nd October 2010

As part of my kidney evaluation, I had my second appointment today. I had to go through a stress test. The test is done to determine if the heart’s strong enough for the transplant and recovery and the stress part of it is done to make sure it will stand the load of the surgery and the recovery after. Such tests are usually done on the treadmill and as they slowly increase the speed the heart rate goes up as well and the tests can be done. Since I am expected to have a renal failure, such a test is not recommended for me and instead I am injected with a drug which simulates stress on the heart.

Before the test began, I was given some radioactive injection that will help the technician better take a 3D scan of my heart and I was ready for my stress test. I did not eat for about 10 hours and I was ready to get it over with asap. The drug was injected.

Several seconds after I feel my heart’s rhythm starts increasing but the increase is not gradual, it is sudden. Boom, it is doubled. Like flooring the gas pedal in a top notch race car. Within a few seconds you are doing over a 100 MPH. Almost immediately I start to sweat, my head spins and I fee dizzy as if I have just finished running a marathon. I take deep breaths but nothing helps. My heart is racing and I can not control it. Nausea starts pouring in. I feel how my stomach’s muscles are contracting. My vision is now very focused on the stress my body is going through. It only takes a few minutes, but I feel that I lost control over my body entirely. Within 3 or 4 minutes I feel how my heart is slowing down again. Finally. The sweat is gone. I take a look at the monitor. The heart rate went from 58 to 101. No wonder I felt terrible.

I go through some more heart imaging and barely get to my car. It feels as if I have just finished a grueling 12 hour work day. My eyes can barley open. As I drive I feel the urge to vomit (a common theme recently). I stop on the side of the highway but nothing comes out. I get home and crash on the bed for 2.5 hours.  I think I did not move the whole time. Every once in a while I would wake up thinking I could continue with my daily routine, but my feet feel like they are made out of lead and I decide against it.

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Food Fright

Posted by Barack Levin on 21st October 2010

I was watching TV last night when a news segment came up talking about extreme picky eaters. Since I do not believe in this myth at all, I sat to watch and felt how my blood pressure goes through the roof.

They interviewed these parents with a 6 or 7 year old girl. Cute little girl. The parents said that her diet is limited to only 10 items. I do not remember all of them but the list contained crackers, bread, peanut butter and spaghetti. No fruits and no vegetables. Not even pizza. The parents went on saying that they tried everything with their child to have her eat more variety and failed. They even said something along the lines that they told her that is she did not finish what was on her plate she would go to bed hungry and she chose to go to bed hungry.

They were so desperate that they of course had to invite therapists and professionals who immediately named this as a Food Fright disorder. They said on TV that the girl has become so afraid of food that she is simply afraid of it by now.

If there is something that really gets on my nerves is when a condition that should not exist in the first place gets a “scientific” name and now a whole industry raises from nothing. But this post is not about this. This post is about the parents.

The parents said that the girl would not eat anything else besides these 10 items and so my first question was very simple. The girl does not have a driver’s license, she does not have any money, she can not go alone to the food store. If this is the case, then who buys these things? It has to be the parents. So the child has really nothing to do with it. It is the parents who decide what food to buy and what to serve her kid. The peanut butter does not just appear in the fridge. Somebody puts it there. If that item was not in the fridge but something healthier would be, the child eventfully would have had to eat it. But that’s not all.

Something else that came to mind while I was watching was, how come when we hear about picky eaters they are never kids who will only eat vegetables and fruits or only healthy foods? How come picky eaters are always eating junk?

I read some place that if Social Services believe that if a child is abused in a house, they can take it away from home. And when I write abuse, I do not necessarily mean sexual or even physical abuse. For example, did you know that in some states if parents fight or hit each other in front of kids this can be considered as abuse and basis for removing the kids from their home? So I have to wonder why for example, not providing proper nutrition for a kid is not considered an abuse? I am quite sure that if Social Services had given a note to the parents that their child might be removed from their house due to improper nutrition, they would undoubtedly change their habits.

How much more can we screw up our kids?

I said it before and I am saying it again. The problem is not with the kids – it is with the parents. Change them and they will change their kids.

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Why Tantrum are so easy to avoid

Posted by Barack Levin on 20th October 2010

I have been asked many times before what are the reasons, facts or evidence I rely on to say out publicly that tantrums are easily avoidable. So here is my take on it and the explanation.

First you need to ask yourself what is a tantrum. Some will say it is the kid’s frustration coming out, some will explain that he is expressing his feelings and some might use another excuse. I see it in a completely different way. A tantrum is basically an ultimatum and it goes like this. I (the kid) want something and you (the parent) will not give it to me and so I am giving you an ultimatum – you either oblige with my request or I will throw a fit. Plain and simple. If you look at it this way, than the answer almost comes immediately to your head. You, as an adult know how to deal with ultimatums. Moreover, in your life you have been faced with situations where things started going in that direction and you were able to divert them from reaching that point. The same goes here. You can work your way with your child to prevent him from going into this direction in the first place. There is a magic bullet here that most parents are not even aware of. There is a secret formula that parents can use so that their kids will not throw a tantrum and here it is – your child will never give you that ultimatum IF he knows your ultimatum is that he can not have any. Sounds complicated, but it is not complicated at all.

In other words, if your child knows that you will never give in to an ultimatum, he will no longer be able to use this weapon against you because it will have no affect on you. Putting it into practice means that even if he throws a fit – you never let him get what he wants. Unfortunately most parents will eventually cave in and provide the kid’s needs so he knows his methods work, but if you resist this instinct (and it is very hard to resist) and teach him that this will not help, you would be surprised to find out how fast he changes his behavior.

If you get this into your head, than yes, tantrums are easily avoidable.

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At the Gym

Posted by Barack Levin on 20th October 2010

My girl (4.5) went to a friend’s birthday at a local gym. She had fun and my wife found out that the gym has gym sessions for little girls. Since my little girl had so much fun at the gym, my wife asked her if she would want to go there on a weekly basis. My girl’s eyes lit up. “Yes” she said, she would be happy to.

My wife and I talked about it and decided that it is worth a shot and off we went to talk to the gym. Almost instantly my wife discovered a problem. The gym only accepts girls who are 5 years and older. She came back and told our little girl that se would have to wait. I saw the disappointment in my girl’s eyes and gave it some thought. I came up with this plan.

I told my wife to go back to the gym and tell them to ignore my girl’s age for a second and have her go through the try-outs and assess her based on her physical abilities and not based on her age. My wife did and my girl went through the test and got accepted.

Now, I am not writing this post to show off, I am writing it with another purpose in mind. I see other 5 and even 6 year old girls and boys out there. From watching TV, playing computer games and sitting at home doing nothing, I can see how their coordination and physical strength is not even close to my girl’s. She is far more advanced. Again, this is not a show off post, it is just that my girl is out playing all the time, riding her bike, going for walks, doing the monkey bars; even helping me cutting the wood and sorting it for the fire place. Because she is always active I believed that she will easily match older girls and I was right. At the same time, it is very sad, that kids do not develop according to their physical abilities and from a young age let their bodies deteriorate.

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Soccer and Church

Posted by Barack Levin on 19th October 2010

My son is into soccer and we decided that it is time he joined soccer practice and have fun. By chance, we heard about a soccer program right next to our house. I drove by and what I saw really encouraged me. The activity center spreads over a huge field which can accommodate at least a 1000 kids playing on different courts different games. The fields were well maintained and were so inviting that we were happy to register my son to the program. It did not bother us at all that the field and the program belong to the nearby church. Although we are not Christians, we have been to many events in churches around Atlanta ranging from fun fairs to Christmas celebrations. In each and every event we felt extremely welcome. Although we do not “officially” belong to this religion, we never felt pushed or forced into a belief system that’s not ours. Of course, I do understand the need for the church in such events to promote their program, their message and belief system, but it was always done in a very subtle way via pamphlets, flyers and the like. So it did not bother me at all when I found out that the soccer field and the soccer program are managed by the church. Moreover, since soccer practice is not free but I had to pay for it ($90 which is slightly higher than other places), I could not care less if it was run by Jews, Christians, Muslims or Aliens. If it was free, I would be a little concerned, because than it is sponsored by the church and they can do whatever they want to, but as long as we have clean good fun with soccer I am up to making new connections.

The practices and games started and my son flourished. He loved running after the ball, score goals and meet new friends. We also enjoyed the time with him on the field. We brought some snacks and were cheering him and his team throughout the game. All was fine and dandy, until…. until, the coach stopped the game about half way through and gathered the players around him. They all sat down and he started talking to them about his belief system and praying to god to help them in the game. I thought it was odd, but let it slide. The week after, same thing, but this time the game was halted for about 15 minutes in which again, the coach called the players to talk to them about Christ’s message and devotion. This was done far from us and I was sure that he was strategizing with them. This continued along the season without me knowing about it until last week I when I decided to check what they are doing. When I found out what they were talking about I was horrid. Not because of the message and not because of the belief system. I was horrid because I did not sign for this. I paid money for soccer practice – not for religious classes. Had I wanted my kids to know about the Lord’s words, I am sure I would have found a good venue to do that. But what pisses me the most is that people use kids to their advantage. I have to wonder. Why didn’t the coach call the kids AND their parent to participate in these religious sessions? Why was he kind of taking the kids away from their parents? Why wasn’t it fully disclosed when we register our son to soccer practice? Why weren’t the parents informed that soccer practice will be accompanied by religious encouragement? Why masking it all? But most importantly, who gives you the right to approach my kids and talk to them about things that I might not think are suitable for them? Why do you approach the kids and not me? I am responsible for them. Convince me first. And do not get me wrong. I have nothing against church, church goers or Christians for this matter. I really do not care. I would have been as pissed if the same scenario would have happened under a Jewish umbrella too (or any other religion for that matter). I signed my kid for soccer and nothing else. You want to talk to him about religious, ask me to sign him for  a religious class.

And one last word. As long as the message is passive (flyers, cards etc), again, I am fine with it. Actually, the church did provide the kids will all sorts of stamps and cards carrying messages from the New Testament. I have no problem with that. This is the church’s right. They own the field and the program, but there is a thin line between that and actively reaching for the kids without the consent of their parents.

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No Wonder our Kids Grow Up To be Idiots

Posted by Barack Levin on 18th October 2010

I always tell other parents, who are very surprised at their kids’ behavior – if you raise your kids to be idiots, don’t be surprised by the result.

It is amazing to me how simple this concept is and still parents do not figure it out. Imagine that you are baking a cake. Instead of using fresh eggs, you use a month old egg; instead of self rising flour, you use regular flour; instead of using sugar, you use salt and instead of putting in the oven for 45 minutes on 450 heat you put it only at 350. No wonder that the cake that you will get is uneatable. No one would want to touch it, taste it or even go near it. It will go straight to the garbage and rightfully so.

Same thing with kids. Why do you think you will have great kids if you literarily raise them to become idiots? Want examples? Here you go:

-         Instead of letting them walk, you carry them every where

-         Instead of putting some boundaries, you let them control you

-         Instead of feeding them the right foods for them, you let them eat junk food

-         Instead of being a role model, you are never home

-         Instead of giving them love, you buy them toys

-         Instead of teaching them to be independent, you raise clingy kids

You, as the parents, “cooks” a terrible kid and later on when he is 3, 4 or even older you start to realize that there is something wrong with his behavior. There is still time to fix it (and quite easily actually), but by this time you are simply sure that this is the way your kid is and if that is the way you then it means that you have to resort to pills and professional help that in many cases does not help with the problem but treat the symptoms. It is not the kid that needs help – it is you – the parent.

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No, No and more No

Posted by Barack Levin on 18th October 2010

About a week ago I have started to notice that my little girl says No to me more times than she says yes. I ask for her help with the dishes – no, I ask for her help to empty the car from groceries – no, I ask her to come for a walk with the dog – no and the list goes on. At the beginning I thought it was only a phase and let it slide, but after some time of this negative attitude I decided to retaliate.

I was suppose to go to Lowe’s to buy some home improvement items and I wanted her to come with me. I asked her, and of course she said no and so I told her: “You know that it is not nice when you tell me no all the time. What would you do if I told you no at the same frequency? For example, no for a cuddle, no for reading you a book and no for playing with you. How would that make you feel?” She is almost 5, and she understands very well what I mean. She thought about that for a moment, and said: “Ok. I want to go with you to Lowe’s”. I was happy but I also wanted her to feel that has made a great choice so I told her to bring her little purse where she keeps some change. I took a $1 bill out of my wallet and my credit card and ask her to put it in her purse. “You will pay today with your own money”. Her eyes lit up. We went to Lowe’s and we bought the items and she swiped the credit card and helped me carry everything back home. She was proud and ran to tell her mom, but that was only the beginning.

One of the items we bought was a halogen light bulb for the light fixture downstairs. As a bonus, I let my girl, unscrew the light fixture, clean it, help me inspect it, help me replace the old light bulb with the new one we bought and test everything. I can not even start to explain the look on her face when she turned on that light switch and light came pouring out from the light fixture. She was so proud and ran to tell mommy.

The next project was the mouse traps that we bought. I showed and explained to her how they worked (and promised her it is not for the nice mice but only for the bad ones), she helped me put some peanut butter on them and together we placed them downstairs.

From that day on she does not say No to me automatically. She knows that we always have fun together. The morale of the story is very simple. You do not have to put up with your child’s bad behavior, but you need to find a way to attract him to your direction. Toys and fun things are not the only incentives you can use. Everyday small events can be used to empower your child.

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Posted by Barack Levin on 14th October 2010

As the kidney’s deteriorate, bizarre things start to happen. I have already reported some, but here is a new exciting side effect. Milk does not taste like milk anymore. The other day I prepared some milk and cereal. Took a spoonful and almost spit everything back. The milk tasted sour. I warned my wife about it but she did not believe me because she bought the milk a day before. She tasted it and reported back that everything is fine. I tried to give it another shot – but no, it tastes sour. A few days later I tried to taste milk she brought home and got the same results. I even tried chocolate milk but same thing. Unfortunately, now I am refrained from drinking milk.

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Silence in Carpool

Posted by Barack Levin on 12th October 2010

Several days ago I have noticed that my stress levels are increasing while I drive the kids and their friends to school. I dismissed it but last week it came to the extreme. I was on the phone with a client and found myself screaming into the receiver. The kids were shouting and yelling behind me. I excused myself and ended the call. I turned around to the kids and told them: “You are going to be quiet now until we get home”. That was on Friday.

On Monday when I took the kids I said out loud:” The rules in the car are very simple. No yelling, no shouting and no screaming. Now all of you repeat after me” and I made them repeat the rules. I worked for about 2 minutes. My son’s friend started yelling again. I turned around and said again: ”I am reminding you of the rules and if you will not follow them, you will be in time out and in complete silence until we reach school. Understood?” He nodded for yes. But again, 4 minutes later, he started screaming again. “You do not follow the rules in the car and I already gave you your warning. You are now in time out and not allowed to talk until we got to school. I do not want to hear a word from you” “But..” he started saying “You do not understand” I replied “I do not want to hear from you. No discussions”. He did not talk for the next 5 minutes until we got to school. I dropped the kids and drove back home.

Today it was my turn to pick up the kids from school and I was waiting to see what would happen. The kids climbed into the car and as they were seating down I said: “Remember kids the rules of the car? No yelling, no screaming and no shouting”. I have had the easiest drive in a long time.

The simple rule of thumb is authority. When kids encounter an authoritative figure that will not negotiate, they adjust to it very well. They will adjust their behavior accordingly.

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What’s the point

Posted by Barack Levin on 9th October 2010

My son started soccer practice. I have chosen for him a place that is competitive. They play for fun. There are no trophies or leagues. Just plain sportsmanship and pure fun. He has a practice on Thursday and a game on Saturday, each lasts an hour. The games on the weekend are between his team mates. They split randomly into 2 groups and play against each other. We were told when we registered that each week another parent will be in charge of snacks for the game. We were the first ones to volunteer and we brought fruit slices and bottled water. After al, the coach has specifically stated that we should bring healthy snacks.

The week after another parent brought the snacks. This time they brought sodas and salty store bought snacks. I though it was weird, because after al, the instructions were healthy snacks but when the next parent, the next week, brought the same thing I realized this is what is considered a healthy snack.

And I have to raise the issue. What is the point? The kids just ran for about an hour, got some exercise, burned some calories and now, we, the parents, give them useless calories to consume. Why can’t parents understand that these are not snacks? These are loaded with empty calories food items that their kids do not need. Instead of these terrible food items how about bringing fruits or vegetables? Instead of sodas how about just plain simple water? Our kids do not all of this crap.

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This is the difference I am always taking about

Posted by Barack Levin on 9th October 2010

My son’s friend got for his birthday a shiny brand new DSI game device. I was talking to his mom today and she told me he woke up this morning at 5:30AM and played with the DSI until breakfast. I also know that he has been playing with it since he got it about a week ago. And when I say playing, I mean he plays with it for hours and that is in addition to the Wii system he has and the TV he watches.  He is not my kid – so it is not my problem but I have been asked more than once what do you do in such a situation.

Here is what I did. My boy also got a DSI about 6 months ago but unlike his friend, we set the rules first. The first week he was allowed to play 20 minutes a day. After all, he was very excited about getting it and I did not want to spoil his excitement. The second week he was allowed to play only 15 minutes per day. From the third week onward he is allowed to play 10-15 minutes a day. There are days where he gets to play and days where he does not have time.

I have set up these rules because I do not want to have a new problem on my hand with these devices. I do not want him to be hooked on them and forget that family comes first.

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This is what I am talking about

Posted by Barack Levin on 6th October 2010

I always preach parents how important it is to raise their kids to become independent and the best time to start is as early as possible. Don’t wait until they are 5 or 6 to try and change them, start the process from day 1.

Because I like to see and interact with independent kids and their parents, I could not help myself but talking to a parent in the fun fair last Saturday. My little girl went on a ride. Nothing earth shattering, but quite flimsy. A little plastic elephant with a bar across it to take it up and down (not much) and a safety belt to have the kids sit securely in their place. As more kids came for the ride, one mother came with her son to where my girl was sitting. She placed her son next to my girl and walked away. I was amazed. Her son was jus a little baby. Literarily a baby and he was so cute. He put his arm around my girl’s shoulder and could not stop smiling. The mother told him to hold on and stepped out to wait for him as she did, I started talking to her. She told me that her son was only 14 months old. Only 14!! I could not believe it. Here she is placing her kid in a ride where he can easily fall and hurt himself and she does not even blink. I told the mother if my girl could help at any way, and she said that he would be fine, showing me again that she is very assured of her son’s behavior. And he was. The ride started and he was laughing the whole time. He never moved, tried to jolt, jump or even looked down. Just enjoyed the ride.

Is that mom crazy? Many parents will say that she is but I say, she is not. She is smart. She raised her kid to trust her and she can now trust him. She knows what his limits are and wants him to experience new experiences. It was in such contrast to my kids’ friend who is 5 years old and refused to go on any of the rides.

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