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Through the course of my one year experience with my son, I have developed several theories such as the 4N and Power of No to better help me raise my son.
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Barack Levin

Author: Barack Levin

Archive for January, 2011

A child’s uncontrollable behavior

Posted by Barack Levin on 30th January 2011

We went with some friends to the pool again today. The kids were playing in the after and before too long, another lady with her 2 kids set near us. The big one, 6.5 jumped in and played with our kids. The little one, 2.5 asked was wearing a life vest and joyfully jumped into the pool – fearless. I looked at him and the mom. She was sitting calmly on the bench while he was jumping, splashing and swimming in the water. I looked at her and at her confidence in her little one who showed no fear at all. It was very pleasing to see how he was so confident in the water and I congratulated her on her triumph. Most kids this age are not that comfortable in the water.

Several hours passed and the pool was closing down. It was time to get everyone out of the water. I was drying my kids when the mom called her kids over and told her that pool time was over. The old one dried himself while she helped the young one to get out of his life vest and dry. As soon as he dried up she turned out to her bag to find his clothes. The instant she did that, he started running away from her and towards the deep end side of the pool. She started running after him calling his name but he did not even bother to turn around. He took the turn around the pool corner, stood on the pool side for instant and… jumped right in. To everyone’s horror he simple sunk in. The mom who were only a few yards behind him, jumped into the pool to save her child and got a hold of him. Instead of several harsh words or punish him for his behavior she simply swam with him to the shallow side of the pool and let him play with her for a few more seconds before telling him it is time to go home. They both came out and she dried him. As soon as he was done and she again turned towards her bag, he shot out of the bench straight into the water and jumped right in. While he dove into the shallow side of the pool, it was still 3 feet high and within a second he was gone. She was immediately in the water with him, saving him one more time. This time again, no harsh words or a punishment, just caressing and asking him to promise her he would not do it again. All 3 went to the dressing room as so did we.

I was waiting for my little girl to finish dressing up and saw the mom and 2 kids leave to the parking lot. A few seconds later, my girl was done and we also left the building to witness one of the most frightening scenes I have seen in my life.

In the distance, about 500 yards from us, I could see the little one running across the parking lot. Closer to us, I could see the mom and the older son shouting for him to stop. He did not even turn back for a second. He continued to run towards the road. Cars were speeding at the 2 lane street and could barely notice him approaching the sidewalk. The mom started running after him while calling him to stop but he was a roll. He only increased his pace. Now she was running full steam after him calling his name. He continued running but changed his direction – now he was running towards an overpass stretching over the busy road. Finally, the mom caught up to him when he started running up the overpass. I did not wait to see what was going to happen next but told my kids how important it is not to run away from their parents this way. They already know me and agreed.

I thought about the kid’s behavior at the pool. It was not that he was fearless at the water, he simply knows no boundaries and the same way he showed no fear at the pool he showed no fear of this mom and could have ended his life.

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At the pool

Posted by Barack Levin on 28th January 2011

We went to the pool with a friend. She has 2 girls. One is 5, my girl’s age and one is 3. Both our cute and adorable. The big kids were swimming and playing in the pool but I was more interested in the little girl, the 3 year old one. She was just roaming around the pool. Her mom called her over and asked if she wanted a life jacket and get into the water, but the little girl refused and so the mom told her: ”that’s fine, but in this case you are only aloud to play on the first step of the pool. Without the life jacket you are not allowed to go into to the pool”. I was very interested to see what will happen next. The little girl simply nodded and went to sit at the first step with her legs in the water.

We stayed at the pool for 3 hours. The little girl did not try even once to get into the pool. She followed her mother’s instructions to the letter. Most of the time, the mom and I did not even look after her, We sat outside the pool talking and having our little fun. There was not even one time where the mom jumped out of the chair in scare for her daughter’s life. I was very impressed and even told the mom how wonderful it must be to have her girl follow her rules and she said that this is the way in her house. Her girls listen to their parents and do as they told.

I thought to myself: here is a mother with a strong will, a mother who knows how to control her kids and let them be responsible for their own actions.

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Simple Chores

Posted by Barack Levin on 27th January 2011

The other day I was driving my kids and their friends back to their home. We have a mini-van and the kids, including their friends, have ridden in that car many times over. They all know how to open and close the electric sliding doors. I usually never even bother checking any more, I know that as they exit the door they push the door’s handle to shut it closed.

Yesterday, I dropped the kids’ friend at their grandmother. As they exited the car, her young grandson, who is 5, exit our mini-van without closing the sliding door. I saw it and caked after him: “Ben, you forgot to close the door”. He turned back, approached the door and pushed the handle to shut it closed.

The grandmother was amazed and said “How did you do that? With me they never listen and never close the door?” I only smiled back but thought “Lady, if you insisted and would stop everything you and they do until that door was closed, you would not have this problem. Your problem is that when you tell these kids to close the door and say No, you close it yourself, so why should they even listen to you”.

As for me, I see no reason for running after my kids or their friends performing the simple chores that they can do themselves. I do not care if those are my kids or somebody else’s kids – I am not their slave.

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House Chores

Posted by Barack Levin on 27th January 2011

Sometimes my kids do something that makes me change the course of doing things. As a parent I can not always think of how to help them grow up to become better adults but they get to it from different angles.

In our house it is my job to feed the dog. A few weeks ago my little girl asked if she could do it. “Sure” I said and she gave him the food. I continued with my daily dog feeding when a few days later she asked to feed him again. I let her do it and again a few days later the ritual happened again. Only then, after her few feedings, the light bulb came up. “Do you want to be in charge of feeding the dog?” I asked my 5 year old girl. Her eyes sparkled. She could not hide her excitement.

Since that day she is the sole responsible member of our family to feed him twice a day. I do have to remind her but she does it with love and willingly. My point is – if you give your kids a chance they will show the way, they will ask for that responsibility and not avoid it.

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No Going Back

Posted by Barack Levin on 27th January 2011

My philosophy with my kids has always been: No Going Back. In simple terms it means, that when a kid reaches a certain milestone, he can go back to a previous state before he reached it. For example, once my kids learned to eat on their own, even if it was massy, I stopped feeding them or when they learned to walk I stopped carrying them and when they learned to dress up I stopped helping them. I think it is important for the child’s self estimate to do things on his own, be responsible, be intendment and have the parent stop aiding him. Unless my kids are completely covered in sweaters and coats and can barely move to tie their shows, I really see no reason to tie it for them if they already know how to do it. I have other things to do.

That is why I am always surprised to see parents still aiding 5 and 6 year old kids perform these simple tasks. Let the kid alone. Give him a break. He knows what to do. By constantly hovering over him he will never learn these skills. The other day I saw a mom and her 6.5 year old kid. He went to the bathroom and came out with his pants half done and almost to his knees. She had to go on her knees and help him out. This kid was perfectly normal and at this age should know to do these things by himself and not have his mom constantly take care of him.

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Siblings Relationships

Posted by Barack Levin on 26th January 2011

I was talking to a friend the other day about her kids. She has 3: 5,4 and 15 months. The older ones are boys and the little ones is a girl. I asked her how the boys were doing with her girl and she said that the older one is fine with the girl but that the middle one beats her little girl. What surprised me about this what that she did not express concern but she was laughing it off as if it was nothing to worry about.

Besides the obvious fact that a 4 year old boy can cause serious damage to a 15 months baby and that such behavior is unacceptable, there is a more disturbing thought here. If the mom does not see this behavior as problematic, how will these 2 siblings grow up to together? Will this result in them hating each other or growing feelings of indifference? After all, a parent would love to have his kids in great relations which each other, and here, with her behavior, she is planting the seeds to rivalry and hatred between her own kids.

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A slight difference

Posted by Barack Levin on 20th January 2011

I have noticed something new recently. We went with some friends of our kids to an activity. When I parked the car and opened our mini-van door, my kids stood on the ledge and jumped out. The other kids lay first on the floor and slowly lowered themselves t the ground. Later on we stopped at another place and this time each kid was carrying his beg. Again, my kids just jumped out while the other kids inched their way down.

I would not have written this post if I did not know what my kids friends were used to drive in. Apparently, they all also drive in mini vans like ours. To me this is an indication of the lack of physical activity for the kids. Kids these ages (6 and 5) should be able to easily jump these mere 10 inches between the ledge of the car and the street. Their inability to do only demonstrate that their bodies are not developing correctly and that is indeed a shame.

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Trophies

Posted by Barack Levin on 17th January 2011

My son has finished soccer practice season several months ago. The final meeting for the soccer practice was a match between his team and other team. The coach promised trophies if they won. They did not. At the end of the game the teams joined together for snack time and to my surprise, each member of the losing team got a trophy too. I just do not get it. What’s the deal behind it? If they lose, they do not get a trophy. Period. I never saw anyone at the Olympics getting at 10th place getting a trophy like the guy who won the tournament. You want to give them something, fine, give them a consolation prize. At this age even a shiny sticker will do.

How do we raise our kids? What example do we show them? That even if they lose they still get the prize? Is this really how life works? Is this a good example? What will be next? We will ban playing Musical Chairs because some kids are too fat to fit in the chair or because other kids’ instincts are to slow to figure out what is happening around them?

I do believe that we a re raising a generation of wimpy needy clingy kids who think they deserve everything. We give the wrong examples all along and they follow them. I am really fed up with politically correctness nonsense. It is about time we think it over and raise normal kids like generations before us did.

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Social Services and Obesity

Posted by Barack Levin on 17th January 2011

I have learned not too long ago that if I, as a parent, do not provide enough nutrition to my child, social services can come to my home and take him away. So basically, the government forces me to feed my child right. The government thinks that it is important enough for it to shove its nose into my business in case I do not raise my child right. Same goes with beating. If I hit my child, social services (I think for kids they are called Child Services) will violate my right as a parent and take my child away from me to protect him.

I do not blame them and I think it is important, after all, malnourished kids can have long term side effects as they grow older. They can develop all sorts of problems from not eating right as young kids. Same goes for hitting your kids, they can develop in the long run many behavioral problems. The fact alone that the government has its eye on me causes me and many other parents to make sure their raise their kids according to this minimum guidelines, which brings me to an interesting point. If the government really wanted to fight child obesity, all they had to do was announce the Child Services will also take away from their home obese kids. The criteria can be very easy. I am talking a pound of extra weight here and there, but let’s say, every kid who hit the 90 percentile and more on the scale for his age. I think it is fair enough. Once this threat is over parents, it will be like magic, all of a sudden many parents will fear that Child Services will take their kids away and will limit their kids’ calorie intake. After all, I do not see any difference in the long term ramifications between a malnourish or a beaten kid and an obese kid. We already know that obese kids do show unhealthy symptoms as they grow up. If we do care for our kids, this is a sure off solution to start the fight against obesity.

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How do you deal with kids’ lies?

Posted by Barack Levin on 15th January 2011

My kids tried lying to us before and were faced with the consequences. We simply will not tolerate lies in our house. They already know that and do not try this tactic on us. They know the punishment is not worth it. They know that it is better to tell the truth even if they might get punished. We have already proven to them that lying will always carry a harsher punishment. Being 6 and 5, they fully understand this system.

The problem is what do I do with their friends who lie to us? For example, the other day we had 2 of their friends over. It was lunch time and I have asked all 4 to wash their hands while I prepared their food. They all came down and before I served the food I asked each one of them if they washed their hands. The first 3 I asked said Yes, and when I asked the last one, who is 6.5, he said Yes too but the other 3 immediately told me he did not. I asked him one more time and he confirmed: “Yes, I washed my hands”. All 3 one more time contradicted his story so I asked him and warned him not to lie to me and this time he gave up and said: “No I did not wash my hands”. I was furious for his obesity to lie this way. The nerve to look an adult in the eye and lie like that. The problem is that he is not my son and I cannot treat him like I would mine, but regardless, I will not tolerate this kind of behavior under my roof. I decided that if he lies one more time, I will place him in time out and simply tell his mom that he does not follow the rules. Let her take care of him.

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Shopping is fun

Posted by Barack Levin on 10th January 2011

Many parents shiver at the thought of taking their kids grocery shopping with them. They already know that they will fight every step of the way with them and prefer to leave the kids at home and do all the shopping by themselves.

In our house, the exact opposite is true. We love taking the kids grocery shopping with us and they love it too.

Here are a few tricks to help you as well. First off, make sure the kids create that shopping list. Let them check the fridge for the missing items, write them down in a list and decorate it. Secondly, at the store, send them on a treasure hunt. Their sense of exploration will make them interested in shopping with you. They will have to locate the items and lead you in the right direction. Thirdly, let them carry the shopping list, check the ones you bough and write down the prices next to each item. Let them also compare prices and see which item is a better bargain for you.

At the cashier let them unload the items on the conveyer belt and bag them. As a reward, let them slide the credit card and write their names on the receipt. For my kids, it is just heaven.

Lastly, use your imagination to carry the items out to your car. You do not need to only have them in bags. If they have coats on, I put some of the items, especially the ones who can make noise while shaken, in their coat’s hoods. They run around mesmerized by the noise. If it is not that cold, I shove items to their pants (does not matter if they have or do not have pockets) and under their shirts. They also love it and see it as a game.

It is those simple things that get them engaged in the banal shopping experience.

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Vomiting

Posted by Barack Levin on 10th January 2011

I have finally figured out what is the main cause for my recent vomiting. One of my blood pressure pills is called Labetalol. I started with a low dosage of 100mg twice a day but with me, no pill has ever had effect with low dosages and so quite rapidly the dosage increased and it now stands on the maximum allowed – 600mg twice a day. I take the pills in the morning and evening while take other pills also around mid day. The uneasiness in my stomach never happens in mid day, only in the morning and the evenings. I have experimented and took all of my other pills but the Labetalol and never had a problem.

So now, when I take these pills I make sure that my stomach is full with solid food (e.g. pasta, bread), wait for about 15 minutes and only than take the pills. That solved that problem and created a weight gain one, but I can live with that.

Posted in State of the Kidney | No Comments »

It was only a bug

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd January 2011

In the past few weeks I have started to feel great. Not just good – great as if all the terrible things I have had: the headaches, the chills, vomiting, fatigue and state of haze are completely gone. It is unbelievable but I reduced my sleeping time to only 8 hours a night, compared to the 12 minimum. I got my energy back, I can multi task again and over all feel like 2 or 3 years ago.

I start to believe that there was some kind of bug in my systems for the last 6 or so months and that this bug brought me down to my knees. So as a matter of fact, the symptoms I have had were not due to kidney failure but due to that bug.

That is of course great news because it means that my kidneys are not in the bad shape I thought they were and I still have some time to go before they completely fail.

Posted in State of the Kidney | No Comments »

Painting on the walls

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd January 2011

My little girl (5) was invited to a friend of hers for a play date. I took her over and as the 2 girls started to play had a short chat with the mom. Obviously, we were talking about our kids and during this short conversation she mentioned that she locks the crayons in her house because her daughter still paints on the wall. I was very surprised at this behavior, after all, her girl is also 5 years old. She is a young kid who understands more than just basic things in life. I just could not understand how she managed to potty train her but not uproot this behavior. At this age, unlike younger ages, it is simple enough to tell the kid No and insist on it. There are also many more disciplining methods to use at this age to make your threat more effective.

But bothered me the most is how the mom can tolerate such behavior. After all, it is not something minor. It results in damage to the property and the mom and dad working to repair something that should not have been done in the first place. Moreover, locking the crayons leaves the child with one less plaything to have and at this age, I believe that drawing and using your imagination is extremely important so by not treating this behavior, the mom limits her child’s imagination and feeling her time with something else to do but watch TV.

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