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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

Detached Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 23rd December 2011

I sometimes suggest parents that I work with, to try and run this exercise in their heads to demonstrate to them why their kids do not accept their authority. Try it for yourself and draw your own conclusions.

Today’s kids from an early age are deposited at day care when they are only a few weeks old. Busy parents drop them there as early as 7AM and pick them up again as late as 6PM. As a matter of fact, the new born spends most of his day with strangers.

As the new born becomes an infant and more aware of his surrounding he still spends most of his time with strangers and when he gets home, his parents are tired from a day’s work so they let him watch TV or play some video games.

The infant grows up and becomes a kid. He now goes to kindergarten or school. His days end at 2:30 but most of the time his parents can not take him home at this time and so they have two options. The first one would be a nanny to take care of him until 6PM and the other one – an after school program. At this age, kids still do not see their parents for more than an hour a day.

On weekends, from a very early age, the situation is not much different. Parents want to rest or run their errands and so the kids’ room or basement equipped with the latest gadgets are the new entertainment center. Not only that the kids do not spend enough time with their parents, now they suck their values, behavior and look on the world from flickering; unrealistic, animated icons.

If you were a kid raised this way, what would you think? How would you behave? Would you accept your parents’ authority?

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Car Pool TV

Posted by Barack Levin on 19th October 2011

On my way to drop the kids at school, I see quite frequently how the portable TV is blasting away at other car pooling vehicles and I always ask myself the same question: Why?

I am pretty sure that when the kids wake up, the TV in the house (or worse – in their bedroom), is already up and running and I am also pretty sure that when they get back to school the same happens as well, so why do these parents need to also extend it to their cars?

For me, dropping the kids in the morning is a great time to talk and chat with my kids. They woke up up 30 minutes before, they are full with energy from the night, in good mood and have lots on their minds as they ready themselves for the day. It is that in these morning car chats I find out a lot of information about their needs, wants, fears and wishes. In one of those chats I discovered that someone was bullying them, in another one I found out that my girl was also playing with boys and in another who was the class clown. The car ride in the morning and the afternoon can provide a wealth of information considering my kids’ life, so why ruin it by watching TV?

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What Do You Think Is Going To Happen?

Posted by Barack Levin on 18th October 2011

I always like to ask families I help the following question: “What do you think is going to happen” and I give them an example.

For instance, what do you think is going to happen to your child if he is beaten every day since birth? What do you think is going to happen to your child if he is consistently under fed? Or what do you think is going to happen to your child if he is deprived from sleep for years?

I deliberately choose extreme and shocking scenarios to get the families think about consequences of such actions in order to driver my real point across. These families are of course outraged at such examples and immediately attack back with worst case scenarios for that poor kid in those examples and I let them rage a little, release steam.

When they are done, I ask them another simple question that usually is the beginning of our discussion at helping them with their kids: “What do you think is going to happen to a kid who is in front of flashing, blinking and dancing monitors in front of his eyes most of the day?” It is at that time that these parents become very quite and understand what I was driving at. Their kid’s behavior is influenced by his habits and these habits need to be changed.

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4 Reasons Why Our Kids Will Grow Fatter and Fatter

Posted by Barack Levin on 29th September 2011

It is no secret that the phenomena of over weight and obese kids is growing and has become and epidemic. Everybody talks about it, even the first lady, Michelle Obama but here is why nothing will be done to reduce this risk.

The first reason is the food industry. The shove empty calories into almost everything our kids eat. Their lobby is so strong so no real measures will ever be implemented to curve this trend of the, As we move along we will continue to see more and more fattening foods and empty calories thrown as our kids

The second reason is the Hollywood\TV\Video Game industry or in other words “the entertainment industry”. They on their side pump our kids with devices that eliminate any physical activity (and please do not tell me that the remote controls that help you actively play in front of the TV are physical activity). The lack on any physical activity combined with excess food links directly to reason number 3 – The pharmaceutical industry.

This industry, who has long time ago noticed this trend is already or will soon start to, provide pills for kids to lose weight or control their erratic behavior that results in more eating. This industry is not stupid to just sit on its ass and not provide a “medicated solution”.

Which brings me to reason number 4 which is the only reason we can control – Parents. Us, parents, do not spend enough time with our kids and let them do whatever they want to do, eat or play with. We do not care of excess food because we do not have time to read the labels or cook a decent meal, we do not mind our kids brain washed by the garbage or TV or violent video games because it gives us some time off and if we have a problem with our kids, a pill for every ill will be shortly available on a pharmacy shelf close to you.

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Watching TV

Posted by Barack Levin on 9th December 2010

I had a talk with a mom the other day and naturally conversation focused on kids. She has 2 kids one is my son’s age and the other is 4. She talked about the problems she was having with her kids. For example, her little one climbed the shelves and almost broke her neck. But mostly, we were talking about TV and watching TV. I told her that my kids watch on average 1 hour a week in the winter time and even less in the summer. When they do finally watch TV it is never live TV. Always a DVD or something we recorded for them. I do not think they are at the appropriate age to watch TV freely. She said that her girl watches live TV freely. She also said that she taught her girl to call her when there is, as she put it, “nasty” stuff on TV. From this I am guessing that the little girl is a) watching TV with no limits instead, for example, playing boared games and b) that she is exposed to inappropriate content on TV with her mom fully knowing about it.

But the most interesting thing here is not the kid’s TV watching habits but how her mom decided to control it. Apparently the mom does have some power over the kid. She taught her how to call her when there is “nasty” stuff on TV. So I have to ask myself, if the mom admits that she is not happy with her girl watching TV and has some control over her, why not take this control one step further and simply stop TV all together?. Exercise your parental right to protect your kid and not give in to all of their demands. I am just frustrated with parents who know very well what is bad for their kids and still let them to it. It simply blows my mind – you are their parents – do something about it.

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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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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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More on ADD and ADHD

Posted by Barack Levin on 2nd September 2010

The kid we carpool with is exposed to TV and video games. Lots of TV and video games. How do I know? 2 reasons. The first one – he tells us. He simply tells us how much time he spends playing with his video games and how much TV he is watching. The second reason is his behavior. It is iritic on the verge of uncontrollable. He can not sit still for a second. He hums, yells and screams out bizarre noises which, if you pay close attention to sound just like the sounds his video games make. His mind is over stimulated to the point that he can not calm down for even one second. It is constantly bombarded with these extra forces that even when he is not exposed to them, they still play in his mind.

How sad is that. Instead of pumping into his brain useful things, his brain is always in an overload state ready to explode.

Here lies the foundation for all of those ADD and ADHD problems. Exposing the undeveloped minds of young kids to stimulations that are not suitable for them and cause their brains go berserk.

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TV and Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on 1st August 2010

I am very against exposing young children to TV. I have many reasons, but my girl came today showing me why I am correct in my decision.

My kids watch an hour of TV every two weeks, and that is also a stretch. During summer time, it is even less than that. May be an hour every month. When they do finally watch TV it is always something that we chose for them and it is never free TV for all, it is a DVD or a movie that we think is appropriate. Lately, we are into nature shows. Some of them are simply breath taking and teaching the kids about animal and our planet.

One day my little girl comes back from day care. She is about 3 years old. She is talking to us in the car and says something that peeks my interest “I like Hanna Montana” I look at her at dismay. She does not have that knowledge from home o it ha to come from day care. “Why?” I ask. “Because other kids in day care like her and I saw her picture today”. I am thinking and have a tricky question. “Ok, so who is Hanna Montana?” he looks at me “I don’t know” She answers. “So if you do not who she is how can you like her?” She thinks about it and understands.

For me, this is a little triumph. I see no added benefit in my kids knowing who Hanna Montana is at this age. I have no reason to expose their young to nonsense like that and it saves me money. I do not have to buy all of these ridiculous franchise merchandise with their favorite characters.

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Fun little game

Posted by Barack Levin on 29th June 2010

Here is a fun little game that I like to play with my kids and it is a good starting point for parents who decide they want to spend more time with their kids and less time in front of the TV.

Ingredients:

1 dad or mom

1 (or more kids)

1 bedroom door that does not reach all the way down to the floor

1 or more thin and small items (pens are the best)

Instructions:

Place mom or dad on one side of the door and child on the other. Tell child to be ready and start rolling things under the door from your side to his. Continue until you sides hurt from laughter.

If you want to upgrade the game, give you child a small blanket to try and block the items you are trying to roll on his side under the door.

I have spent hours with my kids playing this game and even though they are 6 and 4, they still love the game and constantly come up with new strategies to enhance it.

Good luck

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