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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

My Two Right Hands

Posted by Barack Levin on September 16th, 2012

From time to time I meet and speak to parents who tell me how time consuming it is to raise kids. Among one of the many complaints there is one that is almost always at the top of the list: “My kids do not help me in the house. I need to go after them all the time”.


The truth is of course that kids love to help their parents, but…. We do not give them the opportunity. If we treat our kids like grown ups and give them, even the minor responsibilities possible, we will discover how they not only help us but also save us time.


Here is a simple example that I have implemented in my house. Take our dog for example, instead me of my wife taking care of the dog, we let our kids do it. They are now responsible for walking and feeding him everyday; once in the morning and once when they return from school. It is their chore. We sat down with them and explained how important it is for them to care for him because if they do not – he will starve. They agreed because they love playing with him and so we started. The beginning was not easy, we had to remind them day and night, but with time it became a second nature and now they do it as if was always part of their routine. This task alone frees at least 25 minutes of my time every day.

My kids have become my right hands and help me with so many things which enables me to free up my time and return spend more time with them. It is a win-win situation for all.

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What’s Wrong with this Picture?

Posted by Barack Levin on April 13th, 2012

The other day I was hurrying to a meeting as my eye caught a glance of this picture. A mother was walking on the other side of the sidewalk. She seemed to be in her late 30′ or may be early 40′. The mother struck me as a well dressed woman. She had stylish shoes, a complementing outfit and each hair strand knew its place in her hairdo. She was not a super model but she was well dressed and thin. The impression I got from her was that she is well aware of her looks;  she probably goes to the gym to keep her figure and definitely watches her diet to remain in her current waist size. The mother was holding a water of water in one hand and her daughter in her other hand.

Her girl was about 8 or 9 years old. She was also dressed up nicely and was chatting with her mom. The girl however was chubby and held a bottle of soda in her other hand.

“So, what’s wrong with the picture?” I asked myself and you – the reader.

I can not understand, for the life of me, why would a mom who is so well aware of her body image, her health and diet, let her girl live this way. I do not understand why this girl needs to go through life with improper nutrition, inadequate body image and over all enter the overwhelming statistics of overweight kids in the USA.

My expectation from parents is to treat their kids differently – save them from a miserable future – give them the best tools possible that you yourself use on a daily basis.

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Losing a Kid in the Park

Posted by Barack Levin on April 3rd, 2012

Parents reading this post will agree – losing a kid in the park can be a nightmare. It starts with that sinking feeling that you have not seen your kid for quite some time. After that there is the anticipation of spotting his red or blonde hair somewhere far from you but when this does not happen fear and hysteria takes place – where is my child? What happened to him?

Here is a story that happened to us in the park last weekend. We went over with some friends. The adults were chatting and the kids were playing. My son (almost 8 ) was riding his bikes with his friends. This particular park has a bike trail that continues on for miles along the river. My son requested to ride until the bridge over the creek and I let him. Although it is not near us and I can not keep my eyes on him, I trust him. Time went buy and it was time to pack and leave – time to go back home. My wife and I turn to look for my son and he is gone. He simply vanished – disappeared into thin air.

My wife started to get worried but I know my son and most importantly – I trust him. I know he will not just vanish without a good cause. Suddenly we remembered that one of friends went for a walk with their kids along the bike trail. One of their kids is my son’s best friends. A quick call to our friends and we find out that my son indeed decided to continue riding his bike along the river with them. We asked them to send him back from about a mile and half away and he rode on his bike all by himself back to us.

On our way home we explained to him that we have no problem with him changing his mind when he is away from us and wants to continue the ride with his friend but in the future to simply tell the parents to call us and let us know.

I put so much trust in my kids and know that they are very responsible. I had no doubt in my mind that he knew what decision to make and use his analytical skills to make the right decision. I have also added another skill set – inform your parents when you change your plans, not because they go crazy when they do not see you, because they would like to know where you are.

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Challenging Our Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on March 23rd, 2012

The so familiar phrase: You need to challenge your kids is so wild spread that I think it lost its meaning or at the very least, its interpretation is wrong. A parent presented with sentence will often think about it as a challenge in education. I need to challenge my kids in math, is the most common reply I hear from parents when I ask them this question. However, this is only a very small and almost insignificant part of the whole picture of challenging our kids. So what does this sentence really mean?

Challenging our kids can happen almost every day and in almost any aspect of their lives. The problem is that parents think that they always need to aid and help their kids and do not put enough challenges in front of them to tackle and think their ways through. Take for a example tree climbing. It seems ridicules but if you put some more attention to it you will see that you challenge your kids to take calculated risks, overcome fear of heights and gain confidence. When they overcome this challenge they become better kids; better equipped kids. Climbing trees just one example but there are more, many more ways you can challenge your kids to excel: ride bikes without training wheels, walk the dog by themselves, talk to adults, use power tools for a wood work project and the list goes on and on.

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We Fear Our Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on March 17th, 2012

There is very deep silver lining with all the parents I talk to and help. I am getting to a conclusion that parents are fearful of their kids or more accurately, parents are so afraid to “screw up” their kids’ lives that they simply freeze in sigh of that fear and are very reluctant to use any means to control them.

The mixed messages parents get from the media, friends and even so called “professionals” causes them to calculate each and every step that they make towards raising their kids and in the meantime not to take a coherent concessive approach to raising their children.

A long time ago spanking was the way to obedient kids but modern preacher tell parents that spanking is not aloud, so parents use shouting and yelling instead but that is also not good – other professionals tell parents that while spanking is physically cruel, shouting and telling is mentally debilitating the child.

Some experts rave about the benefits of co-sleeping while others are against it, some side with giving babies a pacifier and some see this is an unnecessary tool.

News, reports and studies flood parents with contradicting information about what is good and is not good for their kids running them paralyzed in their efforts to bring up good kids. The end result is that parents are simply afraid of making a mistake with their kids and simply take no action out of fear letting their kids grow up with no structure.  

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Instant Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on March 16th, 2012

Kids can be thought about like preparing food.

Food preparation requires time, patience and the right ingredients. Take baking for example. A chef or even your average home rookie baker needs to choose his ingredients carefully and arrange them on the table. Once this part is ready the right quantities of each ingredient must be measured and added to the mix in the right order. Finally, our chef pre-heats the oven to the desired temperature and leaves the cake in the oven for the right amount of time. Each step is dependant on the previous one but the end result is tasty and smells great. It is a triumph of the chef and can be enjoyed by everyone.

The same analogy can be for kids. If a parent wants a well behaved kid he needs to follow the recipe. Each step is equally important as the step before it. A parent can not pre- heat the open for a lower temperature, or his child will not be raised correctly, a parent can not through in the mix ingredients that do not belong there or the final result will be a kid that does not turn out to be the way he desires.

Raising kids is a multi step process that requires attention and patience. You put into a kid the best ingredients and raise him correctly and you get the kid you wanted to have.

There is however another way to bake cakes – instant cake. It comes right out of the box, the chef only has to add water to it and put it in the oven. If you ever tasted an instant cake versus a cake that was made from scratch, you would know the difference. Even the ingredients in an instant cake are not under your control and you do not know what’s in there.

Raising instant kids is the same. Taking those shortcuts and not paying attention will result in a kid that is not what you were expecting.

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Independent Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on March 15th, 2012

Parents often times tell me that they have clingy kids and that they try to teach them to become independent.

To that, I always tell parents:

Independence can not be given, nor can it be taken – independence needs to be earned !

Think about it this way. Independence is a product that you would like your child to have, it is a powerful tool to have and a very desirable skill to poses, but as with any other products, you can not just give your child his independence and he can not just take it for you. There is a transaction here and just like in a commercial transaction where currency is exchanged to purchase the goods, in order for your child to “purchase” his independence he needs to pay for it. His currency of choice is: Trust.

As soon as he can show you that you can trust him, you can sell him his independence.

For example, if he does not run away from you – you do not have to hold his hand every time you cross a street, if he goes to bed alone – you can let him decide if he wants to read a book first and so on.

With the use of the trust currency, your child will slowly become independent.

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How to Ensure your Child doesn’t Suffer from Dental Phobia (Guest Post)

Posted by Barack Levin on February 14th, 2012

The last thing any parent wants to see is their child scared or in pain – or to have to undergo invasive treatment in the future like dental implants. When it comes to going to the dentist, there are a few things that can be done to prevent these issues and make sure your little one is as comfortable with this process as they can possibly be. This article is here to educate and help families with this kind of problem; we will be talking about some of the tips and tricks parents have use to ensure their child’s visits to the dentist is always a positive one. 

Teach Good Dental Habits from the Beginning

Most literature on becoming a new parent will tell you that even though your child does not have teeth when they are born, you should use a soft cloth on their gums to remove any possible germs from their mouth. When the baby starts to get teeth, it is the responsibility of the parents to make sure they stay clean until the child is old enough – and responsible enough – to brush, floss and take care of their oral health as a whole.  

Schedule Your Child for their First Dental Visit

Most dentists will start seeing young patients when they are between 18 months and two years old.. Some parents will want to find out, when looking for the right dentist for their child, if parents are allowed to come in the room with the child – since some dental offices feel that it will only make the child more anxious having the parents in the room. This can create anxiety for some new and first time parents, being told that they have to leave their young child in the hands of strangers.

You may have to wait impatiently in the waiting room where you can’t see or hear what is going on. You know your child better than anyone else, and if you are not comfortable with sending your child into the dental exam without you in the room, you might want to look for another dental provider. You need to find a dentist who understands and respects you and your child’s wishes

What to do between this Time Frame

Depending on your child’s age, there are different way you can talk to your child about the dentist, who they are and what they do. You can go to the library and get picture books to read with your child ahead of time, which will show your child exactly what to expect. This is an excellent way to help ease feelings of anxiousness, as is taking your child along you with you during dental appointments to show there is nothing to be scared of – probably best not to do so during root canal treatment or dental implants though!

Also, if your child has a favourite doll or stuffed animal that they play with, you can demonstrate the simply kind of actions the dentist will perform. Giving your child a chance to be aware of the dentist’s actions ahead of time will ensure there is nothing to be afraid of. But don’t forget that every child is different. What works for one child may not work for another. By knowing your child’s anxieties and fears in relation to a trip to the dentist, you can hopefully nip any early indications of dental phobia in the bud from an early age and send your child on a life-long journey to good oral health.

Schedule Regular Visits to the Dentist

If you schedule your child’s visits to the dentist every six months, this will start a routine for your child to get used to, so that they know when it is happening and what to expect. The best of luck is wished to you and your child in what is an important matter!

 Post by: Richard is a freelance writer who does his best to promote good oral health among children, having felt the brunt of poor oral health standards himself in the past! He writes for many UK dental implant clinics but hopes you care for your child’s oral health so it doesn’t get to this stage. He is @thefreshhealth on Twitter and welcomes your visit.

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Helping Kids Remain Safe

Posted by Barack Levin on February 7th, 2012

There is a very common conception that in order to keep our kids safe, we have to make sure we protect them and follow their every move. It starts with the toddler who is caged in his own house with door gates, continues to padded table corners and ends at outlet covers.

This attitude towards safety continues on into later stages in childhood. Kids can not climb tree because they can fall and they can not ride bicycles on their own in the park because will they get lost. The underling idea with this misconception is that if we “hide” these dangers from our kids, we can keep them face.

I of course think this is a foolish approach. I think that we need to expose kids to these “unsafe” environments and give them the tools to understand what is so dangerous about them. The tools that we give them will help them assess other “unsafe situations” that we might have not thought about and eventually result in a child who is self aware of his environment and feel safe because he knows his limits.

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Learning From Our Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on February 6th, 2012

I think that is a very known fact that kids can teach us, adults, many lessons that we have either forgotten over the years or never gave a second thought too. My son (7.5) taught me a simple but effective lesson the other day.

My kids know not to walk behind cars in our carport or at a parking lot. We continue to remind them that they are small and drivers can not see them in their rear back mirror. Apparently, my son did not see it only as a warning but also as a problem that needs to be solved and he started working on a solution.

The other day he came and said:

“You know daddy, when we walk behind cars they can not see us because we are too small, but I think I have a solution for them to see us”.

I looked back at him quite surprised. He was very serious and seemed to have put a lot of thought into his solution.

“And what would you suggest you do?” I replied

“I think that if we have to go behind cars we just need to raise our hands, this way, the driver can and will see a hand in his mirror and will understand we are there and stop the car” He looked back at me with his big brown eyes waiting for a reply.

I thought for a second and said:

“You know, this is actually a very good idea. Although I still do not want you to go behind cars, if you raise your hand a reversing car has a better chance of spotting you”.

His smile back showed me how proud he was of his solution and the fact that his dad approved of it and I learned a new lesson from my son on how to solve serious problems with a very easy solution.

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Parents Complacency

Posted by Barack Levin on January 20th, 2012

The most interesting thing I encounter during my consultations to parents is there inability to look beyond the event horizon of their lives and understand the issues hey are facing. I call it: Parents Complacency.

This term describes parents’ tendency to accept t what is becoming a new conception regarding their raising their kids. Parents Complacency can be found everywhere in the way they behave, the food they give to their kids, the way they talk to their kids and in many other areas. I usually point out to parents exactly where they comply with misconceptions and the look on their eyes is priceless.

For example, parents take it for granted that their kids need to “hydrate” after every physical activity, which is of course not true. Kids do not need to drink every 20 minutes of playing in the park. They have the capability of goofing around without constantly being attached to a water bottle. I show these parents that by always keeping their kids “hydrated” they create a dependency relationship where their kids always turn to them for water instead of just being independent.

Another example is the picky eaters. Parents learned to accept the fact that their kids are picky eaters. This is the way kids are. I show these parents how to overcome this hurdle and find out that their kids love to eat fruits and vegetables.

Parents Complacency can be found in other areas as well. The new trend that I hate the most is sanitizers. All of a sudden, kids have are attached to these semi transparent bottle and every time they tough something they just have to use the sanitizers. I do not know if these parents heard about the immune system, but I can promise you that it is still alive and kicking in their kids’ bodies. The fact that there are kids are constantly sanitized causes the immune system to become lazy triggering in more illnesses and diseases.

Don’t become and complacent parent yourself – ask the right questions, tackle those issues that bother you.

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Life without TV and Video Games

Posted by Barack Levin on January 9th, 2012

Many parents keep asking me:

“Barack, you always preach how TV and video games are so bad for our kids, but if I take them away what can I do with my kids”

My answer to them is composed on a list of various activities:

Cook with your kids, teach them how to play a musical instrument, teach them a second language, have them do some art projects, experiment with some woodwork project, teach them a third language, let them read, have them ride their roller blades, let them work in the yard, ask them to help with the laundry, tell them to write a story, let them take the dog for a walk, let them write a song and perform, ask them to clean their rooms, have them ride teir bikes, tell them to set the dinner table, show them how to clean the house and more and more. This is only a partial list of course.

Once I show this list to parents I always get the same answer:

“Barack, this is impossible. No kid can ever have such a to do list. They will never follow it and will never complete it. And your crazy idea about a second and a third language is ridiculous. It is simply unfeasible. “

I reply back with a smile:

“Not only that it is feasible, I have 2 kids who are already doing it – my two own kids”

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Children as Consumers

Posted by Barack Levin on December 27th, 2011

I remember a time, not too long ago, when kids used to be, well, kids. They spent their time playing outside, socializing and from time do their homework. Childhood back than was very simple and it was not too long ago, only 20-30 years ago.

On birthdays the gifts ranged from erasers to pencils and birthday parties were done at home with very few good friends or outdoors in a park with the whole class. Kids were just kids. They did not require much and they were not given much. They were happy with the few toys they had and were happy to share them with their friends.

About 15 years ago I started to notice a change. Kids became a targeted segment of the market, and as such kids lost that stigma of “being kids” and got a new definition – Consumers.

Now. Since the big companies do not really care about us, adults – old fashioned consumers, why would they care about kids as soon as they are also categorized as Consumers?

We already know that food for adults has lost its taste, lost its texture, lost its nutrients and the food industry could not care less. Now are kids are treated the same. The big  orporations only care about their bottom line. Who cares if a child eats 1000 calories in one sitting? The soda ad does not show the calories, it shows how cool it is to drink soda. Who cares that cartoons cause our kids not to develop their physical abilities? The media companies want them to watch TV so that they can sell more ad space. Who cares that technology gadgets cause our kids to become unsocial? The technology companies only want to sell more games.

Our kids are brainwashed since day 1 with garbage on a daily basis. Their developing brains are not exactly sure what is real and what is not any more. The big companies hook them up on products as captive audience for life. And what do we, the parents do? Nothing.

We let that background noise and bad influence enter our homes and our lives without even noticing them.

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Detached Kids

Posted by Barack Levin on December 23rd, 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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Politically Correct Curse Words Vs. Reality

Posted by Barack Levin on December 16th, 2011

The other day, it dawned on me how ironic the censorship is. We all know that the media is blipping 7 curse words. And why do they do it – so that young years, god forbid, do not hear these awful and offensive words and again, god forbid, repeat them.

At the same time, these same media outlets, which “save” our young kids do not censor anything else; themes which are much more harmful to our kids. Examples? Here you go.

Did you watch a kid movie or even a cartoon lately? Have you noticed how much violence they feature? These flicks for kids are full of physical confrontations and violence. These flicks literarily teach our kids how to become violent.

Have you seen video games for kids recently? Do you know that the best selling titles are shooting games? From an early age we teach our kids how to hold a gun, shoot at other people and kill other animated human being. We are desensitizing our kids.

There is more. The media that we expose our kids to portrays women as needy and  dressed provocatively on the border line of sex objects. From an early age we teach our kids that women should be treated as second hand citizens and plant the idea that females always rely on males for their protections and that males see in women a sexual object and nothing else.

I despite the feverous efforts of the media and the government to enforce the 7 curse words and at the same time pump superficial ideas into our kids’ minds.

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Padded Basketball Court Floor? Are You Serious?

Posted by Barack Levin on December 15th, 2011

I took my son to a new basketball practice program yesterday. Practices and games are held at the local elementary school’s basketball court. We arrived just before 6PM, ready to meet the new kids and parents. My son found a basketball while I introduced myself to the coach. On my walk to sit down and watch the practice I have noticed that the balls bouncing off of the basketball court sound a little muffled. At first I gave no second thought but then it hit me: The court’s floor was padded. Yes, you are reading this correctly – PADDED with a thick felt like material. I just could not believe my eyes. They padded the court to prevent injuries!

What next? Bubble wrap the kids before a game? Put helmets on each one? Replace the basketball with a sponge ball so no one gets hurt? How far will we take these ridiculous steps to so called “protect” our kids? There is no limit any more to stupidity.

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Sleeping Habits

Posted by Barack Levin on December 13th, 2011

We experimented a little with our kids and their nightly sleeping habits. When they were babies and later infants they slept through out the night and napped here and there. As they grew up we tried to time their night bed time to see what would be the perfect time for them.

Even though they are now 7 and 6, bed time never changed. It still stands on 8PM every night except for weekend nights where we let them stay late until 9PM.

Our kids wake up at 7AM every weekday and leave the house 30 minutes later to be at school right before 8 in the morning.

Time and time again I have witnessed the effects of having them go to sleep late during school days. By late I mean, late by even 30 minutes. On those rare occasions, our kids are cranky in the mornings, barely able to drag themselves out of bed and have to go to bed even earlier the next evening. For me, I can not imagine having a kid sleep less than 11 hours per night and still function normally at school but I know many parents whose kids go to bed much later than 8PM on school days and I also see the results. They reflect in their homework, patience, class work and more. These kids drag with them, from childhood, sleep depravations and sleep disorders that later on in life do affect normal mental and developmental progress.

If you take into account that my kids are super active when they get back from school and not lie around watching TV all afternoon – you get that special kick as to why my kids (and any kid for that matter), need and have to sleep 11 hours a night.

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Snacks After the Game

Posted by Barack Levin on December 12th, 2011

My kids participate in several sports activities. During winter time it is basketball season. They have a practice once a week and a game on the weekend. There is somewhat a twisted tradition that attached itself to the games like a leech attaches to your skin.

At the end of every game, while the coach goes over the highlights of the game, one parent provides snacks to the kids. It does not matter if the game finished right at lunch time or just before dinner time – it does not matter all. Snacks are brought out of their bags and distributed to the kids. If the kids would have gotten an apple, banana or even some grapes, I would have thought nothing of it, however, what the kids get are always store bought salty and sugary snacks. The irony here is that these kids finally had some physical activity and moved their untrained bodies to burn some calories and now they are getting empty calories as a compensation of their effort. So sad.

But there is another side to it. Kids are getting used to be rewarded by food for their efforts. Just like the Pavlov effect, where the dog drools when he hears the bell ring even though no food is offered, same with kids. They are being trained to receive fatty unhealthy foods at the end of every activity.

No wonder we grow a generation of fat, physically unfit lazy kids who are used to eat junk food.

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At Starbucks and Talking to Strangers

Posted by Barack Levin on December 7th, 2011

Last night I had a last minute business meeting at 7PM. My wife was at yoga and I had to take the kids with me. The meeting was taking place at the nearest Starbucks and was schedule for about 30 minutes. Instead of approaching my kids with “bed” news about dad going out, I flipped the news in their favor.

“Kids” I said “I have a surprise for you”

“What is it daddy?” They ask

“We are going to Starbucks where you can buy hot milk and a cookie for desert”

They are jumping off their seats in excitement.

“You need to take your books to read while dad needs to talk to his friend”. They immediately agree and off we go.

As always, they purchase what they want by themselves. They approach the cashier and tell her exactly what they need. She rings them up and they also pay. They grab their goodies and go to sit on the sofa opening their books and reading while dad decides what he is going to have.

I choose my cookie and hot milk too and take my time ordering. My contact, which I only know through emails, has not arrived yet. When I am done, I take a look at the kids and see them talking to an adult sitting close to them on the sofa. Other parents might freak out, but not me. My kids know very well how to talk to adults and when. They know that if their dad is with them at the store, they have no problem engaging in conversation with anyone there. I smile and approach them.

As I do the person they talked to stands up and asks for my name and introduces himself. He is my contact person and without knowing it talked to my kids.

We sit down to take care of business and he tells me how parents are freaking out when other unknown adults talk to their kids. I briefly tell him about my theory and he smiles understating it completely. We get to business and every once in a while I glance at my kids. They are busy reading and drinking their hot milk. The meeting goes without a hitch and after 30 minutes we are done. During that time I did not have to quiet my kids, talk to them or even approach them because of something that they do. I conduct my meeting as if they were not there.

This brief and unimportant incident comes to demonstrate parents that kids can be obedient and under self control with proper upbringing.

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Fun with the Simple Things in Life

Posted by Barack Levin on December 7th, 2011

Many parents ask me: “How can I engage my kids? What can I talk to them about? They never want to tell me anything any way”. My answer is very simple: engage them in the simplest everyday things. Make benign things a fun and mind blowing experiences for them.

I was going to visit a friend who lives in a gated community. The kids were with me at the car. Before reaching his gate and keying the entry code, I had a great idea.

“Kids” I turn back.

“Yes” they answer

“We are approaching his house but we need to key in his gate code to enter the community. I do not remember the code but I know it is 5 digit long. Do you mind trying to guess what it is?”

I can see how their eyes sparkle. Dad needs their help. They consult with each other for a few seconds and come up with a series of 5 digits.

“Ok” I reply as we stop by the keypad “Let’s try. Give me the numbers” and they do. I hear behind me: “3, 2, 7, 8” a little commotion and the last number comes in as well “5”.

I reach the keypad and key in the right code given to me by my friend but say out loud the numbers they just gave me, asking them to repeat them one more time but slowly.

“3, 2, 7, 8 and 5” I call out loud as the keypad beeps my entries.

To my kids’ utter amazement, their imaginary “code” works and the gate opens.

This small incident was the talk of the day. They could not believe how smart they were to guess the code.

It is the simple things in life that ignite our kids’ imagination. No need for cumbersome and elaborate electronic toys or video games.

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