In Praise of Fathers

Fathers should be appreciated all year… not just on one day! While Father’s Day is a tremendous idea, we all need to affirm Dads for their significance every day of the year.

I come from a long line of fantastic fathering men. My grandfathers were both grand fathering me from birth to their deaths. My Dad, in his 80’s, is still fathering me long distance and with just as much love, sincerity and respect as always. My husband has been an awesome father for 28 years. One of the problems with us mothers is that we sometimes spend too much time trying to get the fathers in our lives to mother, instead of just appreciating what fathering does for our children.

Fathers teach two very crucial concepts to children: how to trust themselves and how to take risks! Since men don’t have the same hormonal response as women when their kids move away from them, a familiar scenario often happens. Mom might go out to the park and ask her husband to watch the kids while she goes to the bathroom. When she returns, the kids are playing on the playground equipment, at the furthest point from where her husband is standing. He is in deep conversation with another Dad. Mom’s first response is usually, “why are you not watching the kids, they are way too far away and you weren’t even looking at them when I came out of the bathroom?”

The truth of the matter is, kids can move six times further away from a Dad, as opposed to a Mom, before he has any physical response like that alarm that goes off in Mom’s head saying, “where are the kids?” That does not mean that men love or protect their children any less than a woman. What it does mean is that fathers teach their kids that it is okay to trust your self and take risks.

So Moms, celebrate Father’s Day by valuing what Dad’s give kids!

In deep appreciation of fathers 365 days per year, Dr. Ann Corwin

You Know I Love You Anyway

In celebration of Mother’s Day, I’d like to share a special poem with you that was given to me by a mom that I had been working with earlier this year. She was a new mommy having trouble adjusting to being a stay-at-home-mom after the birth of her second child. She came seeking guidelines in managing her impatience with her children… the same impatience that many of us experience in trying to juggle life’s many demands. In the course of working with her, she found this poem and shared it with me, and today I share it with you as a subtle reminder to slow down and enjoy your precious children.

I bumped into a stranger as he passed by.

“Oh, excuse me, please,” was my reply.

He said, “Please excuse me too.

I wasn’t even watching for you.”

Oh, we were polite – this stranger and I.

We went on our way and we said our goodbye.

But at home a different story is told

how we treat our loved ones, young and old.

Later that day, cooking the evening meal,

my daughter stood beside me very still.

When I turned, I nearly knocked her down.

“Move out of the way!” I said with a frown.

She walked away, her little heart broken.

I didn’t realize how harshly I’d spoken.

Later that night, wide awake in my bed,

a still, small voice came to me and said,

“While dealing with a stranger, common courtesy you use,

but the children you love, you seem to abuse!

Look upon the kitchen floor,

you’ll find some flowers there by the door.

Those are the flowers she brought for you,

she picked them herself – pink, yellow and blue.

She stood quietly, not to spoil the surprise,

and you never saw the tears in her eyes.”

By this time, I felt very small,

and now my tears began to fall.

I quietly went and knelt by her bed,

“Wake up, sweetheart,” I whispered and said.

“Are these the flowers you picked for me?”

She smiled, “I found ‘em, out by the tree.

I picked ‘em because they’re pretty like you.

I knew that you’d like them – especially the blue.”

I said, “Daughter, I’m sorry how I acted to you today,

I shouldn’t have yelled at you that way.”

She hugged me and said, “Mommy, that’s okay.

You know I love you anyway.”

I said, “Daughter, I love you too!

And I do like the flowers – especially the blue.”

Dr. Ann

What All Kids Need…Oprah Tells Us

Oprah’s show this week about the “Little Girl Found Living Like an Animal” reminded us all what devastating effects neglect has on children.

Even if kids are not severely neglected they suffer if their parents don’t have a relationship with them.

Dr. Bruce Perry www.childtrauma.org is not only the leading authority on child abuse and neglect, but is one of the most down-to-earth psychiatrists I have ever met. His book, “The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog” is not for the faint of heart, but gives profound insight into how the human brain changes if kids don’t connect with their parents.

There is more neglect in our country than abuse. Caretakers are responsible for helping children learn how to form and maintain relationships. Oprah pointed out that if kids spend too much time with ‘things’ like T.V. and computer/video games and not people that is a form of neglect.

There is optimism about change after neglect. These adoptive parents are awesome. Both mother and father gave this child the gift of unconditional love and affection to help this child travel through her trauma to learning about love. Watching her moving in the family pool to help herself process her emotions and environment was a beautiful sight. All kids need movement to change their moods and deal with their pains.

Dr. Perry emphasized what I have been sharing with you on my website when he said, “Simple things like eye contact, touch and rocking and humming can make all the difference to a baby. It makes neurons (the telephone system in the brain) grow, to make connections in the brain. Those connections make the brain functional.

So the moral of this story is keep touching, talking and making eye contact with your kids for healthy connections to keep their brains thriving.

The gift of your presence in your child’s life means more than any other ‘thing’ you can ever give them, Dr. Ann (Check out show at oprah.com)

The Bachelor…Setting A Terrible Example

Last night’s ABC “The Bachelor” show was just as entertaining as promised, with every twist in the book thrown at the audience. But at what cost to a child?

Jason, the single dad of Ty, a three year old, came off initially as a really genuine guy, who professed to put his child first at all costs. He emphasized that who ever he picked to be his wife would have to be a ‘good’ mom. But, in the process he turned out to be a not so good dad!

Children learn best through model, so matter what we tell kids to do as their parent; they will always pick what they see us do over what we tell them. So what Jason just demonstrated for his son is that he should follow his feelings, not learn what to do with his feelings.

What you do about the way you feel is what we should all be teaching our children. In this case, when Jason was feeling confused about his relationship with Melissa he should have immediately stopped having her ‘hang’ with his son. Yet, Jason shared openly that he spent all the holidays with Melissa and his whole family. That kind of experiment with children’s feelings is very damaging.

Another sick and ugly lesson Jason chooses to teach his young son is that you can commit to someone and then flip-flop your decision very quickly. Not to mention immediately commit to someone else that you rejected publicly and seemingly it does not matter that you caused tons of humiliation and embarrassment to other human beings.

Hooray, for Melissa’s parents, who from the beginning were smart enough to not participate in such a potentially publicly, painful experience for their daughter.

Now that is good parenting!

Lastly, Molly needs to be reminded that leopards don’t ever change their spots. Jason will surely flip-flop again. And he is not acting like a father who really cares about his child. All of the woman out there should be asking the question, do you want the father of your children teaching these kinds of messages to your kids?

Never, ever introduce your children to someone you don’t intend on making a permanent part of your children’s lives! Because kids don’t have a say about their relationship ending with someone they have become attached to. So when parents end a relationship for a child that means something special to them, that’s just plain cruel!

Think children first, Dr. Ann