Jean Tracy, MSS
Raising optimistic kids isn't difficult when you use these parenting skills. Our parenting expert, Janet Coppola, is the founder of Express Yourself. Let's find out her 5 strategies.

1. Display and maintain a positive approach and always tell them you love them.

Janet's positive approach is important. Nobody likes being yelled at, especially kids.

Telling children that you love them, why you love them, and using love notes can be very effective in raising optimistic kids. Smiling a lot helps too.

2. Allow children the opportunity to see that we all make mistakes at times as we are human beings.

I like Janet's advice especially if you have sensitive perfectionist kids.

One of my son's hated making mistakes, like spilling his glass of milk. I told him, "Everybody makes mistakes. Just clean it up." I handed him the paper towels.

He needed more. So I asked him to draw a picture of everyone in our family including cousins, aunts, and uncles. He loved drawing so this was fun for him.

Then in big letters I asked him to write, "All People Are Mistake Makers." We posted the picture with the words on the refrigerator. Then we discussed it. It helped him relax when he made a mistake and to fix it if he could.

Now his children tell me, "It's just a mistake, Grandma, " as they fix their mistakes.

3. Show them that we are all afraid of something and explain to them the importance of tackling their fears.

I like Janet's advice here because my 4-year-old granddaughter fears bugs. To get over this fear we look under big rocks for bugs and save them in a container to observe. The other day she let a couple of ants crawl on her hands and felt fine. Teaching kids to tackle fears is an important step to becoming optimistic by feeling confident.

4. Promote children's thinking skills and encourage independence from an early age.

Asking kids thinking questions is often better than taking over and doing something for them. "How do you think this works?" is a great question to ask. Then congratulate them for trying to figure it out. This promotes independence too as they become "I can" children.

5. Be honest with children even when they ask difficult and sensitive questions.

Janet is right. But we have to use common sense with this one. Telling kids more than they need to know about issues like sex could worry, confuse, or entice them to act on what we say.

On other issues when we fib and they find out, they loose some of their trust in us. Most of the time it's easy to be completely truthful. But when we're not sure of what to say, it's perfectly OK to say, "I need some time to think about it."

Raising optimistic kids isn't difficult when you think about it. The trick is to think before we speak and keep it positive.

Let's give Janet a big "THANK YOU" for her fine ideas. To connect with Janet go to her Express Yourself website at where she promotes children to express themselves.

Join Jean's Blog at You will find many Linkedin parenting professionals featured. Maybe you'd like to be featured too.
Adam Dolgin
Now, take a deep breath, calm your mind, and listen to the story I am about to tell. It's about a little girl, only a few months old, who has been kidnapped and taken to the parking lot of a nearby mall. The kidnappers, two women in their late twenties/early thirties, drunk on power, unable to listen to reason, drag this little girl from the backseat of a minivan in to the mall. Inside, they make her do unspeakable things - they take her to a shoe store; a cosmetics counter; they even make her watch as they try on dresses... for fun. And then, if they hadn't destroyed enough of her innocence already, they inflict their final insult; their most heinous of horrific acts; their most evil of underhanded atrocities- they get her ears pierced...

Now imagine a little girl covered in the stench of THEIR rubbing alcohol, her EARLOBES covered in her BLOOD, and her face streaming, raining droplets of her own tears. Can you see it- her quivering lip holding back the screams? Can you see it- her blood red face holding back the tears? Can you see it? Can you see her face- this little girl covered in blood, and tears, and well-meaning intentions? Can you see her? Now imagine she's YOUR daughter...

(I love that movie)!

Gentlemen, where I come from, when a man puts his foot down his wife listens- or at least humors him. It's time to Fodder Up! Today's topic: allowing your wife to pierce your Baby's sensitive little ears. You may not win this battle, but at least you can educate yourself so you know what you're getting yourself, and your baby, in to.

Pros and Cons of Infant Ear Piercing:

You know why you don't want your wife to pierce your babies earlobes, but like most guys, so far, you're losing the war. My suggestion: fight fire with fire (in other words, let a woman, or a website for women, talk her out of it).

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The Debates:

Yes. There's no point in explaining your thoughts on the matter to your determined spouse. It will fall on deaf (pierced) ears. So, if the pros and cons don't seem to do the trick, a good debate never hurts...


The Video:

Like a desperate man trying to pluck at the heartstrings of the women that he loves, when all else fails... cry like a baby. If you're lucky, your wife will be so embarrassed that she'll drag both you and your child out of the salon and you will live to fight another day.

Video: (To Show Your Wife)


Gentlemen, good luck! You'll need it...
Jackie VanCampen
On December 11, 2011, my 13-year old daughter will be embarking on a journey that may forever change her life. As she steps forward and jumps off that cliff, her wings will open and she will take flight.

From afar I will be watching to see how much of my guidance she has absorbed up to this point. And from afar I will continue to do my best to guide her, letting go of the attachment of how it should all be.

My 13-year old is embarking on a journey of new discoveries, new relationships, new culture, new country, and new life style. As she chooses to make this move, a part of me just wants to hold on tight and embrace her with the strength of a mother bear, not wanting to let go of her cub. Then there’s the spiritual, wise side of me that knows I need to let her go and allow her the opportunity to create the most special relationship with her father who loves her just as much.

Tonight as I tucked her in and caressed her back, like I have done almost every night for the last thirteen years, I became deeply present to how much I am going to miss her. How much her sisters and stepdad are going to miss her, and how much her friends, grandparents, uncles, and aunts will miss her as well. We will all have our own emotions and opinions to deal with, and yet, we will come to appreciate how much she has changed our lives.

Will this move be a long one? We will have to wait and see. Someone had asked me the question, what if she decided to stay and make her life there? That’s something I will have to deal with if it comes to pass. For now, I’m just focused on making this transition graceful and somewhat easy for her and for everyone else whose lives will be deeply impacted by this change. As for me, I will probably be crying every time I hear Adele’s Someone Like You or Nikki Minaj’s Super Bass, and every time I see a soccer game, a friend of hers, when her sisters ask about her, or when I enter her room.

Life will be very different and I trust that distance will bring us closer together. Thank goodness for Skype!
Jackie VanCampen
Gifts Wrapped in Chaos
Posted October 18, 2011 by Jackie VanCampen in Family & Home
Bedtime at my house can, at times, feel like a prison sentence. It’s always the same rushing around – feeding the kids some snack (15 minutes after they had dinner AND dessert), getting them to brush their teeth, reading a bedtime story, and the latest, ballet recitals.

I feel like I go into a time vortex – every minute counts! My three year old has recently decided to add a ballet repertoire to the bedtime routine. I have to sing ballet-type songs (whatever that means) while she twirls and points her toes and leaps like a true, professional prima ballerina. As fun as it is to watch her dance, there’s a part of me screaming for her to just get into bed and go to sleep already!

During my childhood, going to bed meant, I read a story, had a glass of milk, brushed my teeth, and went to bed and didn’t make a peep. No, water after the lights were out was definitely not allowed! Now I feel like I have been hijacked by my children. That would’ve never happened with my parents!

One day while driving home from work, I set an intention that all I wanted was a quiet, peaceful evening. I really just wanted to take some time to sit and meditate. In reality it was more like wishful thinking. I knew very well what was ahead of me.

We started the nightly routine, just like many nights before, where I had to come up with some Disney princess songs that I probably only knew one verse, battle the dragon that spat fire and had Princess Isabella stuck in the highest tower of the highest castle in all of Dragonland, sing every children’s song Barney has ever done a cover, sing itsy bitsy spider really fast while going up and down her back, and then sing it slow, and then when I thought I had exhausted all possible forms of entertainment and I could now kiss her good night and start to leave, I heard the inevitable whine, “I want my mommy!”

By this point I can feel my blood pressure rising and my blood boiling. I’m approaching the red zone. I take a few deep breaths and start telling her how I still need to help her older sister with her homework, how her other sister needs her to go to sleep, so she can go to sleep (they share a room and Jazzy usually can’t go to bed until Izzy is asleep otherwise all Izzy wants to do is talk), how I still have to take a shower, all to no avail. She cries and I feel like I too want to cry. So I give in and I sit in her toddler bed.

Suddenly there’s silence and in that silence the dark clouds in my mind open up to reveal the sun of wisdom and that’s when I get my AHA moment – the intention I had set for quiet and peace had been granted, but I was too busy with my mental chatter to notice the gift. When I finally became present in the moment, I realized that some gifts come wrapped in obscure ways and it takes one really being in the now to notice them. I sat there and basked in the silence and quietude of her room. I was probably in there for ten minutes and I actually got to do a short meditation.

I then noticed that she had finally fallen asleep. I got up, thanked her for being the bearer of that wonderful gift, kissed her good night, and walked out of her room feeling refreshed.

Moral of the story – be present to the gifts life is bringing you. It doesn’t always manifest in a logical kind of way, but if we are really aware, we will notice the gift even in the midst of chaos.

Do I still get triggered during bedtime? Of course! But I can always choose to shift my perspective and see the gifts and lessons each moment can bring.
Adam Dolgin
If you want to test a microphone you blow on it. If you want to test out a guy's manhood you hoof him hard in the nuts, wait to see how long it takes him to get up, then measure the number of steps he's able to take before falling back down again. That's the test of a true man... or is it fatherhood? Let's think about that... No, it's hoofing him in the nuts.


So, there's this new article that came out the other day about testosterone and married men with kids not having any ("Testosterone Drop Helps Men Do Dad Duty: Study" - source: Yahoo Canada, September 2011). I read it and thought: "Kids? What about those guy's walking through a mall carrying their wife's purse in one hand and her teacup Chihuahua in the other? They don't have kids? What's their excuse?" So, it made me think: who comes up with these studies, and why is it everybody and their brother decided to post it on their Facebook "father" pages on the same day? I had a friend send this article to me yesterday, but before I even got a chance to read it there was this feeding frenzy on Facebook like I've never seen before. Apparently, in our new world, when a man's manhood is questioned he doesn't defend himself anymore, he simply "reposts" the article to all his female readers for comment. Ah, social networking...

But, back to the article/study in question: What made this "news?" Did it provide any new information? No. There was a study in 2002 that already covered this (, and it didn't attack married men with kids, per se- it attacked married men in general. In a nut shell, both studies "suggest" that there is an anthropological correlation between marriage and a drop in testosterone in men. Okay? But, it's not because our physiology changed to suit some male "nesting" gene to prepare us for having kids- it's because our marital status did!

Show me a married man, I'll show you a guy being fed foods high in estrogen (whether naturally or artificially added- it's all in the man boobs), a guy who watches more than his fair share of chic flicks, and a guy who after a mere three months will be able to tell you which of his wife's pumps go with her chartreuse dress. Now, fast forward a few years and show me a married man with kids- I'll show you a unic (with breasts). Who doesn't see the correlation in that!? Get married, your life changes, and so does the chemistry in both your body and your relationship. Get it?!? I don't think you do...

You throw a party for three hundred of your closest friends, pass out in a hotel room with the woman of your dreams, then wake up the next morning to a strange woman you don't know that suddenly demands that you change your eating, drinking, and dressing habits, your haircut, your bank account (joint of course), your living arrangements, and ultimately your entire lifestyle. Then, the next day she's asking you to buy a house for the 2 to 3 kids that you'll want to have back to back to back to get them out of the way, then there's a nanny, and programmes, and college funds... and you're probably laughing right now thinking I'm talking about my wife. I'm not- I'm talking about yours- and the scary part is you don't even know it yet. Your testosterone has been steadily declining from the day you got engaged- the day the hunter/gather in you started ordering take-out salads because your wife 'encouraged' you to do it for "health" reasons. Sad thing is nobody told YOU.

Did we really need someone to come up with a study on this? Was it absolutely necessary to upset all the father bloggers by telling them they've gone through the equivalent of male menopause (which probably started in their mid-twenties)? Was it really necessary to spend thousands of dollars on a study that wasn't, well, necessary? Here, let me save the taxpayers some money...All those guys selling off their beat up Playboy mag collections on Craig'slist aren't doing it because their Moms told them too; they're doing it because, suddenly (sadly), reading the articles became more important than looking at the pictures (sorry, it happens to the best of us).

So, yes. Married men, and especially married men with kids have a lower testosterone level than men of the same age that are single. Why? It's not because we had kids, if that's what you're thinking? If you ask me, it's because we're smart enough to give our wives what they want so they'll "release us" to have fun a couple of times a week (i.e. we get to have more sex than you because our M.I.L.F. wives are horny as hell and deplete our reserves). But, it's just a theory. What do I know- it's two in the morning?

Hmmm? My daughter's asleep... maybe my wife's awake?

Ummm...Look at the time...? Ya. Gotta

(Lower Testosterone my ass!)

Read more posts like this at : Fodder 4 Fathers
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