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How to Raise a Strong Kid (But Not a Selfish Bully)

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, September 05, 2019

How to Raise a Strong Kid (But Not a Selfish Bully)


No one wants to raise a pushover. Most people don't want to raise bullies, either.

By Lizzy Francis Updated May 03 2019, 1:40 PM

Parents, understandably, don’t want to raise pushovers or kids who avoid confrontation. Kids who don’t know how to stand up for themselves grow up into kids who constantly apologize or don’t know who they are. So how can a parent help their kid be self-assured, strong physically and mentally, and have a strong sense of self? Well, it’s not as easy as teaching the ABC’s. But it can and must be done, says child psychologist Gene Beresin, who runs the Clay Center for Young Healthy Minds at Massachusetts General Hospital. “Kids need to tolerate emotional swings. From bad grades to successes, strength requires emotional control and balance of emotion,” he says. But parents can’t go too hard on the strength lesson. It’s important to teach kids strength without letting them err into problematic forms of aggression and selfishness.. It’s good to raise a kid that’s slow to back down. It’s bad to raise a kid who feels compelled to square off with peers or constantly compete. In a profoundly competitive culture, teaching a kid to weather confrontation but not seek it out is a difficult task. Here’s what parents who raise strong, self-assured kids do: 


They Talk To Their Kids About Death

For the most part, the first brush kids will have with mortality will likely be when their family pet dies. While young kids might not understand the permanence of death or what it means to die, the experience of talking through it with kids is a fundamental part of teaching their kids inner strength and resiliency. Beresin says that parents who want to raise strong kids can and should be visibly sad over the situation, but not be debilitated by their grief. This teaching moment, in which parents should go through the grieving process with their kids, mourn their pet, and model emotional strength without withdrawing completely or being cold about it. 


They Endure Physical Tasks Without Complaint

Being an adult often means doing a lot of shit that sucks. Shoveling snow, raking leaves, deep cleaning the fridge: these are all things that come with adulthood and being a parent. Parents who teach their kids strength tend to do these tasks both without constant complaint and without breaking their backs over it, says Beresin. That means that when they do the work, they take breaks, they go to bed the night before, they vocally prepare for the tasks, and, when they’re done, they say they are proud of themselves.


They Take Work Problems In Stride

Parents who want to raise kids who know that what happens to them at work is often out of their control, and therefore have a strong sense of self, try to keep their cool in the face of seriously rocky work situations. Work stress gets to us all, eventually, and it’s important that parents feel they can complain to their spouse about their job at home. But what parents need to remember is that their kids are often listening. So parents who stay level-headed, talk through what’s bothering them, and come up with a meaningful plan of action while also talking about their strengths as an employee and a person. Teaching kids to be honest and thoughtful about their situations in work and life will help them be self-reflective, and know who they are. Parents who do this raise strong kids. 


They Promote Exercise

Strong kids are strong kids mentally and physically, and parents that have kids who promote their physical health engage in activities that promotes physical health themselves. Even after a long day of activities, parents should make sure they still hit that 5-mile-run they talked about or go to the gym early, and they should also talk to their kids about it. While eight-year-olds don’t need to lift weights, getting out on the baseball diamond with them, playing catch, or racing them, is a great way to spend time with kids in a way that prioritizes their physical health.

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Kids Who Do Chores Are More Likely to Be Successful. Here’s Why

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Kids Who Do Chores Are More Likely to Be Successful. Here’s Why

Children who help out at home grow up to be happy, healthy, successful adults — when parents dole out the work in the right fashion.

By Lauren Vinopal Jul 25 2019, 2:25 PM



Chores are good for kids. Like, this-is-going-to-get-my-kid-into-Harvard good. Research shows that kids who do chores grow into happier, healthier, far more successful adults, and the sooner parents start them on them, the better off they are. But why? It seems to all boil down to acclimation. To succeed we all need to work and working hard takes some getting used to. Social scientists suspect that when children are expected to put their toys away, make their beds, or just wipe down the counter around at a young age, they get comfortable with these tasks long before they realize it’s work. When they grow up and inevitably have to accomplish these things, they’re less likely to rail against them. Instead, they get things done and are better off for it.

“The skills that kids learn early will last most of their lives. Chores teach kids skills that they will need to survive on their own and to get along with others,” psychologist Dr. Shane Owens tells Fatherly. “From an evolutionary perspective, chores teach kids how to take care of themselves and to be a cooperative, productive member of the tribe.” And yet in the age of Roombas and screen-based play there’s evidence that kids these days are doing fewer chores than ever before. Parents need to take matters into their own hands, make chores a priority, and follow this expert-back advice on how to get make the most out of chores.

Take the Time to Teach the Skills Associated With the Chores

Let’s face it, young kids don’t have a deep practical skill set (coloring within the lines doesn’t count). Completing small tasks around the house is a good place to start. Chores are one of the first opportunities for children to take on basic, low-stakes responsibilities so they can learn to do them right. Unfortunately, this means that giving children chores does not necessarily translate into less work for parents. It likely means more work, not just because kids may resist responsibilities at first, but they might be bad at them. Sure, if moms and dads want something done right, they can do it themselves and that might seem more efficient and easier in the moment. But if kids are going to ever make their bed instead of jumping on it, it’s worth the time and effort at the front-end. “Kids cannot learn to do that unless they are provided the opportunity and expected to do chores like cleaning up after themselves and helping with cooking, doing the dishes, and laundry,” Owens says.

Focus on Time Management (And, Yes, Use Chore Charts)

“Kids who do chores learn to organize their time and to delay gratification. Both of those are vital skills for later success,” Owens explains. More specifically breaking bigger projects like cleaning the house into smaller, more manageable tasks like putting toys away, shows children how much time and effort certain tasks take. They also learn that sometimes they have to wait before they’re free to go play, which is a reward after getting the job done. In doing this, kids figure out something most people struggle with in adulthood — it takes a little time to improve their surroundings and make life a little easier, but the investment pays off. Want to really drive home the time and effort with a visual representation for your kid? That’s what chore charts are all about.

Frame Chores as a Household Partnership

Twenty years of research from the University of Minnesota reveals that the single best predictor for future relationship success with family, friends, and romantic partners is doing chores at the age of 3 and 4 years old. However, for children who were not given chores until they were teenagers, the exact opposite was true — they tend to struggle in close relationships across the board. Scientists suspect that when it comes to chores, parents might want to start sooner than later. Owens says parents can start as young as 2 years old, before kids see helping mom and dad as an actual chore, so they are more eager to imitate what their parents do, even if it is as simple as sweeping.“A kid who learns early to do chores will be a more generous and cooperative partner,” he says. “It’s easier to live and work with a person who has learned to take care of his own stuff and to be responsible for some of the boring work that adult and family life requires.”

Chores Are Work, So Motivate Them Like a Good Boss

Along with childhood chores being the strongest predictor for relationship success, the same University of Minnesota study found that they are significantly correlated with academic and career success as well. Data also indicated that early chores were linked with higher IQs. This echoes the results of the longest-running longitudinal study in history, spanning 75 years, where Harvard scientists found that success largely depends on individual work ethic, which is correlated with participation in housework as children. To Owens, this connection isn’t surprising. “Chores teach kids important self-regulation skills — organization, discipline, and work ethic — and vital relationship skills like cooperation, teamwork, and respect for others. So kids who are expected to do them are more successful.”

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How to Keep Your Kids on a Sleep Schedule While Traveling

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, July 31, 2019

How to Keep Your Kids on a Sleep Schedule While Traveling

School’s out, summer’s in, and family adventures await. But how do you manage your child’s nighttime schedule when their regular routine is anything but?

By Julia Savacool Jun 03 2019, 5:50 PM


How to Keep Your Kids on a Sleep Schedule While Traveling

This story was produced in partnership with GoodNites®, the #1 NightTime Underwear that works to keep kids dry and worry-free, so they can do what they do best: be kids.

When kids’ regular routines suddenly change, sleep is usually the first thing to suffer. Different times zones, unfamiliar beds, the tantalizing opportunity to explore someplace new: It’s easy to see why sleep is not a priority. But it should be, since kids ages 4 to 7 are at a critical point in their development that requires nine to 13 hours of shut-eye a night to fully rest and recover for a new day of activity. Without enough sleep, your little ball of energy and enthusiasm will turn into a clingy, crabby, tantrum-prone monster. While nothing is a perfect substitute for the comfort of sleeping in their own bed, there are ways to help kids adapt their routines to whatever new situation arises. Here are some essential tips to help kids sleep soundly, even when they’re away from home.


1. Put Sleep Aids in Your Carry-On

This one is simple: If you’re traveling, pack your kid’s essentials in your carry-on. All the best preparation for sleep aids is useless if you stash them in luggage that was sent to Cincinnati while you’re spending the week in San Fran; you should know exactly where the sleep aids are at all times. When you need them, you should have them on hand.

2. Have the Travel Talk

For most adults, travel — and all the hassles that go along with it — is second nature. Cars, airports, long lines, major delays, sitting on the tarmac, eating while in-flight, landing, security checks, rental car pick-ups. When you look at it from a kid’s point of view, it’s utter madness. And if they don’t know what to expect, it can be anxiety-inducing.

Starting about a week before your trip, sit down with your child and describe some of the new things they will encounter during their summer travels. Describe the fun parts: Picking out a meal on the airplane, watching movies, meeting new people. Also talk about some of the other new experiences, like sleeping in a small space on a plane or in a hotel and waiting in line for just about everything. If your child struggles with bedwetting, talk about how you will ease his anxiety by using GoodNites®, NightTime Underwear and GoodNites® Bed Mats should problems arise.

3. Rearrange the Furniture

 You might not have to pack a crib anymore, but you may still find yourself doing some furniture rearranging if your child’s anxiety keeps them from being able to sleep. In hotel rooms with double beds, for example, drag their mattress on the floor over next to your bed to help them feel safer.

4. Pack the Perfect Sleep-Aid Travel Kit Be sure to have the following whenever traveling with kids:

A Favorite Stuffy: Stuffed toys, technically called “attachment objects,” mark an important phase of your child’s development, one where they are learning to self-soothe at night when Mom or Dad’s not around. Snuggling close with Mr. Elephant in a strange new room reassures him that he can close his eyes and still be safe.

A Favorite Pillow: The familiar smell and feel of her pillow from home can help your child sleep better on the road or plane, as well as in her guest bed once you arrive.

A Nightlight: Unfamiliar rooms can be scary in the dark, not to mention the practical issues of finding the bathroom in the pitch-black in a new space. Pack one from home, or if you’re purchasing one for the first time, look for lights that have friendly animal-shaped covers and emit a warm glow.

GoodNites Nighttime Underwear: Bedwetting is one of the most common side-effects of having a routine disrupted. When it happens, kids feel confused and ashamed as they are well past potty training. With a smile and a hug, send them to bed wearing a pair of GoodNites® NightTime Underwear. It looks like their regular undies, but offers absorbency and odor-proofing in case an accident occurs.

Bedtime Books: Reading together is an evening ritual many dads share with their kids. Pack a few favorites from home that are familiar and well-loved. It’s fine to read from your tablet for convenience, but if your kid likes to follow along, skip the electronic devices as they emit a blue light that interferes with sleep signals.

Soothing Music: Before your child’s friends arrive for a sleepover, download a playlist of soft instrumental music, or a white-noise app that plays a steady stream of noise-blocking nothingness. Once the kids are in bed, hit play: The background sounds will help keep them from fixating on every whisper or sigh their friend makes.

A Fan: No wifi access? Borrow an old fan from the house you’re staying in and set it up on a windowsill near your child’s bed. The whirring of the blades helps drown out unfamiliar sounds of creaky floors or doors opening and closing, easing your child into dreamland.

GoodNites® Bed Mats: These absorbent pads are the perfect peace of mind if you’re worried about your child soiling a friend’s guest bed, or if your child is worried about having an accident when a friend sleeps over but is embarrassed to wear nighttime underwear.

A Kid-Friendly Clock: No kid wants the fun to end, but setting up an easy-to-read digital clock allows you to stick to a bedtime schedule. You can either put tape over the minute numbers, or simply say that when the first number on the clock says “8,” that means everyone must be in their beds.



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What Am I Doing to My Kid When I Yell?

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, July 11, 2019

What Am I Doing to My Kid When I Yell?

Short answer: You're setting yourself up for a lifetime of shouting matches.

By Jonathan Stern fatherly.com Updated Jul 09 2019, 4:34 PM


Yelling at kids often occurs unconsciously. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t feel effective. After all, yelling often feels like the best technique for getting a kid’s attention, punishing them, or simply expressing feelings of anger. But all of the shouting, screaming, and yelling at kids is deeply unhelpful to parenting.

According to Dr. Laura Markham, founder of Aha! Parenting and author of Peaceful Parent, Happy Kids: How to Stop Yelling and Start Connecting, yelling is clearly a parenting “technique” we can do without. But she’s also a realist. You get three hours of sleep a night, you’re going to lose it. The good news is that the psychological and emotional damage to a kid is minimal when parents yell (assuming it’s not true verbal abuse). The bad news is that those who are doing it constantly are setting up more shouting matches later in life.


Grown-Ups Are Scary When They Yell

The power parents hold over young kids is absolute. To them, their folks are humans twice their size who provide things they need to live: Food, shelter, love — Nick Jr. When the person they trust most frightens them, it rocks their sense of security. And yes, it’s truly frightening for a child. “They’ve done studies where people were filmed yelling. When it was played back to the subjects, they couldn’t believe how twisted their faces got,” says Dr. Markham. A 3-year-old may appear to push buttons and give off an attitude like an adult, but they still don’t have the emotional maturity to be treated like one.


Yelling at Kids Is Never Communicating

Nobody (except for a small percentage of sadists) enjoys being yelled at. So, why would kids? “When parents yell, kids acquiesce on the outside, but the child isn’t more open to your influence, they’re less so,” says Dr. Markham. Younger kids may bawl; older kids will get a glazed-over look — but both are shutting down instead of listening. That’s not communication.


Yelling Makes Kids Fight, Flight, or Freeze

Dr. Markham says that while parents who shout aren’t ruining their kids’ brains, per se, they are changing them. “Let’s say during a soothing experience [the brain’s] neurotransmitters respond by sending out soothing biochemicals that we’re safe. That’s when a child is building neural pathways to calm down.”

When a toddler with underdeveloped prefrontal cortex and not much in the way of the executive function gets screamed at, the opposite happens. “The kid releases biochemicals that say fight, flight, or freeze. They may hit you. They may run away. Or they freeze and look like a deer in headlights. None of those are good for brain formation,” she says. If that action happens repeatedly, the behavior becomes ingrained.


How to Keep From Yelling at Kids

  • Remember that the younger children are, the less likely their button-pushing behavior is intentional. Give them the benefit of the doubt.
  • Consider that yelling teaches children that adversity can only be met with a raised and angry voice.
  • Use humor to help a kid disengage from problematic behavior. Laughter is better than yelling and tears.
  • Train yourself to raise your voice only in crucial situations where a child might get hurt. Then lower your voice to communicate.
  • Focus on engaging in a calm dialogue. Yelling shuts down all forms of communication between you and the child and often prevents lessons from being learned through discipline.

Parents Who Yell Train Kids to Yell

“Normalize” is a word that gets thrown about a lot these days in politics, but it’s also applicable to a child’s environment. Parents who constantly yell in the house make that behavior normal for a kid, and they’ll adapt to it. Dr. Markham notes that if a child doesn’t bat an eye when they’re being scolded, there’s too much scolding going on. Instead, parents need to first and foremost be models of self-regulation. In essence, to really get a kid to behave, grown-ups have to first.


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Kent County Family Symposium

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Monday, July 01, 2019

Kent County Coalition

Family Symposium

Kent County Family Symposium

July 13, 2019 from 10 am to 3 pm
registration starts at 9:30 am

DELAWARE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
100 Campus Dr, Dover, DE 19904

Panels and Teen Workshops


RSVP TODAY

for more information: admin@dffcdads.org or 855-733-3232
WWW.DFFCDADS.ORG

6th Annual DFFC Award Ceremony

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Saturday, June 29, 2019

6th Annual
Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition Award Ceremony

September 28, 2019
6:00 PM to 9:00 PM


Dover Downs
1131 N. DuPont Highway
Dover, DE 19901

The Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition Recognition Awards were created to celebrate the accomplishments of those who work and are committed to Fatherhood and Healthy Adult Relationship as it pertains to co-parenting and child well-being involving fathers. The Community of fathers, mothers, parents, and organizations, social/service/faith-based leaders, entrepreneurs and DFFC members deserve public recognition, volunteerism, promotion of your community service and accomplishments.


CLICK HERE TO SUBMIT YOUR DFFC NOMINATIONS!!

For more info:Email: admin@dffcdads.org or 855-733-3232

New Castle County Family Symposium

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Tuesday, June 18, 2019

STRENGTHENING EMPOWERING & TRANSFORMING

FAMILY SYMPOSIUM

Connecting the Pieces of Me!!


August 24, 2019 from 10 am to 2 pm

DELAWARE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
300 N Orange St., Wilmington, DE 19801


RSVP TODAY

For more info:Waneka Armstrong (302)498-0454 EXT: 401, warmstrong@firststatecaa.org

Journey To Oz Family Symposium

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Sussex County Coalition

Journey To Oz
The Brick Road Experience
Family Symposium

Journey To Oz The Brick Road Experience Family Symposium

July 27, 2019 from 10 am to 2 pm

DELAWARE TECHNICAL AND COMMUNITY COLLEGE
21179 College Drive Georgetown, DE 19947

The symposium will be addressing the lions, tigers and bears (oh my!!!) that we face on our journey to OZ.
Wherever our destination, wherever the place is that we are trying to get to, we will encounter some very scary and
uncomfortable circumstances and situations but instead of turning back or running away, we have to make a song out of it (as they did in the movie).
How do we handle the things that we encounter on our yellow brick road, whether in finances, health, or our purpose?


RSVP TODAY

Tanisha Showell (302) 518-0618, tshowell@connectionscsp.org

NCC Father and Son Event

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Sunday, May 05, 2019

Raising The Standard
Father & Son Event



Stanton Middle School
1800 Limestone Rd
Wilmington, DE 19804

Raising The Standard is a day for Stanton Middle School boys and their fathers or positive male influences to collectively participate in interactive activities.
A panel discussion that promotes healthy masculinity among young men, team building, high scholastic and positive law enforcement interaction.

Father & Daughter Dance 2019

Delaware Fatherhood and Family Coalition - Thursday, April 25, 2019

Father & Daughter Dance 2019


SATURDAY, JUNE 29, 2019
4:00 PM to 8:00 PM

The Great Hall @ St. Andrew’s Lutheran
425 N. Dupont Highway, Dover, DE 19901

RSVP TODAY!!

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT :
WANEKA ARMSTRONG (302) 498-0454 ext. 401 (office) | WARMSTRONG@dffcdads.org
www.dffcdads.org | email: admin@dffcdads.org | phone: 855 733-3232

About DFFC

The Delaware Fatherhood & Family Coalition is an extension of the Promoting Safe and Stable Families Program and the Responsible Fatherhood Initiative created specifically to give a voice to fathers and the importance of their involvement for the well-being of their children.


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