Brian Fogle claims he had three theories about how to raise children before he had three. Now he has none! Even without theories, Brian is the proud and happy father of three young adults—two daughters and a son. Although they live in various locations, Brian says they stay connected via cellphone plans and texting. When they do get together in one place, his group loves “hanging out,” laughing, joking and eating together.
Brian grew up in Aurora, Missouri where his parents had little concern for his safety and well-being.
“My parents let me play and be a kid. I was outdoors all the time and had a lot of independence and freedom. It was a small town with much less ‘class distinction.’ There was a vibrant community life and we didn’t really know or much care about who had what kind of money or resources.”
At the same time, since the community was small, Brian admits to experiencing a shared accountability, in that other adults who saw you misbehave would likely talk to you and/or report your wrong-doing to your parents.
“The last thing I wanted was for my parents to be contacted. I think that’s changed today.”
Raising His Kids
Brian is the youngest of three boys, so he had little experience with women other than his mother and wife. Raising girls, he found, can be quite different than raising boys.
“I found myself raising my ‘volume,’ (speaking of his voice) when my girls were teenagers, but it didn’t work very well. I discovered it’s important to avoid riding the rollercoaster of adolescence with them.”
“There’s nothing wrong with a teenager than a little logic and reason won’t aggravate,” he quipped philosophically. Brian notes that he tended to be conflict-averse, but found parenting required he learn to lays to approach and manage it, rather than avoid it.
These days Brian says he really enjoys the young adults his children have become. He explains that he and his wife come from large, close families with lots of inside jokes. “Sometimes,” he says, “when we’re all together, I just like to watch the interactions and laugh.”
Encouragement to Other Dads
Avoid idle threats. Say what you mean; mean what you say, and do what you say you will do.
Be fair and consistent in a friendly tone of voice. Avoid being punitive. Allow your child to experience the natural and logical consequences of their behavior whenever possible.
Reinforce what you mean by repeating what you said. Be a calm authority. There’s no need to defend yourself and explain.
Delay the discussion of consequences until you’re well rested.
Love and devotion to your kids overcome a lot of the mistakes we make. None of us are perfect parents, but when our kids know we are devoted to their well-being, that helps a lot.
Brian Fogle is a Springfield dad and the President of the Community Foundation.