On April 24, 2010, I became a husband and father of two. I went from bachelorhood to fatherhood almost instantly. I soon learned each child had their own personality and each responded quite differently when it came to discipline. Soon after our marriage, Emily and I added our 3rd child, a boy, who was born in February 2011.
Today, our oldest, Leah, is 14 and in 8th grade. She is smart, beautiful, athletic, has a fantastic singing voice and is also creative and artistic. She can either be my best friend or Satan, depending on the day and her mood. I learned early on that she was stubborn and very independent. “High volume” parenting never worked with her. If I were to yell at Leah for something she had done wrong, she would just stare at me as if I were a complete fool, with that “whatever” look. I think this is one of the reasons why we have a great relationship now that she is a teenager. From age six to 14, we’ve had a lot of “talks” and many tears. Just the other day, I posted a quote on my FB page after one of our talks. It stated, “The sweet spot of parenting is somewhere between giving high-fives, and giving them the middle finger behind their backs.” I’m hoping I can survive the next four years dealing with a teenaged daughter.
Our middle child, Alex, just turned 13 last week. He is, as most boys his age are, still very immature. Alex was five when my wife and I got married. It took several years for us to realize he has ADHD. There were definitely times when the boy tested my patience. Anyone who knows me would tell you I’m a pretty calm and an even-keeled guy, but I found myself yelling at him constantly. I would try to use the same methods as I did with our daughter, but they would not work. Once we got him medicated for his ADHD, it certainly helped. To this day, I find myself getting annoyed quicker and yelling at him. This seems to be the only way to get his attention and make him understand I’m serious. Alex is intelligent, funny, respectful and caring, but I’m constantly searching for ways to motivate him when it comes to cleaning his room, doing chores or schoolwork. I’m praying for a drastic uptick in maturity with Alex so the gray hair sightings will slow down.
Our youngest, Herbie, will be seven in February. He is so sweet, kind-hearted and quite sensitive. If I were to yell at him for any wrong-doing, he would completely break down into a ball of tears. I would have to spend way too much time, trying to comfort, console, and building him back up, just to discipline him for his poor decision. Herbie likes to take advantage of his ability to tune me out. I know he can hear me; he just doesn’t like to listen to me. I have to get in his face and make sure we are eye-t-eye, in order to get through to him. This, by the way, is something I’ve also tried with Alex. It has resulted in him laughing in my face.
Regardless of our issues and my parenting fails, these three kids are the reason I get up each morning. Really, really, early, each morning........each and every freaking single morning!