Category Archives: Principles for Parenting

Be Engaged: Principles for Parenting #3

Photo: AMC/Lionsgate

As a dad who works outside the home, there are honestly some days where I just want to come home and watch meaningless TV for a couple of hours. I try to sit down and just watch the evening news and my girls jump all over me. Maybe it’s just the Don Draper in me that wants to go home and disengage.

Imagine how it makes my wife Hillary feel after a summer day of dealing with two young girls who are getting on each other’s nerves at the end of the day. She is cooking dinner and I am disengaged watching the news in the living room.

Not the best moments in our marriage.

It is far too easy for me to be a disengaged dad.

It’s hard to get over my selfishness but when I do it is very rewarding. Sometimes I just need to turn off the TV and read my girls a book even if it’s about magical fairies. Instead of flopping down on the couch when I get home, I need to ask my wife what she needs help with. On days where it is cooler, I even find that going for a run before coming home for good is a great stress reliever and it enables me to be more present with my kids when I come home.

How do you fight the desire to just disengage from your kids or your spouse?

How do you overcome your selfish moments in marriage and parenting?


Define Your Values: Principles for Parenting #2

Any business or organization that is successful has defined the values that drive their decisions and consistently lives by them. The same idea is true with families and parenting. It took my wife Hillary and I almost five years into parenting to realize that we needed to come up with the values that drove our parenting decisions. We read an excellent book by Patrick Lencioni titled “The Three Questions for a Frantic Family” which caused us to ask some great questions about what it was that made our family unique. For five years, we had just made decisions based on what we thought was right and sometimes these decisions were not wise. These decisions also did not fit together cohesively. After reading The Three Questions for a Frantic Family we decided to discuss and define the values that would drive our parenting and ultimately our family. Read the rest of this entry

Spouse First, Parent Second: Principles for Parenting #1

Yesterday I introduced the idea that I don’t believe there is a perfect formula for parenting. Over the next few months I will be endeavoring to lay out principles for parenting that can hopefully apply regardless of the context. Today I want to talk about one of the hardest, yet most important principles for healthy children.

Spouse First, Parent Second

If you are a single parent, this principle still applies but in a somewhat different way. Instead of your first role being a spouse, your first role is to develop and look after yourself. So the principle could be you first, parent second. As a single parent, this is even more important. Read the rest of this entry

Throw Out the Parenting Formulas: Intro to Principles for Parenting

When we knew our first baby was on the way, Hillary read numerous books on parenting while I skimmed some of them. There were other parents who we interacted with during that time who were “those parents.” You know, the parents who read the book with the secret to getting your newborn to sleep through the night. Maybe you were one of those parents. We would all love that perfect universe where there was a perfect formula for parenting. But I believe the perfect formula just doesn’t exist. Read the rest of this entry