By Dr. Joshua Straub
One of my earliest memories of being bullied happened at a sleepover with my friend Dan. We were outside playing in a sandbox. Living in a small town, we had friends who lived within walking distance. Before long, two neighbor kids joined us. But they didn’t want to play in the sand.
Getting our kids ready for bed, Christi and I got into a little battle with our daughter's diaper. Before you judge us, it wasn't a number two, and yes, it was wrapped. It ended in the playroom with me covering my head in fear of it actually coming unwrapped. The laughter filled our house.
To be fair, many nights are not like this. If you were to walk into our home during the bath / bedtime routine, you'd likely hear...
As a father of two, I can readily identify with Marlin’s heartfelt promise to Nemo in Finding Nemo: “Don’t worry, I’ve got you now. I won’t let anything happen to you.”
For many of us, the first moments of becoming a parent are riddled with a strange mix of love, excitement, and, yes, fear. Our minds begin playing the movie that seems to never quit—the clips of everything that could go wrong. From upset tummies to double ear infections, from being bullied to teenage heartbreak, we want to protect our children from every hard and painful experience we had growing up.
Christi and I maintain a date night once a week. With little kids, it’s necessary for us to stay connected with one another beyond “business talk” or “kid talk.”
However, like most couples, spending money on a babysitter and the date itself can get pretty expensive over time. That’s why we’re creative in what our date nights often look like. Need to stick to your monthly budget?
Christi and I regularly receive calls from spouses searching for answers to the disconnect in their marriage. When a person first begins telling us their story, we usually hear an explanation of what the other person is or isn’t doing in the relationship.
The shooting deaths—and subsequent reactions—of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile are a reflection of how deeply broken our nation really is.
Following those shootings, many of us woke up to the news of five police officers being gunned down—and several others injured—after a protest in Dallas had ended.
This morning, I write as a grieving father…
By Dr. Josh Straub
When we sit down as a family for dinner, we begin in prayer. Usually, our kids are the first to remind us. Landon, our nearly 4-year-old, used to put out his hands and repeat, “A-men, A-men, A-men.” Our nearly two-year-old daughter, Kennedy, holds out her little hands and says, "Pway, Pway."
By Christi Straub
The first thing I reach for the in morning. The last thing I say goodnight to before bed. Always within arms reach. If not, I search until I find it. How could I live without it? Present in all my moments—the stressful, the memorable, the mundane. An ever-constant presence. Dulling the pain, lulling my anxious heart, entertaining my brain, bringing brief happiness. Another alert, another scroll through a newsfeed, another email check, another “urgent” request for my attention.
One of the most fundamental values parents teach their kids beginning in those chaotic, “Why-won’t-you-listen-to-me?” toddler years is “Don’t lie.”
Yet, I can’t keep my end of the bargain. Sometimes, I find myself lying to my kids.
An emotionally safe parent is a parent who pursues her child’s heart. If we don’t talk to our kids as toddlers, we can’t expect them to talk to us as teenagers.
The reality hit me this past weekend how uncomplicated it is to be an emotionally safe parent. While speaking in Michigan, I had a dad—who is also a children’s pastor—thank me afterwards for a comment he heard me make a few months prior at an event at his church.
For the sake of your child's heart, here's how and why you should pursue her passion.
In a few weeks, I have the privilege of speaking at an event where parents and children attend together. Quite frankly, I don’t really speak—I facilitate. I love these events because both parents and kids walk away with a deeper understanding of, and more respect for one another.
One my closest friends, who is both gifted at and loves starting businesses, regularly discusses micro- and macroeconomics with his sixteen-year-old son. Yes, his son is wicked smart. As the safe and present father that he is, my friend uses business projects to train his son for the real world.
You just finished browsing Pinterest after getting the recipe you needed. You put your phone down to set out the ingredients. Your daughter is sitting in her highchair wanting some more applesauce. A text comes in. Your pregnant sister is asking if you liked the stroller you used for your kids. You begin to respond back, only to receive an incoming call from your husband. He reminds you about the get-together tonight at his co-worker’s house. You go to Facebook to see who’s also going and decide to message a friend to see what she’s wearing. In the meantime, your daughter’s ear-piercing scream for more applesauce finally grabs your attention. You put your phone down to help her, but pick it right back up to text a few possible babysitters for tonight.
I want to begin with a fun and insightful little quiz.
How old is the iPad?
a. 15 years old
b. 10 years old
c. 5 years old
d. 2 years old
Before you read further, how confident are you with your answer?
A few months ago, I spoke at an event on the principles of emotional safety, where a representative from the National Organization of Victim’s Assistance (NOVA) happened to be in attendance. Since then, we’ve been working together on a few projects and becoming good friends.
One evening, my friend and I were carpooling back to our hotel from an event and I asked him a personal question.
“As a dad,” I began, “how can I best protect my kids from sexual abuse?”
I have a sign hanging in my office that serves as a constant reminder of the unparalleled influence I have as a dad. It reads: Home is where our story begins.
Our homes reflect our story. For some, that story is defined by brokenness. For others, it’s defined by love, laughter, and joy. For most, it’s a blend of the two.
We have had some seriously funny—and humbling—moments lately with our 3-year-old son. Not long ago I was giving him a bath when he leaned over the tub, put his little pointer finger in my face, and in a tone so hilarious I belly-laughed as solidly as I had in years, and proclaimed, "Don't you hit people, understand?"
Then, just last week, Christi noticed a pattern that when she called on him, he was beginning to answer in a disrespectful tone with one word—“what?!”
I uploaded that final paper, sent a few words of encouragement to the student, and hit the submit button.
Boom! Time to celebrate.
Not more than a minute later my phone vibrated from the desk. Looking down, the words “My Love” shined from the screen. I couldn’t wait to invite her into my party.
“Hi my love!” I answered excitedly.
Christi was in tears. This was her 11th straight day at home with a “spirited” three-year-old boy and fifteen-month-old girl without me.
Our three-year-old son, Landon, came home from preschool the other day with brown construction paper cut into the shape of feathers and a note for Christi and me.
We were to talk with Landon about what he was thankful for and then write them on the respective feathers. Each child, it turns out, is making a turkey at school and learning what it means to be thankful.
I’m glad the school is teaching him. When we sat down with Landon to learn from him what he is thankful for, he didn’t know what it meant to be “thankful.”
The worry about our kids’ “high needs” nearly came at the neglect of the ever growing “high needs” of our slowly fading marital satisfaction in those tense first few years of parenting. The reality is, our kids were fine. It was our marriage that needed the attention.
Justice In The Home
Never Give Up
"Above All Else"
The Influence of Friends
From Mourning to Morning
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Connect With Dr. Joshua Straub
Joshua Straub, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, family advocate and professor of child psychology. He is the president and cofounder of The Connextion Group, a company designed to empower parents, spouses and families. Josh speaks and writes on emotionally safe parents and spouses and the influence of technology on today's family. He is the author of Safe House: How Emotional Safety is the Key to Raising Kids Who Live, Love, and Lead Well and along with his wife, Christi, is the producer and co-author of the video curriculum The Screen-Balanced Family: Six Secrets to a More Connected Family in the 21st Century. For more encouragement and ideas on marriage and parenting in the 21st century you can join Josh and a growing tribe of awesome families at www.joshuastraub.com and follow him on Twitter @joshuastraub or Facebook.
Josh and his Canadian wife Christi reside in Nashville, TN with their son, Landon, and daughter, Kennedy.
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