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Over 200 top tips and words of advice, to help you really get the most from the time you spend with your kids
Kids growing up /default_ARCHIVE.asp
Coping with change /default_ARCHIVE.asp
Making a new home /default_ARCHIVE.asp
Being involved with your kids /default_ARCHIVE.asp
Be inspired, be inspiring /default_ARCHIVE.asp
Starting again /default_ARCHIVE.asp
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Searched for: 10/23/2021 - Found: 7/30/2008 to 8/5/2008
Cautionary Tales For Children
Wonderful witty poems great for reading to your children. The stories and rhymes will stay with them for the rest of their lives.

Research has shown how important YOU are to your children and how as a dad the things you do, and keep on doing, really count, whether you live with them, or you are a single dad and are only able see them once a month, once a week or more, what you do really matters. This site is dedicated to all dads but will be of special relevance to the single dad. Remember, you are half the reason your children exist and they need you whether you live with them or not. As their dad, you have what it takes to make their lives successful and fulfilling no matter how often you see them. This site is about all the positive things that we as parents have to offer our children.
Microblog Microblog

Can I do that again?

Kids can come out with the funniest things, which can seem quite wrong to a grown-up . But think twice before you dismiss their quirkiest comments, because children approach life with such an open mind, unburdened by an adult’s cynicism and education, that there is often a great deal of sense in even the strangest things they say. If you listen carefully, at the very least it will help you to see the world from a new perspective and give you a much better understanding of what they are thinking.

When asked what he wanted to be when he grew up, James (4 years old) said. . .

When I grow up I’m going to be a hadrosaur.

When an adult asks the ‘what are you going to do when you grow up?’ question, they are implicitly asking what career you would like to follow. The question misses the point that a child has dreams and hopes for themselves that extend beyond mere working for a living (a thing which so completely occupies adults). After all, a child might want grow up to be a mummy or a daddy, or a nice person, or lots of peoples’ friend, or in fact, like James, a hadrosaur (that’s a duck-billed dinosaur, by the way).
. . . What I take from this is that we should stop defining people we meet by what they do for a living, and think of them instead as people, just like us, that might share some of our dreams and hopes for the future.

9 to 6 animatedWhen asked to look out for a number 6 bus, my daughter, India (5 years old) pointed out a number 9 bus, when I told her that it wasn’t a six it was a nine, she said. . .

. . . but nine is just an upside down six.

Do you know what? That’s just what it is. Of course as we grow up we learn so much about the world that we learn how to see things. In one respect, this is important otherwise we would be overloaded with information, but then on the other hand, it’s good to remember that we should occasionally take a step back and try and take a fresh look at things.
. . . We only perceive about 1 billionth of the information our senses receive each day. As dads and grown-ups we could get so much more out of life if only we could look at things in the way our children do, and see beyond how we have learned to see the world as we have grown up.

One day when I was trying out golf for the first time, I was waiting behind a dad and his two kids who were teeing off. The first child swung at the ball, clipped it and it curved off into the trees and he said with dismay. . .

Can I do that again? I wasn’t ready.

It seemed such a funny thing to say at the time. Since then I have had plenty of moments where I’ve made a mistake and done something wrong and thought – ‘Can I do that again? I wasn’t ready’. Pause before you do anything important and question if you are ready to do it, and whether doing it will make things better for you in the long run, if it won’t stop and think it over. An old friend of mine used to say, “Measure twice, cut once.”

While we were walking home from the shops, one sunny afternoon, about a year after I had moved into my new flat, William (9 years old), apropos nothing in particular, said . . .

Can we call your flat home now?

After some discussion we established that it wasn’t that he wanted to move in with me, but that when we were out and about, he wanted to be able to be able to ask , when we would be going home [to daddy’s house], and for it not to be confused with his other home [mummy’s house]. We agreed that when he was staying at my flat (however short the stay) we would call my flat ‘Home’ and his other home would be called Mummy’s House and that it would be ok for him to reverse the convention when he was at his mother’s house. In that instant I knew that all that hard work I had put in to giving the flat a really homely feel, and making sure that my children felt like it was their space, was all worth it.

find x exam paper answer This image was taken from a real exam paper answer sheet.Tests at school are always an illuminating experience for teachers. When children are asked questions in situations where there is no adult to help them or other pupil to hide behind, they reveal a great deal about what they have actually picked up from the term’s formal teaching.
. . .Kids are really learning machines, so when they get the wrong end of the stick about something we are actively trying to teach them, as adults we should take a hard look at exactly what we are saying and whether it matches what we actually want to say or mean. Often we are giving mixed messages and helping to confuse the situation more than we think. When anyone is confused and isn’t sure about the answer they are supposed to give, they fall back on the most sensible sounding option; that is, the most sensible sounding solution in their eyes. The exam question that asks, ‘Find x, is asking an ambiguous question, that assumes we understand that the question is really, ‘Find the value of x. Be clear in what you ask of your children, because they so want to give the right answer and it is very hard for them to do that if the question is confusing.

After hearing on the TV News one night that a famous female soap opera star had spent £250,000 on coke, Andrew (8 years old) said. . .

Cor! She must have been really thirsty.

The world is such a hard place, full of harsh realities, but even today children deserve some space to be children. There is a time and place to explain about some of the things that grown-ups do to themselves. The level of knowledge a child has about the adult world will vary from community to community and to a large extent depend on whether or not the child has older brothers or sisters. But don’t make it a rush to grow up, think seriously about the ratings on a film for example, and don’t expose your children to things for which they are not ready. Remember that younger children are not necessarily ready to take on-board the whole range of adult concepts and below a certain age can not distinguish between make believe and reality. Do not wrap your children in cotton wool, but on the other hand, let them enjoy being children.

At breakfast one morning Lucy (6 years old) sat back in her chair and asked . . .

Which came first, the kitchen or the egg?

I like this question much better than the more traditional one about chickens and eggs. For a start it is much easier to answer. Clearly the egg came first and the kitchen was invented to cook it. This actually suits me fine, I never liked the chicken and egg question because it is one of those questions people ask when they want to sound clever but don’t expect an answer.
. . . Kids need to be able to arrange things in a nice order so that they can understand them based on their limited experience, and questions that have no answers are always troubling to them. There are so many difficult questions about real things in life, that are really hard to answer, that it has always seemed odd to me that anyone should ask questions that really have no answer, just for the sake of it.
. . . In any case all chicken and egg type questions actually do have an answer, if you are prepared to look hard enough for it. In the case of the chicken and egg, obviously the Egg came first, because everything living thing starts as an egg and chickens are just one type of animal that evolved to lay them; but then I was about 25 years old before this obvious answer dawned on me.

During a special evening meal, on one of the rare occasions that my parents had invited guests over for supper, about half way through the main course, in a lull in the conversation, I (about 8 years old at the time) said to the guests. . .

You’re not half as bad as my mother said you were

An embarrassed silence followed, broken eventually by some nervous laughter. I was only a kid, and it was years before I realised how awkward that comment was. At that age, the thought that I was saying something bad never crossed my mind. In fact, I distinctly remember, that I was trying make polite conversation and thought that I was paying my parents’ guests a huge compliment by saying (in a roundabout way) how nice I thought they were.
. . . Kids pick up on the smallest things that the people around them say, and because they see the world in a more simplified and less inhibited way than adults, they seem to have the habit of saying what everyone else is actually thinking. Be careful what you say about your ex-partner in front of your children, even if you are not directly talking to them, and never tell them to keep secrets. If you want to keep something secret, don’t tell them in the first place, the last thing they need to learn is how to be guarded about what they say to each parent as they go between homes. There will be plenty of time for them to learn how to control their right to freedom of speech as they grow up.

When I was about 11 years old, I made my mother and her friend a cup of tea to be helpful. The friend took one sip and said that her tea tasted just like dishwater. I said I was sorry and said I would make another one. The second time I made it by boiling some water from the washing-up bowl. I waited till they were drinking the tea before saying. . .

Now that was dishwater!

I don’t have any excuses for this one. I was just being naughty and getting my own back. It was probably my first attempt at irony. Appreciate your children and the efforts they make to help, even if they don’t always turn out exactly as you might want. The way to get things running smoothly is to use encouragement, not cynical irony, kids are quick learners and all they will do is learn how to be cynical themselves.

Dad's the best Albie's sketch Blu-Tacked up on my fridge is a picture my youngest son drew for me one afternoon with the title . . .

Dad's the Best – so is Mum.

Kids love both their parents. Whatever has happened in your life and regardless of what has happened between you and your children’s mother, your children still love both of you. If you have more than one child, you will know how it is possible to love two people at the same time, with all your heart. Your children can’t choose between their parents. If they live with their mother (and that is likely to be the case), it doesn’t follow that you mean less to them. As a dad you offer them something different; something vital to them. Never ask them to choose between you and their mother, or rank their affections.
. . . As they go between your house and their mother’s house they will learn to be slightly different in each place. But always respect their right to love their mother, anything you say that undermines those strong feelings they have will only make you less of a person and make them more guarded of showing you their true feelings. As they grow up it is important that they trust you with their hopes and fears so that you can be there to help them and guide them. This is where you start building that trust.

A downloadable version of this article can be found here.

If your children have said things that have changed the way you look at life, or inspired you, why not send them in to so that they can inspire other dads working hard to bring up their children. Click here to send in a quote and don’t forget to give us a little bit of the story behind the quote as well.

MicroBlog Archive
WEEK 14, 2009
Dad… can we make something?
Making something with the kids for homework can turn into a memorable and heroic enterprise.
WEEK 13, 2009
How to stop arguing: Part 2
How do you stop an argument if you are already in one, here are our top ten tried and tested ways of halting an argument in its tracks
WEEK 12, 2009
How to stop arguing: Part 1
Ten reasons actually why people argue (and that's not including what they argue over) to help you avoid the argument traps and habits
WEEK 11, 2009
Getting ready for a new arrival
When you become a dad for the first time your life changes dramatically,so here are ten top tips on how you can prepare practically for the new arrival
WEEK 10, 2009
Don't say goodbye...
Ten top tips for dealing with all the goodbyes a single dad has to say and keep on saying.
WEEK 9, 2009
Can I do that again?
Think twice before you dismiss your kid's quirkiest comments, because children approach life with such an open mind, that there is often a great deal of sense in even the strangest things they say.
WEEK 8, 2009
Food of the gods
Chocolate isn't all bad, in fact it's mostly good, see our top ten reasons why chocolate is good for you
WEEK 7, 2009
The last thing I remembered was...
Everyone has their own way of recognising the importance of the moment, but here are my top ten tips, conveniently sorted in to Mind, Body and Soul.
WEEK 6, 2009
Caring for a sick child
Caring for a sick child is never easy, but if you are divorced or separated then you might find these top ten tips helpful
WEEK 5, 2009
On Passion, Love and Happy Endings
My top ten couples through history and how they measure up on Passion, Love and Happy Endings
WEEK 4, 2009
Another Place at Breakfast
Introducing a new partner to your kids in the right way can make things so much easier for everyone, read our top ten tips for getting it right
WEEK 3, 2009
What's better than a New Year?
We can learn some good lessons from the traditional values upheld at Chinese New Year, we pick 10 customs that would be worth following.
WEEK 2, 2009
Who needs New Year's Resolutions?
Ten of the best New Year's resolutions designed to help you make 2009 your year.
WEEK 52, 2008
Christmas is here
Christmas is here!
WEEK 51, 2008
Christmas without your kids
Every parent's nightmare and many single dads' reality, is a Christmas Day without your kids. Here are ten top tips on how to have a great Christmas even if you aren't able to see your kids on the day itself.
WEEK 50, 2008
Finding dad a date: Part 2, The Dates
Read the second installment of James's search for a new partner with the help of the Absolute Radio Breakfast Show team
WEEK 49, 2008
Finding dad a date
Finding a date is never easy, but it is doubly hard when you’re a single parent. Read the first part of James's story here
WEEK 48, 2008
Christmas and the kids
10 top tips on how to make the most of the Christmas season with your kids when they don't live with you.
WEEK 47, 2008
What do you do about holidays?
10 practical top tips about how plan and negotiate your access over the holidays.
WEEK 46, 2008
Tackling a teenager
10 top tips on how to maintain a sense of fairness and discipline and yet still managing to remain friends with your teenager through those difficult teenage moments
WEEK 45, 2008
Reliable routines
When parents split up their children’s routines are the first casualty. New routines need to be set up quickly; we've ten top ideas here
WEEK 44, 2008
Rules for Rules
With the right kind of rules kids feel confident, here's our ten top tips for getting getting the rules right in your home
WEEK 43, 2008
Smack or snack
Post separation discipline can turn out to be a problem, so here are our ten top tips for basics of discipline and how to get things working smoothly in your home
WEEK 42, 2008
Getting it right on your first date
Ten tips on how to make sure that a first date turns into a second date
WEEK 41, 2008
Ten great first dates
Where you choose to go on your first date says a lot about you as a person and how you think, so make the most of it with these top ten tips for a great first date venue
WEEK 40, 2008
Getting started with internet dating
Internet dating is a good way to meet new people, so here are some top tips to help you get the most out of online dating
WEEK 39, 2008
How to encourage your kids to read more
So, everyone knows how good reading is for their children, but how do you encourage them to read, or read more. Here are ten top tips to get you started and get your children reading books.
WEEK 38, 2008
The best ten British TV comedy series shows ever
The beneficial effects of laughter 10 of the funniest British TV comedy shows to help start you laughing your way to health
WEEK 37, 2008
Ten ways to be positive
Ten practical ways to be positive when it's tough, from the queen of positive thinking, Dawn Stannard
WEEK 36, 2008
10 ways to grow your kids' creativity
Developing your children's creativity is your job and a very important part of their upbringing, here are ten ways you can help them develop their creativity
WEEK 35, 2008
Relativity: When dark days feel like months
When you are experiencing the trauma of a serious relationship break up, ironically Time seems to slow down, dragging out the pain and making things much worse.
WEEK 34, 2008
Feeding the machine
It's Randomised Variable Interval Reinforcement that makes gamblers gamble and traps normal people in destructive manipulative relationships where they feel unlovable
WEEK 33, 2008
Avoiding pain: Why we stay where it hurts
How can the avoidance of pain be the main human drive when we tolerate so much discomfort in our relationships and our day to day lives?
WEEK 32, 2008
Burning Building
Internet dating is like being in a burning building looking for someone to help get you out, but the only people who can help you are trapped in the same building with you
WEEK 31, 2008
How far have we come?
Humans have been evolving for 1 million years and it's been 10,000 years since Cro-Magnon man developed the family unit, how far have we really come?
WEEK 30, 2008
Who put that cup there?!
What is it that is so seductive about blame? No one is immune to its satisfying qualities and its effects ripple through society at every level. Our kids are an easy target...
WEEK 29, 2008
Winners and Losers?
A thoroughly modern school sports day, that's more about taking part than about making one winner and loads of losers out of us
WEEK 28, 2008
Living apart together
Society is changing, and more and more people have two places they call home, so why is Shared Residence still such an issue?
WEEK 27, 2008
The Children Act, 20 years on, so what's going wrong?
A TV documentary asks what exactly is going wrong with the Children Act, 20 years after becoming law. You can take part and have your say.
WEEK 26, 2008
Mummy says we need a haircut
Do you feel like you're being told what to do by your ex-partner? We explain a little of what's going on and how you can deal with it.
WEEK 25, 2008
Alchemist's Dream
Single parents achieve the alchemist's dream of putting separated things together to turn lead into gold for their kids
WEEK 24, 2008
Happy 100th Birthday, Father's Day
100 years after the first Father’s Day, is this day just another “Hallmark Holiday” or a special time we can use to say what we really mean.
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