"Throughout this book, I felt Bruce had a secret window into my own life and private thoughts. Many private feelings I am currently dealing with were addressed and revealed in a manner that made me feel it is not only normal, but I am truly not alone in this. I was surprised that I cried while reading it and the comfort that the words brought me. I read tons of self-help books, among other types of books, and this book actually gives me hope and things to look forward to. My tears were from the fact that I am facing the words I read. I have been getting negative feedback from outside sources and these words reassured me not to listen, keep them out of your life and do what is right. The section on the other home/parent opened my eyes and freed me. I did not go into reading this book thinking it would help me on such a deep emotional level." ~Dorothy Justice, Vice Chair-Community Action Partnership

May 28, 2012

Strengthening Your Children In The Eye Of Challenge

Single PArenting, Divorce, parents, Character, Challenges, Childs Strength
Confidence / Dalla*
Times will come when your child doesn’t think they are capable, themselves, of achieving. Without guidance, children will continually limit their direction. Once I would see a clear line where I needed to step in, I’d guide them through with love, enthusiasm, good respectful communication and unwavering support.

Raising children isn’t all sugar and cream. As parents we take the lumps with the anticipated outcome found in the joys and pleasure of witnessing our children succeed and achieve personal goals. When it comes to life’s hurdles, running or walking hand in hand with your child isn’t easy nor recommended, though I have some alternatives.

Armed with conscious decisions and emotional responsiveness, to enabling their best through love, whether its giving advice or showing my loved ones they can rely on me, I strive to provide a sustainable atmosphere for each to grow on.

Children will look to us even when we’re not looking. Our actions, behavior, and mannerisms we model are life enduring and will have perpetual effect in generations.  You can develop and strengthen your children with one simple key in mind in my opinion; recognizing each individually and without comparison.

I have four daughters. Each is a woman in her own right and an individual with distinct personality and character. Each daughter has developed her own style, values, goals, interests, joys, tastes, dislikes, language and expression. Each requires different care and understanding with regard to their upbringing. In other words, I won’t place expectations on one based on another’s success and may react or respond differently on similar situations.

They are designing their own path in this world, chasing their own dreams, and following their own instincts. The responsibility I accept with each of my children is in conscious decisions to ask good pertinent and intelligent questions. Their response may in effect raise more questions, but their answer isn’t as important as much as their own insight, awareness, and perspective on the issue.

Each of my daughters will develop their own understanding of the issues and steps to resolution if needed. My daughters will have their own challenges, set of problems, and different answers to those problems suited to their personal situation or comfort. My responsibility now that they are older is simply to listen, understand, and share options if needed. Solicited advisor and support are now my essential roles.

My personal awareness to my daughter’s unique characteristics enhances my rapport with each. Understanding their distinct attributes promotes individuality and a sense of true belonging.

My best attempts will enable my daughters to be their best through
forming warm, intimate, involved, lasting, and non-defensive attachments and understanding that creates cohesiveness in our relationships.  This is the emotional responsiveness I choose in parenting.

Incidentally, it's your child's responsibility for being “thee” best and not ours. Whether it’s in school, sports, work, clubs, activities, or in the type of person (how each relates to others), its up to your children to decide where their competitive level meets. Some will want to be the best and others are happy knowing and acknowledging their own best. As parents, its our responsibility to know the difference and help our children find their ability when they limit themselves.

I will lecture, but I’ll also sit and listen in heart to heart talks.  That’s me and I choose my timing wisely. In some unique and rare cases, when I observe their own realization they can’t move, I resort to lighting a fire in their hearts to instigate their motivation.  I can utilize this sparingly since I know I have my daughters’ respect in general. I employ this stance when I witness them limiting their own potential with self-doubt over a prolonged period– when they are distracted from the realization in their own capability. Once my children became older, they identified with my savvy approach. Its infinitely clear now to them it was because I believed in them when they didn’t believe in themselves.

Parenting can be very hard emotionally. No surprise to anyone whose raised children into adulthood. There’s redemption in seeing your child moving toward their target. Watching my kids in anguish over their personal challenge is a tough experience. Expressing the need to not give up while always inspiring and remaining calm is what I do. 

That’s one of my gifts to my children; helping lay out the facts, the landscape and boundaries of the issue, and the objective in finding and identifying their own skill set to conquer the problem.  I call this a form of mentoring and I lay this out in a previous article within my blog, entitled, “Children and Discipline: Never Having to Reprimand.”

Often, and typically in sports or in school, my children met challenges. There will be bumps in the road. That’s the way of life; better to learn early on. I could have easily relied on, “do what you feel is best.” This may work for superficial issues.  Larger challenges build character. I’ve written on the topic of life parallels in sports within my blog, entitled,
“Sports Help Children Prepare For Life Challenges.”

As an example, my youngest daughter met challenges in getting on the right ice hockey teams during her young teens. She had been traveling with ice hockey programs up until age twelve. By age thirteen, things changed. At one point she wanted to give up; she had derived her lack of success into not being good enough.

She’s always had efficient mechanics and puck handling skills, textbook positional fundamentals, great slap shot, and team player and usually voted a leader from teammates– though she lacked the speed, tenacity, and size by age thirteen that most coaches viewed a priority.

She had a couple of character building years, but if I had let her quit that one long day, she would have never learned an important lesson– by working hard and not giving up on herself she could succeed and did. For what she lacked in speed and size, she made up with in her smarts. She played better technique, took better angles, leaned on knowledge of the game through a referee certification, kept her head up, passed and shot with grace and finesse, and as defenseman, all culminated in separating bodies from pucks.

With the right people behind her, all the hard work filtered into an emotional day in her senior year of high school– at the Girls H.S. Ice Hockey State Championship when she assisted in the only goal scored in the game, in overtime, for the win. She did it with a slap shot in front of the many naysayer coaches and program directors from over the years. Once more this sport allowed her to transition to Girls Field Hockey and in the same year she helped her 4th seeded team win that State Championship as Captain.

I always say, if you want something bad enough, you will make it a priority. The same inspiration and enthusiasm was applied to my second youngest daughter who had an affinity for collecting all As in high school. When the one historic teacher took lessons to a new level she got frustrated.

She had never experienced this kind of toughness and resiliency from a teacher previously. If she wanted the A she was going to have to prove it to the teacher in a manner that he was satisfied, even if it meant taking time away from other classes. She got all her As, but more importantly she learned a valuable lesson in accepting new and unknown challenges.

I choose to exhibit conscious decisions and emotional responsiveness because I know my children are watching. I relate with each child differently and with individuality because they are unique and wonderful human beings, but also mutually exclusive in their own right– I know these garner strength in my child’s own responsiveness to manage challenges from their perspective. I know in my heart how I relate to each will carry over in some form to their children.  

© 2012 Bruce Buccio

May 14, 2012

Advisory Flyer on 7 Men Types to Avoid

I thought I’d put my stamp on this topic now for the benefit of my daughters and to have a little fun; since after all college is letting out and I’ll want to try and beat the folly (think running of the bulls at Pamplona, Spain!).
Sibling Hearts / Siza Padovan
Spring is in full force, flowers are in bloom, summer is upon us, and new relationships are starting with their usual luster. As the weather warms so do the hearts of young gentlemen and ladies, as well as the young at heart.

I thought I’d put my stamp on this topic now for the benefit of my daughters and to have a little fun; since after all college is letting out and I’ll want to try and beat the folly (think running of the bulls at Pamplona, Spain!).

I’m handing out an advisory flyer to share wisdom on the subject of men and boys a.k.a. men wannabes. One reason for this advisory is for my two youngest, as the college ranks filter into summer attitudes.

Reason number two is for my other two daughters who are out of undergraduate school now and have started their full time lives; you can never hear enough advice from your dad on the subject of men and my thoughts on the matter. You can’t see me smiling as I write this.

A third and final reason, I’ll acknowledge up front, is to spark some discussion, comments and feedback from my readers, so don’t hold back! I’ve touched on this subject previously, with regard to teen dating, in my blog entitled, “Daughters and Dating – Protecting Your Daughter From the Harsh Realities.”

To my daughters:

Here’s my list of types to avoid, whom at this writing you may have already come in contact with in one form or another. You may witness some meaning relating directly to guys in your past. I know you are smart to stay one step ahead of the nonsense and have the wisdom to dissect and work through the absurdity, but lets elaborate on some unusual characteristics we haven’t discussed or in case you missed my class that day (this will be fun):

1) Nice Guy - How many times have I heard, "Dad, he’s a nice guy!" The nice guy is ok as a single attribute when you’re in high school. It’s a fine and acceptable start, but you’ll need more now. Boys charm, Men prove worthy with many consistent acts of chivalry, generosity (I’m not talking about money), and kindness as a standard. This is with everyone in his life, not just when he wants something. He’ll be multi-dimensional. Heed this, its a greater indicator of things to come. If he has nothing else to offer, move on.

2) Narcissist - The one who appears to have great confidence in himself and looks wonderful on the surface, then slowly isolates you from your loved ones such as your family and closest friends. Anyone pulling you away from your social network and lifelines does not have your best interest at heart. It’s all about him. In the contrary, he should be motivated to meet your family and your friends. He should want the best for you even at his own sacrifice and compromise. He’ll want to know your origins. If he wants an exclusive relationship and he has an opportunity to meet your family and chooses against it, then maybe there’s more than meets the eye.

3) Man Child - a.k.a. Mamas Boy, or more plainly the irresponsible and emotionally disconnected. In my youth, names like Billy, Freddy, Johnny, and Tommy were popular. If your guy is not from the South U.S., where these adult names are common, and he’s still going by what his mommy called him when he was little, then maybe questions about his maturity or accepting responsibility to want to grow up should play in mind. I know there may be exceptions. He may be fun and dynamic, perhaps even a free spirit on the surface, which can be attractive initially. Though the likelihood is he’ll never understand commitment or responsibility as long as his mom is still taking care of him. Men have autonomy, speak for themselves, and do their own laundry.

Incidentally, on the subject of names, random or arbitrary ones he selected himself because he didn’t like the name given at birth? When we are boys we go through a phase in our young teens about our names. Why wasn’t I called Clint because Clint Eastwood is cool! We usually get over it and especially by the time we're 14. Coincidentally, my younger brother, Mark, in his infinite youth couldn’t understand why I got the cooler name. Bruce? Really!?!? I asked for a trade!

In my opinion, there’s a maturing process in understanding with what we are given, what we have and where we came from. Guys should accept their names, among other things, and focus on change in other areas. A name doesn’t change who you are; its all about attitude and acceptance of self. Again, perhaps another small indication of larger things to come! There are extra points when there is history or meaning in his name. This says something about his origin and who raised him, in my opinion. For example with my middle name, John, is from a foster child my parents cared for and wanted to adopt before I was born.

4) Control Freak –This calculating persona will never be happy with himself and find redemption in fixing others. He may look good on the surface initially, as he may be a workaholic and be successful in his profession; although this may be more of a result of his stubborn and persistent behavior. This may only be workable if you have a strong personality and can deflect his need to know everything always on your status. He’ll act strong on the outside to hide his weakness in the core; the vulnerability he protects by distracting those around him with his smarts, deflecting persona, and his own pursuit of constant perfection.

5) Seducer - a.k.a. Perennial Bachelor. Real men don’t need to seduce or use vices such as alcohol or shiny objects, as examples, in order to inhibit your ability from knowing what you don’t want. Men only have a need to prove to themselves. Men will invest the time with you, even through a platonic relationship or friendship, in lieu of taking advantage of the moment with seduction. This type isn’t to be confused with the romantic; the difference is winning over your heart as the target opposed to just sex. There’s not a whole lot to say on this type, which is rather pedestrian and not complex. This type should be spotted a mile away.

6) Cheater – a.k.a. Hedonist who likes women almost as much as himself. He may be a great catch and quite possibly a remarkable man in his own achievements, interests and personality. This unfortunately attracts a lot of self-absorbed women who don’t care if he is attached or even married with kids. Don’t focus on the women, only focus on him; how does he handle all the attention? He may have difficulty saying no; read President Clinton or ex-Senator John Edwards. In the contrary, men have backbone, know how to say no, and lay down the law with public expression of his own personal commitments. Further, he won’t have anything to hide. Those who can’t say no only facilitate this kind of behavior from other women.

7) Bad Boy – a.k.a. Free Spirit. On the surface he’s a risk taker, exciting, spontaneous, with roguish exterior and mysterious interior. He may own his actions and be decisive. He may have needs and be sensitive with slight personality constraints; all a recipe for you to jump in and help him fill the voids he lacks. His emotional reliance on you will be attractive initially. Digging a little deeper you’ll find a man with a rocky past, issues with authority, and unrevealing relationship dysfunction. What will result is a dooming situation that leaves you with financial loss because he’s probably not working and him running for the next best situation you weren’t even aware.

As with everything, there’s always a silver lining. On the other side of the coin, I have a recommendation:

The Diamond – As with regard to “in the rough.” I know, good luck finding him? Chances are, he’ll find you. He’s confident, fun, witty, reliable, dependable, and most of all, proven and consistent over time. He’ll be your partner and you’ll work together as a team. He’ll have your respect; you’ll have his undying love. You’ll have similar or common interests. Learning and discovering together how to manage similar interests successfully may be foresight for how things will work in a better, larger venue.

To all successful relationships, friendship is the foundation, in my opinion. Friends have respect with one another and trust is learned quickly. There are no pre-conceived notions with friends, which allows you to be uninhibited and grow. Friends usually have common interests; that’s perhaps how you met. You get to observe and learn about each other over time and see character, strengths, friends, family, and personal philosophy about life, challenges, and achievements.

In the contrary, opposites do attract; unfortunately in the long term, they don’t stay together. When we're young, we find others to fill voids in our own lives and we even marry them and have children. Then we grow up and discover one day we're two different people, with no common interests. We didn’t change, only our perspectives matured.

Similar interests, philosophies, and thinking foster and attract energy and longevity. There are always exceptions and relationships are not perfect. The “7 men types to avoid” is more a list of things to heed and this should facilitate healthier conclusions.

Were these types on the mark? What advice would you have to share?

© 2012 Bruce Buccio