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The May 18, 2009 issue of New Yorker ran a fascinating article about an experiment that child psychologists in the 1960s use to test the ability of four year olds to exert self control.  The psychologist who designed the experiment later expanded it into a longitudinal study and realized that the ability to show self control at 4 is actually a fair predictor of future success in life (here’s the link to the NY’er article)

This ingenious experiment is easy to run on your own child, and takes only about 5-10 minutes. (more…)

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Let’s talk about disciplining children. I see many parents come up short in this arena.  This is the toughest part of parenting, and the stakes are very high.  Learning how to discipline your child is crucial to your happiness as a parent and to your child’s own well being.  Parents should think this one through, trust their instincts, know their child, and like a good baseball umpire calling balls and strikes – strive for consistency.  The long-term goal is to get to a point where where you won’t need to use discipline to maintain discipline(more…)

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I was laid off several months ago and am now a stay-at-home Daddy for my four young kids.  When I go to the mall or a public playground during business hours on a week day, I feel self-conscious about my non working status.  With unemployment creeping into double digits in many places, I know that I am not alone in my embarrassment.  In my neighborhood, I have been seeing an increasing number of other Daddy’s minding the kids while the rest of the world is punching the clock.

I see Dads like me walking with their heads slightly down as if they are ashamed to look up and acknowledge their plight.  I take these lowered gazes as a sign that perhaps being a stay-at-home parent compounds rather than relieves the unemployment blues.  What I want my fellow Dads to realize that being home with kids is a rare gift whose main beneficiaries are not only your grateful children but you as well.  Afterall, one of the most important keys to getting back in the workforce is the ability to remain positive.  Exercising a direct hand in your child’s development — be it athletic, academic or otherwise– is the greatest source of parental pride and positivity.  So I am dedicating this humble blog to those fathers who might be slow to embrace their new role but who want to achieve greatness in the important field of Parenting before that job offer comes along and messes up their hard-won mojo.

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This is my first blog.  As any aspiring novelist knows, the easiest way to begin honing your novel-writing skills is to write about what you know.

I am a father of four children–three boys and a girl.  Because of this happy circumstance, I happen to know a little bit about fathering.  I  began this particular Daddy-endeavor 11 years ago when my wife gave birth to our first son.  Since then, I have accumulated some knowledge of parenting, mostly by trial and error.  I have stumbled on some fairly effective ways to develop a child’s mind and body, discipline them, get them to sleep, get them to listen and obey, and shape them into fine little human beings who make the right decisions when Mom and Dad aren’t around.  I also try to learn from my wife, my parents, relatives and friends who also have found interesting ways to excel in this most difficult and rewarding task.

I am not steeped in the literature of child development, child psychology or the latest in medicine,  nutrition, soccer technique or muscular development. I can only draw my material from the world around me.  I put the information on my blog out there not to make money or get noticed.  I only hope that some other parent out there can skim through my scribblings and pick out a tip, a hint, or an idea that appeals to them and then apply it to their own children in a way that satisfies both parent and child.

I chose the name The Rain Racer, because the Rain Race is something that my children and I invented while living outside of Washington, D.C.   Several consecutive days of summer showers pinned us inside the house.  The kids and I began crawling the walls.  We decided to break out of the house with something completely spontaneous and fun (and perhaps a little bit foolhardy). The Rain Race was born.  We stripped down to our bare feet and shorts, and shot out the front door into the sheets of incoming rain and ran down to a neighbor’s mailbox and back to the front door.  We ran fast, purposely stepping in every puddle to get as wet as possible.

The Rain Racers in formation

Put another way, we chucked out conventional parenting that says to keep kids out of the rain lest they catch a cold.  In doing so, we turned a wet, dreary day into a family past time that my children and I look back on with fondness. And perhaps someday when my kids are grown adults and wondering how to keep their children entertained when the weather won’t cooperate, they too will employ the Rain Race approach to parenting.

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