A most important word

There have been countless debates about how to help your kids become happy, healthy, successful people in their own lives. And one effective method of preparing them for their own lives is to give them a heavy dose of the word that not enough kids are getting today. The word?


All of you deal with a certain amount of frustration in your everyday adult lives. You’re frustrated at your jobs, in your relationships, and by circumstances that you have no control over. Over time you learn to handle frustration better and to turn it into challenges and opportunities that you can work through.

People who can handle frustration successfully tend to have happier and more successful lives. They learn to be resilient and to appreciate what they’ve accomplished and what they’ve received.

How about your kids?

Are your kids being frustrated enough? Are there high enough expectations being placed on them? Are you saying no enough and are you allowing them to have opportunities to be frustrated and to work through it?

If you’re not allowing your kids to be exposed to responsibility and frustration, and if you’re not liberally giving out the N word to them, you may be creating monsters within the confines of your home.

Many parents have gone through hard times in their lives and naturally want to spare their children the same fate that they experienced. They have a very difficult time seeing their children struggling and allowing them to deal with it. The result of this choice is that many children today get almost everything they want in terms of clothes, electronic gadgets, toys etc. The amount of stuff they receive and the new products that they want keep growing every year.

It’s clear that many parents are preparing their kids for a life that’s out of touch with the real world. The same kids who have so many material possessions often don’t appreciate or take care of what they do have. Why should they? There will probably be more goodies coming soon.

Fathers who say no to their kids on a fairly regular basis take a big step towards ensuring that their kids are happy, responsible, and successful.

Here are some specific actions that dads can take:

  • If you’re married, consult with your wife about what your dose of the “N” word will be. Creating a unified front will strengthen your position and cause fewer conflicts.
  • Never do things for your children that they can do for themselves. Allow them to be frustrated and to learn to be more resilient.
  • Consider an allowance for your kids, even if they’re quite young, so that they can develop a sense of responsibility with money and a sense of taking care of their things.
  • Take stock of your children’s possessions. Do they have way too many things? Are their some things that might be better suited for Goodwill?
  • Foster an environment of appreciation for the things you have. Model this appreciation in how you care for the things you own and how you use them.
  • Limit the number and price of the gifts your kids receive at holidays and parties. Donate or give away the gifts that they aren’t very interested in. If necessary, talk to your relatives and friends about what you’re trying to do.

It’s difficult at times to see your kids’ struggle with the many challenges of being young and inexperienced. Frustration is a child’s constant companion as they learn the many skills and demands of living their lives.

But Fathers who are interested in having their kids avoid pain are doing their kids a disservice. They’re more interested in being a savior than serving their kids. The message comes in loud and clear for them: “Your dad doesn’t think you can handle this.”

Remember that some day your kids will figure these things out for themselves.

And when they do, they’ll thank you for allowing them to struggle.

© 2007 Mark Brandenburg

Other Father Issues, Books, Resources

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To this day I can remember my father's voice, singing over me in the stillness of the night. - Carl G. Jung

Mark has a Masters degree in counseling psychology and has been a counselor, business consultant, sports counselor, and a certified life and business coach. He has worked with individuals, teams, and businesses to improve their performance for over 20 years. Prior to life and business coaching Mark was a world-ranked professional tennis player and has coached other world-ranked athletes. He has helped hundreds of individuals to implement his coaching techniques. Mark specializes in coaching men to balance their lives and to improve the important relationships in their lives. He is the author of the popular e-books, 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers , and Fix Your Wife in 30 Days or Less (And Improve Yourself at the Same Time ). Mark is also the publisher of the “Dads Don’t Fix your Kids” ezine for fathers. To sign up, go to or E-Mail

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