Five lessons that worked for us

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Photo by Jesús Rodríguez on Unsplash

We are the parents of a 14 year old man-child. This past year has presented it’s fair share of challenges to say the least. Much has been written in the news about teens struggling at school or dealing with mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. The repeated lockdowns have certainly confined us and created a potential for conflict but much to our surprise the opposite has occurred for us. Our son seems happier than ever and is excelling at school. …


And I don’t feel bad about it.

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Is it terrible to use that word, manipulation? Whatever word you choose to use for it, adjusting children’s behavior through the use of payments and fees works. Creating your own economy, where things like “taking care of responsibilities” and “respecting others’ boundaries” are the commodities being traded, works.

I, like many parents of anyone who falls in the category of ‘human’, have tried every technique in the book to instill those commodities into my children’s impressionable psyches. Time-outs work for the very young, and for things like throwing a tantrum or generally refusing to get along with the group; but…


The Maple Avenue Family Treatment Agreement

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Photo by Paul Fiedler on Unsplash

It was a long and rocky road to replace NAFTA with USMCA, the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement but negotiators were finally able to reach a deal on October 1, 2018. If U.S. and Canadian trade delegates had learned a few lessons from the Brooks-Martin household, however, NAFTA 2.0 could likely have been a reality much sooner.

Back in 2015, we quickly hammered out the latest version of the MAFTA or Maple Avenue Family Treatment Agreement. …


Here’s why I will never forget this moment and be forever proud, even if he changes his mind

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Image Source: Unsplash

I have always asked my son what he wants to be when he grows up. I love hearing his different answers, and seeing his face light up when I tell him he can be anything he wants to be. But for a while now he’s been telling me he wants to be a doctor — ever since the Covid adverts started on the television, and the UK introduced “clap for carers”.

Every Thursday night at 8pm during 2020 my son and I would sit by our front window and clap with the rest of our neighbors for brave NHS heroes…


From your children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.

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Photo by Bess Hamiti from Pexels

It’s a painful reality, though. We’re tormented between love and hate. I know that it wasn’t anybody’s fault. I know that you are doing the best you can within your ability to love us, your children.

But dear parents, you often break our hearts more deeply than anyone else. You are the first people we fall in love with. But also the first people who are likely to wound us by parenting us through your own unhealed wounds.

As a result of your unhealed traumas, you are inadvertently traumatized and leave us struggling with feelings of abandonment, emotional unavailability, unworthiness…


What I’ve learnt about diapers, toddlers, and toilet training

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Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash

“Poo poo,” Small Boy says.

I’m washing up, cooking, checking the emails on my phone for next job advert… Until he grabs my hand and yanks me away.

“Poo poo, NOW!”

Nappies (as they’re known here in the UK)— or diapers — are brilliant. Convenient, a life-saver, insert-appropriate-adjective-here. Diapers, basically, save tired parents a lot of effort and poop cleaning. Like 99% of us, I grew up with the experience that diapers are the norm. …


2. Unintentionally started intermittent fasting

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Photo by Richard Jaimes on Unsplash

I’ve tried every diet out there before finding something that worked for me

Trying to lose weight has been a recurring theme throughout my life. From liquid diets to starving myself then binging to overexercising, I’ve down it all. The common denominator with fad diets, gimmicks or extreme exercise programs isn’t weight loss but weight gain after the novelty wears off and it becomes impossible to sustain.

It wasn’t until my late twenties when I realized how horrible I was treating my body and found a system that gave me peace. …


You taught me to be a better mom

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Photo by Richard Brutyo on Unsplash

Dear Caesar,

Thanks for coming into our lives and telling us all new perspectives of parenting. Being a new mom my life always revolved around my kid. I never knew how to manage everything together till the time I met you.

Yes, that's true, when we met for the first time I was afraid to even come near to you.

Forget about bringing the little baby whom you were staring at from outside the foyer.

Don’t blame me for that! Since growing up I have never had dogs or cats or any other pets at home. At max, you would…


I’m trying to become a better dad, but it’s hard

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Photo: Jcomp/Freepik

“Daddy, I want to do a science experiment!”

I put my phone down as I lower myself to the floor, where my son is holding the science kit he got as a present. We open the box, and I begin flipping through the instruction booklet until I come to a page titled artificial snow.

I find a small packet filled with blue powder, which I dump into a cup. My son begins slowly adding water, and the powder immediately begins to expand. Soon, it outgrows the cup and begins spilling onto the floor. …

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