To Earn Your kid’s Respect, First Respect Yourself!

  • Julian Diaz
  • Tagged <a href="" rel="tag">affection</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">appearance</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">control</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">dad</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">discipline</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">divorce</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">family</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">home</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">kids</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">life</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Marriage</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">mom</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">parent</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Parenting</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">respect</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">stay at home</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">trouble</a>
  • May 20, 2017
  • How often have you been approached in conversation by a friend or family member with their arms in the air and frustrated that their kids just don’t respect them?  In my experience this is usually coming from someone wearing a messy bun, three-day fresh yoga pants and lunch’s chip crumbs.  I try to explain the […]

    How often have you been approached in conversation by a friend or family member with their arms in the air and frustrated that their kids just don’t respect them?  In my experience this is usually coming from someone wearing a messy bun, three-day fresh yoga pants and lunch’s chip crumbs.  I try to explain the problem as gently as I can and the fix starts with the adult in the situation.  As always kids are held accountable for their words and actions, but when it comes to commanding respect and authority it holds that the person demanding that respect will hold up their part.  Have you ever been pulled over by a police man in yoga pants?  Have you ever seen a lawyer, doctor or manager with food stains and messy hair?  If you have, then you know exactly what I’m talking about because I’ll wager that your opinion of the fellow was not high either.

    Our kids don’t live in a vacuum.  Every day they encounter numerous people and have a flood of information from the television and internet.  Some of these people we tell them are in charge, such as police men, doctors, teachers and the principle.  We expect these people to command authority through their actions and demeanor.   The secret here is that in order to demand respect from others you must first respect yourself! 

    Dr. David J. Schwartz lays out this situation neatly in his book The Magic of Thinking Big.  This book is designed to help people re-imagine their boundaries so that they can accomplish more in their personal and professional lives.  One of my favorite principles in this book is the idea that you will earn plus or minus ten percent of what you believe your worth.  This is more than just money, when it comes to your kids and marriage the way you see yourself will influence the way you carry yourself, the way you dress, and the way you talk.  This in turn will affect how others perceive you and value what you have to say.


    Appearance is pretty straight forward.  The days of unconditional love from your kid are short and about the time they go to school and begin to see a world outside of your own is when it begins to diminish.  This isn’t a bad thing, we want them to have high and realistic expectations of the world and the people they allow to influence their decision making.  Even a stay at home parent should get out of bed, make the bed, and dress for the day.  Every day!

    By dressing for the day and running an organized home you show your kids that you are serious about your work.  In turn you will be amazed at how much more productive you are because you will feel better prepared for what the day throws at you.  As your kids transition to teenage years and they think heavily on what they are going to do with their own lives this becomes crucial.  At that point, they have a personal image of what their adult selves look like and you don’t want that to be at odds with the family portrait.  If it is you will find them begin to pull away and distance themselves from you.  If their personal image is not one that you like or they need to be more ambitious, then this is your time as parent and mentor to shape and mold that image into something they can set as a goal.


    If you’re the boss then talk like a boss.  Remember parents, we don’t negotiate with terrorists!  If your kids are throwing temper tantrums and one of the parents has already made an executive decision then stick to it.  There is nothing worse than divided parents when it comes to discipline.  That being said don’t be close minded.  Like any good boss you also have to be open and willing to reevaluate your decision in light of new facts or if it is not achieving your desired response.

    Buy half as many

    Dr. David Schwartz also said, “Spend twice as much and buy half as many.”  I love this quote because it can be applied to the whole situation.  When it comes to your appearance save your money to shop at the higher end stores.  You will be able to shop there only half as often but you will be able to purchase higher quality goods that will look better and last twice as long.  This quote is also about how you speak to your kids.  Don’t be a nag that is after them 24/7 about every single detail in their lives.  If chores are due on Friday then remind them once or twice and drop it.  If they don’t get done they pay the consequence in your discipline system.  If you save your words for the truly important things then they will be twice the quality and carry twice the weight!  Furthermore, they will actually hear them instead of tuning out the back-ground noise.

    Please share this post and your own thoughts and experiences below!  Stay dapper my friends!

    Stop Sibling Bickering, my Attack Plan!

  • Julian Diaz
  • Tagged <a href="" rel="tag">bickering</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">boundaries</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">children</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">discipline</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">fighting</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">friendship</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">kids</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Parenting</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">responsibility</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">rivalry</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">rules</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">sibiling</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">spanking</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">struggle</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">system</a>
  • May 2, 2017
  • As I enjoy a coffee and listen to Frank Sinatra on a mid afternoon I am struck by how quite it is.  If you have more than one child in your home then chances are they fight.  ALL THE TIME!  It’s enough to bring out the Barbarian in any of us and ruin the most […]

    As I enjoy a coffee and listen to Frank Sinatra on a mid afternoon I am struck by how quite it is.  If you have more than one child in your home then chances are they fight.  ALL THE TIME!  It’s enough to bring out the Barbarian in any of us and ruin the most well planned family outings.  If they don’t then please tell me what your using to sedate them…  The rest of us must rely on more creative ways of solving the issue.

    First off, we must identify the cause of the bickering.  Often this can present itself at the start because of differences in opinion and personalities.  As adults we get to pick and choose who we spend our time with, but children are stuck with whoever is under the same roof.  Once the bickering begins it can take deep root in your children’s behavior through your acceptance and grow into habit.  If your reading this article I suppose like me you are far into the stage of habit.  My kids bicker over absolutely nothing and when I ask what they’re arguing about they have one or two complaints that after some simple questioning leads back to “nothing”.  Its enough to drive a Buddhist monk insane!

    If this sounds familiar don’t throw in the towel yet.  We have a plan.  There are many discipline systems out there and in our house, I use a simple allowance in poker chips system.  I will cover it in detail on another post, but essentially I pay them an allowance at the beginning of the week in poker chips and they keep it or lose it throughout the week by behavior and chores.  At the end, they get to cash out what they have left and discuss why they lost it.  At the same time if they did well this is a great opportunity to give them a pat on the back.  It’s worked for a long time, but like any system it has become routine and complacency has set in.  I’ve lost the WOW! factor in our punishments and we need to shake up the house a bit.  Peter Drucker said it best when he said, “The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

    These are turbulent times in your kid’s lives and they need a leader to help guide them through.  My program will attack the problem from many sides, some new and some proven methods in our household.  My air and ground campaign will include:

    1. Identify the cause of the bickering.
    2. They must have sanctuary places from each other when appropriate.
    3. Outline a punishment and reward system and be consistent! A system breaks down the moment you become inconsistent and they don’t know what to expect next.
    4. Give them the attention the crave so badly that they act out for it, but do so on your terms and not theirs.
    5. Don’t participate in the blame games and join in on the argument.
    6. Identify team building exercises to promote healthy dialogue. Its ok here if you are the “enemy” and they must band together to avoid your wrath!




    The reason most kids fight is boredom and habit as we said before.  Usually one of them wants to play a game the other doesn’t or wants to chill while the other wants to blow off steam.  Lately the perpetrator here in our house has been my daughter.  Yes, the sweet and adorable little angel of mine has a mean streak.  When she gets bored she will start poking at her brother, either little insults or literally poking.  In this case as a pre-teen he needs his own space.  In our home he can go to his room, which his sister is not allowed in or he can ask for exclusive use of the play room, which we allow for an hour or two at a time.  On the other hand, if he is the one being physical she knows she can do the same to get a reprieve.


    This one will be a new addition in our home.  As I stated before, we have a pretty sophisticated reward system in place that needs some tuning.  I’m going to keep that system and add to it poker chips with the things they get grounded from.  I will hang a board and call it the “wall of regrets” because I’m a smart ass and its funny.  Here they can hang a chip for all their beloved video games, tablets, cell phone, Netflix and snack.  These are things that I already stress to my kids as wants and not needs.  It is a clear distinction to make to young ones that they will never have to fear losing the things they need from me such as food, shelter, safety, warmth and love.  These are freely given, but the things they want they must earn through chores and behavior.  I will use this new wall of regret as an attention grabber to undesirable behavior.

    The normal groundings still apply if a behavior is bad enough they will lose video games for a week or two, but for the bickering they may lose it for an hour and then take it back.  This will be the attention grabber before they leap off a cliff with their loose mouths.  The reason this poker chip system works so well is that it forces them to disengage.  They have to physically get up and retrieve the chip.  By the time they sit back down their little brains have the chance to reengage and they will often move on.  This is something that many adults have problems with too…


    The key to giving your kids the attention they want is to do it on your terms.  Both of my children act out in different ways to get attention and this may be aggravated in my home because I spent so many years traveling in the military.  Now that I am home for good they seem to be trying to connect and to be honest I’m struggling with how to best do that myself.  For the first time in our lives I don’t have a month or year long absence on the calendar. So, I plan to provide my daughter a daddy-daughter date at least once a week.  This doesn’t have to be anything formal, maybe pancakes Saturday morning or a picnic Wednesday afternoon.  My schedule at work varies with what we are training, but time can be made with a little effort on your part.  For my son I will give him time as well, but maybe an hour of his video games, YouTube silly videos or a hike.  It’s important here to do something they want to do and not force them to watch football and call it “quality” time unless that’s what they are genuinely into.

    For younger kids I really love Jordan’s idea from her blog.  In this video she outlines an amazing program they designed to fit their five kids, all of which are under the age of 6!

    Avoid Participating

    Too often, parents forget in the heat of the moment that they are the adult!  You can not engage your kids in these battles of wit and attention seeking behavior.  I am not one to say that there is never a cause for a spanking, but too often I’ve seen parents that spank their kids to vent their frustrations on them.  There is a point where there is no longer a lesson being taught and you are simply being the bully.  I stopped spanking my son early on because he took it as a challenge and I was engaging in his anger.  Me spanking him was feeding the fire whereas with my daughter the occasional spanking and threat of one often kept her in line.  Now that they are older both have mostly out grown the usefulness of the threat.  This is a dangerous line to draw and although I do spank my kids I do not rule my house with fear.

    Team building

    Now here is where the fun begins!  For as long as it takes to get them in line they will be performing “team building” exercises.  As a veteran of these great United States I consider myself well versed in how diabolical these can get LOL! This weekend they will be setting up our tents, cleaning them and taking them back down.  This is a task that is impossible to do alone at their sizes and will require work.  If you don’t supervise this will create more bickering opportunities, but supervised they will be forced to work together and use constructive dialogue.  Looking forward to this one!  I think I will enjoy it from a shaded tree with a good, cold beer 😊

    Work Ethic, Where is it Learned?

  • Julian Diaz
  • Tagged <a href="" rel="tag">children</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">discipline</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">expectations</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">kids</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">lazy</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Parenting</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">responsibility</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">work</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">work ethic</a>
  • April 25, 2017
  • The magic of the moment is that I never had to ask for his help!


    I have often reflected on my past and wondered where I learned to work.  It seems simple and trivial, but then I look around when there is a task to be completed and I find myself in the minority of individuals that want to see it done and done right.  In my past I think the credit must go to my parents.  Though, they may not have been the most nurturing of paternal units the work they put in to provide for us was evident in the blood, sweat and tears that literally covered their faces and hands at times.

    This is a dilemma I struggle with now because my childhood is something I can’t and shouldn’t try to recreate for my kids today.  It is a different time in the world when everything is convenient and we are far better off financially then I was as a child.  People take for granted all the extra time they have today from simple conveniences like a washer and dryer.  These appliances did not become home staples until the 1950’s.  Given the history of humanity that was yesterday!  Forever before that it was hand washing in the sink if you had running water or down at the river if you didn’t.

    Work ethic and pride in one’s work20170424_185246 is something that I take very seriously and I have tried to pass down to my children.  For that reason, I am super transparent in the way I work.  Obviously, I can’t take them to work every day.  They have school and my line of work comes with some hazards LOL.  But, at home I let them see my frustration and exhaustion working on the dishwasher at 9 P.M. after a twelve-hour day and I take the time to explain my reasons for doing it.

    A conversation from under my dishwasher last Wednesday:

    Son: “Night Dad… why don’t you finish that tomorrow?”

    Dapper Barbarian: “If I let this project sit so that I can rest tonight something else will break or I’ll have another reason to put it off tomorrow and I won’t have time this week.”

    Son: “I won’t break anything else so you should be ok.” (Oh yea! I forgot to mention I had to fix the dishwasher because my son sat on the open door! Or, if you prefer his explanation he was knocked over by our dog, so part of his questioning was from guilt that he created the problem.)

    Literally the next morning CRACK! The a top drawer in our baking cabinet crashes down onto the bottom one and both rails are damaged. *Sigh* My wife and I made the Lowes trip and it took me a few days to get to the repairs.  As I was struggling to fit my shoulders into the cabinet, again after a long day at work, my 12-year-old turned off the Xbox and offered to help.  He spent the next hour busting his knuckles in that tight space with me and I shared how I measured the fit, etc.  The magic of the moment is that I never had to ask for his help!

    It’s for these small moments that I see my transparency with them and speaking to them as a fellow human instead of a lowly child as an investment.  In this case, I saw my investment returned in the form of a teaching event and I received much needed help.  It is one of the best feelings as a parent, isn’t it?

    Feel free to share your stories below or on Facebook.

    Children’s Boundaries, Where to Draw the Line?

  • Julian Diaz
  • Tagged <a href="" rel="tag">boundaries</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">children</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">discipline</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">expectations</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">kids</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">Parenting</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">strong-willed</a>, <a href="" rel="tag">struggle</a>4 Comments
  • April 23, 2017
  • I’m assuming if you are crawling the internet about boundaries you have a strong willed child at home. So, how exactly do we set up these boundaries?

    This topic is rather ironic at the moment as I set aside this Sunday morning for the purpose of establishing this blog.  I decided to get up at 6 A.M. so that I would have a few hours to myself before all of the family got up.  Now two hours into it, I have yet to accomplish anything because the dogs and cats have been fighting and woke up my daughter who wants to know everything that I’m doing.  LOL… sound familiar to any of you?

    Luckily the house does have some boundaries in place and things are starting to settle down for a few minutes.  What are boundaries and how do they help? I like the definition given by that describes boundaries as the limits that you set on activities or relationships.  They help define what is acceptable or unacceptable in a relationship. 

    I’m assuming if you are crawling the internet about boundaries you have a strong willed child at home. So, how exactly do we set up these boundaries?  There is no step-by-step process as the true spirit of the issue is in defining the behavior, expectations and consequences.  For those of you that love lists:

    1. Define the problem/topic.
    2. Define your expectations.
    3. Define consequences.
    4. Ask your child to repeat the problem/topic, expectations and consequences to make sure they understand and have an opportunity to ask questions.

    This can be a challenge at first as it is with any change, but once it becomes consistent and routine you will be amazed at what your children will adjust to.  There are very firm boundaries that allow no room for discussion from children.  The other side of this are “free-range” parents that allow their children to essentially set their own rules.  (I pass no judgments as there is no perfect way to raise these heathens and I have met “free-range” parents who disagree with each other’s philosophies, let alone mine)

    I take a more balanced approach and find it is the best way to prepare my children to make their own decisions when I’m not there to make them.  If your raising a toddler right now and you think they will always come to you before making a decision I am afraid you are facing a very disappointing future.  That stage starts to die the day they go to Kindergarten.   The problem with setting boundaries in a totalitarian and rigid fashion is that you never allow your children to question the system and frankly sometimes the system is broke.  When I show up somewhere new and want to know why we are doing something I loathe hearing “because we’ve always done it this way”.  If that was the way we lived life we would all still be using out houses and burning witches at the stake.  So, when a child sees something that doesn’t make any sense they should feel safe in asking why.  If they don’t feel safe asking those questions it can lead to withdrawal and rebellion against a system that in their eyes makes no sense.  This is not to say that rigid boundaries don’t have their place.  An example of a rigid boundary in my house is on the use of drugs, underage drinking and turning in homework.  I have had these conversations with my kids and continue stressing them to my middle schooler, there is no budging on them.  The expectations and consequences are very clearly drawn, which gives them the consistency to make decisions from.

    In comparison having no boundaries at all can leave a child feeling insecure and lost.  Depending on their ages they simply lack the experience to deal with some of the choices that are presented to us daily.  There is no concept of future planning with the $3.00 they may have earned for chores and no perceived consequence to downing an entire bag of candy.  Where as we know that bag of candy will have us regretting life on a toilet in an hour and I might need that 3 bucks for a drink later.  But, these examples are perfect opportunities to allow them to make mistakes!  The beauty of allowing them to make some of the decisions is that you begin building that foundation of experience they lack in decision making before they leave your safety net at home.  Sooner or later that choice to down a bag of candy will be replaced with a keg stand…


    (Dr. Craig Childress discusses the issue of parenting a strong willed child.)

    WARNING** be prepared to struggle at times when they don’t make the decision you had hoped.  Example, as I try to write this my 10 year old daughter interrupted me to ask permission to bake a mug muffin and pour some chocolate milk for breakfast.  She fancies herself a perfect little chef after watching a few you tube videos and TV contests.  I tell her yes with the boundaries of what she can use and how to clean up.  She just broke one of my shot glasses because she was using it to measure with!  Face-to-Palm…. But I love my kids and like every loving parent I want the best for them.  My mantra in these moments is a scene from the movie Wanted.  In that movie the main character Wesley faces the decision to become an assassin or go back to his daily job crunching spreadsheets.  He goes to work and looses it when he feels trapped by his cubicle and an over-weight, rude middle manager jams her grubby finger into his face about deadlines.  Those oppressed people that literally trade years of their life in for a small pension or hourly wage is not the future that I have in mind for my kids.  I want them to question rules, systems and themselves daily.  But, I want them to do it in a way that passes the common-sense test and has acceptable consequences.

    Update: The mug muffin I am told was a success, but I’m afraid to try it myself, the smell is not very inviting…

    Feel free to comment below with your current struggle and as a community perhaps we can offer assistance!

    To be Dapper Today, or to be Barbarian?

  • Julian Diaz
  • April 22, 2017
  • My hope for this platform is to become a discussion board for like minded individuals on the topics of Parenting, Travel, Finances, etc.

    The Dapper Barbarian is the brain child of many attempts at establishing a blog.  My interest has fallen short with all of my other attempts because they are too narrow in scope.  My hope for this platform is to become a discussion board for like minded individuals on the topics of Parenting, Travel, Finances, etc.  My goal is to give you usable information and motivation, but don’t get it twisted.  I am in as much need of help in this game of life as the next guy and look forward to the dialogue most of all.