Someone at a recent family function told me that the reason Devin was misbehaving was probably due to the television shows that he watches. I thought that was quite interesting for a many reasons. One reason was that other than the Saturday morning cartoons on CBS (Dora the Explorer, Blues Clues, Little Bill, etc.) that he watches while my wife and I clean, and the occasional Barney breaks at daycare, he doesn’t watch TV. The only TV in my house is in my bedroom and that thing only goes on after he is in bed for the evening. We don’t even have cable. Also, this person insisted that my method of handling his behavior was not satisfactory – telling Devin face to face to calm down and a couple of timeouts was, in her opinion, not enough – apparently Devin needed a beating. This person saw what she thought was unacceptable behavior and decided on an unsolicited punishment. Case closed.

However I was taking several other factors into consideration when I, Devin’s father, was deciding on discipline options. One factor was environmental. He was hanging out with a bunch of people that he had either never met, or had met infrequently, in a huge four story house that he rarely visits. In this house that dwarfs our apartment, he was playing with a couple of children that were a little older than him and both were trying to get him to do big kid things, like climb the stairs to the fourth floor. As if that weren’t enough he had been up since six-thirty in the morning (he’s an early riser) and he did not nap because we had spent the day out. To add to an already less than ideal situation he was about an hour away from his normal bedtime! With all of those factors in place I could hardly expect him to act like an angel, and I believe that the way I was disciplining him reflected the uncommon situation and was consistent with how I would have handled him at home.

My point New Dads is simple. If you are a parent that spends as much quality time with your offspring as is humanly possible and if you take your role as caregiver and dad seriously, then you know you child better than anyone else, except maybe the person that gave birth to him, and that may not be true in your case. No one can tell you why your child is the way he is, unless the person is a trained professional. And even then a true professional will likely base most of her analysis on what you told her about your child. Be confident in the fact that you know your child’s temperament, schedule, thought process and triggers. There are several tried and true behavior modification techniques, like hugs, which work on children, but the only time they really work is if you know when to use them, and knowing when to use them comes from knowing your child.

There will always be people that believe that they know what’s right for, and wrong with your kid. Some of these people will give you their unsolicited op