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Reversing Generations of Bad Parenting with 6-Time Muay Thai Champion Chris Romulo

How do you become an incredible dad and husband when you grew up with a neglectful father? How do you break the dysfunctional pattern of your family and reverse generations of bad parenting? Chris Romulo is a 6-time Muay Thai Champion and author of Champions Uprising: Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8. He tells us what it was like growing up with a gambling addict and how he uses his past experiences to be a better husband, father, and community member.

Chris Romulo

Chris Romulo is a martial arts champion and trainer who won several Muay Thai titles, including a US National Championship, a North American Championship, and a Bronze medal in Bangkok in the World Cup. He now runs CROM Physical Culture in Rockaway Beach, NY where he lives with his wife, Sarah, and two sons, Jube and Giovanni.

Growing Up

As a 4th grader, Chris’s parents moved him from an Asian neighborhood to a  community that was a mix of Latino, Caribbean, and Black. He was the only Filipino kid in class and he got bullied because of that. Even his teacher was physically abusive. Chris would try to explain what was happening to his mother, but she grew up in the Philippines where this kind of treatment from teachers was acceptable. She’d ask Chris, “What did you do to deserve this?” That’s when Chris questioned everything. He couldn’t trust any of the adults in his life, making him sad and angry. It affected the rest of his education all the way into high school.

On top of the struggles Chris had at school, his dad was a severe gambling addict. There was no physical or mental abuse. It was neglect. His dad was simply not there. He’d sit at the kitchen table with his head buried in lottery numbers trying to decipher what was coming out next. There was never any conversation. His father never even scolded Chris. It was as if his dad didn’t care if the family existed.

The Father He Is Now

At an early age, Chris decided that his purpose was to break the mold. He heard stories of his grandfather back in Philippines, and found out e was the same neglectful parent as his father. This allowed Chris to understand why his dad was the way he was, but he wasn’t going to be the same kind of father to his kids.

Breaking this Cycle of Bad Parenting

Before Chris met his wife, Sarah, it was just him and his first son, Jube. Chris was a single dad and admits that he wasn’t a very attentive dad. Chris wasn’t into gambling, but when he went to the gym to train, he was so engulfed in what he was doing that his son was ignored. Once Chris realized that he was slipping into the same pattern as his father, he did his best to purposely engage with his son.

On How to Be an Engaged Dad

Chris says the ‘how’ of being a good dad is the basics – interaction, conversation, doing things together. Chris watches TV with his son, goes to the movies, takes him to games. Chris says it’s not complicated. It’s very simple. That doesn’t mean it’s easy, but even if you only have a half an hour, make it the best half hour. Be patient and persistent in making quality time a priority.

It’s simple, but it’s not easy. Just stick to the basics.

Biggest Challenge as a Father

There wasn’t a lot of patience in Chris’s household growing up, and as a dad Chris says that is the main thing. He not only strives to develop patience as a father, but also to set an example for his sons on how to approach life with patience. Life is going to test you every day. The only way to work through the struggles and obstacles is to take a step back and let the emotions settle down before they get the best of you.

#1 Lesson Learned from Fighting

Chris Romulo says the most important thing he learned from fighting was to always have goals. Goals gave him the drive and motivation, whether it was for a single fight or for world championships. Set targets for minor and major goals and have a target for your life as a whole.

Champions Uprising

Chris Romulo always wanted to write a book, but he was full of self-doubt and negative self-talk. He never went to college and barely finished high school. Luckily, he had some friends in the marketing and publishing world who helped him make his dream of becoming an author a reality.

When talking about the subtitle of Champions Uprising, Chris says, “You’re’ entire life is going to be full of stumbles and falls. You will not go through life unscathed. You’re going to deal with stuff. You have to get back up.”

Fall seven times, stand up eight.

Dad Wisdom

Chris Romulo’s dad wisdom is to be flexible. He says that as a man and a father, you must adapt. You can’t be stuck in old thinking habits when you’re in new situations. You need to be dynamic in life and in fatherhood. Your kids are going to grow and change and the way you interact with them will have to change too.

Don’t live off your past.

 

Mentioned episodes

Secrets of the Navy SEAL Mindset: Courage, Confidence, Perseverance and Resilience

The Unexpected Secrets of Men, Women, and Sex with Nell Gibbon Daly

Pressure, Perseverance, and Fatherhood with UFC Fighter James Krause

Frankie Edgar on Life Lessons from the Octagon

How to Raise Strong, Confident, Resilient Girls with Bas Rutten


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Chris Romulo’s Links

ChrisRomulo.com

Champions Uprising: Fall 7 Times, Stand Up 8

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Breaking Destructive Habits

3 Steps to Breaking Destructive Habits

On this week’s Thursday Throwdown, we’re going to recap our wildly popular show with Nell Daly about a problem many men silently struggle with – online pornography. Nell Daly talked about three simple steps that can not only help those of us who struggle with porn addiction, but with any destructive habit or behavior like overeating, drinking, gambling, and more.

3 Steps to Breaking Destructive Habits

  1. Look at your behavior without shame or guilt. Objectively analyze your behavior. How often are you doing it? Why are you doing it? How do you feel before and after?
  2. Replace the bad habit with something positive. Do you have a McDonald’s addiction? What could you replace bad food with? Are you spending too much time watching online porn? What about replacing that time with a run?
  3. Keep track of your progress.  Ask yourself, how have I done this week? What replacements were successful? Build on those victories.

Did you catch our episodes with Nell Daly? 

Porn – Why We Watch It, When It’s a Problem, and How to Stop with Nell Daly

The Unexpected Secrets of Men, Women, and Sex with Nell Gibbon Daly


Resources

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GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

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We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

Download a free chapter from: THE DAD’S EDGE on UNLIMITED PATIENCE HERE

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DISCOUNT EXTENDED: $25 a month for GDP listeners (90% lifetime discount)

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ruari fairbains

How to Conquer Alcohol Addiction with Ruari Fairbains

Ruari Fairbains, founder of One Year No Beer, comes on the GDP Podcast to challenge us to take a plunge into the uncommon world of 100% sobriety for one year.

 

Pumpkin spice beer, ale, hard cider, even Pumpkin Spiced Baileys Irish Cream are in full production and it’s the time of year when liquor manufacturers really make their holiday drinking push. Holiday parties, family gatherings and work functions seem synonymous with alcohol consumption during this season, in particular. Maybe you’ll even hear a couple stories about how things got out of hand at the office Christmas Party because Bob in accounting had one too many Jack and Cokes (sorry if your name is Bob and you’re in accounting).  But what if we made just “being” synonymous with these events? What if being sober was cool and drinking went by the wayside? Whoa, you say? Don’t take my beer, man, it’s how I get through this time of year!!

The increasingly popular podcast, One Year No Beer, challenges people to do just that: leave the booze behind for just 90 days. In this 90 days, forgo any type of alcoholic beverage and see what changes occur.

Better Health

The common thread in those who choose not to imbibe is better health. No alcohol equals no beer gut, better sleep habits, better sexual health and better health overall. Not to mention, you become more alert.

Better Employee

Those who have taken the challenge find they have a better focus at work. Better focus equals better job performance, leading to possibly better positions in the workplace. Think about having a more pleasant work experience simply because YOU feel better.

Ruari Fairbains on Better Family Time

Removing alcohol also opens you up to becoming more present with your family. Your mood will improve (let’s face it: alcohol alters our brain chemistry no matter how little or how much we consume). When you are better mentally, those around you will take notice and you will have more pleasant experiences with those you love.

Be the Example

Your kids are watching. You know this. When you handle tough social situations with alcohol, even if it is simply social drinking, your kids witness this. In their minds, alcohol equates to social situations because mom and dad use it during these times, even if it’s just a glass of wine to wind down. But if we change that paradigm and make other things synonymous with social situations, our kids will begin to see these differences as well. After all, they will learn how to behave from their parents.
So, even during this lovely fall season of Pumpkin Spiced Everything, maybe opt to remove the alcoholic version of this seasonal favorite. Instead, replace it with other events that get your endorphins going: take time out to laugh with those you love, get a bike ride in, take your clients to dinner and have a good time without the wine. You just might see that being with people without the filter of alcohol is just that much better.

RESOURCES

==>NEW!!<== Grab a copy of The Dad’s Edge AUDIOBOOK on iTunes or Audible

GRAB A COPY OF THE DAD’S EDGE HERE

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We have new Dad Edge T-Shirts!  Grab one HERE

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Connect with Ruari Fairbains and One Year No Beer

Ruari Fairbains ONE YEAR NO BEER SITE

Ruari Fairbains ONE YEAR NO BEER PRIVATE FB GROUP

 

Thank you for checking out this week’s show with Ruari Fairbains, founder of One Year No Beer.

overcoming addiction

Overcoming Addiction and Being a Better Dad

Overcoming Addiction…It starts as something simple, it seems to help us escape from our daily routine and stressors, harmless enough. Eventually, it takes more of our time because the relief it gives becomes necessary. Over time, though, we notice other parts of our life start to falter and this “thing” begins to seem more like an albatross around our neck rather than a release. But we’ve grown so accustomed to its presence that we don’t know how to shake it: the monkey on our back, the “addiction”. The word addiction is so seamlessly connected to drug, alcohol, gambling and pornography abuse that we can’t possibly associate it with anything else. But, addiction is really anything that steals our time away from other responsibilities to the detriment of our daily lives.

 

It doesn’t have to be a drug…

 

It can be anything from working too much to our golf game to even our health. The kicker is, whatever we are doing that takes away from our other daily obligations and loved ones is simply a symptom of a possibly stronger underlying issue. Maybe we are working really long hours to avoid dealing with a situation we simply do not want to address or maybe we are so obsessed with our health because we fear not being well enough to take care of our family. The intentions may be good, but we really need to take a look at why we engage in these behaviors.

 

Overcoming Addiction and What To Do?

Take a moment a evaluate how it’s affecting your life. If this thing or hobby is taking away from the areas of your life you hold near and dear to your heart, look at how you can curb this habit. Anything can become an addiction if we allow it to control other areas of our life.

Resources:

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Thanks for checking out this week’s podcast on overcoming addiction and being a better dad.

 

jason mackenzie

Drunk to Monk by Jason MacKenzie

Jason MackenzieJason Mackenzie drank  for a long time. He drank to cope with his wife’s battle with bipolar disorder. He drank to cope with her suicide. He drank for years afterwards so he didn’t have to grieve her death. And he drank so he didn’t have to try to be the man his heart knew he could be.  Jason Mackenzie submitted this article to the Good Dad Project from his own blog, The Book of Open.  I have to tell you, he really opens up his world with this article.  It’s incredibly impactful.  Sit back, hold on tight…this article is a game changer.

The Decision to Quit Drinking

Quitting drinking was one of the greatest choices I have made in my life so far. It’s changed everything for me in ways that still amaze me every day. The interesting thing is, I don’t regret drinking. It would be pointless to waste time mired in regret. The benefit of freeing myself and knowing what I am capable of far outweighs the costs I incurred.

The Lessons Learned

The lessons I have learned have made me a much better father than I would have been otherwise. There is so much wisdom to be gained from picking ourselves up off the floor and moving forward.   When our character is tested and we overcome, we are changed forever.
I created a persona that I projected to the world for a long time. I was living someone else’s life because I thought I was supposed to. That person is long gone and will never return. I did it out of fear that the real me wasn’t good enough. Far too many of us still live our lives this way.

Vulnerability

One of the most important lessons I’ve learned is the power of vulnerability. I define vulnerability as loving yourself enough to have the courage to share your story. It means loving yourself as you are and not as how you think people want you to be. When you put yourself out there you create a place of safety that will draw people to you. You’ll build connections with people that are deep and meaningful. And real.

What did this have to do with parenting?

You’re wondering at this point what this has to do with parenting. My oldest daughter is twelve years old. She is an athlete to her core. She is always moving her body and expresses herself through her athletics. She always, always brings her A game whether its to practice or competition. She inspires me to push harder and be better.

She does not like reading. In fact we’ve realized that she is a bit behind in her reading ability and it is starting to affect her at school. It’s not a crisis by any means but something we need to work together to improve. She was very upset about it so I needed to handle it with care.

We sat down and talked. The first thing I told her was that we’re both responsible for right now and for what we do about it. We’re a team. I explained that I felt like I let her down by not paying more attention to how her reading was progressing. I assumed everything was fine and that was a mistake on my part. It was a chance to talk about how we can learn from mistakes and make course corrections.

Reaching Out for Help

I asked why she didn’t ask for help when she fell behind. Her response was, “The other kids didn’t need help and I wanted to be like them. I wanted to do it on my own.” I understand that feeling completely.

“I drank too much for a long time. I needed help but I was too afraid to ask for it. I was worried about what people would think about me if I asked. I was worried about asking for help and still failing.  So, I pretended everything was OK and I kept struggling for a lot longer than I needed to. Mommy was right there wanting to help me and I wouldn’t let her.

The Lesson Learned

“You know what I learned from that? I learned that when you try your best and then ask for help, people will help you. They will want you to succeed. I ask for help all the time now. I’m not afraid to say when I don’t know something. People respect me more because of it. I learned that lesson at forty-one. I’m so happy we have a chance to talk about it when you’re twelve. You’re almost thirty years ahead of me!”

I could tell by her facial expression and body language that my words resonated with her. They made me human and helped her realize that we’re not so different. I created a safe harbor for her to take refuge in when seas are stormy. Will she use it? Time will tell, but I am optimistic. She’s a great kid.

The Power of Our Own Story and Struggle

The fact that I own my story is what allowed me to tell it to her. I’m not afraid of her thinking less of me. I know she’ll think more of me because I am willing to take what I have learned and use it to help her. Regardless of how I’ve learned it. Loving yourself enough to be vulnerable is a game changer folks.

She came to me later and said, “Daddy, I have some solutions on how I can get better at reading.” A girl after my own heart 🙂

Please visit Jason Mackenzie at The Book of Open to read amazing stores of courage and overcoming.

jason mackenzie

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