Five Ways to Control our Temper as Dads

Ah, Clark Griswold; the preeminent example of a father and husband with the best of intentions, but reaction challenged when it comes to dealing with life’s hurdles and controlling his temper. Of course he wants the best for his family: from great vacations to Wally World to finding the biggest Christmas tree. Unfortunately, on his quest to be the “perfect father”, he tends to respond in anger and frustration when things don’t go the way he plans. Sound typical? Ok, so maybe Griswold is a bit extreme (or maybe not), but you have more than likely had a moment or two when frustration has gotten the best of you. Larry and Shawn provide 5 easy ways to keep your anger and frustration at bay.

Your Temper and the “Perfect Father Myth”

Before we go any further, let’s dispel the “perfect father” myth; there is no perfect father, doesn’t exist. We’re human, have emotions and sometimes, those emotions get the better of us and that’s okay. As Larry says, “great fathers have bad moments”, it’s what you do in those moments that build your character and provide a positive example for those around you, specifically your children.

Controlling our Temper Means Knowing our Triggers

So, what’s a guy to do when it seems like the world is pushing all of your buttons? Know your triggers. Maybe it’s repeating yourself to get your kids to pick up after themselves or you’ve just come home from a full day of work and you are barraged with requests to help with homework and the kids. Whatever your triggers, identify them so that you can do what you need to do to prepare yourself ahead of time and following these 5 ideas might just help diffuse your response:

Temper Tip #1:  Breathe

Be able to take a breath. Not just that little hyperventilating breath, either. This breath needs to be a nice, long, drawn breath, enough to calm you and bring you back to a state of peace. It should allow you to reset yourself and prepare you to deal with the situation at hand in a rational manner.

Temper Tip #2:  Walk Away

Walk away. In the heat of the moment, our adrenaline may make us want to stay in the situation and argue. But cooler heads do prevail, walking away when we feel our blood boiling will keep us from saying things we may later regret. Not only that, walking away gives us a chance to get perspective on the situation. Adrenaline only muddies the waters.

Temper Tip #3:  Stay Active

Stay active. If there’s one concept that is driven home on a regular basis on the GDP, it’s the benefits of exercise and overall health. In the case of anger and frustration, physical activity can also help us to channel this aggression into something more positive. So, there’s really a dual benefit: your anger remains at bay and you stay fit!

Temper Tip #4:  Surround Yourself with the RIGHT People

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people. Enough said. You need a sounding board that has been through similar experiences and can give you either advice or a simple listening ear.

Temper Tip #5:  When you do Lose your Cool, Apologize

Finally, when you do lose your cool, apologize. Even if it goes against everything you feel like doing, an apology goes a long way in repairing a bridge that may be a little singed. Apologies disarm people and pave the way to build a relationship into a stronger force.

Forget about Perfection

Forget the “perfect father” myth. Let it remain just that: a myth. We are human, prone to the same emotions of all other humans; it’s what we do with those emotions that make us who we truly are.


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Thanks for checking out this week’s podcast on Five Ways to Control Our Temper as Dads.

teach grit

How to Teach Grit

Teach GRIT!

The Good Dad Project Podcast with Frankie Edgar was a game changer for so many reasons.  The coolest thing about the GDP and having a dad podcast is that no matter fame nor fortune, men jump at the chance to share their views, their journey, and even their struggles.

For this week’s five minute Thursday, I wanted to recap some highlights from the interview with Frankie.

When under pressure, be calm, cool, and collected

When the UFC Octagon cage doors close…anything can happen.  The secret to a successful outcome in the octagon is being prepared for anything because anything can happen.  Frankie shares that being calm, cool, and collected is absolutely necessary to be able to think rationally.

Being calm, cool, and collected is a skill that transfers from the cage to the family.  Through our journey of fatherhood, there will be situations that test us under pressure.  When we respond calmly and avoid a knee-jerk panic reaction, it illustrates our emotional resiliency.

How to teach GRIT

Teaching grit is probably one the most difficult lessons to teach our kids.  Our instinct is to protect them from anything that is difficult.  Our society also puts such an emphasis on winning at all costs.

Frankie mentioned that he loves leveraging sports to teach his kids grit.  For example, he doesn’t really care if his kids win or lose a wrestling match.  What he wants to see if how hard they fight for the win.  If there isn’t a desire and a fire in the belly to win, that is a bigger problem.  None of us can coach desire.  Desire is either there or it’s not.  However, we can teach how to leverage our desire to win to tap into our grit.  We can even leverage our losses to teach us lessons on how to win in the future.  Finally, we can teach grit through losing and failure.  A victory is even sweeter when we have to work at it extremely hard.  Lessons of grit are learned through sports and as parents we can use situations like losses to teach these lessons.

For Parents of Youth Sports:  Take a Seat and Enjoy

Frankie had some excellent advice for parents of youth sports and that’s “take a seat and enjoy.”  Be the silent voice of love and support when it comes to sports.  Its extremely difficult to not get emotionally wrapped up in our kids sports performance.  I am speaking from a father who is a parent and a coach of my kids sports teams and I see it all the time.

Parents can be extremely tough on their kids even when they think they are helping.  I didn’t really get this mentality until I read The Matheny Manifesto by Mike Matheny, manager of the St. Louis Cardinals.  If you really want to see your child love sports and if you want to see peak performance…take a seat, enjoy, and let the coaches do their jobs.

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Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

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Connect with Frankie Edgar:

Frankie Edgar Website

Frankie Edgar Twitter

Frankie Edgar UFC Profile

frankie edgar

Frankie Edgar on Life Lessons from the Octagon

Frankie Edgar is a professional MMA fighter in the UFC. Frankie started his successful fighting career with a solid foundation of wrestling.  Two-time State Place Winner for New Jersey, 2nd in HS Nationals in 2000, 4x Division 1 National Qualifier for Clarion University and College Freestyle All-American in 2004.  He currently fights in the 155LB weight class in the UFC with 18 wins, 4 losses, and 1 Draw.  Frankie has 3 kids – 2 boys and 1 girl.

Frankie Edgar’s Upbringing

We are responsible for what we do, or for that fact, do not do. Frankie Edgar, UFC Champion fighter knows this very well. Growing up in New Jersey in a working class family, Frankie’s father showed his kids a life template for how to get through the good and rough times in life. Through his sacrifices for his family, Frankie learned from his own father that even when life doesn’t deal you a fair hand, it is up to the individual to do what is necessary to make the situation right.

Extreme Ownership and Life Lessons of Wrestling

Frankie took this mindset to the mat as a wrestler as well.  Frankie says the sport is different from other sports in that when you lose a match, the blame falls solely on your shoulders. There’s no one else to point the finger at. You either pinned your opponent or you didn’t. And so it goes in life: those who are successful are willing to take the blame for their mistakes and also know how to take a lesson from those mistakes.

Life Lessons Learned from the Cage

In the cage, Frankie says, even when he is faced with mind-wrecking punches, he has to remain “cool, calm and collected and make rational decisions.” Demonstrating this in the ring and in his life, he is able to set the example for his children that even in the most trying conditions, a calm mindset will help to fully understand the situation and make the best decision.

Take a Seat and Enjoy

Even when it comes to his own children, and those he coaches, he says he “take a seat and enjoy.”   He gives the same advice to parents of athletes. Instead of forcing your own desires on your kids, give them a choice so they feel empowered and know that they can make the decisions that impact their lives. (This seems to be a pervasive theme among all elite athletes we’ve spoken with).

Frankie Edgar on Teaching Grit

Overall, Frankie Edgar wants to make sure his kids learn to have grit, be good people and have a sense of culture. When it comes to his kids, Frankie says, he goes with his gut.

Free Resources:

Check out our Dad Edge Group on Facebook Request Entry Here

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

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

Check out this free resource on: CONNECTION WITH YOUR SPOUSE

Check out this free resource on:  CONNECTION WITH YOUR KIDS


Connect with Frankie Edgar:

Frankie Edgar Website

Frankie Edgar Twitter

Frankie Edgar UFC Profile

Thanks for checking out this week’s Good Dad Project Podcast Episode featuring Frankie Edgar.

Other Shows Mentioned in this Episode

Good Dad Project with Carlos Condit on Grit and Gratitude

Good Dad Project with Jake Herbert on the Gold Medal Mindset

Good Dad Project with Charlie Brenneman on Driven for Excellence

Good Dad Project with Jim Miller on Living a Life without Regret

jason mackenzie

How Embracing Vulnerability will Strengthen your Resolve and Manhood with Jason MacKenzie

Jason MacKenzie, founder of the Book of Open, had what all of us wanted. Rising on the corporate ladder, two wonderful daughters and a beautiful wife, Jason seemed to have it all-until he didn’t.

“What we don’t realize is this vulnerability reveals our strengths and allows others to learn from our brokenness.”  TWEET THAT

 The “Perfect” Life

The family looks great in the picture. Everyone is smiling; the leaves are falling just so in the background and the day looks as if it couldn’t be more perfect. But it’s not.

Pictures take a frame of time and distort it. What happens in the next frame, or the one after that? The thing is, the picture only tells part of the story; figuratively speaking, scratch the surface of that family photo and you just may find that everything isn’t all that perfect. Sometimes real life is like this, we keep up appearances so that no one can see what is real underneath.

Jason MacKenzie on Keeping it Real

Real makes us vulnerable, real can be scary. But what happens when life makes us face the reality? It is in these intersections that we find out what we are made of. Maybe that’s why life’s realities can be so hard to face, what we are really afraid of is whether or not we are made of tough enough stuff.

Having it all and then losing it in an instant

The life that Jason Mackenzie had longed for was ripped out from underneath him when the mother of his daughters was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. After years of trying to hide the pain of watching his wife literally fall apart before him, Jason had to face the reality that his dream life was gone. His wife committed suicide and left him to raise their two daughters on his own. To deal with the pain of his wife’s condition, Jason turned to drinking. Even after her death, Jason continued into an alcoholic stupor.

Self-Destruction or Empowerment through Vulnerability?

It was at this point that Jason had to make a choice: continue on the self-destructive path and have his daughters watch him deteriorate, or face his reality. With the help of his current wife, Jason decided to stop drinking and take control of his new life. He became vulnerable and did what seemed almost impossible for him to do before, ask for help. So many times as men, we are conditioned to fix problems on our own; asking for help makes us feel weak or incapable. What we don’t realize is this vulnerability reveals our strengths and allows others to learn from our brokenness, especially those closest to us.

Gratitude is a Powerful Force for Strength

As we’ve said many times on the GDP, a grateful attitude can change the way we view situations and circumstances. In the case of Jason Mackenzie, he decided to look at the difficulties he faced and see them from a place of gratitude. Now part of his morning routine, Jason faces tough challenges with a thankful heart because he knows these obstacles are merely vehicles to be of service to others. Through his despair, Jason has been able to help other men confront their own challenges and overcome the fear of vulnerability. He helps them see that the picture isn’t perfect, but it doesn’t have to be and truly, it’s the imperfections that make life’s portrait beautiful.

Free Resources:

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

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Jason MacKenzie Links:

Jason’s  Twitter

Jason’s Blog The Book of Open

Jason’s Facebook

Thank you for checking out this week’s show with Jason MacKenzie, Founder of the Book of Open.

sleep smarter

How our Sleep Impacts Us as Parents and How to Sleep Smarter

Shawn Steven, Author of the bestselling book “Sleep Smarter” shares firsthand insight on better quality sleep.  Remember when you were little and it was nap time? You fought it. There were so many more cool things to do than…sleep. Now, sleep might seem like the mythical unicorn; yeah, you’ve heard of it, but you never really can catch it!  Shawn Stevenson, author of Sleep Smarter (not to mention the co-host of The Good Dad Project podcast), let us in on a few of his tips he delves into throughout his book.

Sleep Smarter came from Shawn’s own health struggles

Living through his own struggles with health and weight in his early 20’s, Shawn also struggled with getting an adequate amount of sleep. To help himself out, he began taking over the counter sleep aids (think Tylenol PM) as well as prescription Ambien. Thinking this would give him the sleep he needed, he didn’t realize his sleep was not quality while taking these sleep aids. Side note: As a matter of fact, he would come to find out in sleep studies, these “aids” were actually reducing the amount of quality sleep he was getting.  You’ll find that taking just 20 Ambien pills doubles your risk of premature death-yikes. As his health continued to fail, Shawn desperately searched for better ways to get good sleep. His studies in sleep and nutrition and fitness led him to identify keys methods to improve sleep and overall health.  Ultimately…this lead to Sleep Smarter!

Sleep Smarter and Lose Body Fat

Shawn cites one study from the University of Chicago which found that putting people on the same strict diet, but manipulating their amount of sleep, triggered a 55% reduction in fat lost for those subjects that had adequate (8 hours) of sleep over their sleep deprived counter parts. Yep, that’s right, you may be eating healthy and working out regularly, but if your sleep is lacking, your results may be, too. It’s because our bodies make the greatest changes during these precious hours. Guys, the greatest secretion of natural human growth hormone (you know, the one that builds muscle and repairs tissue) takes place in the early hours of quality sleep.

Sleep Affects Every Area of our Lives

Sleep affects everything: how we interact with others, our work, our fitness, and our sex lives. Think about it-if you haven’t had a good night’s sleep, you probably are not in the best state of mind to make rational decisions or deal with difficult situations. Ok, great. So, now we know all of the things that lack of sleep will do, but how do we fix the problem? Shawn gives three quick tips to improve your sleep right now (by the way, his book has a list of 21 things to improve your sleep).

Sleep Smarter Power Tip #1:

Remove TV screens from the bedroom. Your bedroom should be the place you sleep and are intimate. It is not a movie theater. The light from the screen inhibits your body’s natural sleep hormones, signaling your body to stay awake. Just like TV screens, your time with your personal devices should be limited before bed (Shawn says 90 minutes before bed). Blue light, the light associated most with decreasing melatonin (sleep hormone) emanates from these devices. Checking the latest Twitter feed may be tempting right before bed, but if it keeps you from having the best possible night’s sleep, it’s not worth it.

Sleep Smarter Power Tip #2:

Keep the room dark. Shawn says that our skin has receptors that can detect the smallest amount of light. Investing in black out curtains and eliminating all possible areas where light can creep in will aid in getting you some quality z’s.When you work out plays an integral role in how well you sleep. In a study conducted at Appalachia State, subjects were asked to work out at three different times. Subjects in phase one worked out at 7am, phase two at 1pm and phase three at 7pm. The results? Subjects from phase one spent 75% more time in the anabolic (think muscle growth) phase of sleep. These same subjects also had deeper sleep and a 25% reduction in blood pressure while they slept. Shawn suggests that one of the first things you do in the morning upon waking is five minutes of body weight exercise. This will help your body utilize its greatest resources for muscle building as well as prepare your body for a great night’s sleep.

Sleep Smarter Power Tip #3:

Shawn also highly recommends a bed time routine (your kids do it, why don’t you?). Letting your body know that it is time to sleep will help to trigger the hormones necessary to settle you down for a great night’s rest. So, maybe the mythical unicorn known as sleep isn’t so out of reach.

OUR PROMO COMBO – Get a signed copy of “The Dad’s Edge” and “Sleep Smarter” for $27 and free shipping!

We only have 5 copies of each.  The first 5 guys who email us, will get this deal.

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Sleep Smarter Links:

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Thanks for checking out this episode of How Sleep Impacts Us as Parents and How to Sleep Smarter.