View Full Version : 10 Ways to De-Sissify Your Kid (and maybe yourself in the process)

Allen Yeh
09-04-2008, 03:22 AM

I liked this 10 item list of how to de-sissify your kid by Steve Maxwell. Especially since I was doing most of the things listed already! Nothing like a little validation! Although the rope thing is a great idea and I can think of a place to hang one already, now I just need to convince my wife to let me do it.

If you have kids this is a great list.

1. Be a good example

This applies to just about everything, not just fitness related.

2. Hang a rope...and teach your kid to climb it

I think this is an awesome idea and now I want to implement it

3. Make everything a game
4. Make everything an obstacle course

Yep and Yep

5. Teach your kid to grapple, not punch

Good advice

6. Danger Jumping!

Sounds good although I think my wife would have a meltdown.

7. Encourage your kid to self-locomote

8. Teach your kid to swim

To be honest, when I was younger I always thought everyone knew how to swim, one of my friends in college told me he didn't know how to swim I must have looked at him like he had grown a 3rd arm. I've made it a point to push the kids with the swimming thing, but in a play fashion. I'm not expecting Michael Phelps but all the basics should be known. Connor (3) just started going underwater for 2-5 seconds this past summer and I couldn't be prouder.

9. Get your city kids out in the woods

Well this one applied to me that is for sure. I hadn't spent anytime in the woods until I joined the Army. I was already 23 at that point.

10. Create good health habits

Good thoughts here.

Scott Kustes
09-04-2008, 08:41 AM
Great stuff. I learned to swim because we had a pool in the backyard. I think it's important to have both a respect and a lack of fear of the water. Understanding how to move about in that medium is good.

Frank Needham
09-04-2008, 12:43 PM
Good ideas there. Gage is two and is learning to "swim". I blow into his face then when he holds his breath, under he goes to kick a bit. Lots of folks use this method to begin teaching the kids the basics of water skills. He naturally sees working out as a play activity and "farmer walks" smaller weights about. Monkey see, monkey do.

Jamila Bey
09-05-2008, 10:30 PM
I am the only of my parents' four daughters who can swim.

It's the hair thing- so many Black women in particular can't swim because of how long it takes us to get the hair back to acceptable. (sigh) I guess my utter uncoolness was more healthy than I realized back in the day.

Derek Simonds
09-06-2008, 07:01 AM
Yeah I loved the article. I sent it to my wife and asked her how many of the things listed she thought we did. What is even more funny is that when you have two budding gymnasts in the house they spend just as much time on their hands as they do their feet.

The only thing I haven't done on that list is spend any amount of time in a big city with the kids. We have visited DC (thanks Allen) but nowhere else really. I will make it a point to make sure they grow up street wise.

Garrett Smith
09-08-2008, 10:15 AM
Time to start working on it with Taryn! Great article.

It's pretty funny, Cori was a gymnast (offered a Division 1 scholarship, turned it down) and a (full-ride scholarship and professional in a company) dancer for a short period of time, which requires much de-sissification...for some reason I think I may have to do most of this stuff when she's not around though!!!

Allen Yeh
09-17-2008, 07:06 AM
A video along the same lines as above:


1. Play with fire
2. Own a pocket knife
3. throw a spear
4. deconstruct an appliance
4.5 Break the DCMA
5. Drive a car

The first 2 were determined off-limits to the kids because Laurie thinks it's too dangerous, while I disagreed in my mind I supported her. Maybe I'll try to get her to reexamine this.

#3 just seems cool but no idea how in the world I could get that to happen

#4 is a good idea, I'll just have to remember it the next time we chuck something.

#4.5 Not sure about this. I feel like this sends a mixed message.

#5 Err.....I feel like this is just weird but I'm trying to be open here.

Frank Needham
09-17-2008, 12:32 PM
A video along the same lines as above:


The first 2 were determined off-limits to the kids because Laurie thinks it's too dangerous, while I disagreed in my mind I supported her. Maybe I'll try to get her to reexamine this.

#3 just seems cool but no idea how in the world I could get that to happen

#4 is a good idea, I'll just have to remember it the next time we chuck something.

#4.5 Not sure about this. I feel like this sends a mixed message.

#5 Err.....I feel like this is just weird but I'm trying to be open here.

um, I'm still a dork after all these years, love this kind of stuff! I shouldn't admit to it but we did all as outlined below:
1) Play with fire? We made molotovs after seeing the Watts riots enacted on TV
2) Own knives? way too tame, we had machetes
3) Throw a spear? again too tame, we made blow guns from alum tent poles, wine corks, and shoe leather needles. Then greased the inside of the poles for fast travel. After shooting one another we decided that was not good.
4) Disassemble something? How about aquiring a broken down riding lawn mower via mail from some dude in India for $25, rebuilding it, and then doing everything with it except mow the yard?
4.5) What is this DCMA?
5) We were given a Myers Manx to drive in a doughnut about our very large one acre yard. Other than crashing it into the neigbors fence no problems!

Naw, we didn't have any fun sheeit! We all survived it very nicely I might add though we're still proudly mal-adjusted to this day...you shoulda seen those frikkin molotovs go off!!

Derek Simonds
09-17-2008, 01:18 PM
I saw the video this morning and really enjoyed it. If you don't want your kids coming home with cuts and bruises don't send them to camp with me. Great line. Lets run through this new checklist with Jr and me....

1) Done, any time we go to the lake I let him try and start the fire, sometimes with success and then they get to play in the fire as long as there is no high sticking. Just like in hockey if there is high sticking then you get put in the penalty box.

2) He has a swiss army knife and a leatherman. He understands that under no circumstances does either go to school but other than that they are his tools and he can carry them as he wishes. He will check with me if we are going somewhere he isn't sure of.

3) Jr has made his own spears and we have throwing contests. I threw away two of his spears when I cleaned the garage last month and I thought he was going to have a conniption.

4) I let him take apart anything he wants, and in fact encourage him to take stuff apart. He is getting real good about diagnosing dead batteries. :D We also got him an electricity science kit with all the basic stuff for making circuits and the like and he absolutely loves it.

4.5) Hmm I will have to think about the ethical implications of this.

5) Jr has driven my big boat, our 19 foot polar, a jet ski and our golf cart all while sitting in my lap or beside me. No car yet. So maybe we need to take a little trip to the farm.

I love that this stuff is getting discussed. It is so important.

Gant Grimes
09-17-2008, 01:36 PM
We live on the edge of town, on the lake, and we have a pool. Between snakes, spiders, and other interesting critters, even a 4-year old must learn his way quickly. Boys must bleed a few pints before they can become men.

Grappling is good, but punching has its place, too.

The Boy Scouts used to cover 95% of this.

Craig Snyder
09-17-2008, 02:06 PM
I live on a farm, so I do most of these with my kids all the time. I let my 6 year old drive my golf car around the yard by himself, and he does quite well. My 3 year old and 6 year old can steer our cars into the garage when we park them. I have 2 climbing ropes: a 10 footer in the garage and a 20 footer outside. My 6 year old helped us cut the corn off the cob this fall, and we have made fires so large they call them 'volcanoes' (but when they get that big, it is kind of hard to roast hotdogs over them). :) He also sets up his own 'ninja warrior' course in my garage, which is basically an obstacle course that he runs through.

I don't let them take anything apart yet though...once they start...they will never stop.


Blair Lowe
09-17-2008, 09:39 PM
Allen, go buy a few lawn spears at the local renfaire. They are blunt but fun stuff. A kid may be able to throw them but the weight in the front might be too heavy and unbalanced. Or you could cut some bamboo and throw it in the yard.

I was given a knife around 4 and it was actually a dull, rusty knife but I prized it. I was given some sort of swiss army knife around 6, I think and held them, played with them, sharpened them, etc throughout my years as a kid with grandpa. I eventually was in scouts as well. I also was given a Japanese bayonet that served well as a sword till I got way bigger.

Watch them with the fire. My cousin and I set the backyard on fire when we striking a big piece of flint with a hammer. We put it out with the hose but looking back it was pretty dumb. Actually, it's funny as hell to remember though we freaked. However, scouting had prepared us for that so we stomped and kicked the dirt besides the hose. It wasn't very big.

I'm a big proponent of getting boys into judo before they are 6. Mainly because my dad did that to me because I was going to be a runt like he was besides him being judoka. He actually never thought much of karate/kenpo because he thought it made the kids too cocky instead of more humble in judo ( more physical contact, especially with the ground ). I never liked punching anybody in the face. Besides it leaves tell-tale signs of a fight versus a good punch to the gut or choke. Those also end schoolyard fights very fast. I don't think we wrestled in scouts and besides I could never have gotten my cousin to help me with that merit badge or patch.

Our treehouse had chains I hung off the branches. I don't think we had any rope around.

I took swimming before I was in preschool, I think but what really made me good at swimming was the whole thrown into the pool method. Since I went under, I just kicked and swam underneath the surface till the edge. I wasn't very happy about it but did realize swimming under the water was terribly easy and less frightening. I eventually taught 2 of my 3 brothers to swim underwater really easily.

As a kid, I had lincoln logs, legos, constructor sets before we got into some electronics and radios in scouts and afterwards I got to tear apart stuff my grandpa would find. Fun stuff.

Derek Simonds
09-18-2008, 08:15 AM
The Boy Scouts used to cover 95% of this.

It is a shame they don't anymore. I put my time in and enjoyed it immensely. I did a lot of things in Scouts that will stay with me forever. I can remember the first time I swam a mile, spent the night in the forest by myself with only my knife and sleeping bag (there were adults around but they had us spread out over a really wide area so we had the impression we were alone), hiked through swamps up over my waist, canoed down some really cool rivers and hiked the entire Ocala National Forest trail.

Even back when I was a scout our troop did so much more in the outdoors then the majority of troops we knew.

Good times.

Craig Snyder
09-19-2008, 08:06 AM
I learned more from my martial arts instructor about surviving outdoors that I did in boy scouts.

Of course my MA instructor was quite global in his instruction, it is a shame that it is like that nowadays. BSs have gotten soft in my opinion.