How a Rubber Band Is Saving This Dad From Becoming the 'Grumpy' Parent

Dad and Buried

There's no question that little kids can make parents want to lose their cool, and when you add a new baby to the mix, it can be a daily (or hourly) struggle to stay calm. These little people become experts at pushing our buttons, and on some days, it can require everything you have not to flip out on them and instead grit your teeth while showing them loving patience. Mike Julianelle is admittedly working on this, and as a new dad of two, he came up with a brilliant way to deal with his 7-year-old.


Julianelle explained that his firstborn has been acting out since they brought his baby brother home, and this Brooklyn dad has turned to a "bracelet" for help dealing with it. "I'm not one for jewelry," he wrote on his blog, Dad and Buried. "I don't wear a watch, or a Fitbit; I never even wore a LiveStrong band. I keep it simple .... But I've been wearing an elastic band on my wrist for a little while now. It's not a fashion statement; it's a reminder."

Although Julianelle jokes that his sheer beauty typically doesn't need any accessorizing, he's rocking this band of rubber to constantly point out that he's too hard on his child. "It's a reminder that I yell too much, that I say 'no' too much, that I lose my patience with him too frequently and I scold him too often and I don't cut him enough slack," he wrote. "It's a reminder that he's only seven years old, that he's still just a little boy, that he's still learning about the world, about himself, about me, and that most of the stuff he does that drives me crazy is the same exact stuff other little boys do."

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It might not seem like much, but this band helps Julianelle when he gets caught up in frustration. It's a simple reminder that his son is still adjusting to having a baby brother to share his toys, home, and parents with. "And it's a reminder that I'm only human myself! That I'm still learning about the world, about myself, about my seven-year-old and his little brother, and about being a good parent," he wrote. ".... The idea behind the rubber band is that when I catch myself forgetting those things, when I find myself engaging in my bad parenting habits, forgetting to be patient and understanding with my kids, I pull it back and give myself a flick on the wrist. It's supposed to act as a deterrent."

Julianelle knows that he isn't a perfect person or father, no matter how hard he tries to be, and hopes that the rubber band will keep it fresh in his mind that he makes just as many mistakes as his kids do. "The elastic band helps me remember that, and helps me remember that that's okay, that parenting is a process, that it's okay to get some things wrong, so long as you keep trying and you learn from those mistakes," he wrote. "It's a reminder that I need to do better, that I need to keep my voice down, that I need to stay calm for longer, that I need to say yes more often."

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Although some moms are already aware of a similar idea and use hair bands as reminders, Julianelle is glad he came across this version right when he needed it most and hopes that it helps others to keep themselves in check. "It's a reminder that I don't want my kids to grow up scared of their dad, or to think of me as the 'grumpy' parent."

In the last week, he hasn't had to give himself too many flicks. "Not because I haven't screwed up, quite the contrary. (Yesterday was 'Take Your Kid To Work Day' at my office; my patience meter was maxed out by 10am!)," he wrote. "But in the week that I've been wearing the rubber band, just its presence has been enough to keep me mindful of my parenting, and my relationship with my children, and of the kind of dad I want to be."

Plus, every once in a while it catches one of his arm hairs and that's painful enough to keep him on his toes!

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