There are plenty of parents who believe that good parenting is basically telling your kids what to do and having them listen and do exactly what you suggest while thanking you for your splendid advice. Except that’s not at all what parenting is about, though it is true that when your children are young, you have a reasonable amount of power and control over their day-to-day lives. Bedtimes, playdates, what books they read or TV…Read More
How to Be a Friend (My Review of “Ron’s Gone Wrong”)
Just had a chance to preview the new family animated film Ron’s Gone Wrong, which is about – surprise! – friendship, and how our devices are proving an obstacle to making meaningful connections. Instead of just reviewing the film, I thought it would be more interesting to talk about the theme and the ideas within the movie. At the end of this essay, I’ll give you an assessment and a go/no-go recommendation. You don’t have to…Read More
Parents! Here’s How To Talk With Your Teens
In the movies, teenagers are all estranged from their parents, sullen, prone to one-word answers, and typically found hiding out in their bedrooms, surrounded by their possessions. While there’s an element of truth to this portrayal, the fact is that what most teenagers really seek is a sympathetic listener, not isolation. I know this first hand as I have three children, the youngest of which is 17. I’ve made it a habit to listen respectfully…Read More
Does Watching TV Together Really Help Families Bond?
CenturyLinkQuote hit me up with an email announcement about some research the company performed about families and television viewing. Since CLQ is a CenturyLink reseller and sells Internet and TV services to homes, it’s hard to imagine that the firm would find a negative correlation between families, TV, and happiness, but it’s still interesting reading… CLQ quotes Nielsen’s estimate that 121 million US homes have televisions. But I dug a bit further, finding that’s out…Read More
Another Week Passes During the Pandemic. I Think.
There are events in everyone’s life that act as milestones and punctuation marks both, activities that remind you that time is indeed passing. This year, however, it’s all be thrown on its head and it’s hard to remember what month it is, let alone what day of the week. I find myself constantly saying “Hey Google, what’s today’s date?” or “Alexa, what day is it?” or glancing at my menu bar to see that it’s…Read More
How My Kids Are Using Video Games to Stay Social
It turns out that all the pandemic films I’ve watched, all the books I’ve read have missed the mark. One of the great challenges of a pandemic turns out to be wrestling with boredom. Yes, there’s a mental health part of it – we’re social creatures not designed to live in separate little caves – but mostly my kids and I are daily facing the question of “now what?” I’m perhaps the luckiest of all…Read More
Life During Quarantine With a Teen and Adult Kids
It was back in Mid-March, 2020 that restaurants and gathering places in Colorado were closed due to the imminent threat of the coronavirus. This suddenly brought a new reality to our family; we were stuck at home. Since their Mom’s husband has an immunocompromised health issue, there was never a question that the kids – and their dog! – would come stay with me for the duration. Certainly no point in them staying at their…Read More
Embark Dog DNA Test Helps Us Learn About Gus
If you follow me on social media (I’m on Facebook, on Twitter, on Instagram, etc etc) you’ve already met our new dog Gus. Gus started in our family as a very big burr in a relatively small saddle when my son adopted him while at college, against the express wishes of his mother. His sister stepped in to help out with pup logistics and much thrashing about and a few heated conversations later, he’s our…Read More
Is Gender Neutral Parenting Possible? Is it Desirable?
Earlier today I skimmed through an article about how raising girls changes a father’s views on gender identity that explored the concept of gender neutral parenting which made me ask myself if it’s a good idea or not. Parents.com comments on gender neutral parenting that “some think it’s a great way to encourage a child to embrace his or her true identity, others believe it will confuse the child and alienate [them] socially.” For many…Read More
Home Really is the Key, with Help from Habitat For Humanity
It’s easy to put the homeless out of mind when you’re busy living your own life. But we’re facing an affordable housing crisis here in the United States and we’re not even talking about it. Indeed, more than 19 million US families spends 50% or more of their income on housing, which makes it pretty darn hard to afford any other necessities, and even more so for their children. Minimum wage? That won’t cover the…Read More
In memory of a young friend who passed…
It’s easy in the daily hustle and bustle to forget that each of us lives in our own little universe and that how you or I perceive and react to an event might be entirely different to someone else. Even when that person’s close to you and you’ve known them for years, the inner world of people is a unique and remarkable thing. Except for sometimes, when the darkness overwhelms the light and they find…Read More
Dad Skills 101: How to Commiserate
It might mark me as old school, but I don’t think us guys are particularly good at commiserating when we hear someone who’s having a hard time. And if it’s one of our kids, we’ll go right into protective mode and leap head-first into trying to solve problems, even to the point of cutting them off to share our ideas. The book’s not as popular as it once was, but I actually found John Gray’s…Read More
Should Us Parents “Keep the Meter Running”?
This falls into the category of “what would you have done?”, so we can set the stage. Here’s what happened, and here’s how I dealt with it: Last night my youngest, almost 15, wanted to go to an evening event with her pal, an event that ran 8-10pm. No worries, I knew the group performing and the venue was a church, so I figured it was safe and appropriately wholesome, etc. I had a party…Read More
Making The Tough Calls as a Parent
My youngest switched from a private school to public school this year. Moving up to high school was a great moment for such a big change, but it was with some sadness that we left the private school community. We’d been part of that school for almost 20 years, and I even served on the Board of Trustees. For K-, though, it was her friends that she’d miss as none of them were also heading…Read More
Hey Colorado Kids! Vaping is not “Safe Smoking”
My youngest is a freshman at a public high school in Longmont, Colorado. So far, so good, she’s on the volleyball team and making friends in all her classes. She went to her first high school football game a week or two ago and there were a group of kids hiding behind the bleachers vaping. Her friend warned her, “don’t go over there, coach will get mad!” I asked her later about how many kids…Read More
My Daughter’s Home Sick. And I’m Going Bonkers…
It’s tough to be sick. The worst is if you’re a baby, of course, because you can’t actually communicate what’s not feeling good and get any meaningful assistance to ease the suffering. As children get older things get a bit better because they can say “I have a tummy ache” or “my head hurts” or just a miserable “ugh, I wanna die.” And once we get to adulthood we’re generally on our own and simply…Read More
How to Enjoy Playing – And Even Losing! – a Board Game
Any time you engage in a game with other people, whether it’s your life partner, your child or a group of friends or acquaintances, you’ve got the potential to encounter friction and upset. Hopefully it’s minor, perhaps taking the form of a snarky comment or friendly jibe, but sometimes it can become more tense and explode into arguments or worse. As someone who has played tons of different games of varying complexity and duration with…Read More
Rentals and Blankets and Children, Oh My!
My son graduated from school in Kalispell, Montana so we headed up for the event and festivities. I rented a house on one side of Main Street and his Mom rented a house about 5 blocks away, on the other side of Main Street. Kalispell is a small town outside Glacier National Park, with a modest popular of 22,000 people or so. Which means, yeah, it’s pretty darn small. Kind of the rugged mountain version…Read More
Psychologist Recommends Children not have Best Friends?
Childhood is tough. We all have suffered the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune as kids, whether it was a years of ongoing bullying and hassle from other kids or whether it was a string of sleights that grew over time into A Big Deal. I’ve seen all three of my children have to wrestle with one of the great challenges of adolescence time and again: exclusion. This doesn’t go away as an adult, of…Read More
Critical Co-Parenting Skill #7: Stay Out Of It
I know, the very first question you have is “dude, what are the first six skills I need to know to do well at the co-parenting thing?” but my answer is, like a Zen master, they will reveal themselves when you need them. Which is to say, I dunno. 🙂 One of the most challenging things about parenting, whether you’re divorced, married or even flying pretty much solo, is triangulation. You know it’s happening when your…Read More
Dad 2.0 Summit: Of Dads and Brands
Just got back from a fantastic few days in San Diego, California, attending the sixth Dad 2.0 Summit. This time it was almost 400 men talking about masculinity, fatherhood and the role of men in modern society. Just men? No, there were a liberal sprinkling of women to make sure we didn’t just sit around having burping contests and talking about women. Or sports. Or beer. I’ve attended all six of the Dad 2.0 Summit events as…Read More