The Challenges of a Modern Day Dad

It’s the week leading up to Father’s Day and really the first full-bore week of summer vacation for my kids both. And since their Mom’s out of town, all three of them are with me this week. Bored, bored, bored. Which is making getting anything accomplished — and I have a lot on my to-do list, as always — difficult. Summer camps? Nope. Trips? Eventually, but not this week. Friends? Most are out of town,…Read More

The drag of sick kids

Yesterday on the way to lacrosse practice my 13yo son G- ran out of steam. We were driving towards the practice field and I could just see him collapse, and when he tilted the car seat back and put his arm across his eyes and complained about fuzzy vision, I called it and turned around. Heading home, I texted my older girl (16) that we’d changed plans and were en route back, to which she…Read More

Are you a “snow plow” parent?

By now I imagine you’ve heard about the mythical helicopter parent who hovers over their child to ensure nothing bad happens, but I bumped into a new expression a few days ago that suggests some parents are getting even more aggressive about coddling their little angels: snow plow parents. The concept is that the parent is always clearing away all the potential obstacles from their child’s path, whether it’s making friends with the teachers to…Read More

Paying for Chores: The Financial World of “Bank of Dad”

I’ve written before about my belief that it’s critically important to teach children cause and effect and how it applies to money. That is, if you want to buy something, you need to earn the money, perhaps over weeks or months, and then purchase it, not buy it “on credit” or whinge or plead for it until you wear down your parent and get it for not much more than a cursory “thank you”. Apparently,…Read More

Clothes? They belong on the floor, don’t they?

This should be entitled “The Ballad of Teen Clothing”, perhaps, but I find it baffling that my otherwise highly engaged and aware teen daughter A-, who is now 16 and cooks for her siblings, helps with lots of chores, etc, has a blind spot when it comes to clothes. If you have a teen you know what I’m talking about. They take off their clothes and just drop them on the floor at that spot….Read More

Is blogging about parenting helpful?

A college student working on a research paper contacted me with an interesting set of questions and I finally had a chance this morning to respond. Since my response explains some of my parenting philosophy, I thought it would be interesting to post it here on GoFatherhood too, inviting you to read and response. So… have at it! Here’s her set of questions, which I kinda respond to: I was hoping to know how has…Read More

Watching the Presidential Debate with my 12yo son

I’m not a rabid politico nor do I pay attention to every single act and regulation that goes before Congress or even attend political events or rallies. Frankly, I find most of the rhetoric on both sides to be more obfuscating, alarmist and half-baked than anything else. Still, I also am grateful to live in a country where we have such freedoms including the freedom to protest, complain and try to make things better without…Read More

Parental Chains of Command

Sorry, but I’ve decided to remove this article upon the request of one of the parties mentioned in the original entry. Not generally my first choice, but as a blogger I seek to honor individual privacy and the needs of the community in addition to my own desires to share my experiences and musings about children and parenting. There’s lots else to read here, however, so please do browse a few more recent pieces before…Read More

Identifying External Emotional Influences in Children

My teen and I had a rough Saturday. There’s no way to sugar coat the friction between us, the sparks that kept flying and the frustration that we both felt with an afternoon that was more characterized by sullen silences and resentment than anything that approached our usual mutual affection and amused teasing of each other. The good news is that we do have a good relationship, but the bad news, obviously, is that it’s…Read More

Kids have to lose occasionally

Had a fascinating conversation with my 8yo daughter K- while driving to her first ballet performance audition, about winning, losing and participation. You should know that my children all attend a school that doesn’t honor winning a competition, but instead honors participation in events. No letter grades until high school, and everyone’s feelings are carefully nurtured so that they all feel like they’re a success, even if they’re the runner who dropped out of the race…Read More

Kids are different when they’re in a pack

I’ve been parenting for almost sixteen years now (that’s over 5000 days) and it still surprises me to see how different my kids are when they’re in a group – or even all together – versus how they are as individuals. You’ve probably seen this too, I’m betting: your child is friendly and easy when it’s just the two of you but add other people and the dynamic changes. Add other kids to the mix…Read More

Telling my kids about the Aurora Theater Shooting

Let me get this out of the way: The shooting at the Aurora Century 16 Theater is a terrible, senseless tragedy, but we are now in the spin zone where everyone is extracting the meaning they want from what happened, or what they think happened. It’s going to be an interesting and occasionally infuriating next few weeks as we learn more about the shooter, the victims and the back story of what transpired and why….Read More

The Myth of “Quality Time” With Your Children

I was reading an interesting post over at Dads where they talk about Five Shared Parenting Myths and something in the article struck a chord: While it is important that children receive quality time with each parent, children learn the most from the parents’ behavior. All too often “magical” moments of quality time are “caught” in-between the regular daily activities of life. I couldn’t agree more that parenting is a marathon, not a sprint….Read More

Kids and Tattoos

A friend asked me last night about whether I’d ever written about my stance on children, tattoos  and piercings and I realized that I haven’t, even though I’ve mentioned it in passing once or twice. To start out, a few data points: I have no tattoos, but I do have a pierced ear. No other piercings, though. My kids don’t have any tattoos and only my 15yo has pierced ears. Lots and lots of my…Read More

Interview with Kelly Crull, author of “Becoming Dad”

Q: Name, title and occupation? KC: Kelly Crull, writer and pastor. Q: You just had a third child. Congratulations! Now, with that in mind, what do you most like about being a father and what do you find the biggest surprise / drag about your new role? KC: A friend of mine likes to say that life is about relationships. I agree. I think the kind of relationship a parent has with a child doesn’t…Read More

Divorce with adopted children?

I seem to have opened the floodgates on letters from people, which is good. I do have to disclaim that I’m just a regular guy with no special training in family therapy, psychology or anything to do with the legal, psychological or emotional trauma of divorce. And I don’t — yet — play a divorce therapist on TV either. So here’s the latest letter I got: I’m about to become a divorced dad.  I don’t…Read More

What should we have done differently in our divorce?

I’m really saddened to learn that a good friend of mine is poised to go through a very similar journey that I’ve been on for the last few years and that — more importantly — my children have been on, a journey that started with all too much tension and too little effective, honest and humble communication, detoured through lawyers and endless arguments at $250/hr, and ended up with a contentious divorce. Years later it’s…Read More

Astronaut John Glenn Orbits the Earth!

It was fifty years ago today — February 20, 1962 — that astronaut John Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth in his little space capsule Friendship 7. Perhaps not as much a milestone as Neil Armstrong and his team stepping foot on the moon as the amazing culmination of Apollo 11, but still an accomplishment worth honoring and remembering in an era where our accomplishments seem to be more focused on product…Read More

When School and Sports Collide!

Ordinarily, there’s no question: school trumps sports, whether it’s college or earlier in my son’s academic career. He’s in sixth grade, so we’ve got a while to go before we have to worry about NCAA regulations. Which is why it’s so darn frustrating that we find ourselves in the scheduling remake of When Worlds Collide: the collision of the last basketball game and the evening performance of my son’s school play. The game is the last…Read More

My Kids Didn’t Give Me Presents…

I want to start out by saying I’m not complaining. Really. I’m just contemplating the holidays… For the first time in many years, I took my three kids to Los Angeles to celebrate Hanukkah with my Dad and have a bit of a collective holiday. We had a good time, though the last few days my son G- got sick, which was a drag. Still, visits to the beach, Dana Point and the always terrific…Read More

Dressing Your Children for Cold Weather

My son and I had a bit of a debate this morning about appropriate clothing for the weather: It was 15F when we left for school and it’s not forecast to get above about 25F today. He had on a thin long-sleeve shirt with a t-shirt underneath, no coat, no hat, no gloves. I suggested, rather firmly, that it was probably not appropriate for the weather and he added a hat and a decent, though…Read More