Jonathan Catherman, author of The Manual to Manhood.
Topic: How to cook the perfect steak, change a tire, impress a girl, and 97 other survival skills for young men.
Issues: As a man in the making, you’ll need to know how to do stuff. You also need a strong moral character to back up your new abilities. Here are step-by-step instructions for just about everything you need to know.
Michelle Icard, author of Middle School Makeover.
Topic: Improving the way you and your child experience the middle school years.
Issues: Helping your kid through real middle school problems, including social media, questions about sex, mean girls (and boys), and fitting in, dealing with bullies, fashion, peer pressure, dating, independence, and more.
As dads, doing what’s best for our families is a top priority. And, sometimes, making the right decisions can be a bit difficult. Take a long-distance move, for example. Even if it’s what’s in your family’s best interest, there’s a good chance that someone won’t be happy about it—and that someone will usually be your child. Fortunately, we’ve got some strategies that can help you make that long-distance move a lot easier on everyone in the family—even you, dad.
Have a Family Discussion
Although moving is ultimately an adult decision, you should still include your children in moving-related discussions. By involving your children in the dialogue and encouraging them to ask questions and voice their concerns, you can help ease some of their perfectly understandable feelings of fear and powerlessness. Don’t dance around too much—come right out and address your children’s concerns, honestly and in language they can understand. Ask them what they think you can do to ease their anxieties, and do your best to fulfill those needs.
Summer Break is almost here, and for many parents, that means trying to think up some fun ways to pass those long, hot days home and without a schedule. For some creative indoor fun, check out these cute kitchen items for kids- some are pretend, some are functional, all are fun.
Chet the Cat and Friends is a new line of kitchen and cooking sets for kids (ages 3 and up) that can help get kids interested in becoming mom and dad’s little chef helpers. With a wide array of items made just for them, kids will have fun learning and playing with Chet and Friends. The plates, cups, flatware, etc are all dishwasher and food safe, so your little culinary artist in training can really eat what they crate and then the items can be washed with no fuss or worrying that they will be ruined. There is also a set of kitchen gadgets, such as a toaster, blender, and mixer, which “work” and have multiple sets of speeds- while they work with real liquids, the toaster does not truly cook toast. It does however pop up play toast and buzz with a timer- no one wants a burnt kiddo. Complete the look with a chef outfit (of course, all decked out with Chet the Cat and Friends as well- it’s very, very cute) that will thrill your little cook. Items range from $22 to $30 on http://www.educationalinsights.com (One of my personal favorite sites for educational yet fun toys for kids.)
Another toy company we adore for fun and educational kids toys that they really want to play with is Learning Resources. These toys last forever, don’t break the bank, and teach kids the skills we want them to learn in ways they enjoy and want to keep playing with. Many of the toys are low or no tech, which is a great break with today’s kids being so constantly plugged in.
With Father’s Day just a few weeks out, what better topic than dolls. Wait, dads and dolls? Absolutely. Any man who’s got a daughter—and wants to connect with her—really needs to know his way around the world of dolls, since that’s where girls spend a lot of their time. It’s an amazing way to say, “I love you.” Here are some of our favorites.
Adora Nursery Time (Adora Dolls)
Adora babies are incredibly lifelike. They’re a little lighter than most babies, but their skin is super soft, their little noses and toes and fingers are irresistible, and they even smell like real babies. Great for dad to show his daughter how tiny and adorable she was as a baby, but also very effective if that little girl is preparing to be a big sister. Nursery Time babies are dressed in a onesie and come with a nice doll carrier. Ages 3 and up. About $79.99.
Dorothy and Toto (Bandai)
In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a new Oz movie coming out. “Legends of Oz,” is based on one of the sequels written by L. Frank Baum, the guy who wrote the original. The first dolls in the series feature Dorothy (alone or with her ever-loyal pup, Toto). Other characters will be along soon. Dad and daughter can go back to Oz to help Dorothy and her friends, and he can even talk about life in the “old” Oz. Ages 3 and up. About $22.99.
Bubbly Mermaid (Lalaloopsy)
Who says you can’t bring a doll into the bathtub? Ocean Seabreeze and Pearly Seafoam are mermaids, which is more than enough to get most kids interested. But what makes them unique is their hair, which is made of bubbles. Just pour in some shampoo or bubble bath, give your mermaid a squeeze¸ and watch her turn into Rapunzel of the Sea. Both come with their very own water-squirting pet octopus. For a little dry-land fun, use diluted dish soap instead. Ages 3 and up. About $29.99. http://www.lalaloopsy.com/
Barbie Style (Mattel)
Barbie has always been something of a fashionista, but the new Style series takes things up a few notches. Each of these new Barbies is exquisitely dressed in the highest of high fashion, but also comes with a 10-page look book girls and dads can use for inspiration. Ages 3 and up. $29.99.
Locksies are refreshingly low tech and don’t come with much in the way of clothing. Instead, each Locksie comes with several piece of fabric and ribbon which the budding designer can use to create her own Project Runway entry. But any fabric scraps you have around the house will do nicely (but be sure to keep your scissors-wielding girl away from your nice clothes). Ages 5 and up. http://www.bandai.com/locksies/
Our Generation Dolls (Battat, Inc.)
From the same people behind B-Toys, Our Generation 18-inch dolls are simply gorgeous. Willow is part of the Read and Play set and comes with several outfits, including some great PJs—which are the perfect tie-in with her book, “The Most Fantabulous Pajama Party Ever.” Phoebe is the Hair Grow doll whose hair grows and retracts—a fantastic thing for dads who want to practice their French braiding before trying it out on a real, live daughter. The I Think I Canter Doll and Horse set features one doll, a riding outfit, a horse, and a ton of riding and grooming equipment, including a saddle and stirrups, helmet, feedbag, brush, and more. The opportunities for exercising the imagination are endless. Dolls are $32.99, $29.99, and $84.99, respectively. http://ogdolls.com/
Dear Mr. Dad: My 13-year old son doesn’t seem to be maturing as quickly as his peers. His voice has barely changed, he’s not sprouting much facial or body hair, and he’s below average in height. He’s also overweight and seems tired a lot of the time. Lately he’s become obsessed with the idea that his problem is Low-T. He’s been bringing me magazine ads, pointing to TV commercials and Internet ads, and is trying to convince me that he needs testosterone supplements. Could he be right? I though low testosterone was only something that affects older men.
A: The answer to your question is Yes and No. Yes, he could indeed have low testosterone (frequently–and annoyingly–referred to as Low-T). But No (no, no, no) he should absolutely not start taking supplements or doing anything to “treat” the problem until he’s been properly diagnosed by a professional. And by professional, I mean a trained healthcare provider who will run blood tests (the only accurate way to measure testosterone levels) and who is committed to identifying the underlying issues and how to overcome them, rather than to selling you a bunch of pills. Stay far, far away from anyone (including advice columnists) who claims to be able to diagnose and treat low testosterone or other medical conditions without actually seeing the patient.