Taking a Look at Your Relationship with Your Father

My own father is an alcoholic and we’ve always had a pretty rocky relationship–especially when I was growing up—and I think he’s a horrible role model for how to parent. I’m scared to death that I’m going to turn out be the same kind of father that he was. Am I doomed? Are my children doomed because I didn’t have a positive role model for a dad?

Not at all. Most dads, as they grow and develop as fathers often find themselves spending a lot of time thinking about their own fathers. And they tend to ask themselves the same kinds of questions you asked yourself: Was my dad someone I’d want to use as a role model, or was he exactly the kind of father I don’t want to be? Did he support me and nurture me when I was a kid myself, or was he absent or abusive? Like it or not, the relationship you had with your father when you were young is going to have some influence on your relationship with your own children.
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When Adult Children Come Home

My wife and I recently sent our last child off to college. We were ready to sell the house and travel around the country, but our oldest daughter just lost her job and is planning to move back home. How can my wife and I enjoy our retirement but help our daughter at the same time?

One of the biggest risks to adjusting to a child’s leaving is that she might come back. All of us have certain preconceived notions about when major life events are supposed to take place, and we have a social clock that rings at the appropriate time. If the clock doesn’t go off at the right time, we’re likely to feel some stress. Moving out of the house is one of those events, and for most of us, the clock is set for eighteen, which is when the majority of American kids move out.
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How Your Relationships with Your Children Change When They Leave Home

Our daughter is going away to college. On one hand, I’m thrilled that she’s becoming so independent. But we’ve always been very close and I’m worried that our relationship will suffer. Will it?

Well, the day you’ve hoped for and dreaded is finally here. Your child is going to move out. Some researchers have called this the beginning of the "post parental stage," but I think that’s a mistake. Yes, your child is leaving, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to stop being a parent. In fact, you’re just getting started on the longest phase of your fathering experience.
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Dads in the Military: Bonding before Birth

I’m in the military and I’m going to be sent overseas for at least a year. The problem is that my wife is pregnant and due to deliver right about the time I’m supposed to ship out. I can probably finagle things so that I’ll be here for the birth of our child, but the year abroad is unavoidable. What kinds of things can I do to try and bond with our infant early on, before I am deployed overseas? Equally important, are there things I can do to try and maintain a bond with such a young baby while I’m away?

What terrible timing. Try to spend every second you can with your baby as you possibly can before you have to ship out. You don’t need to plan any special activities with newborns-holding, changing, bottle-feeding (either formula or breast milk), reading to her, taking her out for walks, etc–the most mundane and basic stuff but that’s what relationships are based on.
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Helping a Step Mom Adapt to Her New Role

I’m the divorced father of two kids. I’ve been going out with a wonderful woman for a few months now and we’re heading in the direction of getting married. The problem is that she’s not quite sure how to behave around my kids. What can I do to help her—and my kids—feel more like a family? How do I help my kids accept her as part of our family?

You are the single most important factor in determining how the new woman in your life will deal with her roles as your girlfriend and possible step-mother to your children. You’re the one who has to welcome her into your family and you’re the one who has to make sure the children understand her role. Like just about anyone stepping into a pre-existing family unit, your girlfriend is probably going to feel a little insecure. Doing some of the following will go a long way toward helping her feel more confident:
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When Good Teens Go Bad

Our 18-year-old son just got arrested. He’s been in trouble with the law before and never did well in school. His mother and I know he’s responsible for his own actions, but we can’t help blaming ourselves. We feel like failures as parents. Where did we go wrong and what can we do for our son?

Parenting an adolescent isn’t a particularly easy thing to do even under the rosiest of circumstances. Having a healthy, well-adjusted, top-performing, polite, well-groomed, socially conscious teen would certainly make the process more enjoyable for everyone, but what if, despite all the wonderful things you’ve done for him, he turns out the very opposite?
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