Dating for Dads

Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve been divorced for almost a year and I’m just getting to the point where I’m thinking about dating again. My kids (8 and 10) and I have a very close relationship and we talk about everything. But when I mentioned dating to them, instead of being happy for me, they were angry. Is there anything I can do to get them to be a little more supportive?

A: Close relationships between parents and their young children are wonderful for everyone. But occasionally lines can get blurred, which is exactly what happened with you. Your social life will undoubtedly affect your children—especially if you get into a serious relationship. But it sounds like you’ve given them the impression that their close relationship with you entitles them to an actual vote in the matter. It’s really none of their business. You’re their parent, not their friend, end of discussion.

Aside from the boundary issue, your children may simply not want to share you with anyone. It’s been just the three of you for a long time, and they enjoy having you all to themselves. Any time you spend with other people—whether it’s going out for a beer with a buddy or dating a woman who’s not their mother—is time you won’t be spending with them. You’re in a delicate spot here, but here are few steps you can take to get your kids on board (or at least to reduce their hostility).
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3 Ways to Deal With a Teen Who Really, Really Loves Video Games

mrdad - kids love video games

mrdad - kids love video gamesIt’s no secret that teenagers love video games—the Palo Alto Medical Foundation reports that 97 percent of teens in the U.S. today play video games, and sales of video games are steadily growing. However, at times, it can be hard to deal with your teen’s love of video games in a reasonable way. To help this common problem, here are just a few ways you can deal with a teenage video game fiend without losing your mind.

Set Boundaries

One of the first things you can do to head off future problems with video games is to set boundaries. Set clear times for when gaming is allowed such as after homework or chores are done or on weekends. Additionally, it’s important to be clear about the kind of game content you will allow in your home as well as games that are simply off limits. By setting these boundaries clearly and early on, you can avoid your teen pushing the limits of the rules.

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New Articles for Military Families

My latest articles for military families are up on my mini site on about.com. Here’s what’s new this month:

What military families need to know to find the perfect home. (a guest post from AHRN.com)
The ins, outs, upside downs of VA Loans
How military spouses can avoid getting sucked into the destructive, dangerous rumor mill.
Family planning for military families: When’s the right time to start planning for a baby? Is there even such a thing as “right time”?

For Parents and Teachers of Children with Special Needs, Communication is Key

communication special needs

communication special needsA guest post from writer Felicity Dryer.

Children are not able to advocate for themselves. Teachers are bestowed with the vast privilege and responsibility to ensure that children are receiving the best education possible to prepare them for their place in the world.

There are many ways that teachers can make sure that their special needs students are receiving the best possible education, as well as strategies for parents to work with their children’s teachers to guarantee attentive and effective instruction.
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New Articles for Military Families

As about.com’s military families expert, I post several new articles every month.

If there’s a specific topic you’d like us to address here–or if you’d like to write a guest post, please let me know!

Here are the new articles for October:

Finding a Job After the Military
Making the transition from military culture to civilian culture isn’t easy–especially when you need to find a job using the skills, knowledge, and experience you acquired in the service. Here’s what you need to know to make the process a success

Preparing for Emergencies
Statistically speaking, military families–which tend to move a lot more frequently than civilian families–have a higher risk of experiencing some kind of natural disaster. This article will help you prepare so you and your family aren’t caught off guard.

Taking advantage of state military foundations
The federal government has many programs but they can’t resolve all the issues military families face. Fortunately, many states have their own military family foundations that can help. Here’s why you should strongly consider working with one of these great organizations.

Boot Camp for Military Spouses
Whether you’re a newlywed or an old pro, having a spouse join the military and start basic training can be challenging, to say the least. You’re a military spouse now, so here’s what you need to know–and the benefits that are avaialable to you.

Sometimes Being “Good Enough” Is Plenty

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a newly divorced single father. I hear a lot about how children in divorced families have all sorts of behavioral problems, do worse in school, abuse drugs, are depressed and anxious, and on and on. It’s scaring the heck out of me and makes me think that no matter what I do, my kids are doomed. I want to be an amazing dad and give my kids the best possible life. Isn’t there something I can do?

A: I get this question a lot and wish there was some way to get the media to quit portraying children in divorced families as self-destructive, failure-bombs waiting to explode. The reality is that kids whose parents have split (whether by divorce or the breakup of a never-married couple), can do just as well as any other kids. There are definitely some obstacles, but they can be overcome. Here are a few ideas that will help.
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