Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. And Breakfast. And Lunch.

Dear Mr. Dad: I have a 20-year-old son who has been living on his own for several years. But he’s hit a few rough patches lately, and now wants to move back home. My wife and I want to do the right thing and help him, but we’re afraid that letting him move back in with us could turn out to be the wrong thing in the end—for everyone. Is it wrong of us to want our son to stay on his own?

A: Well, first of all, congratulations. You raised your son right: he went to school, got a job, and started making a life for himself. So it’s only natural that you’d assumed that you and your wife would have your house to yourselves. But times are much, much different than when you were your son’s age. According to a recent survey by Payscale.com, only 4 percent of Baby Boomers were living at home after having started their careers. Eleven percent of Gen X (those born between 1961 and 1981) got their first jobs but kept living (or moved back in with) ma and pa. And 28 percent of Gen Y (those born after 1982) are still under their parents’ roof. It’s no wonder that your son’s generation is sometimes called the Boomerang Generation.
[Read more...]

Using Sex as a Bribe? Women Do It—and So Do Men

We all know that women can and do sometimes use sex as a kind of bribe (not that anyone’s complaining). Researchers put the portion of women who’ve done it at 65%. The same research also found that 11% of men use the same technique to reward good behavior (again, you’re not going to find anyone [...]

Clean My Room? Sure. But Only if You Pay Me

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have very different opinions about bribing our children. She wants to reward everything they do, from getting good grades at school to cleaning their rooms, with some sort of treat. This can be money, a special toy, or whatever. I say that the kids should learn that an achievement, like grades, should be its own reward. What do you think?

A: In last week’s column I raised the issue of paying kids do certain chores and I got a lot of emails—about half thought that was a good idea, half didn’t. I hate to say it, but there is no absolute right and wrong here. But I should have made a clearer distinction between bribing children and rewarding them. Although they may produce similar results, there’s a big difference.

[Read more...]

Sorry, I Forgot. Did You Say Something?

Dear Mr. Dad: My daughter is a really good kid, but she can’t seem to remember anything for more than five minutes. We constantly have to harp at her about things that should be habits, like brushing her teeth every morning. Is there something wrong with her? Why can’t she remember to do things like that on her own?

A: Unfortunately, you and your daughter aren’t living in the same world—at least not at the same time. In your world, people remember to brush their teeth (but do you always floss?). In hers, there are so many other things going on that it’s easy to get distracted. Things that seem critical to you may not even be on her radar at all. So expecting her to act like a mini adult is unrealistic.

What I’m getting at is that from what you’re describing, it’s pretty unlikely that there’s anything wrong with your daughter’s memory, other than losing track of time or having her priorities in a different order than yours. That said, there are a few steps you can take to keep her on track.

[Read more...]

Does it matter whether you’re smiling while you change that diaper?

Great article by Tara Parker-Pope in the NY Times Magazine this week. It talks about whether women like childcare more than men. The answer, according to the researchers is, Yes.

But here’s my question: What the hell difference does it make whether you enjoy it or not?

Guys are doing more and more around the house—more than double what they were doing in 1985. The stats show that women are still spending twice as much time with the kids than men are. But those studies are notoriously flawed. They don’t take into account that men spend an average of 7 hours/week more than women commuting to and from work. They don’t count playing with the kids at “spending time” with them, and they usually don’t count the many other tasks men do in the general service of the family: plumbing, lawn mowing, dish washing, etc.
That said, the Times article raises some interesting points. Some excerpts:
“Researchers from the University of Virginia recently asked 181 academics with young children how much pleasure they experienced from various child-care tasks.”
“On 16 out of 25 child-care tasks — like changing diapers, taking a child to the doctor or getting up in the middle of a night to attend to a child — women reported statistically significant higher levels of enjoyment than men. The only parenting issue that gave women less pleasure than it gave men was having to manage who does what for the child. Over all, women’s scores were 10 percent higher than men’s.”
The whole article is here.
In addition, you can take the quiz yourself here.

Can’t you tie you own shoes? Oh, never mind, honey. I’ll do it for you.

We know our kids need to grow up and get more independent. If they didn’t, they’d never be able to move out of the house, get jobs, and take care of us in our old age. So why are we actively encouraging our kids to be more dependent on us?

[Read more...]