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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Skin Care Tips for Dads and Daughters

As the father of a young girl, one of these days—if you’re lucky—your daughter will come home one day worried about the size of her freckles or a mole on her forehead. No, I don’t mean you’d be lucky if your daughter had a skin issue; if your daughter wants to talk with you about her skin (or any other aspect of how she looks), you be on the receiving end of the biggest compliment you might ever get).

Because the skin is one of the first places we see minor blemishes, it’s often the source of major concern—and panic. Here’s some information on common skin conditions that might have your daughter running to you for advice, along with some tips on what to tell her. .
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Redefining What it Means to Be a Family

Ross Parke, author of Future Families.
Topic:
Diverse forms, rich possibilities.
Issues: Redefining “family”; changing parental roles; are two mothers (or fathers) good enough?; are multiple caregivers helpful or harmful?; how many “parents” are too many? (insights from the world of assisted reproductive technologies; overcoming the barriers to change.

Safety Tips for Motorcycle Dads

For dads, Southern California’s vastly diverse landscape offers an amazing opportunity to show kids what life is like on the open road. The experience is sure to be fun, and given the state’s diverse topography, the journey will be educational too. Unfortunately, it’s that same topography—combined with busy highways—that can make traveling with motorcycle passengers dangerous.

The following is a guide for keeping your precious cargo safe on an exploratory, family-friendly So-cal motorcycle trip.
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Bumping Into Breastfeeding

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife is breastfeeding our new baby and when I look at them, they’re so connected and I feel completely useless. I try to do other stuff like baths and diaper changing, but feeding seems so much more important. One of my projects was to set up the nursery. I got the crib and changing table all set up and my wife told me we needed crib bumpers so the baby wouldn’t bang her head on the slats of the crib. A friend told me that crib bumpers are a bad idea. So I’ve got two questions: What can I do to feel less useless when my wife is breastfeeding? And should I get bumpers for the baby’s crib?

A: Let’s start with the second one. For readers who don’t already know, crib bumpers are soft pads that run along the inside of the crib and are designed to do exactly what your wife says: keep the baby from running into the slats or bars and getting hurt. Bumpers sound like a great idea, and millions of people—including me—have used them for decades. But new research shows that bumpers could actually be more dangerous than the injuries they’re trying to protect against.
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Driving a Mile in My Father’s Tire Tracks

It doesn’t get any snazzier than a 1965 cherry red Mustang convertible – the ultimate bachelor-mobile – a muscle car that was really a 1964 ½ model vehicle, which my Dad got about three years after his divorce.

This was how Dad stopped moping around. He bought this car, which he expected would make him the sexiest bachelor in New York City, and he took a vacation in the Caribbean to work on his tan and his tennis game, although it was the former that he seemed to concentrate on the most.

The Ford Motor Company had his number. He bought a brand new 1966 Mustang and followed that up with a new one each year through 1973 or so, by which time the Mustang had dropped its lightweight image and had powered up to a long, slender vehicle with plenty of juice, but little of the sex appeal that had made the early “Stangs” such a hit.
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