When Mom and Dad are the Problem + Labeled Kids + Surviving Deployment

www.amazon.co.ukGuest: 1: Vicki Hoefle, author of Duct Tape Parenting.
Topic: A less-is-more approach to raising respectful, responsible, resilient kids.
Issues: Why helicopter mothers and fathers are bad for kids; why it’s important for moms and dads to sit on their hands and stay on the sidelines so that children can step up, solve their own problems, and develop life-long confidence.


www.amazon.co.ukGuest 2: Barbara Probst, author of When the Labels Don’t Fit/
Topic: A new approach to raising a challenging child.
Issues: Discovering your child’s essential nature and temperament; respecting your child’s inner world; changing the way you think, talk, and respond; knowing when and how to help; taking care of yourself.


www.amazon.co.ukGuest 3: Karen Pavlicin, author of Life After Deployment.
Topic: How military families prepare for, cope with, and survive deployment.
Issues: Types of deployment; emotional and psychological stages of deployment; ways to keep in touch across time and distance; the effects of deployment on the soldier, spouse, and children; keeping reasonable expectations when coming home.

Supporting Military Families + Death-Defying Math

www.amazon.co.ukGuest 1: Jill Biden, author of Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops.
Topic: The Second Lady of the US talks about being the mother of a deployed soldier and the effects of deployment on children.


www.amazon.co.ukGuest 2: Sean Connolly, author of The Book of Perfectly Perilous Math.
Topic: Death-defying challenges for young mathematicians.
Issues: How to defeat vampires using algebraic equations; destroy and out-of-control asteroid using geometry; escape an enemy spy using ratios and proportions; plus killer tornadoes, deadly spiders, zombies, and more.

Dads in the Military: Supporting a Pregnant Wife

My wife and I are expecting our first child. The problem is that I’m in the US Marine Corps on tour in Iraq. I have been here since the beginning of the pregnancy and I might not be there for the birth of our child. My wife is having a hard time doing this on her own and I feel that there’s nothing I can do to support her. I’m reading your book, The Expectant Father, which I find very helpful. But do you know of any resources that are specifically aimed at military dads and/or their families?

There are over 700,000 children under five in military families who are separated from their father or mother. As a former U.S. Marine myself, my heart goes out to all of them. Here are some great resources you and your wife can use to get the support you need. And because I know many military dads will be reading this column, I’m also including some tips on staying in touch with the kids and maintaining relationships while away. [Read more...]

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.
[Read more...]

April is the Month of the Military Child. Let’s do everything we can to support them.

1.8 million children have a parent in the military and most of those families have been through multiple deployhments. As a Marine Corps veteran, my heart goes out to every one of them. We’ve all heard a lot about PTSD, the increased divorce rates in military families, and the out-of-control suicide rate (more servicemembers committed suicide in 2011 than were killed in action). But very few of us know about the toll deployment takes on children.
[Read more...]

Taking Care of Mrs GI Dad

Dear Mr. Dad: You’ve written a lot of about how deployed dads can maintain strong relationships with their children while they’re away—and I’ve learned a lot of great stuff. But what about my wife? How do I keep my relationship with her strong too?

A: Excellent question! With all the attention that gets paid to dad-child relationships, it’s easy to forget that military marriages need plenty of care and feeding as well. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

  • Adapt some of the kid-related activities you’re doing and use them with your wife. For example, if you’re making CDs or DVDs to send home, don’t stop with the kids’ books. Record some poetry or a chapter of a novel you’re both interested in reading. Send some R-rated—or X if you’re feeling brave—love notes home (in sealed envelopes) and have your children hide them where Mommy will find them.
  • Don’t compare or criticize. Yes, you may be dealing with life-threatening situations every day. Meanwhile, back at home, your wife is going through some pretty intense battles too. It’s apples and oranges, so any comparison will be unfair to one side or the other. Your wife probably has the good sense not to tell you how to do your job, so show her the same courtesy.
  • Support her. Your wife truly needs to know that you understand that life isn’t easy for her right now. She also needs to know that you love he, you think she’s doing a great job, and you support her 100 percent.
  • Ask her to limit media consumption. If your wife is one of those obsessive news junkies—watching TV for hours and hours every day and consuming every other kind of news story she can lay her hands on or click a mouse at—do everything you can to get her to cut back. This kind of behavior is usually an indication that she’s highly stressed about your physical safety and desperately need sof some reassurance. As guys, we often like to report how tough our living conditions are, or go through a bullet-by-bullet description of a firefight we survived. But some information is best kept to yourself.
  • Encourage her to get some support. Whether you’re asking for it or not, you’re getting a lot of emotional and social support from the other guys in your unit. Each of you knows exactly what everyone else is going through, and sometimes just knowing you’re not alone can be very reassuring. Your wife needs to find a similar support network. Fortunately, every unit has some kind of family support organization where wives (or at-home husbands) can get together with others who share their experience. They offer everything from a safe place to vent frustrations to help with babysitting. Unfortunately, a majority of wives don’t participate in FRG activities.
  • Encourage her to keep a positive outlook. But be very careful how you do this. Telling a woman who’s overwhelmed, lonely, sad, and depressed to “cheer up” or “look at the bright side” won’t go over well. Reminds me of one of my favorite cartoons. It’s called “One-session psychotherapy,” and the illustration is of a therapist backhanding a patient across the face while yelling, “Snap out of it!”
  • Encourage her to relax. Downtime in our society is hugely underrated. And a little goes a long way. A couple of hours off to take a yoga class or just a long walk alone could energize your wife for the rest of the week.