When Is a Chore Not a Chore?

Dear Mr. Dad: What is the deal with chores? I did them, my parents did them, and so did my grandparents. I don’t have children of my own, but I’ve noticed that very few of my friends’ kids seem to have any chores or responsibilities at all. What is going on?

A: When I was young, chores were something that contributed to the good of the family, and every kid I knew did them (according to a recent poll done by Whirlpool earlier this year, 82% of American adults did chores when they were growing up). But today, the word “chore” has taken on a completely different—and completely absurd—meaning. In a lot of cases, it has no meaning at all. According to that same Whirlpool poll, only 28% of parents say they assign to their children the same chores they did when they were young.
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Here’s Why You Should Travel by Car This Thanksgiving

thansgiving travel

thansgiving travel

You’ve heard that the day before Thanksgiving is the busiest travel day of the year, right? Well, it turns out that is a myth. Troy Green of AAA told NPR there are five to 10 days over the summer that are even busier. That’s not to say that Thanksgiving travel is a breeze; 66 percent of Americans plan to travel by car this Thanksgiving, according to Skyscanner, a flight, hotel and car hire search engine. And the U.S Department of Transportation reports that during the six-day Thanksgiving travel period, 91 percent of long-distance trips are made by personal vehicle. Traveling by car is the best way to avoid exorbitant flight fares and holiday crowds. Still not convinced? We’ve listed the best reasons to travel by car this Thanksgiving:

You Get to Call the Shots

When your Uncle Harold is telling about his cat for the 100th time, you’ll probably be eager for an escape plan. Traveling by car gives you the means to make a quick getaway. In all seriousness, this way you aren’t tied to a flight plan. And for those self-proclaimed procrastinators out there, driving might be your only option if you left buying plane tickets for the last minute.

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Balancing the Big Stuff + Masterminds and Wingmen


Miriam Liss, co-author of Balancing the Big Stuff.
Topic:
Finding happiness in work, family, and life.
Issues: The search for balance; balancing multiple roles; balance as a parent; balance at work; balance is for men and women; balance at home; societal barriers to balance; beyond balance.


Rosalind Wiseman, author of Masterminds & Wingmen.
Topic:
The new rules of Boy World.
Issues: Popularity and groups; body image; schoolyard power; locker room tests; girlfriends; intimacy; the emotional lives of boys (which are more complex that we’re led to believe; why boys are lagging behind girls in education; why boys are more likely to commit suicide than girls.

Nice Coverage of My Terre Haute, IN Talk on Military Dads

Brott, Military Father

Author Helps Deployed Dads with Home-Front Issues
Brott, Military FatherThis article ran on the AP wire and also appeared in The Military Times.
Oct. 2, 2014

By Howard Greninger
The (Terre Haute, Ind.) Tribune-Star via AP

Staff Sgt. Shawn Oxford of the Indiana Air National Guard said he knows what it’s like to come home after a military deployment.

“Things are definitely different when you come back, such as kids (initially) listening more to the parent who stayed at home. It does take some getting used to, but it is nice to know you are not the only one,” Oxford said.

He was among more than 50 members of the 181st Intelligence Wing Wednesday to hear a presentation from Armin A. Brott, who has written several books for dads, including his book, “The Military Father — A Hands-on Guide for Deployed Dads.” Brott is known as Mr. Dad.

Brott said he decided to write the book after he heard statements such as “my husband just came back from deployment and every time a door slams around here, he dives under a table. Or something from the mom or dad, that their 2-year-old daughter comes up from behind to give a hug, and I almost threw them out a window,” he told the Tribune-Star.

Brott served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1976 to 1978, entering the service at age 17.

In his presentation to the Intelligence Wing at the Terre Haute International Airport-Hulman Field, Brott said there are different challenges facing families in active duty and reserve deployment.

One is finances.

“Young enlisted guys, or girls, are not making a lot of money, and they tend to live on the base,” he said. The young enlisted, Brott said, also tend to be targets of predatory loans and have a high rate of bankruptcy. “The average credit rating for active duty is 592, while the civilian reserve has a 692 credit rating,” he said.

The guard or military reservists may have a good job in their civilian life, but have a lower rank and earning less in the military. “If they get deployed, they have some financial issues to deal with because there is a long stretch of time where they are not making enough money to make ends meet. There is also the opposite effect of someone who has a good military income, but low civilian income. If there is a deployment, they get used to having that extra money and start buying things on credit. But when the deployment is over, they have all those bills to pay, so (they) end up in the same spot with difficulties managing finances,” he said.

Military personnel today also are more likely to see combat. In World War II, about 15 percent of veterans saw combat, while in the Vietnam War it was closer to 30 percent. “In Iraq and Afghanistan, it was closer to 70 to 80 percent who saw combat,” he said. Yet, Brott said, that does not mean there is a bigger connection of those in combat to post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, especially when compared with another military problem of suicide, he said.

“Half of the people who commit suicide in the military, and it is a problem, were never deployed. Eighty percent of those committing suicide never saw combat,” he said.

Brott said active duty families often have support of being on bases and with people of similar situations. Reserve-duty dads, when deployed, go through feelings of shock, fear, anger and uncertainty, particularly before a first deployment. At the same time, their spouses can feel withdrawal and an emotional distance.

Capt. John Petrowski said he appreciated that Brott was able to show both sides of the deployed and a spouse at home. “Both face challenges and fears going into deployment. Plus the stress (of the spouse) at home with the kids. We have always said the toughest job is for the person who stays at home,” he said.

Petrowski said technology, such as Skype, can sometimes become too distracting to the person serving overseas, as well as a hardship on the person at home. “If the lawn mower is broken and you are in Afghanistan, it doesn’t do you any good to know that. Let’s just get the lawn mower fixed and not pass that on” to the deployed spouse, Petrowski said.

Brott said children react to deployment and returning from a deployment in different ways. “Yet all kids just want to know how it affects ‘me,’ your going away or your return, how will it affect ‘me.’ They have no other concerns, really and truly,” he said.

For infants, he suggests the deployed person record themselves reading stories. Toddlers do not understand time and can lash out verbally when a parent is gone. Pre-school and elementary children still have “the me thing going. We need to be reassuring that they understand what is going on. Give the child something to hold onto, something of value, so they feel connected to you and feel connected to what you are doing and your return.”

For children age 8 to 12, talking and listening to questions is important. For teens, “they can be sullen, can push you away or have behavioral problems, but the difficulty is being sullen or withdrawing or just being annoying sometimes is basic teen behavior. To separate out what is normal for a teen to what is normal for a teen with a parent who is deployed is difficult. Talking and listening is still important,” he said.

Senior Airman Anna Dennis said she appreciated the presentation. Dennis said that while she does not have children and could not directly relate to that discussion, “I didn’t think about the different ages of children and how they react” to a deployment, Dennis said.

The original article apppeared here.

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.

5 Great (And Nearly Unknown) Places to Raise a Family

Every family has its own personality. Some are sports nuts while others are full on sci-fi geeks. There are those that want to huge yard and others that do not want the hassle. Just like a family, cities have their own unique flair. If you are ready to make a move then matching your family’s needs to a city’s culture is the perfect pairing for a long and happy time in the neighborhood.

Old School With A Hip Vibe

If your kids have Ella Fitzgerald on their iPod then the Ballard district of Seattle, Washington may be your perfect match. This is an old-school, small town area in the biggest city of the Pacific Northwest. It has a working waterfront that contributes to the thriving Pacific fish industry. The boutique shops and fresh seafood restaurants have turned this once blue collar fishing town into a trendy area that is great for a family of free-spirited bohemians.

Photo by manleyaudio via Wikimedia Commons

The Electric Family

The engineering industry is changing locations and Boise, Idaho is one of the hubs. Forbes ranks Boise as the second best places to raise a family for it’s low cost of living and low crime rates. Idaho’s population has more than doubled in the last two decades, much of that because of an influx of technical personnel for the booming Boise scientific industry. With its rapid housing growth, it is also a great place to rehab a fixer-upper with additions to enhance the aesthetic and comfort of your home—add a sunroom or put in a new bathroom to gain equity.

Photo by Bjh21 via Wikimedia Commons

Norman Rockwell’s Family

If you are looking for a picturesque suburban area where kids ride their bikes, seniors stroll in the park, and lovers skate at the ice rink then look no further than West Hartford, Connecticut. With only around 60,000 people, West Hartford boasts six parks, ice skating rink, a dog park coalition, two senior centers and three libraries. West Hartford’s school system is one of the best in the state. All is good in West Hartford.

Photo by Ragesoss via Wikimedia Commons

A Sport For Every Kid

Football, baseball, and soccer are the staples of many American families. If your weekends are full of sporting events then move to Rio Rancho, New Mexico. This Albuquerque suburb has a 78.5 acre sports complex replete with baseball fields, dog parks, skate parks, and tennis courts. This is just one of more than forty parks, paths or outdoor venues that the city offers. Rio Rancho offers the temperate climate that comes with the Western states. Add to that the beautiful views and a top ranking school system, Rio Rancho is the perfect place for a family full of sporting enthusiasts.

More Outdoor But With A College Feel

Another place for the outdoorsy family, Logan, Utah is the home of a flowing river of the same name, big skies, and Utah State University. This is a college town by most descriptions. With more than 2,000 staff and faculty, Utah State University is the largest employer of the city. Having a university means that the city values education, and it is reflected in Logan’s educational system. With a city motto of “City United In Service,” Logan is the true definition of a neighborly community.

Photo by UtahStizzle via Wikimedia Commons