Carl Alasko, author of Say This, Not That.
Topic: How to always say the right thing at the right time.
Issues: The five rules of effective communication; what to say–and not say–in stressful situations; exploring the biology behind communication; how to avoid spilling emotional blood.
Melinda Blau, co-author of Family Whispering.
Topic: Communicating and connecting with the people you love and making your whole family stronger.
Issues: Shifting from “parent think” to “family think;” the three factors that make each family unique; qualities that inspire cooperation and commitment; sibling rivalry; giving vs. grandstanding; why some families function better than others.
This is Part 2 of our 2-part series. In Part 1, we talked about the prevalence of concussions, the signs and symptoms, and the important role parents and coaches play in preventing and treating them.
Based on a foundation of competition and physical perseverance, it’s hard to withstand the “win at all costs” pressure that has come to exist in athletics. CoachUp football coach and former Patriots offensive tackle, Max Lane, recognizes that pressure but also understands the life-long impact this injury can have on an athlete. “Everybody wants to win. Coaches have to let the players know that at the beginning of the season that the coach is fostering an atmosphere of safety first, even when that means safety over winning. The coach has to communicate to the players that it’s okay for them to speak up if they’ve been hit in the head.” [Read more...]
Suffering from a concussion can occur in any sport, and at all levels of play, from little league to the major leagues. In fact, the US Center for Disease Control estimates 1.6 million to 3.8 million concussions occur in sports and recreational activities each year. Early education and a shift in the “tough it out” mentality is needed in order to reduce the frequency of concussions in young athletes, as well as, reduce the number of concussions that go undiagnosed. Parents and coaches have to raise the bar and set the standard that the athlete’s health is first priority. [Read more...]
Dear Mr. Dad, My 14-year-old daughter is obsessed with the idea that she needs to start dating. She says “all of her friends” are doing it, and feels left out. Fourteen just seems too young. I don’t think anyone—boy or girl—should start ‘til at least 16. I want to tell her “over my dead body” but I also don’t want to be that dad. What can I do?
A: As the father of three daughters—two of whom made it through their teen years without getting pregnant (the third is only 10 and I’m confident she’ll do the same)—I feel your pain. The very idea of your little girl, alone with a … boy, can bring up all sorts of emotions, headlined by anger (“Boys that age have only one thing on their mind”) and worry (How can I possibly protect her?”).
Let’s start with the “only-one-thing-on-their-mind” idea. Do you really believe that? TV, movies, and the Internet put a lot of pressure on teens to have as much sex as they can as often as they can, with as many different people as possible. But the reality is that the majority of boys your daughter’s age are petrified of girls, and what’s most likely on their mind is, “I’m hungry.”
As far as the “how-can-I-protect-her” idea, you have two things going for you. First, your daughter herself doesn’t sound like she’s all that into it and just wants to date because everyone else is. By telling you that, she’s almost begging you to say No. Second, even if dating were her idea, you’re right: 14 is too young for serious one-on-one dating.
That said, you can’t just play the tough guy and expect her to be happy about it. In fact, the more forcefully you forbid dating, the more you’ll push her towards it. Here’s what to do instead.
- Really Talk to Her. You have a wonderful opportunity here. Your daughter actually came to you with a problem. That says a huge amount (in a good way) about your relationship. Ask her to tell you more about the dating her friends are doing, the pressure she feels, and what she actually means by “dating” (you might be thinking, “dinner, movie, make out in the back seat of the car”; she might be thinking “hold hands and share an ice cream cone”). Listen carefully and don’t be judgmental. When you sense an opportunity, talk to her about the dangers of dating, including violence (which, by the way is just as likely to be initiated by girls as by boys). Talk about relationships, sex, and the finances involved. You’re not going to wrap this up in one conversation, so take it a step at a time.
- Establish some dating rules. Number one is that group dates are okay, one-on-one dates are not. End of story. Group dates let her be with the boy who makes her blush, but in a setting where inappropriate behavior is a lot less likely.
- Tag along. In my view, groups of young teens shouldn’t be out and about without an adult nearby—there’s too much opportunity for things to go wrong. And if you want your daughter to see how serious you are, be the chaperone. Don’t be right in the middle of the group or try to be everyone’s buddy—that would only embarrass your daughter. Instead, walk half a block behind and sit a few rows away in the movie. But be there. Watch carefully, and let her enjoy herself.