Sometimes we’re so busy trying to get though today’s crazed schedule—or preparing for tomorrow’s and the next day’s—that we forget to talk about the most important things. Especially at this time of year.
Here’s a quick and simple exercise, appropriate for Thanksgiving week, to better understand how important you and your daughter or stepdaughter are to each other.Read more
This Fathers Day, remember that men today long to have good relationships with their children. But there have been generations of silence about what it means to be a father. We didn’t hear our own dads talk about it.
At my fathering workshops the most moving moment is when I ask, ‘How many of you feel like you’ve been changed as a man by having this daughter? Stand up if you can tell me one or two or three things that are different for you.’
Everyone in the room stands.Read more
Over the past few days, my fellow stay-at-home dad Oren Miller told the dad blogging community that he has cancer--and something else we all could use.
On Friday, 5/30/14, I found out I had a Stage 4 lung cancer. People in my condition have about a year to live on average, and treatment is now limited to making the next year more bearable. There are other options that may be discussed later, including experimental treatments, and I'm staying optimistic, but frankly, I think I know where I stand.
4 years ago, in the summer of 2010, we were at Bethany Beach, and everyone was having a great time. Our family and some friends were building sand castles, going in and out of the water, and just relaxing in general--everyone except anxious old me. I had hundreds of unread emails and dozens of ideas for blog posts I didn't have time to write, and I was surrounded by too much sand and not enough coffee. I tried to pretend I was having a good time, but people could see I was out of my comfort zone, and worse, that I didn't want to be there.
It was only on the drive back home that I had the epiphany. It was only on the drive back that I realized what I had been missing out on. It was only on the drive back that I realized I had been experiencing the biggest tragedy of human existence: I was having the time of my life, and I didn't even know it.
That was a good day, since once you make that decision, man... You're in Heaven every single second of your life. And it went on and on, and things only got better, because I made a conscious decision one summer day, on the drive home from Bethany Beach, and was able to repeat that decision subconsciously from that moment on.
I have a friend who grew up on a Midwest farm; I'l call him Gene. As a young boy, Gene and his father were visiting their neighbor’s farm, and my friend wandered by himself into the barn. He accidentally knocked over an unlit kerosene lamp.
When the neighbor found the broken lamp, Gene said he didn’t know how it happened.Read more
More treatments for infertility are available than ever before—and nearly all of them are stressful. Perhaps the biggest stressor is the way you may now have to engage in sex. Many couples getting infertility treatment say the prescribed regimen for intercourse and other sexual acts is a major adjustment.
After all, we’re used to having sex spontaneously; because we’re in the mood, not because we’re on a timetable.Read more
The months leading up to your baby’s first birthday bring the first taste of his growing independence. He is getting stronger, growing teeth, eating new foods, and snarfing up more and more information. He will crawl and then walk.
Of course, this places new demands on you, since the baby isn’t going to just lie quietly in the crib anymore (if he ever did!).Read more
Fathers and Stepfathers have enormous influence on Daughters, but it's not always clear how to best use that influence--and to fully experience the joy of having a daughter.
Joe Kelly, author of the best-seller Dads & Daughters©: How to Inspire, Understand, and Support Your Daughter, offers personalized coaching for dads on communication, strengthening the father-daughter bond, and negotiating the minefield of female adolescence.
"Joe Kelly offers clear, practical advice on building closer relationships, helping girls develop, and boosting confidence." - Parenting magazine
"I want to thank you personally for creating an outlet for all of us. If it had not been for you, I probably wouldn't have survived a teenage daughter. Not only is she now a well-adjusted adult, she's actually taken the next steps in life. A few weeks back, she got her very own apartment, along with her (gulp) fiancé!" - Tim
Call 510.423.0553 now to schedule your individualized, web-based coaching, available anywhere!
Whether through divorce, separation, deployment, incarceration, or other circumstances, some fathers & stepfathers don’t live with their kids. But a Live-Away Dad still has huge influence; Here are some tips to have a close, positive and fun relationship.
1. HANG IN THERE FOR THE LONG HAUL. Living away while raising a child is tough, but both her mom and I remain tremendous influences in her life. I meet my responsibilities, including child support, without resentment. I stay calm, committed, loving and loyal toward my child—and do what I can to help her mom do the same.
2. ENCOURAGE BONDS WITH MOM. My child's relationship with his mom is different from him relationship with me. My child needs to participate in it, even when that's hard for me (or him). I encourage communication with mom, recognizing that I'm not responsible for their relationship. If abuse or abandonment happen, my child needs me to protect him, but he also needs to make peace in her life with that relationship.
3. DEVELOP HEALTHY SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS FOR MYSELF. It's normal to struggle with anger, loneliness and other difficult emotions. I meet my adult emotional and social needs maturely with healthy adults; I don't work them out through my child.
4. REMEMBER THAT MY CHILD LIVES IN TWO HOMES. The hours before she leaves my home and after she returns may be times of adjustment and sadness, since she has to leave either parent "behind." I respect that she may or may not want to talk right away about her time with her mom; I let her take the lead. I don't pry for information or play down her feelings.
5. FATHER THE BEST I CAN WHEN MY CHILD IS WITH ME. I can't change how his other parent(s) raise him and I can't make up for what they do or don't do, so I focus on what I can control: my own actions. I don't judge their parenting because no one (including me) is a perfect parent. I trust that all of us are trying our best. I parent him calmly; with clear expectations, affection, patience, love and trust—without demanding perfection. I give him healthy attention when he's with me and when he's away (by phone, text, mail, etc.).
6. DON'T TRASH MOM. In word and gesture, I speak well about my child's mom even when I'm angry at her—and even if her mom speaks poorly about me. If I have trouble speaking well, I wisely say little. Negative talk about my child's mom humiliates and wounds my child, causing her to think less of herself, her mom and me. I keep her out of the middle, even if others don't, and I'll resolve adult conflicts away from her so she can be the child.
7. CO-PARENT WITH MOM. If possible, I communicate openly with his mom. As our child grows up, the other parents' perspectives are valuable—and a real bonus for our child. We work with each other (and our partners) for our child's well-being. When I share my concerns and joys about our child with his mom (and vice versa), our child gets our best and most informed parenting.
8. MY CHILD AND HER MOTHER ARE DIFFERENT PEOPLE. I don't misdirect anger at my ex toward my child. When my child doesn't listen, does less than her best or makes mistakes (normal kid behaviors), I don't confuse her mistakes with her mom's actions. Instead, I honor mistakes as great teachers, and do what I can do to help her learn from her mistakes—and mine.
9. LISTEN TO MY CHILD. Lecturing and arguing get me nowhere. I can't help my child if I minimize his feelings or tell him everything will be okay when I can't guarantee that it will. Instead, I listen and am there for him. I accept my child for who he is; not who I want him to be, think he should be, or think he would be if he were raised only by me. I take the lead in communicating—even when I feel unappreciated—building the emotional connection that will help him listen to me when it really counts.
10. FOCUS ON MY CHILD'S POSITIVES. I don't father by always pointing out what my child did wrong, so she can fix it. That may work on the job, but not with my children. Focusing on negatives undermines her strength and confidence—which may be already stretched by living in two homes.
11. MANAGE EXPECTATIONS WISELY. My child has different rules and expectations in his mother's house. I am patient with his responses to those differences, while remaining clear about my expectations for our home. I try not to compensate for our family situation by giving in to demands that I spoil my child or lessen my expectations just because he is a “child of divorce.” I remember that an honest, solid and lifelong relationship with him is more important than what happens today.
12. BE THE FATHER, NOT THE MOTHER. I am a powerful and encouraging role model, and I tell her she has a special place in my heart. My masculine actions and loving words help her realize that she too can be adventurous, affectionate, playful and successful -- and should expect respect from other honorable men. My belief in her will help her blossom into a young adult who can make her mother and me proud.
Created with William C. Klatte, author of Live-Away Dads: Staying a Part of Your Children’s Lives When They Aren’t a Part of Your Home