Monday, September 24, 2012

Family Day Today

Today is "Family Day"--a day we should be eating a meal together with our children.

The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University sponsors the day because research consistently shows that having family meals together at home (without electronic distractions) is a powerful step in preventing drug abuse and other serious adolescent problems.  CASA asks parents to make the following committment:

S- Spend time with my kids by having dinner together
T- Talk to them about their friends, interests and the dangers of drugs and alcohol
A- Answer their questions and listen to what they say
R- Recognize that I have the power to help keep my kids substance free!

Do your part today--and every day--to be a positive force in your child's life!

Monday, August 06, 2012

Coaching for Men with a Loved One Fighting Eating Disorders

Does your loved one battle an eating disorder? Our next coaching group for men begins August 29 in San Rafael, CA, and runs 4 Wednesday evenings from 7:00-8:30.

Past participants report substantial increase in their understanding of eating disorders and their confidence in dealing with them. They also report that the coaching help reduce their anxiety, fear, and frustration.
I loved this workshop. I was apprehensive beforehand, but it quickly became one of my favorite things of the week. I was so good to be among men who are open and honest and have similar struggles. I feel much less alone. I appreciate the knowledge, wisdom and caring of the facilitators. I learned facts and skills. I was reassured in some ways and guided in other ways to help our family member in recovery and myself. I highly recommend this workshop.
Join men’s expert and author Joe Kelly and eating disorders specialist Bridget Whitlow, LMFT for 4 weekly coaching sessions. Register now.

Another day-long coaching workshop runs from 9 am to 3 pm on Saturday September 29 in Petaluma, CA.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Summer Dad-Daughter DIY Tips

Does your daughter recognize the type of screwdriver you use as readily as the type of iPod she can buy? In today’s high-tech world, hands-on skills get short shrift and parents struggle to pull their kids away from mobile devices, 3D televisions and video game consoles for even a minute.

Plus, too many social attitudes still suggests that girls don't need to learn about (or aren't interested in) tools!

Editors at The Family Handyman compiled a list of nine ways you can get your kids off the couch and into the workshop with dad this summer. They just might like it!

1. Introduce tools one or two at a time.
 Kids are easily frustrated. Be careful not to go too fast. Let kids handle a tool, see how it works and feel a sense of accomplishment with it before moving on to another one.

2. Work at their height.
 You don’t like a work surface that’s too high, low or wobbly, and neither do kids. You can buy child-size workbenches from school supply catalogs, cut down an existing workbench or make one yourself. The workbench top should be at least 2 x 4 ft. and stand 24 in. high for preschoolers and 27 in. high for elementary-age kids.

3. Screw into drywall first.
 Start some screws in a scrap of drywall and let the kids screw them in with a screwdriver or a kid-size cordless screwdriver. Drywall is a lot easier to screw into than wood.

4. Whack on bubble wrap.
 To a kid who’s not quite ready to drive nails, nothing feels better than whap, crackle and pop. Supply a kid-size hammer or a rubber mallet.

5.  Build a bolt board.
 Wrenches are great for beginning tool users. Sink different-size bolts into board, then let children use wrenches to attach color-coordinated nuts.

6. Cut up foam core.
 Clamp some foam core to a workbench and let kids saw it into strips. Foam core is easier to saw through than wood, and a keyhole saw is perfect for small hands. You can buy foam core at craft, art and office supply stores.

7. Don’t toss that trash.
 Taking apart a broken gadget like a fan or toaster is great for young minds and fingers. Kids get to unscrew things, learn how something is put together and have fun.
 Note: If you don’t happen to have anything broken lying around, you can buy small appliances cheaply at yard sales or thrift stores. Look for older versions. The newer appliances are mostly snap-together plastic. Skip electronic devices, which might have potentially dangerous parts.

9. Don’t do it for them.
 The biggest challenges for experienced DIYers are time and patience. It’s very easy for an adult to take over and just do things for their child, but you have to let kids learn by doing, not watching.

Also, remember to play by the (safety) rules:
  • Always wear safety glasses.
  • Tie up long hair.
  • Wear closed-toe shoes.
  • Clean up after each work period.
  • When using a saw, clamp the wood or secure it in a vise and have kids hold the saw with both hands or put one hand behind their back to prevent accidents.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Why Dads Matter to Daughters: Video

Please take a moment to watch this important and powerful video from our friends at

We are proud to partner with this great project, and so please that they know--and celebrate--the power and potential of father-daughter relationships.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Fathers Day and Father Silence

On 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. 

Then I ask, ‘Stand up if your father ever spoke to you about how he was changed as a man by you being his child.’ Sometimes no one stands, and rarely more than 3 men stand. That’s a very emotional moment.

So many of us dads never heard anything on the subject from our own fathers. That’s really sad. However, it’s also an opportunity to break that cycle of silence, and talk to other fathers (including our own) about it.

In the years before and since I wrote Dads & Daughters®: How to Inspire, Understand and Support Your Daughter, I've talked and/or corresponded in-depth with thousands of fathers.

Women are always startled to learn that about half of these men (most of whom I never met before) report that I am the first person they’d ever talked to in depth about fatherhood. Men aren’t surprised, because we’re so accustomed to father silence.

The good news? With only a handful of exceptions, the fathers I communicate with are articulate and passionate; we have a lot to say about the experience and importance of being a dad. 

And while much of that may have gone unspoken until the moment of our conversations, those men and I quickly learned there’s real power in asking: "How are you changed as a person because you are a Dad?".

Thursday, June 07, 2012

Fathers Day Father Buzz

This Father's Day weekend Barbershops in the cities below are participating in Fatherhood Buzz, an initiative to support barbershops in connecting dads with local resources to help build strong families.
  • Albany, NY
  • Atlanta, GA
  • Chicago, IL
  • Los Angeles, CA
  • Milwaukee, WI
  • New York, NY
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • Washington, DC
It’s a great idea to identify a place where men naturally gather, and use it as a resource to connect dad to tools, ideas, and support close to home.

Ask for a haircut as your fathers Day present, and join the Buzz!

Thursday, May 03, 2012

For Professionals Working with Families

Are you a professional (teacher, therapist, social worker, dietitian, physician, clergy member, etc.) who works with families?  Do you know someone who is?
Then, check out my other blog  for information and resources to help family-serving professionals engage and mobilize fathers and stepfathers.

They are an untapped natural resource that we shouldn't let go to waste!