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.

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!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Her Strength; Her Voice

A girl feels good about herself when she is loud and bold. Too often, she runs into the notion (sometimes reinforced by Dad) that loud behavior is not ladylike. 

As she approaches adolescence, she hears that it’s unattractive to recognize your own needs and speak up openly for them. People (sometimes within her family) begin seeing her as a sexual object rather than as a person. She begins to wear the gender straight-jacket that squeezes out her breath while rewarding her more for her looks, passivity and being soft-spoken than for her passions, insights and beliefs.

A girl also gets strong messages that silencing herself is the only way to maintain her relationships with girlfriends, boyfriends, family and anyone who is important to her. She learns the myth that loudness and friction will threaten the survival of relationships – and that a relationship will not continue if she demands that it meet her needs. 

It’s not a pretty picture in which to imagine our daughters. Many adult women spend years trying to emerge from this underground and reconnect with that spunky 10-year-old.

Fortunately, we can help address many of these problems. Since the father-daughter relationship is one of her most important ones, we are in a unique position to counter these negative cultural messages by encouraging our daughters to speak up and rewarding them when they do. The best way of doing this is to actively listen to our daughters.

When we turn our attention to what a daughter says, does and cares about, we show her that a crucial man in her life—her father—cares about who she is, above all else. When we respect what our daughters’ voices say, we build up their inner strength.

Listen, and honor her voice.