Big Day Tomorrow: We’re Announcing the Winners of the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval!

Mr. Dad Seal of ApprovalFriday’s going to be a really big day: We’ll be announcing the winners of the Mr. Dad Seal of Approval for the 2014 Winter Holidays!

Sam and I and our army of evaluators have been hip deep in toys and games and apps for weeks and we’ll be awarding the Seal to more than 30 great products that meet our criteria of getting dads and kids engaged with each other and helping facilitate father-child relationships.

Stay tuned to for the complete list.

Air Rifle Safety: Don’t Shoot Your Eye out This Christmas

air riflfe safety

air riflfe safety

“You’ll shoot your eye out, kid.” As the film “A Christmas Story” (1983) so emphatically warned children and parents, the gift of a BB gun or air rifle comes with great responsibility. It is up to parents to properly convey safety messages to their kids: the new, proud, and sometimes reckless owners air rifles.

With some gun safety tips and greater understanding of gun handling, your child can grasp the value of air rifle ownership and the responsibility required to use one. Here are some suggestions for safety to explain to your child.

Air Rifle 101

Air rifles are non-lethal, low-velocity guns, but they can still cause some damage. An air rifle has on average about a 350 muzzle velocity and a 400 shot load, so it’s important to understand the functions and safety recommendations before handing one over to your teen.

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Triumphing over Loss

Dear Mr. Dad: Our little five year old daughter passed away recently. My wife and I are both struggling with grief and it is causing distance between us. We barely speak and when we do, it’s just to argue. Now I’m worried about losing our marriage as well. How can we get through this pain and keep it together?

A: I am deeply sorry for your loss. The death of a child must be one of the most painful experiences anyone—especially a parent—can have, and the repercussions can challenge even the strongest of marriages. If you haven’t already done so, it’s important that you and your wife find a counselor who has experience working with parents who have lost children. For the rest of this column I’m going to share some of the advice I heard from experts in this area, including Melanie Davis, who wrote about losing her 7-month old daughter to SIDS in
The Triumph Book

Since your loss is recent, you’ll most likely experience what some in the bereavement world refer to as the Seven Stages of Grief: Shock, denial, anger, bargaining, guilt, depression, acceptance and hope. (These are similar to Elizabeth Kubler-Ross’s five stages, which applied to people coping with their own impending death.)
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Is Call of Duty better than The Sims?

There’s a lot of research out there showing that playing video games actually benefits kids (and adults) in a variety of ways. But what about action games? The media and politicians love to criticize action games, claiming that they make players violent. But new research from the University of Rochester may put an end to that discussion. It turns out that violent action games (like Call of Duty) are actually better in many ways than playing calmer games (like The Sims).

The following is an excerpt from a press release from the University about this fascinating study.

A new study shows for the first time that playing action video games improves not just the skills taught in the game, but learning capabilities more generally.

“Prior research by our group and others has shown that action gamers excel at many tasks. In this new study, we show they excel because they are better learners,” explained Daphne Bavelier, a research professor in brain and cognitive sciences at the University of Rochester. “And they become better learners,” she said, “by playing the fast-paced action games.”
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Write Your Way Into Elite Colleges

Ashley Wellington, author of Admissions Essay Boot Camp.
How to write your way into the elite college of your dreams.
Issues: Identifying your student “type”; brainstorming and other exercises; creating outlines and drafts; making your essay unique; how to handle tough topics; what topics to stay away from and why.