Low Testosterone: To T or Not to T

Dear Mr. Dad: My 13-year old son doesn’t seem to be maturing as quickly as his peers. His voice has barely changed, he’s not sprouting much facial or body hair, and he’s below average in height. He’s also overweight and seems tired a lot of the time. Lately he’s become obsessed with the idea that his problem is Low-T. He’s been bringing me magazine ads, pointing to TV commercials and Internet ads, and is trying to convince me that he needs testosterone supplements. Could he be right? I though low testosterone was only something that affects older men.

A: The answer to your question is Yes and No. Yes, he could indeed have low testosterone (frequently–and annoyingly–referred to as Low-T). But No (no, no, no) he should absolutely not start taking supplements or doing anything to “treat” the problem until he’s been properly diagnosed by a professional. And by professional, I mean a trained healthcare provider who will run blood tests (the only accurate way to measure testosterone levels) and who is committed to identifying the underlying issues and how to overcome them, rather than to selling you a bunch of pills. Stay far, far away from anyone (including advice columnists) who claims to be able to diagnose and treat low testosterone or other medical conditions without actually seeing the patient.
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Moving Long Distance: Making it Easier for Your Family

As dads, doing what’s best for our families is a top priority. And, sometimes, making the right decisions can be a bit difficult. Take a long-distance move, for example. Even if it’s what’s in your family’s best interest, there’s a good chance that someone won’t be happy about it—and that someone will usually be your child. Fortunately, we’ve got some strategies that can help you make that long-distance move a lot easier on everyone in the family—even you, dad.

Have a Family Discussion
Although moving is ultimately an adult decision, you should still include your children in moving-related discussions. By involving your children in the dialogue and encouraging them to ask questions and voice their concerns, you can help ease some of their perfectly understandable feelings of fear and powerlessness. Don’t dance around too much—come right out and address your children’s concerns, honestly and in language they can understand. Ask them what they think you can do to ease their anxieties, and do your best to fulfill those needs.

Research Your New Neighborhood
Ideally, you’ll be able to make a pre-move visit to your new neighborhood to get the lay of the land. But if you’re not, you can at least try to get online and research schools, parks, theaters, libraries, and landmarks, and encourage your children to make lists of all the things they want to see and do in their new neighborhood.

You might also research activities that could make your children a little less homesick (and help them make friends too) once they’re settled in their new home. For example, if your children enjoy sports, look into school teams and community leagues; if you’re the proud parent of a music lover, research children’s marching bands, orchestras, or private lessons. You get the idea.

Hire a Mover
The physical act of moving can be a huge strain on your family both physically and mentally. Few things are more aggravating than dropping half your flatware onto the street or putting a hole in your new home’s drywall as you try to round a corner with a bed frame. So if you’re able to afford it, consider hiring movers to do the work for you when moving long distance. It probably won’t be as inexpensive as DIY, but it could help you avoid some of the physical and emotional toll. And since professional movers are generally insured, anything they break or damage will be covered.

Make Plans for Your New Home
To get your children excited about the move, start making plans for your new home. Discuss bedrooms, family rooms and outdoor spaces, and urge your children to get involved in the planning process. Let them decide (within reason) how to decorate their own bedrooms, and get their input into things like furniture, landscaping, outdoor play areas, and so on. You don’t have to do what they want. But just asking their opinion will earn you some points in their eyes.

Have a Moving Sale
Having a moving sale is a great way to cut down on clutter, while bringing your family together with a common goal. As a family, go through items you no longer need, and start organizing and pricing those you wish to sell. With the money you earn, children could choose new items for their rooms, or you may decide to pool your proceeds and make a purchase for the entire family. For example, the money could be used on a television for the new family room, or on a swing set or jungle gym for your new yard.

Host a Going-Away Party
What better way to say goodbye than by hosting a going-away bash? Encourage each family member to invite his or her closest friends, and spend one last evening making memories in familiar surroundings. A few moving-themed ideas include stationery and postcards as party favors, decorating with maps, and having all the attendees include all their contact information in a guest book.

In the end, a move may still prove difficult for your family. However, with the tips provided here, you can help ease the transition, and get your family on the right path to feeling comfortable and making memories in your new surroundings. Good luck on your move!

Raising Healthy, Happy Kids without Becoming a Tiger

Shimi Kang, author of The Dolphin Way.
: Raising healthy, happy, motivated kids without turning into a tiger.
Issues: What happens to kids raised by Tiger parents? the skills required to succeed in the 21st Century–and how Dolphin parenting encourages their development; The importance of play and downtime; what happens to kids raised the Dolphin way?

Dads of Grads: 5 Great Gift Ideas to Help Them Face the Future

Beautiful female graduate

Beautiful female graduate

When your son or daughter is graduating from college, it can be as scary for you as it is for them. You want to support them and prepare them for the real world. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports twice as many college graduates are in minimum wage jobs as there were five years ago. To get them through these frustrating times and help them find their dream job, it may be wise to treat your recent college grad with an exceptional gift that has a personal as well as business-related impact.

1. Custom Graduate Gifts

Etsy is an online craft store where users upload custom-made items for sale on their own commerce shops. The Etsy platform allows users to dig through all the personal shops by specific keywords, and find something truly unique. Etsy shops tend to only have small quantities of a single item. A keyword search of “graduation gift ideas” provides ideas ranging from engraved jewelry, charm bracelets, knot rings and graduation necklaces. The Etsy store currently has about 300 different graduation-related gifts.

2. Custom Business Cards

TinyPrints notes business cards are older than social media, more physical than the Internet, and more effective in public circles where business networking is so vital. Business cards can be a useful gift for new graduates tackling the world of business. Online custom business cards providers offer premium business cards as well as free themes and layout where buyers only pay for shipping. Even if the design is simple and clean, with only a name and phone number, it sends a message to the student to get out there and begin marketing.

3. Inspirational Reading

Where Will You Be Five Years from Now?” is a rather straightforward book that dives into the psychological elements of growing up and tackling the future. There are millions of motivational books on the market, but this one has immediate charm and relates well to new college graduates entering their career. At just 80 pages, it is great for reading-averse students.

4. New Cell Phone

For recent grads tackling the world, an advanced phone may be perfect for dialing for dollars and networking. A gift to reduce the bill load could be quite beneficial for a new graduate, too. The Samsung Galaxy S4 along with a data plan could be perfect for relieving the burden of a cell phone bill. The official website boasts a new technology known as the Air View navigation which does not require users to touch the screen. Other new 2014 models offer a similar innovation, making a cell phone and subsequent billing plan a great gift.

5. Tech and More Tech

The tablet has grown into a viable computer technology, and it is being used more like a computer than a smartphone. CMO Research suggests that 48 percent of US households will own a tablet by 2014, and users who browse the Internet on a tablet compared to a smartphone view 70 percent more pages per visit. The Chicago Tribune ranks the tablet as the top graduation gift for 2014, with its computer desktop capabilities and sleek design for business and personal use.

Using Sports for Fitness

Staying in shape is a lifetime commitment. Half the battle is, of course, there’s the whole exercise part. But the other half is simply finding the motivation to get off the couch to do something even mildly athletic. Both halves get harder as we age. In most areas of our life, we like routines. But when it comes to working out, it’s easy to get sick of going to the same gym, running on the same treadmill, and blindly going through the same old free-weight or machine routine. And then there are all those pesky excuses that keep us from doing the exercise we know we should be doing: it’s the kids, the job, you’re too tired, too busy, and so on.

One of the easiest ways to break the monotony or find your lost or misplaced motivation is to mix your routine up and play a sport. Sports tend to distract you from the fact that you’re actually exercising; plus, a little friendly (or not) competition can up the motivation factor and get you to push yourself a little harder than you might be inclined to otherwise. It’s a pretty simple concept: The more fun you’re having while working out, the easier it is to keep your body moving. And the more you move (the more physical the sport), the more calories you‘ll burn while playing!

When talking about sports to do for recreation, the first ones you’ll think about are probably pretty traditional, such as soccer, hockey, and softball. But why opt for something old and boring when you can try out something quirky and completely different? With that in mind the folks over at Bubble Ball brought Bubble Soccer to the United States. Born in Europe and spreading fast, the game is a creative combination of bumper cars and soccer. As you can see in the picture below, you’re still kicking a soccer ball, but the top half of your body is inside an enormous, inflatable ball.
bubble ball
Bubble Soccer does a great job of distracting you from how much running and kicking you’re actually doing by engaging you and your opponents in bubble-filled, bumper-car-like mayhem. Why run a mile on a treadmill, when you can do two in a man-sized hamster ball? The calories you’ll burn running, jumping, kicking, bashing, and just keeping yourself upright will add up quickly, making Bubble Soccer as fun as it is exhausting. You can play Bubble Soccer on your own if you buy the equipment or you can join a league (or start one in your area) and compete against other enthusiasts. If you’re looking for a new way to get moving, this is it.