Maybe I’m Just Not Cut Out to Be a Dad

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a new dad—my son was born two months ago—and although I hate to admit it, I’m not feeling much like a parent. My wife wants me to be as involved as she is, playing with, feeding, talking to, and changing the baby. But I’m honestly not that interested. I was perfectly happy with the way my life was before. As you can imagine, my wife is rather annoyed with me. So I’ve got two questions for you: Aside from making my wife happy, why should I be involved? And is there something I can do to get more interested in fatherhood?

Those are two great questions—ones plenty of new parents struggle with but are afraid to admit they have. After all, we live in an egalitarian time and men and women are supposed to be equal partners in parenting, and we’re all supposed to fall head-over-feet in love with our babies from the second they’re born, right? Reality—as you’ve discovered—doesn’t always work out that way. The truth is that not everyone is born with the desire—or is cut out to be—an involved parent. And political correctness aside, not every couple is fully egalitarian. That said, there’s another facet of reality that you have to confront: Yes, you may have been happy with your pre-baby life, but you’re in a very different place now, and things will never be the same.
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31 Days Training with the Toughest Man on the Planet

Jesse Itzler, author of Living with a SEAL.
Topic:
31 days training with the toughest man on the planet
Issues: An inspiring, hilarious story of friendship, discovery, fitness, muscle soreness, pushing limits, and the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone.

Building Children’s Mental Toughness + Living with a SEAL

Rob Bell, coauthor of Don’t “Should” on Your Kids.
Topic:
Building your children’s mental toughness.
Issues: Why “sports is 90% mental” is 100% wrong; when and how to talk to your kids about their sports performance; helping kids find their passions in sports; when to push and when to back off.

Jesse Itzler, author of Living with a SEAL.
Topic:
31 days training with the toughest man on the planet
Issues: An inspiring, hilarious story of friendship, discovery, fitness, muscle soreness, pushing limits, and the benefits of stepping out of your comfort zone.

You’ll Love This—I Give You My Word!

How many times have you told your children to “use your words”? Now it’s your turn.

accentuateAccentuate – The Fun of Accents (Accentuate Games)
Do you think you’re good at identifying accents? How about imitating them? You’ll need both to win at Accentuate. Each team pics a speaker, who randomly selects cards from two decks: one with quotations, the other with names of languages or regions (there are 30 choices, including French, Russian, Canadian, Irish, Japanese, Italian, Boston, Minnesota, New York, and Jamaican). The speaker reads the quotation in his or her normal voice. Then, someone starts the timer and the speaker repeats the quotation over and over in the required accent. No gestures, shrugs, head movements, or any other physical hints allowed. If the team correctly identifies the accent, they score. Accentuate is an intelligent, fun game aimed at ages 16+, although sophisticated younger kids will enjoy it too. Takes 30-45 minutes to play. $29.95 at http://www.accentuategames.com/

word's outWord’s Out (Jax Games)
From the makers of the Sequence games (many of which we’ve reviewed here), comes this fun word game that’s reminiscent of Bingo. The object is to match letters from a card in front of you to a “lettergraph,” a grid that has all 26 letters of the alphabet. To do that, you roll two dice, one of which has colors on each face, the other has shapes. If you roll triangle blue, you’d get T. If that’s one of the letters in your word, great—one down, five to go. If not, you have to pick a card, which could make you lose one of your chips, remove an opponent’s chip, or swap words. An excellent game for building vocabulary and brushing up on spelling. For two to four players, ages 7+. $15.98. http://www.jaxgames.com/

zoo bingoListen & Play Zoo Bingo (The Learning Journey)
Pre-readers and early readers (and their parents, of course) will love this colorful matching game. It starts with pushing the Electronic Sound button. Then, identify the sound and find the corresponding card. Little kids will be able to match the sound to a picture, older kids can match the sound to the printed word that’s on the other side of the card. A fun way to introduce letter- and sight-word recognition. For two to four players, ages 3+. $14.99. http://www.tlji.com/

original aliasOriginal Alias (Tactic Games)
Think of Alias as a type of verbal charades. The idea is for one team member to explain to the rest of the team as many words as possible within a minute. The team moves its pawn ahead one space for each correct answer. The emphasis here is on explaining. If you want to make it a little more challenging, don’t allow gestures or acting. Original Alias comes with 400 cards, each with eight words, for a total of 3200 possibilities, so it’ll be a while before you go through all of them. The fun comes from seeing how difficult it is for intelligent people to explain some of the simplest words. Original Alias is for four or more players, ages 10+. However, there are a number of variations to the basic platform. Alias Junior is for players 5+, Family, for 7+, and Party for 11+. There’s even one that incorporates dice.  But the format is always the same (use your words to explain other words), and so are the results (a lot of laughs and a deeper understanding of the vocabulary you use every day). Original Alias retails for $34.99. Prices for the others vary. http://www.tactic.net/

Sorry, When It Comes to Parenting, Orange Isn’t the New Black

Dear Mr. Dad: My girlfriend has had a drug problem since I’ve known her. She was clean while pregnant with our daughter, but started up again right after the birth. She was in and out of our daughter’s life for the first two years, disappearing for long stretches of time, and spent the past two years in jail. Because of my ex’s drug problem, I was given sole legal and physical custody. A few weeks ago, she got out of jail and suddenly wants to be super mom. Given her history, I’m skeptical. I’m also torn. On one hand, I think our daughter, who’s now four, and her mother have a right to a relationship with each other and I want to support that. On the other hand, I’m afraid that she’ll start using again and will land back in jail, leaving our daughter disappointed and confused again. I wonder whether making a clean break would be the best thing for everyone. What do you suggest?

If your daughter’s mother is drug-free and doesn’t pose a danger to your daughter or herself, I think that making a clean break would be a big mistake. Your daughter, like most children, sees herself as equal parts you and her mother. And she’s probably worrying that one day she’ll end up like her mom, doing bad things, getting arrested, and spending time in prison. I’m guessing she’s a very frightened little girl. In her mind, it doesn’t matter what her mom has done; she loves her very much. Keeping her from seeing her mom will make things worse.
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Drive Carefully: The Life You Save Could Be Your Own or a Loved One’s

safe drivingAccording to the National Safety Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the period between Christmas and New Year’s typically has one of the highest rates of impaired driving fatalities.

Fatalities related to drunk driving are 100 percent preventable and the spike in buzzed driving around the holidays is especially alarming.

Some stats:

  • In 2014, 9,967 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes. These alcohol-impaired fatalities accounted for more 31% of the total motor vehicle traffic facilities in the United States.
  • Alcohol-impaired drivers were involved in 37% of traffic fatalities during the Christmas holiday period and 44% of traffic fatalities over New Year’s – making the winter holiday seasons one of the deadliest times to be on the road.
  • Buzzed driving can cost around $10,000 in fines, legal fees and increased insurance rates.

Remind your readers to ring in the New Year safely and plan ahead and designating a sober driver before they go out this year. Here’s how you can help spread the word:

These new PSAs, which were created pro-bono, ask viewers to think about a different set of consequences than previous drunk driving ads: the actual financial cost of being pulled over for driving buzzed. These costs–between fines, rising insurance costs, lawyer fees and more–could total over $10,000.

  • Encourage your readers to visithttp://buzzeddriving.adcouncil.org/ to sign the pledge to not drive buzzed and learn more about buzzed driving and the dangers that can come with it.
  • Share the attached social graphic or infographic across your social channels and encourage your readers to do the same using the hashtag #BuzzedDriving.