Here’s the latest batch of articles for military families, posted on my about.com mini site.
Dear Mr. Dad: I’ve got twins—one girl, one boy—and we love to wrestle together. I always thought I was treating them the same, but a few days ago, my wife told me that she thinks I play very differently with them—very physically with my son and much more gentle with my daughter. I started paying attention and I have to admit that she’s right. So now I’m wondering: is there any actual reason to be more gentle with my daughter? And should I be more gentle with my son?
A: No and no. Assuming you’re playing in a safe way and the kids are having fun (you should always take your cues from them), there’s absolutely no reason why you can’t be just as rough and tumble with your daughter as you are with her brother. As the father of three daughters, I can assure you that little girls are just as sturdy as boys. In fact, based on science, one might argue that girls are actually sturdier. Although more males are conceived, more die in utero. And while more boys than girls are born, boys are more likely to be arrive prematurely and they’re more susceptible to disease and death. Boys are more likely than girls to die from SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and less likely to survive the first year than girls. As they get older, boys are significantly more likely to be diagnosed with autism, learning disabilities, mental retardation, and many other conditions.
Despite all that, we still have this idea that girls are delicate and need to be physically coddled. That’s an idea that starts from the very beginning. What’s the first question people ask when someone has had a baby? Boy or girl? We ask because we want to know how to treat the child in question. Parents (both dads and moms) encourage independence and exploration more in boys than girls. They typically (and unconsciously) allow boys to cross the street by themselves at younger ages and wait a few seconds longer before picking up a boy who’s fallen than a girl. And, of course, they wrestle more with sons than daughters.
A guest post from HearDad.com
It doesn’t take long for a father to be at his wits end with a toddler. Shorter still when the toddler naturally resists falling asleep, staying asleep, and going back to sleep. I can confidently presume that you’ve been where I frequently am. At the end of your rope. So close to giving up or lashing out that you often wonder if you’re the only one who has too much testosterone pulsing through your veins. I have great news for you. You’re not alone and your struggle is not hopeless.
Someone once said that true strength was strength under control. The more I mature in fatherhood the more this truth becomes apparent to me. All over the news you see, read and hear of another man or adolescent that snaps. They unleash all of their frustration, all of their anger, all of their supposed strength on a helpless child. Most often, this undeserving attack ends in death but can also end in permanent damage. It is absolutely never worth it. To anyone. Yet it keeps happening. Someone eventually snaps.
Anat Baniel, author of Kids Beyond Limits.
Topic: Breakthrough results for children with autism, Asperger’s, brain damage, ADHD, and undiagnosed developmental delays.
Issues: The need to shift to connecting with the child rather than fixing him/her; nine steps to improve the child’s brain, which will produce remarkable—and sometimes immediate—results; harnessing the brain’s capacity to heal itself; how parents can incorporate the nine steps into everyday life.
As many of us know, minorities (in particular African Americans and Hispanics) generally have worse health outcomes than Whites. But what most people don’t know is that minority men have far worse health outcomes than minority women. It’s a crisis that deserves our attention.
Dr. Jean Bonhomme is an expert on minority health and he’s got a wonderful piece on this topic on the Talking About Men’s Health blog. Read it here.
For more information on the health of men, boys, and those who love them, visit Men’s Health Network.