For Kids, the Internet Can Be a Dark and Dangerous Place

Dear Mr. Dad: My 9-year old son is pretty computer savvy and my wife and I haven’t had much issue with letting him use the computer on his own. He likes to play games, visit a few sites, and read online comics. I’ve been hearing more and more about the threats on the Internet, and both my wife and I are becoming more concerned that we might be letting our son put himself in some dangerous situations without knowing it. What can we do to make sure he stays safe while he’s online?

A: You’re right to be worried. The Internet is filled with tons of information (some of which is actually accurate), and all sorts of things to improve our lives. But as hard as it is to imagine life without the Internet, we sometimes forget that it can be an incredibly dangerous place, home to any number of threats, from identity thieves to viruses and pedophiles. You wouldn’t let your child go outside alone without a firm understanding of basic safety rules (don’t talk to strangers, look both ways before you cross the street, etc.), right? So why would you let him go online without having similar boundaries in place?

[Read more…]

Keep on Scrapping—Just Do It Right

Dear Mr. Dad: My wife and I have been fighting a lot for the past few months. I know arguments are a pretty normal part of a relationship, but I’m concerned that our battles are starting to affect our two kids, ages 4 and 6. Both of them have been behaving differently lately—acting out, having trouble sleeping, and even squabbling between themselves much more than we used to. I can’t help but think that our arguments are rubbing off on them somehow. How can we stop our fighting and how do we reverse the damage I’m sure we’ve already done?
A: You’re absolutely right about two things: First, fighting with your spouse is perfectly normal. Frankly, I’d be pretty suspicious of any relationship that didn’t have its ups and downs. Not letting the sparks fly once in a while is a good indicator that one or both partners are feeling apathetic and would be better off apart. Second, children are extremely sensitive to the emotions of the adults around them, and the fight s they’re witnessing are almost certainly affecting your kids—probably more than you know. There’s a right way—and lots of wrong ways—to fight. Here’s what you need to know.

How Working Parents Can Have It All

Sharon Meers, coathor of Getting to 50/50.
How working parents can have it all.
Issues: Why two careers are better than one; busting myths about work, women, and men; how your husband solves the work-life riddle; success doesn’t require 24/7; what women gain from working motherhood.

Procter & Gamble is Dissing Dads. Again. Seriously?

Dear Mr. Dad: About a year and a half ago, you wrote a column about Procter & Gamble’s “Thank You, Mom” campaign that ran during the summer Olympics. You correctly pointed out that P&G was completely ignoring dads and how important they are. I thought P&G had gotten the message, but in the run-up to this year’s winter Olympics, they’re running the very same campaign. What’s their problem?

A: You’re absolutely right. P&G’s campaign during the London Games (which, by the way, was just a tweak of the “Proud Sponsor of Moms” campaign they ran four years earlier, during the Beijing Games) is back. This time, it’s worse. Here’s why:

First, they’ve made the spots more tear-jerking than ever. Each one is a masterpiece. But each one also reinforces the message that mothers are the only parents who care about their children and encourage them to achieve great things.

Second, they seem to be going out of their way to slap dads in the face. Yes, moms deserve a ton of gratitude and thanks. But so do dads. How ‘bout a second campaign that thanks fathers? Or just “Thank you Mom and Dad”? Nope. P&G is doing everything they can to convince consumers that dads don’t exist.
[Read more…]

Parents report same well-being but more emotions | Futurity

Parents report same well-being but more emotions | Futurity.

Our Child is a Brat—and it’s Your Fault

Dear Mr. Dad: I’m a single mom with a 10-year-old son who’s with me half the time. Before the divorce, he was a sweet kid and a pleasure to be around. But lately he’s become a terror, throwing tantrums when he doesn’t get what he wants—and I think it’s because his father is spoiling him. How do I deal with him? What can I say to his dad to get this behavior to stop?

A: As you well know, divorce is tough on everyone involved: you, your ex, and your son. And among the many problems divorce creates, one of the most common is children being spoiled by mom or dad. The one doing the spoiling is usually the non-custodial parent, who’s making a well-intentioned attempt to buy the kids’ affection or to do something to make up for how hard the divorce has been on them. But the same thing can happen in cases like yours, where both parents have the kids the same amount of time.
[Read more…]