As my readers know, I spend a lot of time reading books about parenting and about the fatherhood experience. I know better than most that there are many good books out there on this topic, but there are also a lot that are just a waste of money. Part of my role here at About.com is to steer you toward the best choices for your library or your personal reading list.
My reading list included a couple of books recently - very different but each important in its own right. The first one I read was Raising Supaman by Nathaniel Turner. Written as a series of notes and letters to his son, Raising Supaman is part memoir, part practical advice and written with black fathers in mind. I thought the book was very insightful and it certainly resonated with me.
The second book is coming out later this summer. Parenting 2.0 - Think in the Future and Act in the Now by parenting strategist Tricia Ferrara tries to address the new paradigm that parents have to embrace in the new digital world. Parenting 2.0 looks at a variety of specific challenges such as bullying, education and talking about sex and how these topics should be dealt with in the world in which our children are growing up. I really enjoyed this one too, and it helped me think differently about how parenting has changed in the last decade.
So, check out these new reads - one might even make a good Father's Day gift!
More great books for dads:
- Dad Can We...? 45 Ways to be the Dad Your Kids Need
- Raising Children That Other People Like to Be Around
- Be the Coolest Dad on the Block
For the last year or so, I have been following a Facebook group composed of dad bloggers. Now about 750 strong, this group shares their experiences and expertise with each other, comments on various blog posts, and generally talk about all things fatherhood and men.
The ranks of the dad bloggers is growing, and it sure seems like our men who blog have a lot to say. I am so impressed with this group. There is a lot of support for dads going through hard things, a lot of humor and sometimes sarcasm, and just a lot of friendship and fellowship.
If you have a dad blog, let me know and we will post a link on the Fatherhood site at About.com. If you are thinking about blogging, you can check out this piece that offers some advice about getting started and being successful.
I did a radio interview last week where the interviewer, Larry Agresto, asked me about my relationship with my dad and how it influenced my parenting and fathering approaches. It was a great question, and it caused me to reflect on my relationship with my amazing father. We were quite different - he was a man's man that liked playing sports, shooting guns and the like, while I was a gangly, uncoordinated kid who was more at home in books. But to his great credit, he found things of common interest (fixing cars and camping) that allowed us to spend quality time together, as different as we seemed on the surface.
So, I thought I would take a stab at helping dads to do as my dad did and find common interests that might improve the father-son relationship. I hope this article will be helpful to fathers and sons and help enhance the quality of their relationships moving forward.
More on parenting sons:
- Activity Ideas for Fathers and Sons
- Teaching Our Sons to Respect Women
- Bridging the Boys' Literacy Gap
Image courtesy of Taxi / Getty Images
Keeping kids busy over the summer is a good idea, and a summer job will help your teen learn responsibility, make good use of their time and earn a little money for the coming year for things like dates, proms, clothes, college savings and other expenses. But finding the summer job can be a little tricky and requires that you start early. So now is the time to get going on that summer job.
Learn how to help your teenager find a summer job, successfully apply and interview, and then establish work habits that will help him or her keep the job all summer and maybe even stay part time during the school year.
More on parenting teens:
- Things a Dad of Teens Needs to Know
- Paying Attention to Teens' Rites of Passage
- Teens and Cell Phones: Advice For Dads
Image courtesy of Getty Images Steve Smith
OK, dads. We are just a couple of days away from Mother's Day! Are you helping your kids get ready to treat their mom well and are you ready to let her know that you appreciate her as a Mom? These last minute craft, gift and recognition ideas from my colleagues at About.com will help you close the gap, get the job done and have fun with the kids doing it. So, what are you waiting for?
- Homemade Gift Ideas for Mom. Homemade coupon books, printables plaques, bath salts and more.
- Mother's Day Cards. Some excellent ideas for crafty cards from Sherri Osborn, our Family Crafts expert
- Printable Mother's Day Cards. Just personalize and print.
- Tissue Paper Flowers. Follow these easy instructions to make some flowers with the kids for Mom's special day.
- Ways to Show Mom Love on Mother's Day. Here are some great ideas from our Gifted Children expert for making the day extra nice.
- Six Toddler Friendly Crafts for Mother's Day. If you have really little ones, these craft ideas from Maureen Ryan, our Toddlers and Twos expert, will work well for a good Mom's Day gift.
- Seven Mother's Day Gifts She Won't Predict. From our Stay at Home Moms expert, this list has a little something out of the ordinary that will strike any Mom's fancy.
Image courtesy of American Images, Inc. / Getty Images
This is a critical question for parents to answer: "When have we given our kids too much?"
The era in which we live is one that is often characterized by overindulgence; there are sure a lot of folks I see and hear who are wondering what is in any given choice for them. They want instant gratification and they want it NOW. And I also tend to see a lot of kids who are, using my parents' vernacular, simply "spoiled."
How can parents avoid spoiling their kids and how do they know when they have indulged their children too much? After all, overindulgence can lead to a sense of entitlement, a lack of serious concern for the welfare of others and an idea that you don't have to sacrifice some things to achieve better things.
The authors of the new book How Much is Too Much? are trying to get at a logical way of finding out where the boundaries are. With a simple series of questions, and then an effort at building scenarios that seem all to familiar, the authors help guide an parent through this critical decision making process.
So check out my review of How Much is Too Much? and get an idea of where you should draw the line. Then grab the book online or at your local bookseller to go in greater depth. You will be glad that you took the time to check this out!
More Excellent Books for Dads:
With summer vacation just a few weeks away for many of us, it is time to start thinking about planning for all of that down time with the kids. Vacations are great, and video games can be fun, but as parents we have to take the initiative to keep learning alive over the summer.
Our kids loved summer reading programs; we actually had them set a goal for how many pages they would read over the summer, and if they hit their goal, we presented them with a cool, customized reading trophy! Other prizes or privileges might be motivating for other kids.
Check out some of these ideas for keeping the learning process going through the summer with a good summer reading program. There are links to online summer reading program options as well as some great summer reading books to consider. Many local libraries will also offer very effective summer reading programs that you might want to check out as well.
More on Dads and Reading:
- Helping Your Preschooler Learn to Read
- Helping Elementary School Children Read and Love It
- A Father's Commitment to Life Long Reading
Photo courtesy of Getty Images
Social media is a big and confusing world for most of us. Even though I use social media frequently to share ideas, communicate with other dads and keep track of family and friends, I am hardly an expert. That is partly because the world of social media is changing so rapidly; there are new outlets and tools regularly, and literally hundreds of apps for smartphones and computer that help manage our social media presence and consumption.
Often I think our kids know more about social media than we do; it has become the primary way a lot of kids communicate with their friends and sometimes with us as parents. And while there is so much to appreciate about the opportunities that tools like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram bring to the table, there is a dark side to these tools as well. Cyberstalking, cyberbullying, sexting and other scary things lurk in the social media world. How can a dad help his kids be safe and make smart decisions about their social media involvement?
After chatting with dads (and some teens), I prepared a guide to what dads need to know about the various social media tools and apps and how they can protect their kids (and themselves) from the dark side of social media. Take a look and then share your thoughts about what you are doing to make social media better for you and your family.
In my nearly constant quest for new ideas to help dads and moms - parents - I ran across a really excellent book the other day that I think has a lot of potential for helping parents learn how to deal with parenting in the "real world."
When I think about a lot of the parenting advice I see, so much of it is theoretical and not very practical. I love finding ideas that I can implement as a parent. Perspective and context are certainly helpful but implementation is what is most important. And the book I read, Reality Parenting - As NOT Seen on TV, is one of the few that attacks the very practical challenges parents face in daily life.
Reality Parenting - As NOT Seen on TV is written by Treion Muller, who works for Franklin-Covey, but writes from his perspective as a parent. He brings a practical approach, dividing the book into sections dealing with parenting at various ages and stages of a child's life. The book is also chock full of little, implementable ideas that he calls "reality checks."
So, take a moment and read my review of Reality Parenting - As NOT Seen on TV and then head off to Amazon, the Kindle Store or your local bookstore to find this gem and bring it home. You will not be disappointed!
In the last couple of years, I have discovered the value of listening to podcasts while on the treadmill, on a walk or on a long drive. I used to listen to music, but I have found that learning while exercising is a good strategy and a great way to "multitask." And when time is so limited, dads need to find ways to do more without sacrificing the important things!
Podcasts are a great way to learn while listening, and these ten podcasts written and produced by and for dads will help any dad become better.