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How I Stayed Present With My Child Even When He Didn’t Want Me There

Mark Steizner is our guest blogger this week. He is an apprentice  at the Fathers’ Forum Programs and co-leads our Thursday evening “Men’s Group for Fathers of Young Children.” For more of Mark’s terrific writing on becoming a dad visit his blog “Dad in the Here and Now.”

One of the hardest things for a father is when your child seemingly doesn’t want to be with you. About a month ago my twenty month old son wanted to be with his mommy all the time. Then my in-laws would come over and he’d want to be with them. He’s a toddler and it’s really nothing personal but it was breaking my heart. You can’t help but love your child deeply, and want to be around them.

As a father, from day one, I’ve learned that the best way to stay present with my child is to love him, love him, love him. He would cry and I thought I was doing something wrong. I loved him. He would want to be with my wife rather than me. I loved him. I couldn’t console him. I loved him. This doesn’t mean It didn’t hurt when he wanted to be with someone else, or that he cried sometimes when I held him. It meant that it wasn’t about me. I couldn’t make it about me. He’s crying. I’m going to do everything I can to soothe him. If nothing works then I’m going to allow him a safe, loving place to let it out. If he wants to be with mommy then right now he needs to be with mommy. If he wants to be with his Bepa and Nana then how incredibly grateful am I that he has such incredible, loving grandparents. This was work. This was painful work. Read more

Smartphones and Parenting

When I was becoming a dad and a parent I was fortunate that smartphones had not been invented. It might have been even more important for my children!

Being distracted by smartphones when you are with your kids is becoming a concern for many parents and researchers today. This seem to be an increasing problem. There are so many benefits of smartphones but there is also a huge downside we are learning about now.

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When Dads Help Out at Home…the Father Daughter Relationship

Current research shows that when dads help out at home it can have a big effect on their daughters careers. Seeing dad participating in the chores at home helps promote gender equality between husband and wife. It gives his daughter a view of the world that is not so rigidly divided between “men do this and women do that.” The flexibility of the parents gender roles really demonstrates gender equality. It is not just something that is talked about but is practiced by the parents. Read more

3 Ways Fathers Make a Difference

The way a father acts with and towards his child has a big influence on his child’s development. Through current scientific research we are now articulating some of the specifics. We can no longer burden mothers with placing the psychological well being of their child solely on the mother-child bond. A number of writers are now making the scientific research on fatherhood  available in “decoded” formats for every parent to have access to. Here are three ways dads make a real difference in the lives of their children.

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A Mom Reflects on Fatherhood

Our guest blog this Friday is by Julia Sherwin who writes the blog “Perspective on Parenting” and is the “Morning Magazine”  Co-host on WCHE 1520a.m.

In an online world filled with “mommy blogs,” it’s usually we women who feel pretty comfortable venting and sharing the many parenting challenges we face daily. Thankfully, we can share such stories via Facebook and other social media outlets, laughing at our many parenting pitfalls and uniting in our milestones of motherhood.

While we moms don’t hide our feelings on parenting too often, I remain curious about the dads among us, many of whom are staying at home to raise their young children. Do they have days when they want to spill their innermost thoughts and feelings on the love they have for their children? Could they use some comfort after trying to pacify a crying baby and his older sibling while navigating a busy grocery store? Believe me, I’ve seen these dads in action, patiently and proficiently performing their fatherhood duties.
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The Day After Father’s Day…

I spent this Father’s Day with my daughter and son-in-law and granddaughter. It wasn’t that long ago I was that young dad like my son-in-law just starting off and celebrating my first Father’s Day.

It was in 1985 when I started the Fathers’ Forum programs. I offered classes and workshops for expectant and new dads. I was struggling myself trying to make sense out of what it meant to be a father. And the whole adventure began that has shaped both my life as a man and my career as a Marriage and Family Therapist. My kids were 1 year and 4 year’s old at the time.

I still continue this journey both personally and professionally…it is great to have adult children and have them “off the payroll” and making their way in the world. I can honestly say that all the choices I made to spend time with them and be able to share in their growing up has given me a real feeling of a very special connection with each of them.    Read more

Father’s Day 2014

This is a little to “sweet” for me…but Abby Anderson contacted me with her new video and I did think it does express what a lasting impression we as dad’s have on our daughters….and she sure does have a wonderful voice!