5 Thoughts on Boys and Fatherhood from a Dad’s Weekend at Camp.

This past weekend I visited my son at his camp for Dad’s Weekend. Two and a half days of fishing, singing, building, running, sock wars, and thunderstorms.

Father, Son

It was my 5th Dad’s Weekend. Each time I drive away amazed how connected my son and I can get in only 2.5 days, and wish that it was as easy the rest of the year. It is hard to describe how this camp, Becket YMCA in the Berkshires, creates a culture where boys and men are able to share feelings and experiences in very real ways. Being able to learn more about how my son thinks (through discussions with him and his counselors), sharing my experiences with him, and having a moment to relax together are the best parts of the experience.

Here are some lingering thoughts about the experience and fatherhood in general from this past weekend: Continue reading “5 Thoughts on Boys and Fatherhood from a Dad’s Weekend at Camp.”

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5 Scary “Girl Things” for Single Dads

When you get divorced you all of a sudden add new roles to your single parenting job. These are duties that you would probably not have had the opportunity to experience while still married. This is especially true for fathers of daughters.

When married the “girl things” were probably passed on to your wife to handle. Now, as the sensitive new aged single dad that you are, confusion, embarrassment, and often terror are a regular part of your day as your daughter’s increasingly feminine needs fall to you to figure out.

girl-sitting-posing-trees

No one properly prepared us to help our daughters with these girl things. They often pop up unexpectedly. My goal with this post is not to give you all the answers, but to give you some things to think about ahead of time. Warnings that will help you properly prepare your already frazzled emotions.

1. Boys (or girls) Let’s start with an easy one. Continue reading “5 Scary “Girl Things” for Single Dads”

A peek into coparenting with a narcissist

Since separating from my ex-wife I have come to understand that she has narcissistic tendencies that I had never seen before. As I recovered from her affair and its fall out I learned to avoid interacting with her around anything involving my feelings.

However, it is much harder to avoid interacting with her when it comes to the kids. Over the last month my daughter has been living with me full time ever since her mother called the police on her. I have been doing my best to support my daughter and trying to help her understand how to talk with her mother.

On most days my daughter does not want anything to do with her. The reason she gives is that her mother focuses on herself, and does not apologize. My daughter is feeling the full brunt of her mother’s self-centered narcissism.

And like a fool I keep hoping that I can help my ex understand what she needs to do to help resolve the issues between the two of them. Copied below is an exchange of texts I had with my ex this morning. It is a snippet, a sample, of what a conversation with a narcissistic co-parent might look like. Continue reading “A peek into coparenting with a narcissist”

Is the Truth the Most Important Thing When Your Child Reports Being Touched by a Peer?

How would you react if you received a call from the school psychologist, one afternoon while at work, telling you that your daughter reported being touched in the breast and privates by a boy?

When I got that call on Wednesday, I wished it was as simple as getting angry, finding the boy, flogging him, and knowing that my daughter’s honor had been restored. Isn’t that the manly…the fatherly thing…to do? Continue reading “Is the Truth the Most Important Thing When Your Child Reports Being Touched by a Peer?”

Kids and Death: Scary Feelings Should Not Be Avoided

“I hate it when people die.”

One of my students had stayed after school today to make up some laboratory work. Her grandmother died last night. The other grandmother, who she visited in Korea in the fall, had died about a month ago. My student asked me whether it was ok to be angry at other people who are all of a sudden claiming to be her grandmother’s greatest friends, when these same people were nowhere to be found during her grandmother’s cancer. I told her that the one thing I had learned about death in my life, was that everyone responds to it in their own way. She and I spent the afternoon talking about death and dying. Continue reading “Kids and Death: Scary Feelings Should Not Be Avoided”

Divorce and the Special Needs Adopted Child

alone-279080_1920The phone call from the main office interrupted my classroom. My ex-wife was at the office with my daughter. I was not expecting them.

It turned out that my ex had driven my daughter to an inpatient program that morning after a particularly bad few days at her house. My daughter had spent several weeks the previous fall and winter in an inpatient program after threatening to hurt herself at my ex’s house. When the program had turned them away that morning, my ex drove to my school and left my daughter with me.

My daughter stayed with me for over a month straight, abandoned by yet another mother. Continue reading “Divorce and the Special Needs Adopted Child”

Daughters and when the assistant principal calls

I love you. But what you did is really not good. When adults do what you did, they can end up in jail. Since you are a kid, you won’t go to jail, but you will have some serious consequences.

Back to school today after the holiday break. It was a faculty work day, and we are heading into the last two weeks of the semester. A busy time of grading and planning. And then my 7th grade daughter’s assistant principal called. Continue reading “Daughters and when the assistant principal calls”

Non-custodial for administrative purposes only. Avoiding conflict in the college financial aid process.

Understanding how divorced parents are categorized when applying for financial aid is key to overcoming the negative feelings that come with being defined as a “non-custodial parent”, and ultimately avoiding conflict with your ex.


The College Board sent me an email the other day letting me know that my child is applying for college financial aid, and as the “non-custodial” parent I should complete my section of his CSS financial aid application. They let me know that “failure to complete this requirement will delay processing of your child’s financial aid application.”

The voices in divorced dad’s brain heard the email say, “Hey deadbeat! Your kid wants to go to college. We know you haven’t done anything for him recently. His mom, the custodial parent, has already done her part by filling out the required forms. So get your act together and do something for you child, for once.”

Luckily I had been planning for this day for the previous two years, Continue reading “Non-custodial for administrative purposes only. Avoiding conflict in the college financial aid process.”

No Sex for You!

Last night my oldest, my 17 year old son, asked me if he could sleep downstairs.

Context: Since Christmas Eve, when her parents left for a trip to China, my son’s girlfriend has been staying with us. She has been sleeping on the futon in the living room.

With the teenager’s hopeful question, Divorced Dad’s brain went on full alert, “Ummmmm…why?” I stammered. Continue reading “No Sex for You!”