Passing the Everburning Torch

Photo courtesy Russ Linton.

Recently my son and his friends sat down to play ‘Dungeons & Dragons.’ This isn’t a new thing–they’ve played before. And these aren’t new friends–these kids have known each other since elementary school. They joined Cub Scouts together, and, when they were old enough, decided against joining one of the larger troops in the area and asked me to help them form their own troop. They also, in the past, have asked me to be their Dungeon Master. Continue reading

Kids Read Mean Tweets: Bullying Is Different But Still the Same

Amelia Wells
December 9, 2009
Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

One doesn’t need to grow up as a geek in order to have been bullied, but it certainly helped. My parents and older brothers helped me cope with being bullied, as they had gone through the same experience. As a parent, I should feel confident that I can help my son through such inevitable tough times, but the landscape of bullying has changed. With the internet came anonymity, a comfortable distance from targets, and a much more public voice. Bullying in the 21st century is quite different from what I experienced as a child. A new viral video campaign from the Canadian Safe School Network seeks to help start the discussion. Continue reading

11 Things Parents Ought to Know by Now

Photo by Visit Greenwich, 

Used under a creative Commons Licnese

So somebody over at the Huffington Post wrote this thing about raising boys, and the blogosphere went a little crazy. It seems some of her observations were a little on the obvious side, and at least a couple of them read to some folks as more than a little sexist. So let’s take a look. You can read the original over at the Huffington Post; here are my comments. Continue reading

How to Be a Father and a Filmmaker: Interview with Jeff Stern, Director of The Morning of Everything

leo_owl_beach

The Morning of Everything is a new film about a father losing himself in the world of childrearing, and the three-year-old son who must journey through a treacherous adult world of fun-house encounters in search of his lost owl, eventually helping the dad find himself again. We speak to filmmaker Jeff Stern about the struggle to be a father and a filmmaker, or any creative person. Continue reading

Consequences of Over-Parenting

The Atlantic Monthly cover

This month’s cover story in The Atlantic is “The Overprotected Kid,” and Hanna Rosin writes about the shift from the time the Baby Boomers were kids until now: kids are rarely out of sight of their parents, nobody is allowed to talk to strangers, playgrounds have become safe but sterile. But what are the consequences of overparenting? Continue reading

Linear Explanations Make You Your Child’s Oracle of Information

Calvin.Hobbes

The quality of the explanations you offer to your children will influence their perception of your credibility. Not only that, but your explanations will influence how likely your kids are to ask you for explanations in the future. Continue reading

Shyness Study Predicts How Kids Respond to Challenging Social Situations

Scared.Kids

When excluded from a game, 12.6% of kids were directly assertive, insisting to be included. But 42.5% passively withdrew. But it wasn’t simply shy kids that pulled away. The difference was largely something called “cognitive conflict” as measured by a hairnet of electrodes. Continue reading

Top 10 Reasons to Play Board Games With Your Kids

GreatHeartland

If you still think of Chutes & Ladders and Candyland when somebody mentions playing board games with their kids, then you should know that the world of board games has changed a lot since you were a kid. Heck, it’s changed a lot even since you’ve been an adult. There are so many great reasons to play games, particularly if you’re a parent, though some of them work better in theory than in practice. Continue reading

What is the Best Age for Star Trek?

Image: Melissa Ford

And then we started rethinking the no-violence rule. It wasn’t because we wanted our kids to fit in — I mean, we did, but there was only so far we were willing to go on that end — but we realized that we didn’t have a firm reason for the rule. We couldn’t explain it to others because we couldn’t explain it to ourselves. It wasn’t enough to ban violence in all forms simply because we didn’t like violence — I mean, truly, who likes violence? We needed a reason for why we lumped all violence into one big pile and stamped a NO across it. Continue reading

Games Parents Play

Agricola Family Growth

My wife and I just welcomed our third baby last month, and since it’s been several years since the last time, I’m becoming reacquainted with the lifestyle of a new parent. One thing I quickly realized was that I haven’t had as much time lately for playing games—and that the games I do have don’t really seem very relevant to my day-to-day obligations. Here are a couple of games inspired by real-life parenting. Continue reading

Good Praise, Bad Praise: What Begins With Parental Praise?

Praise used to be a good thing — the praised child builds self-esteem! Now, as all of us enlightened GeekDad parents know, it’s a bad thing — the praised child loses the drive to struggle and succeed! So which is it? Is praise good or bad? A study published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology shows that praising process trumps praising product. Continue reading

Mythbusters Taught me Everything I Know About Parenting

Mythbusters 10th anniversary

The geek cult around Discovery’s Mythbusters extends beyond the urban legends and movie magic that hosts Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage bust each week. Through their science and creativity, the lessons learned on that show may also serve as insights into good parenting. As the crew celebrates the show’s 10th anniversary, GeekDads mines parenting tips from familiar quotes. Continue reading