Fathers Are More Present, But…

Father and baby

A recent article from the Guardian newspaper starts with a statement that captures the very essence of what Father Lessons is about:

Like many men of my generation, I wanted to be a more present father than my own had been.

Jeremy Davies

The writer talks about how, as a journalist, he was able to be a stay-at-home dad when his son was born some 20 years ago, but points out that he was very much the exception at the time in the UK. As a self-employed online business owner in Tokyo, I had that same opportunity and was pretty much the only father dropping off and picking up from daycare.

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The Battle with Digital

Young digital screen addict

Are we fighting a losing battle with screen time?

It seems like every time I talk with other parents, especially parents of teenagers, the topic of conversation at some point turns to “screen time,” or how much time our kids are spending on digital devices. Of the parents I’ve spoken to, it seems like the vast majority are frustrated and having a hard time managing screen time. Like me, they have usually tried different systems or rules but, again like me, they have found it difficult to effectively and consistently police those rules. The addictive nature of gaming and social media mean that their kids will inevitably test boundaries and find loopholes in the rules. The parents who seem to have the situation most under control are the ones who have set the strictest of boundaries from the start and managed to stick to their guns.

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Breaking the Cycle

Waking up early

Have you ever had one of those mornings?

You wake up, usually from a lucid dream, feeling a real sense of clarity about something, as though your subconscious had been wrestling with a problem during the night and finally figured it out. In my case I woke up earlier than usual this morning and went through a thought process that I felt I needed to write down.

Last night I had a lengthy talk with my 14-year-old son about a few unresolved issues that have been bothering and frustrating me. My concerns centre around the amount of time he spends playing video games online but the chat also got into things like how he’s doing at school, his general moodiness and lack of cooperation around the house, and how he plans to spend his upcoming summer holidays. Pretty standard stuff for a parent-teenager talk.

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Ain’t no Cure for the Summertime Blues

Busy summer schedule

Okay, I don’t have the blues, just a mild summer cold. But I think one reason that I caught this cold is that I’ve been so busy and stressed out on multiple fronts recently. And one reason, ironically, is that I’m trying very hard to be a good father and role model!

One of the things I’ve been busy with is trying to get the Father Lessons project off the ground over the last month. But I’m finding that this is a difficult time of year for a full-time dad – especially one who struggles with multitasking at the best of times – to be trying to get anything off the ground. Apart from Father Lessons and my regular work, which at least in my case is very flexible, I need to figure out to keep the kids occupied over the 6 weeks or so of summer holidays – a topic big enough for its own blog post, I think.

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