11 Highlights for Father’s Day in Western MA

Calling All Sports Fans, History Buffs, Aviators, Foodies & Music Lovers!

On Sunday, dads and grandfathers with younger kids can enjoy a free train ride and round of mini golf at Look Park or take a free trolley ride at the Shelburne Falls Trolley Museum. Other locations honoring dads and granddads on Father’s Day include Historic Deerfield which offers free admission, or a free ride on the Holyoke Merry-Go-Round.

Happy Father’s Day! This Sunday, June 21, 2015, there are lots of opportunities to explore Western MA with the sons, fathers, step-fathers, and grandfathers in your life!

SPORTS FAN

Few events have the old time, hometown feel of a community baseball game! Don’t miss the 2nd annual Ashfield Baseball and Softball Jamboree  and old timers game on Sunday, June 21, 10:30am, which honors the long tradition of playing these sports in Ashfield. Folks can join in the games or enjoy spectating. Games will play throughout the day into the evening. 413-628-4441. The Field, Ashfield, MA. (SUGGESTED DONATION)

Other games happening on Father’s Day: Read the rest of this entry »

Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters

Don’t let Valentine’s Day be just one more chance for Dad to feel like a walking, talking (and unappreciated) checkbook. These Dads & Daughters Tips will help fathers and stepfathers to show daughters that they care on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

  • ❥ Remember, a Daughter hungers for healthy involvement and attention from Dad (even if she doesn’t always show it).
  • ❥ A Daughter wants assurance that her Father and/or Stepfather really knows her and cares about her.
  • ❥ A Daughter wants to feel that Dad is proud of her and that he loves and understands her.
  • ❥ A Daughter wants these intangibles far more than she wants a box of candy or any other present or card.
  • ❥ Daughters sometimes feel that Dads only know how to show their love by buying something. So supplement this year’s store-bought Valentine’s card and candy with your unique message of love.
  • ❥ Give her a hand-written note or personal email — in your own words — telling her how proud you are of her, what you admire about her, how much you enjoy your time together, etc.
  • ❥ Give her the greatest gift of all: your time. Listen to what she has to say and what’s important to her.
  • ❥ Spend 1-on-1 time together on Valentine’s Day or the next available weekend. See a movie, take a walk, go out for coffee or ice cream, play catch. There are a million possibilities (for more ideas, see The Dads & Daughters Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship).
  • ❥ Remember that she only gets one chance to have you as her Dad or Stepdad while she’s still a girl.
  • ❥ Out of the thousand things you do every day, make sure you always give attention, thought, time, and affection to your Daughter — and your Son.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your children! Read the rest of this entry »

Valentine’s Day Tips for Dads and Daughters

Dads & Daughters Valentine’s Day Tips
By Joe Kelly

Dad and Daughter Sledding in Northampton, MA

Spend 1-on-1 time with your daughter. Take her sledding, to the museum, visit the library... (photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Don’t let Valentine’s Day be just one more chance for Dad to feel like a walking, talking (and unappreciated) checkbook. These Dads & Daughters Tips will help fathers and stepfathers to show daughters that they care on Valentine’s Day and beyond.

  1. Remember, a Daughter hungers for healthy involvement and attention from Dad (even if she doesn’t always show it).
  2. A Daughter wants assurance that her Father and/or Stepfather really knows her and cares about her.
  3. A Daughter wants to feel that Dad is proud of her and that he loves and understands her.
  4. A Daughter wants these intangibles far more than she wants a box of candy or any other present or card.
  5. Daughters sometimes feel that Dads only know how to show their love by buying something. So supplement this year’s store-bought Valentine’s card and candy with your unique message of love.
  6. Give her a hand-written note or personal email — in your own words — telling her how proud you are of her, what you admire about her, how much you enjoy your time together, etc.
  7. Give her the greatest gift of all: your time. Listen to what she has to say and what’s important to her.
  8. Spend 1-on-1 time together on Valentine’s Day or the next available weekend. See a movie, take a walk, go out for coffee or ice cream, play catch. There are a million possibilities (for more ideas, see The Dads & Daughters® Togetherness Guide: 54 Fun Activities to Help Build a Great Relationship).
  9. Remember that she only gets one chance to have you as her Dad or Stepdad while she’s still a girl.
  10. Out of the thousand things you do every day, make sure you always give attention, thought, time, and affection to your Daughter — and your Son.

Have a wonderful Valentine’s Day with your children! Read the rest of this entry »

Tips for a New School Year

Dads’ 10 Tips for the New School Year
By Joe Kelly

Our children and stepchildren are starting the new school year. Dads & Stepdads are a valuable resource for kids in school. Here are a few simple tips to help you help them get the most out of this year (pronouns alternate because we dads have both girls & boys):

1. Listen to what’s happening. If she’s stressed or upset about cliques, teams, new subjects, or anything else—give her your attention. Provide her time to get things out and do some processing before jumping in with judgments or suggestions.

2. Help him keep perspective. Gently remind him that there are more important things than who’s wearing what, or who is going out with whom. Let him know (in word and deed) that you love him for who he is, no matter what.

3. Set the stage. Ask your child what a successful school year would look like for her—friends, sports, activities, dating—and then have her tell you about how important each goal is to her and if she thinks each one is realistic. It’s OK to discuss your expectations regarding grades, but remember the important lessons learned outside the classroom and all the pressures which face our kids today.

4. Nurture your special father-child bond. Go out for ice cream, go swimming, shoot hoops, or do something you know he loves. The beginning of school is a great time to begin a new tradition. How about a lunch date the last Saturday of every month?

5. Let her cope and experiment. School can be a great place for her to learn important personal and interpersonal skills which will serve her later in life. Don’t rush in to solve every problem – listen. But never back down where her personal safety is concerned.

6. Walk a mile in his shoes. Try to imagine what he’s experiencing and what it means to him. Your understanding and empathy can help him make it through his own trials.

7. Celebrate success. We dads sometimes tend to focus more on what’s not going right than we do on what is going well. Be sure to let her know how proud you are of her talents and accomplishments—even if they are not readily recognized by others.

8. Be his hero. Stay always mindful of his unique spirit and give him your loyalty, kindness, acceptance, respect, and support. Your influence in his life is unique, so make it as positive as possible.

9. Tell stories about yourself. Many things have changed since you were a kid, but most of the important stuff is still the same. Share your own youthful struggles with staying true to yourself, your values, and your friends. Don’t make every story into a lecture, and be sure to admit your mistakes—they can teach her a lot (starting with humility)!

10. Honor his interests. Even if his passion isn’t your first choice for fun, be there for him, let him teach you about his interests, and learn why he’s passionate about them. Your validation is a huge help to him.

Read the rest of this entry »

Father’s Day Weekend at Old Sturbridge Village

Old Sturbridge Village Offers Special Father’s Day Weekend Demos, Art & Music

Bring your favorite dad to Old Sturbridge Village for Father’s Day Weekend and enjoy singing, dancing, artwork demonstrations and musical performances as part of Music & Art Weekend. On Saturday, June 19th an evening at the kiln is the highlight, and on Sunday, June 20th Dads get 50% off admission.

Pops and their families can learn to play the jaw harp and tin whistle, have their silhouette made, learn 1830s-style contra-dancing, and enjoy musical performances, including: Tasteful Tunes and Devil’s Ditties, fife and drum music, a recorder concert, and a performance on the antique pipe organ in the Center Meetinghouse.

“Of all the activities we demonstrate at the Old Sturbridge Village, firing the potter’s kiln is surely the most dramatic,” notes Jeff Friedman, of Princeton, MA, head of pottery interpretation at OSV. “It’s a rare opportunity to see an oven of such size roaring and glowing”

Built with 15,000 bricks, the Old Sturbridge Village kiln is an “updraft bottle kiln,” of the style used in the early 1800s. When fully loaded for firing, the kiln holds 800 freshly glazed pots stacked 10 feet high. It takes three cords of wood stoked over 24 hours to bring the kiln to maximum firing temperature of 1,900 degrees. At that temperature, the kiln bricks glow and the flames roar, rising 24 feet high to come out of the top of the stack. The pottery is fired all night, and it takes another 40 hours for the kiln to cool before the dramatic “drawing the kiln” – unloading the finished wares.  Firing of the kiln happens only on Saturday, June 19th ($$).

Highlights on Father’s Day weekend include:

  • Music on the Antique Pipe Organ
  • Try Your Hand at Fishing, or Marbling Paper
  • Demonstrate and Teach 19th-Century Dance & Country Music
  • Play Marbles by the District School
  • French and English (Tug O’ War) on the Common
  • Join a 19th-century Baseball Game
  • Antique Musical Instrument Demonstration
  • Learn to Play the Tin Whistle and Jaw Harp
  • Tasteful Tunes and Devil’s Ditties: Songs & Stories of Long Ago
  • Hoop Races by the Graveyard

Old Sturbridge Village celebrates New England life in the 1830s and is one of the largest living history museums in the country. For all times and details of activities throughout the weekend: www.osv.org, (800) 733-1830.

Happy International Men’s Day – Nov. 19th

International Men’s Day

International Men’s Day began on November 19th 1999 in Trinidad and Tobago and was supported by the United Nations. The event received wide support from men’s groups in USA, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean.

Objectives of International Men’s Day include a focus on men’s and boy’s health, improving gender relations, promoting gender equality, and highlighting positive male role models. It is an occasion for men to highlight discrimination against them and to celebrate their achievements and contributions, in particular for their contributions to community, family, marriage, and child care.

Read more at InternationalMensDay.com.

Packaging Girlhood: Halloween & Girls

Your Daughter’s Halloween Costume: Tips for Dads

Rescuing Our Daughters From Marketers' SchemesThe search for your daughter or stepdaughter’s Halloween costume can be treacherous, filled with over-sexed and stereotyped “choices.” Here are some healthy ideas from Lyn Mikel Brown, Ed.D. and Sharon Lamb, Ed.D., authors of Packaging Girlhood: Rescuing Our Daughters from Marketers’ Schemes (St. Martin’s Press, 2006), to fight back and let her creativity sparkle!

  1. She can be anyone or anything on Halloween, so help her think outside the box (especially boxes of store-bought costumes.) Imagination and creativity can help girls break out of gender stereotypes… and are great practice for reality. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Tips for Dad to Help Ease the Back-to-School Transition

10 Tips for Dad to Help Ease the Back-to-School Transition
By Joe Kelly, TheDadMan.com

The start of a new school year can be a nerve-wracking time for our children and stepchildren–and us. Here are 10 simple tips to help smooth your kid’s way.

  1. Listen to what’s happening. If she’s stressed or upset about cliques, teams, new subjects, or anything else-give her your attention. Provide her time to get things out and do some processing before jumping in with judgments or suggestions.
  2. Help him keep perspective. Gently remind him that there are more important things than who’s wearing what, or who is going out with whom. Let him know (in word and deed) that you love him for who he is, no matter what.
  3. Set the stage. Ask your child what a successful school year would look like for her-friends, sports, activities, dating-and then have her tell you about how important each goal is to her and if she thinks each one is realistic. It’s OK to discuss your expectations regarding grades, but remember the important lessons learned outside the classroom and all the pressures which face our kids today.
  4. Nurture your special father-child bond. Go out for ice cream, go swimming, shoot hoops, or do something you know he loves. The beginning of school is a great time to begin a new tradition. How about a lunch date the last Saturday of every month?
  5. Let her cope and experiment. School can be a great place for her to learn important personal and interpersonal skills which will serve her later in life. Don’t rush in to solve every problem – listen. But never back down where her personal safety is concerned.
  6. Walk a mile in his shoes. Try to imagine what he’s experiencing and what it means to him. Your understanding and empathy can help him make it through his own trials.
  7. Celebrate success. We dads sometimes tend to focus more on what’s not going right than we do on what is going well. Be sure to let her know how proud you are of her talents and accomplishments-even if they are not readily recognized by others.
  8. Be a hero. Stay always mindful of his unique spirit and give him your loyalty, kindness, acceptance, respect, and support. Your influence in his life is unique, so make it as positive as possible.
  9. Tell stories about yourself. Many things have changed since you were a kid, but most of the important stuff is still the same. Share your own youthful struggles with staying true to yourself, your values, and your friends. Don’t make every story into a lecture, and be sure to admit your mistakes-they can teach her a lot (starting with humility)!
  10. Honor his interests. Even if his passion isn’t your first choice for fun, be there for him, let him teach you about his interests, and learn why he’s passionate about them. Your validation is a huge help to him.

©Joe Kelly; All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission. Learn more about healthy fathering @ www.TheDadMan.com.

Daddy Episode on the HFVS (06/20/09 & 06/27/09)

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW
Daddy Episode

WXOJ LP – 103.3 FM – Valley Free Radio
Northampton, MA

06/20/09 PLAYLIST
(06/27/09 encore)

listen LIVE via streaming audio | request a song | subscribe to free podcast
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  • Lisa Loeb – “Ready for the Summer”  [Camp Lisa]
  • Mr. Ray – “First Father’s Day” [Family Ride]
  • Cat Stevens – “Father and Son” [Tea for the Tillerman]
  • Barenaked Ladies – “Things” [Snacktime]
  • Justin Roberts – “Stay at Home Dad” [Pop Fly]
  • Jamie Broza – “Stop it Dad You’re Embarassing Me” [My Daddy is Scratchy]
  • Spiral Up Kids – “Sugar” [Spiral Up Kids]Music
  • The Sippy Cups – “Daddy’s Lucky Charm” [The Time Machine]Music
  • The Radio Revellers – “My Grandfather’s Clock” [More Vintage Children’s Favourites]
  • Sugar Free Allstars – “Poppy and MeeMaw” [Dos Ninos]
  • Cathy Marcy with Christylez Bacon – “Hip-Hop Humpty Dumpty” [Banjo to Beatbox]Music (FEATURED VIDEO)
  • 23 Skidoo – “Family Tree” [Easy]
  • Ziggy Marley – “Family Time” [Family Time]Music
  • Suzi Shelton – “Man Gave Names” [No Ordinary Day]
  • Ginger Hendrix – “My Daddy Loves Tools” [Macaroni Boy Eats At Chez Shooby Doo]
  • Joe West – “Homemade Rocket to the Moon” [If the World Was Upside Down]Music
  • The Bubble Gum Singers and Orchestra – “The Blacksmith” [Bicycle Built for Two]
  • Laurie Berkner – “Mouse in My Toolbox” [Rocketship Run]
  • The Jamies – “Summertime, Summertime” [Radio Hits of the ’50s]

Suggested Events 06/20/09-06/26/09

Worthington Swimming Pool Open House

Worthington Swim Club Open House is on Saturday, June 20th from 12Noon-3pm in Worthington, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

SUGGEST AN EVENT

If you have a family-friendly event or educational program happening in Western Massachusetts that you’d like to let us know about, post your event on our “Suggest An Event” page. The events below are “suggested.” Please take the time to confirm that these events are happening, along with time, location, age appropriateness and costs before attending

FEATURED EVENT

SATURDAY, JUNE 20th: Summer Solstice Celebration with Erica Wheeler in Conway, MA. Join Mountain View B&B for a mountain-top house concert to celebrate the beauty & bounty of summer. Enjoy great music, delicious food and spectacular views of the surrounding hills and mountains of Western Massachusetts and Southern Vermont. Celebration begins at 4pm with a potluck meal. Music and dessert are from 6-8pm. Children are free. To view the venue and directions go to www.mtviewbb.com. For more info contact HF Listserv member Joanie Schwartz, joanie@delaprealestate.com, 413.369.4700

About Erica Wheeler: Wheeler is an award-winning singer/songwriter based in western Massachusetts with six CD’s to her credit. She has shared the stage with Indigo Girls, Shawn Colvin, Greg Brown, and more. Her music made the Top 10 on Billboard’s Gavin Americana Chart and she has been a featured guest on NPR’s All Things Considered. Erica’s songs take you on a journey though the American landscape and the lives lived there. Known for her poetic and visual songwriting, Erica’s music is pure Americana, with hints of folk, country and bluegrass. Erica combines her career as a performing artist with her lifelong interest in natural and cultural history to offer The Soulful Landscape writing workshop. Her environmental work has been featured in national publications such as Orion, Yankee and Yes. Her most recent CD, Good Summer Rain, was sponsored in part by the Trust for Public Land, a national conservation organization. www.ericawheeler.com

BULLETIN BOARD

  • What if your daughter is part of a risky or hurtful activity? Here’s how to handle it with girls, parents, and at school: When Her Friends Make Bad Choices. – Do you initiate conversations with your daughter/stepdaughter at least 5 times a week? Click here to take part in the Daughters.com poll.
  • What impact will the Farm Safety Bill have on our regions small farms and local food processors?  Maribeth Ritchie of Sangha Farm, a small family farm in Ashfield, MA, has shared info with a call for action HERE.
  • Did you know that a quarter million experimental genetically engineered trees may be grown in the U.S?  Concerned?  Click here to read more.
  • There is a Green Directory in the works for the Pioneer Valley.  Check out Jessica Gifford’s post HERE.
  • The Nields write: June 24 Wednesday at 6:30 pm We will once again break all the rules and sing at the library. This time it is the M.N. Spear Library in Shutesbury, MA. We are responsible for kicking off the summer reading program with some singing. Full disclosure, we are actually singing behind Town Hall, but it sounds so cool to say that we are going to be singing in LOUD voices in the the library. You’ll have to imagine that. This will be a family show with a mixture of songs for kids, grown ups and maybe even a bit of singing along. Dontcha know.
  • Donna Guthire has recommended Meet Me At The Corner: Virtual Field Trips for Kids as a free educational website for kids this summer.

HILLTOWN FAMILY VARIETY SHOW

New music we're listening to: "If the World Was Upside Down" by Joe West and "26 Animals" by Artichoke.

Tune in to the Hilltown Family Variety Show on Saturdays from 9-10am on Valley Free Radio (VFR), 103.3FM (Northampton, MA), or listen via streaming audio at www.ValleyFreeRadio.org. Every Saturday VFR offers four hours of commercial-free, quality family program from 6-10am, including Spare the Rock, Spoil the Child from 7am-9am. It’s better than Saturday morning cartoons!

This week’s episode of the HFVS is the Father’s Day Episode with new music by Spiral Up Kids, Joe West, The Sippy Cups, Cathy & Marcy with Christylez Bacon, and Ziggy Marley. We’ll also be featuring tunes from LP’s in the attic, including music by The Bubble Gum Singers and Orchestra and The Radio Revellers.


Suggest an Event | Local Forecast | Get Directions | Free Museum Passes | Farmer’s Market | Family Centers (Ages 0-4)|Facebook

Events Happening in the Hilltowns

Saturday – 06/20

Read the rest of this entry »

Tips for Dads to Promote Girls’ Sports

Tips for Dads to Promote Girls’ Sports

Soccer Camps

Co-ed soccer in Williamsburg, MA. (Photo credit: Sienna Wildfield)

Why should your daughter or stepdaughter participate in sports? To be more healthy (in mind and body), feel better about herself, learn new skills, stay off alcohol and drugs, defer sexual activity, and, oh yeah, TO HAVE FUN! Sadly, some people worry that girls are too delicate, unskilled, or inadequate to play sports. To which the smart father and stepfather reply: “Baloney.” Here are some tips to help you provide the kind of support your girl needs.

  1. MAKE SPORTS FUN FROM AN EARLY AGE. Keep a relaxed approach when she’s young. For example, have athletic-theme parties, like pizza and kickball.
  2. DEMONSTRATE INTEREST IN HER ATHLETIC ACTIVITIES. Attend her games and other extracurricular activities. If you live away from your daughter, be sure to talk with her after every game to hear how it went.
  3. GO TO THE GAMES TO CHEER. You can cheer hard for your girl, and then cheer for everyone who is playing. Every kid (and parent) should remember why they call it “playing” a “game.”
  4. LEAVE COACHING TO THE COACHES. Tina Syer of the Positive Coaching Alliance says, “You’re there to fill the kids’ emotional tanks and make sure they bounce back from mistakes, not to tweak their throwing motion or tell them where to be on the field.” Be smart about choosing coaches tuned in to her age and skill level. If there’s a lack of adequate coaches, sign up to volunteer!
  5. BE A MODEL FAN. Think about what you would look like on the sidelines if someone were videotaping you instead of the game. Be sure you (and your daughter) would be proud of what you’d see.
  6. ASK, “WHAT DO WE EACH HOPE TO GET FROM THE EXPERIENCE?” Then tell her what you hope she gets. If you don’t talk (and listen), she may assume all you care about is a winning record or how good her stats are. Make sure she knows you want sports to be a fun way to make friends, test herself, be healthy, and feel good about herself.
  7. LET HER PLAY WITH BOYS. In Raising Our Athletic Daughters: How Sports Can Build Self-Esteem And Save Girls’ Lives, authors Jean Zimmerman and Gil Reavill suggest utilizing coed or single-sex programs according to your daughter’s comfort level and what will contribute most to her learning and growth.
  8. HELP HER USE “MISTAKES” PRODUCTIVELY. When she messes up, she’ll look to you first. So illustrate how to put mistakes in perspective by 1) showing her how to let go of them & 2) encouraging (not demanding or requiring) her to use mistakes as motivation to improve her skills.
  9. MAKE SURE GIRLS & BOYS HAVE EQUAL SPORTS OPPORTUNITIES. Support Title IX and encourage school and other sports programs to be aware of and promptly address inequities in opportunities and resources.
  10. KEEP A RELAXED, FUN APPROACH. Team sports teach girls how to be self-reliant while also working collaboratively to be competitive. If she loses interest in sports, you and she can still be physically active together–and there are plenty of other ways to relate and have fun as a Dad-Daughter team.

Learn more about healthy fathering at www.TheDadMan.com.

12 Tips for Live-Away Dads

12 Tips for Live-Away Dads
By Joe Kelly

Whether through divorce, deployment or frequent travel, some dads live away from their children for long periods. Despite what we may think (or others may tell us) living away does NOT prevent a vibrant, loving and lasting relationship. Here are some ideas for how to keep the connection strong (as usual, pronouns alternate between daughter and son).

  1. HANG IN THERE FOR THE LONG HAUL. Living away is tough. So is raising a child from two different homes. My involvement in my child’s life may be different than my dreams for the two of us when he was little, but it is no less important. I meet my responsibilities, including child support, without resentment. Both his mom and I remain tremendous influences in his life. I stay calm, committed, loving and loyal toward him-and do what I can to help his mom do the same. If abuse or abandonment happen, my child needs me to protect him, but he also needs to make peace in his life with that relationship.
  2. ENCOURAGE HER BOND WITH MOM. My child’s relationship with her mom is different than her relationship with me. My child needs to participate fully in it, even when that’s hard for me (or her). I encourage communication between her and her mom, recognizing that I’m not responsible for their relationship. If my child is more comfortable talking about certain things with her mom than me, I respect and encourage that.
  3. DEVELOP HEALTHY SOCIAL AND EMOTIONAL SUPPORTS FOR MYSELF. It’s normal to struggle sometimes with anger, loneliness and other difficult emotions. But I’m careful not to work those feelings out through my child. I meet my adult emotional and social needs maturely with healthy adults.
  4. REMEMBER THAT MY CHILD LIVES IN TWO HOMES. The hours before he leaves my home and after he returns are a time of adjustment (and sometimes grieving) for him. I respect that he may or may not want to talk right away about his time with his mom; I let him take the lead. I don’t pry for information or play down his feelings. He may sometimes be upset or moody when he leaves my home or his mom’s, sad that he has to leave either of us “behind.”
  5. FATHER THE BEST I CAN WHEN MY CHILD IS WITH ME. I can’t change how her other parents raise her or make up for what they do or don’t do, so I focus on what I can control: my own actions. I’m not judgmental about their parenting because no one (including me) is a perfect parent. I trust that her mother and I are each trying our best. I parent her calmly; give her choices; have clear expectations; show affection, patience, love and trust–without demanding perfection. I encourage her to communicate with and trust both of her parents, even (maybe especially) when she makes mistakes. I give her healthy attention when she’s with me and when she’s away (using phone, internet, mail, etc.).
  6. DON’T TRASH MOM. In word and gesture, I speak well about my child’s mother even when I’m angry at her — and even if she speaks poorly about me. If I have trouble speaking well, I will wisely say little. Negative talk about my child’s mom is a little wound to my child, causing him to think less of himself, his mom and me. Trashing his mom or step-parents through words or gestures (in public or at home) humiliates my child and damages my family. No matter the circumstances of our divorce, I respect that his mother’s new family is now part of my child’s family. I’ll keep my child out of the middle, even if others don’t, and I’ll resolve adult conflicts away from him so he can be the child.  Read the rest of this entry »

Tips for Dads and Kids Watching the Super Bowl Together

Tips for Dads & Kids Watching the Super Bowl Together

One of a Dad’s simple pleasures is watching TV sports together with his kids and/or stepkids. But what about those moments (like during some commercials) when you want to cover your child’s eyes with your hands?

Here are a few simple tips from The Dad Man to help fathers and stepfathers get more out of watching the Super Bowl (and other TV sportscasts) with their daughters and sons.

  1. Spend part of Sunday afternoon tossing the ball around with your kids.
    Dads who are physically active with their daughters and sons increase the odds that they’ll grow up healthy and strong.
  2. If she doesn’t like to play catch, take a walk or bike ride together.
    Let your child know that you enjoy being with her. The time together may give her an opportunity to share what is going on in her life. Kids may see our enthusiasm for sports and think we’re more interested in our favorite team than in them. Making time for them on Super Bowl Sunday (and every other day) can counter that perception.
  3. Try to watch the broadcast through your child’s eyes.
    Would any images, commercials, or events look or feel different if it was your kid on the screen? What does he think about all the hype about commercials during the game? Share your perceptions with him and ask him what he thinks.
  4. When watching the game, be aware that the things your child or stepchild sees may be entirely different from what you see.
    For example, instead of enjoying the game, is your daughter feeling inadequate while comparing her body to the “perfect” cheerleaders? What misconceptions might the commercials give your son about what it means to be a “real” man?
  5. Use the remote!
    If you see disrespectful or objectifying ads and images, change the channel so you, your kids, and your family don’t have those images in your home. Let your kids know why you decided to flip and ask for their feedback.
  6. Compare the number of female sports announcers (many fewer) and their roles (usually on the sidelines) to the number and role of the male announcers.
    Tell your kids what you think about those numbers. Do they mean that your daughter can’t be as big a fan as you or your son? Do you want your children or stepchildren to have their career aspirations curtailed by their gender?
  7. Ask your kids which players and coaches they admire or see as heroes.
    Tell them which ones you admire, and then share your reasons with each other.
  8. After the game, debate your opinions on the crucial plays and most exciting moments.
    Then invite your children or stepchildren to do something special together next Sunday to keep these conversations rolling and to convince them that the most important man in their lives takes them seriously-and enjoys being with them!
  9. Use the Super Bowl to become more media-literate and sensitive to your children’s experience.
    Pay more attention to how media portray boys, girls, women and men. When you see an advertisement or program, ask “What if it was my child in that picture?”, and then reassess your reaction to it.

Get more fathering resources at www.TheDadMan.com.

Local & On-line Resources for Dads

Dads, Fathers, Pop pops & Daddys

(c) Hilltown FamiliesHappy Father’s Day! Our featured web review focuses on Father’s Day and includes on-line resources with perspectives on fatherhood.

Local Resources

Along with on-line resoureces, we’d like to point our readers from the Hilltowns and Pioneer Valley to the Men’s Resource Center For Change in Amherst, MA.

Also in Amherst is a free drop-in father’s group that meets every Tuesday from 10am-11:30am at the Amherst Family Center (AFC) for fathers to come to talk about fathers’’ issues, meet other dads and socialize. Childcare is provided. The AFC is located in the basement of the Unitarian Church at 121 North Pleasant St. in the center of Amherst, entrance is at the back of the building.

If you have a local resources you’d like to see added to this list, let us know.

On-Line Resources

Web reviews are for the following sites:

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Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Day

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work happens yearly on a Thursday in April.

Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work is a national public education program that connects what children learn at school with the actual working world. By accompanying their parents and guardians to the workplace, girls and boys across the country discover the power and possibilities associated with a balanced work and family life.

The Take Our Daughters And Sons To Work Foundation offers a great web site worth perusing if you are thinking of taking your kids (ages 8-18 ) to work for this special day. On their Activity Center Page parents can find:

Dads & Daughters: Women’s Basketball Championship

Women’s March Madness!
by Dads & Daughters

Dads & Daughters (pdf file)10 Tips for Dads & Daughters During the Women’s NCAA Basketball Championship

  1. March Madness gets underway March 22nd for women’s college basketball and March 20th for the men (and the start of the WNBA season isn’t far behind!). This is an exciting time for dads to watch or listen to the women’s game with their daughters and stepdaughters. Here are some tips for fathers and stepfathers during tournament time.
  2. Remember that your daughter or stepdaughter hungers for your attention. Make popcorn and watch the tournament together for a great opportunity to talk about the game, or anything else on her mind! Women’s NCAA Division I games are on ESPN and ESPN2—the Women’s Final Four is April 6 and 8 in Tampa.
  3. Fill out brackets together (find them here.) Dads & Daughters member David Powers shares his story:
    My wife, daughters and I all fill out brackets and have a lot of fun tracking who won, who lost — and we even give prizes (for example, the winner picks where to have dinner next time we dine out). We learn about colleges they may not have known, talk about national (and sometimes international) geography, look at player profiles to see where they were from, what they were studying in school, etc. In short, a very low cost way to connect with your daughter!
  4. Celebrate these powerful women. Compliment a great shot, steal, or smart pass. Our daughters hear so often that men only care about women’s looks. Show your excitement for the game by commenting on players’ skills and physical capabilities. And if commercials objectify women (e.g., scantily clad women in beer commercials), call the station, the product manufacturer, and the NCAA to complain.
  5. Talk about your basketball days, if you played. Talk about how hard it is to master, while still incredibly fun for anyone to play. Ask her opinion on game situations as they arise. Then get interested together in other women’s sports, like golf, soccer and volleyball. Read the rest of this entry »

Daddy, Are You Listening?

Listen Listen and Listen Some More
by Joe Kelly for Dads & Daughters

Girls tend to be a riddle to fathers. Like any mystery, the relationship with our daughter can be frightening, exciting, entertaining, baffling, enlightening or leave us completely in the dark; sometimes all at once. If we want to unravel this mystery, we have to pay attention and listen, even in the most ordinary moments.

Why? Because a girl’s voice may be the most valuable and most threatened resource she has. Her voice is the conduit for her heart, brains, and spirit … Dads must help nurture these qualities…

To read more of this article visit www.dadsanddaughters.org.

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Dads, Daughters & Sports

Tips for Dads & Daughters Watching the Super Bowl Together

Dads & Daughters watching TV sports together–one of life’s pleasures. But what about those moments (like during some commercials) when you want to cover her eyes with your hands?

Here are a few simple tips from the national nonprofit Dads & Daughters for fathers and stepfathers watching the Super Bowl (and other TV sporting events) with their daughters.

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