Top Tips for Dads to Handle and Understand Their Teenage Daughters

Raising children is not easy, especially if you have difficulties expressing your emotions. However, raising teenage daughters could even become more complicated, regardless if you have the help, love, and support of the entire family.

Children at that age are vulnerable, easily influenced by their entourage, and may have a distorted view of the world. They are often moody, emotional, and mainly think in shades of white and black, without considering any other colors in-between. So, if you are a dad looking to understand and create a stronger emotional bond with your teenage daughter, these tips could be of help.

Don’t try too hard on being the “cool dad”

For some parents, being cool and having a laid-back attitude toward their children comes naturally. Others seem to constantly struggle to make a joke and understand the “lingo” or, even worse, try to use it so they can look “cool”.

Believe it or not, all parents will be seen as uncool, awkward, and weird at a certain point by their children, so you cannot win this competition no matter how hard you try. Truth be told, your daughter needs a parent first and then a best friend, confident or pal. Try too hard to become your daughter’s best friend and you might lose your respect and authority in the end.

Therefore, you should establish some firm ground rules without being too strict or trying “to ruin their lives forever”. Don’t worry too much about becoming your daughter’s favorite parent because this title is subjective and will change every two minutes, depending on which one lets her use her phone before finishing homework, going out with her friends or buying that new dress.

Focus on feelings and be prepared to take a hit for that

Teenage girls are slightly more temperamental than boys but this doesn’t mean they tend to add drama to everything that is going on in their lives. For them, the problems they are facing may seem like life or death matters, so you need to be understanding, even though you have no clue about what’s going on.

Talking about periods, boys, “the mean girls” or body positivity may seem like uncomfortable topics, especially for dads but this doesn’t mean your girl won’t respect your opinion on them. Try to be as open as possible and talk about your feelings. Make her understand that each of her actions will cause a reaction and that some of them may not be positive.

Another tip to handle your emotions better is to tell your daughter whenever something upsets you or makes you happy.

Give a mature explanation to your decisions as a parent

At a certain point, your daughter will experience some behavioral changes which you may not embrace.

Talking to boys on the phone, thinking about skipping classes, quitting her once favorite extra-curricular activities or being interested in more “mature” topics are all part of her transition from a child to a young woman. So, whether or not you like it, you need to support her and trust her decisions.

If her actions call for some form of punishment, don’t forget that you’re the mature one and you need to argue all your decisions. Statements like “because I said so” or “I’m the parent, I know what’s best for you” won’t work and may have the opposite effect on your daughter’s behavior.

If you feel like she let you down or is about to make some poor decisions that might affect her future, explain why she has to be grounded. She’ll most likely tell you she hates you or that you’re the worst dad in the Universe but she will understand, in time, that you made the right call.

Some topics may still be a no-no

Regardless of how well you are going to express your feelings or how close you may feel your daughter, some topics will remain off-limits. And that’s OK. Your daughter is entitled to her privacy and she needs to figure some things on her own.

Luckily, she has a mother, a bigger sister or a friend she can talk to when it comes to sensitive topics like sexuality, eating disorders, gender doubts, alcohol, fashion, and whatnot. Don’t push it and respect her privacy. If she’ll feel the need, she will eventually tell you what’s been bothering her.

Be generous with praise

Most teenagers will go through an existential crisis before molding their adult personalities. And, since we live in an overly-sexualized and dangerous world for young women, chances are this crisis will start at an earlier age for daughters, even before puberty.

Many girls will battle with anxiety, eating disorders, and trust issues, and it is up to you to make your daughter feel safe, loved, and understood throughout these difficult years. Show your support unconditionally, even when she’s struggling to find out who she really is because that’s when she is going to need it the most.

Inforce strong morals and always believe in your daughter, no matter how she chooses to be. She may like pink and sparkly clothes but she may also become a genius researcher, doctor, IT developer or astronaut.

Show your daughter unconditional support and praise her as often as possible. However, bear in mind that there is a fine line between praising and letting her get away with everything just because she’s “daddy’s little girl”. Encourage her to make her own decisions and show your support, as difficult as it may be.

And, if you don’t want to encourage sexist behaviors in the future, replace some of your compliments regarding her looks to those regarding her personality and intelligence. Girls like to hear they are pretty but they will build more confidence if their dad tells them they are smart, important, and that they can achieve everything they want in life.

Let her choose how you’re spending your time together

Going for ice cream and cookies might have been your daughter’s favorite activity on a Sunday when she was 4 but we’re pretty sure her preferences have changed since then. One easy step to bond with your teenage kid is to let her choose how you’re spending your free time.

Express your interest in her current hobbies, even though they change constantly. One day she may want to take acting classes while the next day she’ll be into baking or checking pedals by sound-unsound.com. The key is to show interest and be open to new challenges!

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Beyond Bitcoin: The Real Power Is in the Blockchain


By Jason Dorrier

The Bitcoin saga is worthy of Homer. Heroes, priests, and prophesies. From humble origins on the fringes, the cryptocurrency has reached stratospheric highs and been knocked down a peg for its hubris.

But there’s another connection to Homer. To the lay person, the technology behind Bitcoin, known as blockchain, may as well be in ancient Greek. Say blockchain and prepare for eyes to glaze over.

distributed-digital-ledgers-3

That’s significant because while Bitcoin is intriguing—it’s only the most visible portion of a much bigger story.

Part of the challenge is in the language. Unlike Bitcoin, which sounds like money, blockchain doesn’t evoke visions of, well, pretty much anything at all.

So, what’s a good way to understand blockchain?

Technically, blockchain is a database of mathematically encrypted transactions. These may be transactions in Bitcoin, but they don’t have to be. They could be in another cryptocurrency or even another kind of asset. A distributed network of computers running specialized software, and often paid in cryptocurrency, automatically verifies these transactions.

But there’s another, less technical way to think about blockchain.

In an excellent talk at Exponential Finance, Blythe Masters, CEO of Digital Asset Holdings and former JP Morgan senior executive, called her firm’s blockchain technology a distributed ledger.

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It isn’t a new way to describe blockchain technology, but it is a very powerful one.

A ledger is a book or file that records transactions—a dynamic list of assets and income. And it is an old technology. Ledgers from Mesopotamia offer some of the earliest examples of writing. Written ledgers were a technological solution to the fast-growing complexity of ancient economies and trade.

At a certain point, our limited brains and memories just couldn’t keep up.

Now, as modern economies reach nearly unfathomable levels of complexity—we may require another technological leap. And that’s where blockchain and distributed (digital) ledgers enter the story.

Masters says the biggest challenge modern financial organizations face is keeping their ledgers tidy. They are tasked with “processing, recording, reporting, reconciling, and auditing” a daily flood of transactions.

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The apparatus charged with reconciliation, meanwhile, is centralized, breachable, and unencrypted. Keeping all those balls in the air is costly, inefficient, risky, and slow. Trades made today, may not be received for up to a week.

How does a distributed digital ledger like blockchain aim to solve these problems? Masters laid out the potential and versatility of blockchain technology like this:

It isn’t just money: “Economic transactions on a digital ledger can be programmed to record virtually anything of value—your identity, a will, a deed, a title, a license, intellectual property, an invention—but also any type of financial instrument.”

It isn’t just ownership: “It’s possible to record the actual business logic that has been agreed to between the parties of the financial transaction. This means the things that they have agreed to do for each other, their respected liabilities or responsibilities. So, it’s more than just the facts of ownership.”

It is decentralized and automated: “This ledger represents an incorruptible truth that can be accessed because of the fact of the mass collaboration of different computers that are incentivized, often by the creation of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, to keep that information validated, verified, and safe.”

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Blockchain may provide the basis for a new kind of ledger able to scale with economic complexity instead of being overwhelmed by it. You have increasing security, automation, and accuracy at lower risk and cost.

And it’s faster. Much faster. “Once you’ve digitized a financial asset you can transfer its title on that distributed ledger at what is effectively real time—at digital speed,” says Masters.

The implications of blockchain and distributed ledgers are enormous. Perhaps a market measured in trillions of dollars. Still, Masters cautions against the hype. The world, she says, is a long way away from economies tabulated on blockchain-enabled disributed ledgers. We need to determine whether they can withstand a concerted attack, can handle transactions on a truly global scale, and can maintain privacy.

Also, Masters believes blockchain may be disruptive, but equally, it may prove incredibly empowering for existing organizations that embrace it. “How seriously should you take this?” Masters asked. “About as seriously as you should have taken the concept of the Internet in the early 1990s. It’s a big deal.”

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Raging Bullshit

He’s stomping down the hallway, approaching the closed bedroom door. The beer on his breath blows out his nose and mouth. Bull-like, he scratches his foot on the hardwood floor.

“I know you’re awake,” he screams at the door and notices the lamp on the nightstand flicking off. “I know you’re not asleep.”

Inside the bedroom, she pulls the covers over her head. Here it comes, she thinks, bracing for the next ridiculous and inevitable scene, a now trite and tired act.

He throws open the door, holding a beer can, his shadowy figure filling the frame. She pretends to sleep.

“I guess you’re going to ignore me now! You always ignore me. You don’t care. You don’t care about me. You don’t give a shit,” he says, slurring his words.

“Please go to sleep? I get it. You’re drunk and depressed, and I’m not going to engage with you,” she says, her voice small beneath the shelter of the sheets.

He laughs, hearty and derisive. “I knew you’d say that. You don’t give a shit. You don’t fucking care if I die. You’re a stone wall. You don’t care,” he says and searches the darkness of their bedroom for the familiarity of a shape and finds none. He sighs. “Fuck it. Just fuck it.”

It’s a Thursday night, and they both have to work early in the morning. She squeezes her eyes and prays he’ll go to sleep.

While I’ve never struck another human being in anger in my life, the emotional aggression can be every bit as hostile and toxic.

Then something inside of him clicks, and he leaves, muttering to himself and retreating to the futon in the basement. He knows his behavior was repugnant and knows it needs to stop, all of it—the drinking, the medication vacations, the self-pity and, more importantly, the rages. He knows his wife doesn’t deserve to be the brunt of his seemingly inexorable fits of anger and vitriol and sadness—no one deserves it.

But it’s been occurring since he was a teenager and he still hasn’t found a way to control it. He knows he’s behaving badly, and he knows there are no excuses. Mental illness does not excuse bad behavior.

This man, of course, is me.

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I’m not a psychologist—my degrees are in English—but I’ve read enough to know that anger can be an outward manifestation of depression. In other words, instead of bottling the self-loath and despair that often accompanies depressive episodes, those emotions are re-channeled outwardly as anger and rage, and the people closest to you often find themselves in the line of fire.

My mental health issues, which began as an adolescent, have still not been solidly diagnosed. There will always be a spectrum when it comes to pinning your thumb on a mental illness, seeing it’s near-impossible to ascertain how a person is thinking or feeling, and a professional doctor or therapist can only take someone at their word.

For me, however, the panic attacks and crippling anxiety and depression started in high school. These bouts of rages, usually fueled by the substances I used to self-medicate, followed soon after. While I’ve never struck another human being in anger in my life, the emotional aggression can be every bit as hostile and toxic.

I know the bouts of raging bullshit need to stop completely. No excuses.

The rages always seem to coincide with bouts of depression. During these prolonged spells, fighting through the doldrums, I have a tendency to take all of my inward loath and dissatisfaction and project it toward the people I love. This behavior, of course, exacerbates the depression and sends the whole system spiraling into tempest of anxiety.

But—and I firmly believe this to be true of all mental illness—it’s still not an excuse. As aforementioned, there is no excuse for hostile behavior toward anyone. There is no excuse for the raging bullshit.

Those of us with mental illness must concede to this basic truism: Your mental illness does not excuse you from being a kind and decent human being, and you must always try to be better.

I’ve taken steps toward addressing the corrosive behavior that has strained my marriage and relationships with loved ones. After many years of resistance, I’ve started medication and counseling. The process has been slow and sloppy, and the solutions for self-treatment are usually the last things I want to hear, but it’s getting better and, at a torpid pace, I’m improving.

But I know the bouts of raging bullshit need to stop completely. No excuses.

♦◊♦

He’s stomping down the hallway, his toe scratching the hardwood floor. His nostrils are flaring, his blood coming to a boil. “You don’t care,” he screams as he charges into the bedroom. “You’re always on my ass, and you don’t do anything to help!”

She turns on the lamp on the bedside table, rubbing the sleep from her eyes. “That’s not true. I love you and want you to be well,” she says. “Now go to bed.”

Her 14-year-old son stomps his feet. “Be nice to me!”

She yawns, her head falling to the pillow. “You’re just like your father,” she says and closes her eyes. “And I am nice.”

Never has a truer line been uttered.

Photo Credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Attribution License (Flabber DeGasky)

Calling Out Fundamentalist Privilege

I’m calling b.s. on fundamentalist privilege.

Oh yeah, “fundamentalist privilege” is a thing. In fact, I want to argue that, at least in America, fundamentalist privilege has screwed up the adventure of following Jesus by giving everybody the impression that only conservatives take the Bible seriously.

However, to make my case, I’m going to have to set down what I mean by both “fundamentalist” and “privilege.” Permit me to begin with the second term first: privilege.

Let me see if I can get to the heart of “privilege” by looking at one particularly relevant variation of it at the moment — white privilege.

I’ve been thinking about white privilege quite a bit of late. Difficult not to, isn’t it? I mean, what with Michael Brown and Eric Garner, and all.

As a middle-class (though slightly shady-looking) white guy, I can walk down the street, see a police car, and never think twice about whether or not I’ll be accosted. Even looking the way I do, with long hair and a beard, wearing combat boots and a black leather trench coat, when I walk into a fancy department store I never notice anybody following me around. Walking down the street, it never occurs to me to think that other people are crossing the street so they don’t have to pass by me at close range.

But white privilege isn’t just about being able to avoid unpleasant encounters; it’s taking for granted that, all things being equal, you don’t even have to worry about having unpleasant encounters. Why not? Because you’re normal — and normal people don’t get followed in Macy’s. Normal people don’t have to think about wearing a hoodie or whether driving a Lexus will raise suspicion. Normal people don’t shot in the street by police officers without a good reason.

Privilege, then, is being able to take for granted that you occupy a social location uncontroversially, a social location that you and the culture you inhabit regard as “normal” — that is, the normative location that sets the standard against which all other locations are evaluated. In this case, we live in a culture that assumes that white middle-class life is the norm (i.e., “normal”) and that all other variations (e.g., African American, Latino, Asian, etc.) are just that … variations on the norm. Privilege means participating in a system (cultural, legal, political, etc.) that was built for people like you, and assumes that people who aren’t like you bear the burden of proof in order to be taken seriously by the system.

That’s privilege. On to fundamentalism.

Fundamentalism — at least in the form I want to talk about it, which is specifically Christian — among other theological assertions, insists on a way of reading the Bible as an inerrant document originating in the mind of God and unfailingly transmitted through human scribes. Theologically, historically, scientifically, geographically — all God, all the time. No mistakes. No mid-life crisis days for Paul. No ax-grinding or personal-story-telling-emphasis-spotlighting by the Gospel writers. It’s perfect, just what God intended — or at least it was in its original form.

And if the Bible is perfect, it’s universally perfect for all times and all places … except when it’s not. That’s the problem with a common-sense literalist interpretation of Scripture.

A fundamentalist reading of the Bible claims a consistency in interpretation it can’t deliver on. Fundamentalists require extraordinarily elaborate hermeneutical tap dancing, for instance, to explain from the same verse why being a gay man is wrong always and everywhere, but is putting to death for being a gay man belongs to another time and place (Leviticus 20:13).[1]

But, according to the dominant cultural reading of Scripture, if you don’t believe gay people are taking the first available Uber to Perdition Avenue, you’re the problem. If you happen to believe as I do that the scope of the Bible’s concerns about LGBT people are cultural (and not universal) expressions that address a world with different fears and biases than the one we inhabit, then the current presumption seems to be that your hermeneutical project is somehow to circumnavigate the “plain sense” of the Bible.

It’s the whole “‘plain sense’ of the Bible” stuff that I want to challenge since it’s that interpretive presumption that lies at the heart of fundamentalist privilege. And this presumption advances an implicit claim that fundamentalists take the Bible seriously, that they alone study it for the purpose of being transformed by it, that because they often claim to read Scripture literally, they’re reading of it is the closest to being “what God intended” — while all other interpretations are merely self-serving exercises in avoidance, designed to provide the interpreter permission to do what a properly formed conscience wouldn’t otherwise allow her to get away with.

Look at a few of the ways this fundamentalist presumption gets expressed (because, you know, if you don’t believe these things, you don’t believe the Bible):

  • The certainty of a literal six-day creation, which took place sometime less than 10,000 years ago
  • The belief that women were created by God as (or received from God as a punishment for their role in duping the hapless Adam) submissives, whose path to pleasing God required them (perhaps not coincidentally?) first to please their male “protectors”
  • [From the not-so-optional Patriot Upgrade Package] The full-throated confidence that America has become the hope of the world, God’s chosen people, set apart to bring the good news of Capitalism and Democracy to the rest of the earth’s benighted souls — which is why good Christians can justify their vituperative hatred of Socialists, Muslims, and Barack Obama (the naming of which three together, in certain hands, is a redundancy)
  • The conviction that God hates LGBT folks, as well as the cowards who fail to denounce them with the appropriate brio
  • The certitude, evidence to the contrary notwithstanding (see, for instance, Matthew 6:5–8, 16–18), that God is heavily invested in public piety, which requires that true Christians protect civic displays of devotion on courthouse walls and city hall lawns and in public school classrooms
  • The enduring (and perhaps a bit too enthusiastic?) belief that God loves us too much not to devise a way of punishing us torturously, excruciatingly, unendingly (but lovingly) if we don’t feel the right things in our hearts

Look, I’m not saying that fundamentalists don’t love the Bible. What I’m saying is that their love of the Bible (in concert with confidence in an Enlightenment epistemology that regularly prompts us to believe that we can know more than we do) has often distorted their ability to interpret it well.

Which distorted ability on its own would be one thing. But the rest of us always seem to have to follow behind to try to clean up the messes.

And fundamentalist privilege means that there are always way too many messes adequately to clean up.

Previously published on Medium.com.

Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

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Growing Old

Every now and again, my wife likes to remind me about how she is so much younger than me. Two weeks younger in fact. It started when I hit 30 and she was still 29… she would have a little boast about how she was still in her twenties.

So you can imagine her delight when recently I turned 37 years old. What is the significance of turning 37? Well, in my country, Australia, 37 is the median age of the population.

All of a sudden… I am in the old half, and my wife is still in the young half… for two more weeks anyway. I am now older than 50% of of the people in my country. Or, to look at it another way, more than half of the people in my country have been born while I have been alive. How did this happen?

To make matters worse, the mathematicians among us would have calculated by now that being 37 means that I finished school around 20 years ago… almost to the day, actually. A few months back, I had the pleasure of attending my 20 year school reunion. Now, I can assure you when you arrive at this moment, and you will much more quickly than you think, it is a strange and surreal experience.

Imagine closing your eyes and being aware that your best friend from school is standing in front of you… you are aware that they are there… they are talking to you… their voice sounds the same, they have the same personality, the same sense of humor, the same mannerisms and idiosyncrasies. But then when you open your eyes, a fat, bald, middle-aged person is standing in front of you. That is what your 20 year high school reunion is like… and then you realize you’re looking into a mirror.

But seriously… crossing over to the “old side” got me reflecting on my life. The conclusions that I arrived at were both frightening and liberating.

I spent the first half of my life building for myself an identity that I believed would be palatable to the world and personally satisfying. I constructed a sense of self. I built my family, I built my (tiny) fortune, I built my career. I did all the things that I believed would make me fulfilled and happy, following the well-worn path of western individualism and the ‘self-made-man.’ Set before me were the milestones that were supposed to mark increasing degrees of satisfaction. When I was young, it was getting a license and car, getting good grades and having academic success. As I got older, it was about finding a good partner, settling down, having a family, buying a house. Then the focus shifted to career and climbing the ladder. Each milestone promised so much and as I ticked them off on the list in my mind, they did indeed bring me satisfaction… but only for a while. Then, I needed to move on to the “next thing” to keep from getting bored.

And now, here I am in the second half of my life, having achieved all the things that world promised would make me fulfilled and happy… financially secure, with beautiful family in a beautiful home… living the middle-class dream. I’ve had success. I have arrived. But I still have another half of my life left to live. So, what now? What’s next? I can’t shake the thought that there must be more than this… but what? Have I spent my life climbing the ladder only to reach the top and realize that it’s resting against the wrong wall?

It is a scary thought.

And so I have a choice today. I could keep on trying to climb the ladder… dye my graying hair, buy a sports car, find a mistress and cruise around like I am some kind of king. But if I do, I’ll end up looking like an old fool. So perhaps I could throw my hands up in despair and give up the climb and just accept where I am, slipping into mediocrity and maintenance… simply going through the motions, deadening and medicating the feeling I have, that this can’t be all there is. Eventually though, I would become a bitter and angry old man (and we all know them). Or, I could come down off the ladder. I have this nagging feeling that there is nothing meaningful at the top of the ladder that I can’t have at the bottom… down on the floor, playing with blocks with my children. Since I spent the first half of my life constructing my self, my meaning, my purpose… perhaps I will spend the second half deconstructing the very thing I dedicated 37 years of my life building. I think I need to pull it all apart and break it all down. What is real? What is true? What is it that really matters here?

I don’t know that answer yet, but hopefully, I have at least another 37 years to work it out. Yes! Growing old is really an invitation to discover what is truly important in life. I don’t know about you, but I’m grabbing that opportunity with both wrinkled hands!

A version of this post was previously published on Medium and is republished here with permission from the author.

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Road Trippin’


Road trips with teenage kids require patience, snacks, and cars with built-in phone chargers. While the first two are very important, the third is by far the most important. In fact, road trips of distances greater than eleven miles with teenagers are strongly discouraged unless your car comes equipped with these life-saving chargers.

I scoured the web for a study to prove what I’m about to say, but unfortunately, all I have is empirical evidence. So, here goes: A parent driving a car with a teenager in it but without a phone charger will dramatically increase their speed, commensurate with the dwindling battery life of the child’s phone.

Put simply, if the child’s phone is in no danger of dying, the parent will maintain the legal rate of speed. However, if the child’s phone begins to lose its power, the parent will begin driving at increased speeds, all in an attempt to arrive at the intended destination before the dreaded words, “My phone is dead,” are spoken.

For the visual learners:

Battery Life Rate of Speed
100% 55 MPH
90% 65 MPH
50% 110 MPH
3% 455 MPH

Cops will probably just let you go with a warning if you can prove to the officer, through genuine exasperation, that your child’s device is losing power.

Look, I like my kids. They’re pretty decent people, but teenagers can be really crazy sometimes. Preteens can also be rude, but their voices haven’t changed yet, so it still sounds cute.

Traveling with babies and/or young kids presents its own challenges, but that phase of my life is over and, from this perspective, it wasn’t all that bad.

For everyone’s sake, it’s best that the kids put in their headphones and listen to their music, i.e., the wacky amalgamation of various genres that all combine to make a heinous sound they call “music.” Likewise, I get to blast my 90s rock music, music my kids consider some wacky amalgamation of various genres that all combine to make a heinous sound I call “music.”

Not that I don’t want to talk to my kids on a road trip. I mean, I don’t, but they also don’t want to talk to me. What are we even going to talk about? My wife and I are in our 40s. The kids don’t care about my intermittent low back pain, which coat my wife should wear to the wedding, or whether we should attend both Steely Dan concerts on back-to-back nights.

Seriously, what are we going to talk about? How scenic the Jersey turnpike is? (It isn’t.)

Was Interstate 95 actually designed to be a social experiment to test the boundaries of nervous breakdowns? (It was.)

When are we going to be there? Map it yourself on that fancy – and fully charged – phone of yours!

When I was a kid, we had to resort to using our imaginations on road trips – which, by the way, were miserable experiences. It got so bad on an 8-hour trip to the beach once that I actually drew a map of the east coast, along with a menacing hurricane that pummeled North Carolina. Unsatisfied with my rendering of the Carolinas – I couldn’t get the barrier islands right – I balled up the paper, threw it on the floor, and started over. What I did with the other 7 hours and 45 minutes was even worse. We played the license plate game. Look it up, kids.

So, no. No interactions between teenagers and their parents are required on road trips these days. It’s in everyone’s best interest. We can talk when we get to our final destination, or in seven years when they think we’re worth their time again.

Until then, safe travels and keep it plugged in.

Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

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Presence With the Unknown

When men approach the threshold of marital change, be it considering separation, divorce, or reinvention, I immediately acknowledge the immensity of where they are. That place of big change, the cracking open of new life.

They often do not see it.

How could they? It is not in our cultural language.

I emphasize the importance of taking it slowly, one step at a time. Not trying to figure out what’s going to happen or how things will look in six months.

Too many individuals terrorize themselves with the unknown.

Where will I live?
How will I land?
What will happen?

This wreaks even further havoc on them, during such a fragile time of life change.

Often their sleep bottoms out, they can barely function at work, and even breathing can be hard. Instead of seeking certainty with elusive details, I coach my male clients to be present with all that is happening.

In this way, they may build trust with themselves. In crisis, the difference between devastating pain and manageable suffering is presence.

With presence, you are with the enormity of the moment. You learn to conserve the precious energy you have. when all the wind has been sucked out of you. You get done only what you have to, at work or at home.

You do only what’s essential and applaud yourself for showing up as you can. You set your sights on being half as productive as normal, or even less.

Look at your task list and cross out what you don’t have to do today, grateful that you are getting anything done at all. This is called self-care. It is critical.

In a go-go culture, we don’t know what self-care is. Instead, we seek to battle our way through everything.

Our inner wisdom knows we’d be better served to put self-care at a premium during such times. In its absence, we crash and burn, often damaging our nervous systems and health in general.

Self-care enables presence; and presence enables one to fully meet crisis. This is where you have the opportunity to take massive leaps in your own growth.

Where you can actually listen and understand what is happening to you. Why you ended up where you are.

Change was needed. And big change is painful.

Step in, knowing that at any time you can only take one step at a time. And trust each step along the way, releasing the unknown of tomorrow, next week, or the months to follow.

This is where you learn to come home to yourself. You stay in the moment and take it day by day, minute by minute even.

Presence is a great gift to one at the precipice. It is how I got through my darkest hours, when losing my wife, family, and home felt like utter desolation (even though I had initiated it).

It is how time and again I have seen clients walk out of my office, lighter, more able to make it through their day.

Furthermore, when we’re at the edge, we may create boundaries and agreements with our partner, to honor one another, knowing this is hard on both of you.

Give yourselves time and space apart, knowing you each must tend to yourselves, like never before.

On your own, sit quietly and breathe consciously and intentionally at least several times per day. Speak a simple affirmation to meet fear and breathe new life into your system.

In my most vulnerable hours in the terror of the deep night, a simple affirmation saved me, when I was uncertain what I still had to live for, when the pain was so great that I was grateful I did not own a firearm.

I feared all that I could lose but I knew I had to step forward.

I said to myself, repeating over and over, fifty to a hundred times until I fell back asleep.

“I love you.

I know this is hard.

We will get through this.”

Do you know a man in crisis?
Is that man you?
Get help today.

Previously Published on stuartmotala.com

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4 Reasons You Should Try Boxing

Boxing has been around for centuries and while at first people practiced it as a means of self-defense, nowadays boxing can be used as a very fun and efficient workout. It is not the easiest of sports but it is incredibly fun and enjoyable and for anyone looking to get fit or lose weight, this is the ideal sport to try.

If you are still not convinced and want to learn more about the benefits that introducing this sport in your exercise routine can offer, you can check our list below.

It’s a fun and accessible sport

If you want to keep yourself fit it is important to find an activity that you like doing and boxing can be incredibly fun. The issue with most workout routines out there is that they can become boring fast and if you plan to keep going you need to enjoy what you are doing as otherwise, the workout becomes a chore and you’ll quit before you can get a routine going.

It is never too late or too early to start boxing and even if you are older, you’ll still be able to practice and have fun. You also don’t need to be in good shape since you definitely won’t have to compete at a professional level at first and you can still use the intensive workout you’ll get out of it to get into shape.

What makes so many people avoid boxing is the thinking that they don’t belong to that sport either because they are too old or they’re not in good shape and this can’t be further from the truth. Boxing is for everyone since as long as you can make a fist and get your hands and body moving, then you can box.

The hardest part is to start and once you do, you’ll start questioning yourself why you didn’t start boxing earlier. It is easy to make a game out of boxing and there are many steps for you to climb and get better, which is why this is a perfect sport for anyone who enjoys a challenge.

Since there are so many skills to master and pieces of equipment in the gym that you can use, boxing never becomes boring and as we mentioned above, this is the key to enjoying a workout. If you’re not challenged, you’re more likely to feel like you’re wasting your time.

You also don’t need to have the latest gloves and Jordan’s for boxing since while they help a lot when boxing at the gym, you can still box anywhere without any equipment. It is possible to shadowbox at home and do conditioning exercises such as sprints, or push-ups. You can also get inspiration for new exercises, tactics, and techniques from the countless videos available online.

The perfect workout for weight loss and for getting fit

Boxing is a high-intensity sport and you can burn as much as 500 calories in a single session and you’ll even continue to burn extra calories hours after the training session has ended. This is something that your typical cardio workout won’t be able to do and this is why for people who are looking to burn fat, boxing is among the best workouts to add to their routine.

When you’re boxing, you’re jumping and moving a lot and this requires a lot of strength. At first, these movements may be difficult for you to perform for extended periods but as your muscles adapt, they’ll also grow and improve your total-body strength.

Boxing is not just about punching as the head movement, footwork and defensive techniques such as weaving and bobbing will engage the whole body so that you can get a full workout.

Boxing will strengthen your lower and upper body as well as your core since they all need to engage when you’re making contact with the bag. Most gyms will also include additional strength training moves such as squats, planks, push-ups and weighted medicine ball exercises to help you get in shape quicker.

If you’ve ever wanted to get those well-defined chests and arms, and those washboard abs then boxing is a great sport that can get you there quicker. As long as you perform it well, it will engage every part of your body. Boxing can also make you a better athlete and get you in shape to try other sports and activities.

Mental health benefits

Exercise is scientifically proven to help you fight depression and anxiety and high-intensity workouts such as boxing can kick up your endorphin levels, which is that famous “feel good” chemical that produces feelings of euphoria and happiness.

Another benefit of boxing is that it can reduce stress levels which in turn can make you happier. High-intensity exercises force your body’s central and sympathetic nervous systems to communicate with each other and that helps improve your body’s ability to respond to stress.

By losing weight, increasing muscle tone, or simply improving endurance, there are many physical achievements that you can get from boxing and all these can add up to a boost of self-esteem and self-confidence.

Things such as finding better-fitting clothes and being able to climb a steep hill without getting winded are small things that can help your mental state before you even realize it. Having a workout routine that you stick to can also help you get better sleep, boost your brain and prevent memory loss and cognitive decline.

Self-defense

There are many contact sports that you can practice but as far as defending yourself goes, boxing is at the top since it teaches you the importance of preventing the fight from going to the ground. This is very important if you ever have to face more than one attacker. Other contact sports such as BJJ or wrestling aren’t as effective in such situations.

Boxing can also teach you how to avoid fights since if you don’t want to harm the person attacking, you can stick to defense and block the shots using your footwork. This can help you keep the attacker at a distance until he exhausts himself.

This content is brought to you by Tudor Constantin.

Photo: Shutterstock

An Online Psychologist Is Safe to Talk to About Your Problems


An online psychologist cares about you

A therapist or psychologist cares about their clients. An online psychologist is empathetic and wants their patients to have stable mental health. An integral part of online therapy is helping your client to feel safe. One thing that an individual needs to feel safe is they sense that their information is confidential; that involves trusting your therapist. How can you develop a sense of trust with your online therapist?

The relationship between you, and your therapist matters

A therapist can say all they want that your information is confidential, but you need to believe them. It takes time to trust a mental health professional. You may have to have multiple sessions with this person to feel a sense of trust. Your safety is paramount when you’re talking to a therapist online. That’s why it’s essential for you to feel comfortable speaking to this person. You can start small by discussing your day-to-day life. They need to learn more about you so that you can feel a sense of confidence in talking to them about deeper problems. You don’t have to jump in headfirst and discuss serious issues. If you feel comfortable with them right away, it’s okay to jump in and address these problems, but don’t feel pressured to do so. You can work at your own pace and do what’s comfortable for you. It’s your treatment, and you can discuss whatever you want.

As time goes on you will feel safe

A gauge as to whether you have a good therapist is when you feel safe. As you open up more and more, you’ll notice that you’ll begin to feel safe in the sessions. After talking about who you are as a person, you would start to delve into you more complex emotional issues. Maybe you’ll talk about your trauma. Perhaps you will reveal secrets about your relationship. Whatever the case, the relationship between you and your therapist needs to be safe, confidential, and meaningful. If you’re not discussing deep issues in therapy after you’ve been going for some time, then it may be worth evaluating if treatment is working. Not every therapist is the same, and it’s essential to have a good relationship with your provider.

How to know if you feel safe

Here are some ways to tell if you feel safe with your therapist:

  • You don’t second guess what you talk about in therapy – online counseling should be a place where you can speak freely about what’s happening in your life. That is a sign that you feel safe with your therapist. You should be able to express emotions that are not necessarily easy to talk about, but you feel like you can discuss with your therapist. If you feel safe enough, then you’ll reveal intimate personal details to your therapist. If you don’t feel like you can talk freely in therapy, you may not feel safe.
  • You trust their opinions – One of the most significant parts of therapy is getting feedback from your therapist. If you trust your therapist and their views on matters, it’s important to note that. It’s a sign that you feel safe with them. You want to be able to receive that feedback so that you can develop the coping skills you need. You don’t value your therapist’s opinion then you need to question whether the relationship is working for you. You may not feel a sense of trust.
  • You are okay vulnerable – therapy is an excellent place to express your feelings. If you’re able to be vulnerable in front of your therapist, that’s a sign that you feel safe. The vulnerability can help you in the process of healing. A skilled therapist can help you feel that sense of trust and vulnerability.

Online therapy works when there’s safety

Whether you’re seeing an online therapist or psychologist, you should feel a sense of safety when you feel like you can trust your therapist that makes a difference in the treatment. Your therapist is the key to helping you achieve a sense of stable mental health. If you’re in online treatment and you feel like you can confide in your therapist, then you’ve got a good match. Keep going and focusing on your treatment can help you live a fulfilling life.

Stock photo ID:600157298

Strangers Answer: What’s Your Biggest Regret?

Regret is an odd emotion because it comes only upon reflection. Regret lacks immediacy, and so its power seldom influences events when it could do some good. — William O’Rourke

00:00
[Music]
00:06
did you see regret what’s been your
00:13
biggest regret in life
00:14
Oh biggest regret in life is north of
00:20
gone for it when I was younger when you
00:23
are older you realize a lot of
00:24
opportunites over your yang you think
00:27
you know it another chance
00:29
do you have any regrets in life man no
00:32
no no okay I don’t know I can’t pinpoint
00:35
anything but I mean maybe no not being
00:42
myself most of the time I kinda have to
00:46
people around me rather than just being
00:48
myself
00:54
I guess my biggest regret is not
00:56
spending as much time with my grandma as
00:58
I should have
00:59
my biggest regret would probably be not
01:06
marrying a girl that should have you
01:08
have in your head oh no no it’s what
01:11
made me who I am
01:12
davin your dress yeah I first want to
01:19
choose my friend okay okay yeah yeah
01:27
my biggest L Robley nothing more time to
01:30
myself earlier in life and just
01:32
developing it for a better ball pattern
01:35
recently so you could be good with that
01:38
yes yeah it’s taking hard work go he’s
01:42
meaner ah probably not being out here
01:46
sooner
01:49
I don’t see as any mistakes or anything
01:52
I have done as a regret so I do I do
01:57
feel like I’m going to regret something
01:59
in life soon but it just doesn’t come
02:02
yet man that’s hard probably letting the
02:07
love of my life goes away I regret
02:10
almost every life choice I’ve ever made
02:12
but you know what I live with it that’s
02:14
okay not spend enough time with my
02:16
children getting married yeah let’s see
02:22
that I didn’t stop to appreciate life
02:27
sooner because we’re only here for a
02:30
limited amount of time and you know I’m
02:34
over now so if I feel the ends near but
02:37
I just feel like now the days mean a lot
02:40
more to me than when I was younger so I
02:41
think I you know it’s kind of self
02:44
indulgent or kind of selfish but that’s
02:46
my regret I guess I could pick one off
02:48
the top my hand
02:49
biggest regret
02:53
would probably not sticking with biology
02:57
as a major I don’t know that I really do
03:01
a lot of regretting nothing pop stuff
03:04
oh it’s Jesus I don’t know against my
03:09
graduating college caring what other
03:12
people think to elaborate on that I
03:15
guess just you know living my life by
03:17
those people standards or other people’s
03:18
opinions instead of my own I’m finding
03:21
that truth is West my biggest regretting
03:24
like not having my children to work
03:27
earlier in their life just not doing
03:32
what I wanted to do when I wanted to do
03:33
it I mean I think in high school I could
03:39
have improved myself a lot more with the
03:43
resources around me instead of focusing
03:45
on you know the set path in front of me
03:48
that’s a tough one there’s a lot of them
03:50
probably not as ambitious as I should
03:55
have been they didn’t move here to San
03:58
Diego sooner honestly it sounds terrible
04:02
my biggest regret was going to get my
04:04
masters because now I have a shift on a
04:06
students debt
04:07
considering I’m only 13 no but one that
04:11
pops out is I was at a Shawn Mendes
04:13
concert and I had an opportunity to take
04:15
a picture with him but I never did not
04:20
being more mindful sooner not traveling
04:24
enough I would say working too much not
04:27
spending more time with the kids
04:29
biggest regret in life and I put that on
04:33
film
04:37
I have one good one but I can’t share it
04:41
sorry good luck we defrost
04:44
[Music]

Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood

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