Category Archives: Published

The Best Way to Argue: A How to Guide for Couples


Just for kicks, let’s say you and your partner are two different people. Even better, let’s say you’re two different people with two different personalities, childhoods, ideas, horrific unresolved emotional issues, and, in certain situations, even two different goals.

Now let’s imagine that one day, out of the clear blue sky, those things all combine into a perfect storm of disagreement. Well, if you’re going to do something, you ought to do it right. Right?

In the interests of being the best arguers ever, my wife and I have given an inordinate amount of thought to the best way to argue with one another. Here’s what we’ve learned in a few handy bullet points: Continue reading The Best Way to Argue: A How to Guide for Couples


Interview on Zen Parenting Radio

Here’s some fun A Family in the City news: Todd Adams and Cathy Cassini Adams are the hosts of a parenting podcast called Zen Parenting Radio (the link goes to the home page of their website) and they were nice enough to call me up and interview me! I really like the perspective they take on things. They focus a lot on being self-aware as a parent and, more generally, as a person. They’re certainly worth a listen!

The post they interviewed me about, called “How we talk to kids” here on A Family in the City, was republished on the Good Men Project back in early December under the title “Why Aren’t We Rude to Grown-ups the Way We Are Rude to Kids?”. Todd and Cathy saw it over at there and liked it enough to want to talk about it a bit further.

Anyway, if you want you can listen to the interview here (this link goes to the podcast I got to be on). They’re fun to listen to: they have an easy banter, they have some really cool insights, and, most importantly, they made me sound like much less of a bumbler than I actually am!

Correcting other people’s kids: It’s not as easy as taking a plastic light saber from a baby.

What’s the deal with Other People’s Kids (and by “Other People” I mean people who aren’t you or me)?  Well, obviously, they aren’t as cute as our kids.  Plus, they’re usually not nearly as well-behaved.  I’ve also noticed that when my kids (and yours, too, of course) mess up or misbehave it’s really just a deviation from their norm rather than a reflection of their deeper character.  Other People’s Kids, of course, are displaying their true colors.  Evil colors.  How do all these Other People deal with such evil little kids?

My kids (who, like yours, are angelic nearly 100% of the time, I promise) were at the park recently.  There was also a good sized group of Other People’s Kids there.  Kids being what they are, a game broke out.  It was a swordfighting, swashbuckling adventure type of game that relied heavily on the use of plastic lightsabers.  I think it was a mashup of Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, and total chaos.  There may also have been a hint of Lord of the Flies.

One kid in particular, who I know to be a 3rd grader, was really into the sword fighting part.  Really into it.  He was raining down holy, plastic, light-saberized terror: two hands held high, white-knuckled, swing-it-so-hard-the-sword-bends-itself-around-the-sword-of-the-defender style play. Continue reading Correcting other people’s kids: It’s not as easy as taking a plastic light saber from a baby.

The Good Men Project

A blog post from November 14, How We Talk to Kids, was just featured over at The Good Men Project, a really cool website that focuses on what it means to be a good man in the 21st century.  Go check ’em out!  They’ve got a lot of really great content.  Right now, for example, there’s a great article on marriage called Be Kind to Each Other and another called Parenting Without Gender Expectations Means Accepting All Outcomes

If you’ve clicked over to A Family in the City from The Good Men Project, welcome!  Kick off your shoes and make yourself comfortable.   I hope you find something you enjoy here!

How we talk to kids

What the ever-loving, craptastic, holy heck! I’ve seen adults reprimand kids countless times before, but it wasn’t until yesterday morning that I finally noticed what jerks grown-ups are when they talk to kids.

It began in the library at about 8:00. I overheard a woman as she was tutoring three middle school kids. The tutor, her voice already dripping with disgust, sighed, “Open up your textbooks.” One of the guys, who looked particularly bleary-eyed and tired, was slow to react and the tutor said, “Is this how we’re going to start? Really?” She was exasperated already and the kids hadn’t even settled into their chairs. She began to drone out the text and asked the kids questions that had clearly been designed by the chairman of the board of a mattress company specifically to put people to sleep. Over the next half hour, she split her time between reading aloud from the textbook and complaining that the kids a) needed to keep all the chair legs on the floor, and b) needed to wake up and answer the questions she was sleep-reading from the book. Continue reading How we talk to kids

The perils and glories of being a stay-at-home-dad

THE PERILS

Last week, I cut through the park in our neighborhood while I was walking home from some errand or another and saw a group of about 10 or 12 women enjoying a picnic with their kids.  The kids had all finished eating and were playing while the moms chatted and laughed. (Don’t judge, working folks, you do the same thing around the water cooler, but you rarely have to interrupt your discussion about the Breaking Bad series finale in order to clean up poop.)

I have to admit that I felt a pang of jealousy when I saw them – for the socialization, not the poop cleaning.  The kind of camaraderie I saw at the park or that I had with my colleagues in the professional world is rarely available for dads who serve as their family’s primary caregiver. Continue reading The perils and glories of being a stay-at-home-dad