The Best True Parenting Stories Of The Year

The Fatherly Forum was all you in 2016.

by Fatherly
father and daughter hiking trip

Every father is in the same boat, yet every father is on a different journey. This juicy nugget kind of makes you think: if nobody’s found a more efficient boat, at least they could’ve come up with a better metaphor. The Fatherly Forum is where people from all walks of life provide their insights, ideas, and controversial on parenting that might be useful or, at the very least, entertaining for you. If nothing else, you’ll find examples of what you’re definitely not going to do as your kid gets older. Either way, here’s a collection of the best reads from 2016. Give it a read because, you know, you’re all in this boat together. Or in different boats tied together to one giant boat. You get it.

Love Is A Battlefield

As a wounded veteran, Benjamin Sledge has experienced the horrors of war first-hand. In an open letter to his daughter, he shares that he hopes she will seek the same qualities in men that he sought after in his brothers in arms: Humility, integrity, selflessness, sacrifice, and compassion.

A Lot Of What I’ll Teach My Daughter About Men, I Learned From War

Make The Screen Work For You

New parents are constantly freak out about their child’s screen time. How much is too much? What are the long term effects? How does my 3-year-old know how to use my iPhone better than I do? But, Anya Kamenetz argues that screen time is not inherently negative — it’s simply a matter of turning it into a positive.

—Why I’m Trying To Cultivate My Toddler’s Screen Time Instead Of Limiting It

Father Knows Best

One of your dad rights is to give your kids unsolicited life advice. Rufus Griscom, the co-founder of Babble, shares the 21 pieces of advice he has passed on to his sons, despite knowing full well they’re not interested. Hey, their loss is your gain. For starters, you’re probably going to stop ordering that venti bullshit at Starbucks.

Always Ask For A Small Coffee In A Medium Cup And 21 Other Pieces Of Advice For My Sons

Take Me To Church

You’d assume most fights with kids going to church is about who will save their soul (not Jewel!). For Tobin Walsh, the exact opposite happened. He hadn’t stepped foot in house of worship in years, and was surprised when his young daughter asked if he would take her. The result had him thinking about what he’d pass down to his children. Good God almighty!

—Why I’ll Bring My Kids To Church Despite Having No Real Desire To Go Myself

Try A Little Tenderness

Because kids have a unique ability to drain all your time, money, and energy, it makes marriage — the thing that use to drain your time, money, and energy — harder. Mike Berry shares how he made his marriage a priority, keeps things simple with his spouse, and discovered an effective SFW trick for making sure they always have time for each other.

—Why My Wife And I Kick Our Teenagers Out Of The Living Room At 9 PM

Don’t Hate The Player

If you’re worried your little competitor sucks at losing, Josh Polgardi has a simple tactic that worked great for his family: Never let kids win to spare their feelings. They’ll soon learn that losing is an awful, but inevitable, part of life. And when they actually do beat you someday (“I sunk your battleship, old man!”), the win will be that much sweeter.

—Why I’ll Never Let My Kids Beat Me At Anything (Until They Actually Do)

Keep ‘Em Separated

If your spouse is there for you every step of the way, that’s wonderful. But what if that’s not the case? Kern Carter and his daughter’s mom are not married — in fact they don’t even get along. He explains how their mutual love for their daughter has allowed them to set aside their differences and focus on being the best individual parents possible.

—My Daughter Is Proof Parents Can Dislike Each Other And Still Raise A Happy Kid

Educational Television

What if — and this is just a hypothetical — TV isn’t really as bad for kids as it’s made out to be. You were raised on it, and you turned out okay. Consider the fact that there’s some bad shit going on in the world, and none of it happens in an episode of Daniel Tiger. Plus, it has the side benefit of a little peace and quiet. Remember, this is all hypothetical.

—My Toddler Watches All The TV She Wants And I Think It’s Making Her Smarter

You’re Doing It Wrong

One of the scariest parts of being a parent is sometimes you can screw up your kid without even realizing it. Fortunately, Mike Leary is here to help. He’s a family psychologist, and he shares the most common ways he’s seen parents accidentally cause their children harm over the years. Feel free to compare notes.

I’m A Family Psychologist And Here’s The 20 Most Common Parenting Mistakes I See

Disrespect My Autoritah

You teach your kids to be kind to their elders and respect authority, but Chas Smith explains why he thinks that mindset is f—ing stupid. Instead of raising his daughter to blindly follow, he is teaching her to question the people in charge — and never be afraid to tell a jackass drunk with power to mind their own damn business.

—Why Teaching My Daughter To Curse At Authority May Be The Best Of My Bad Ideas

A Tough Conversation

Starting a new job is rough, but when your daughter has severe health issues that forces her to live in a hospital, it’s a unique situation to explain to your co-workers. Jacob Breinholt shares the story of how he grappled with his doubts and fears and, in the end, found his new workplace was full of cheerleaders.

How I Explained To My New Work Colleagues That My Daughter Lives In A Hospital

Happy Wife, Happy Life?

Groucho Marx once said, “Marriage is a wonderful institution, but who wants to live in an institution?” [Rimshot.] When you add a kid to your relationship, the inmates start running the asylum. But, Dimitri Ehrlich has figured out the key to making sure your relationship isn’t destroyed by your little bundle of joy. Or so he says.

—The One Thing Every Father Should Give Up To Stay Happily Married