Welcome to PracticalDad.com!

A website created to give fathers the information they need as they take on a larger role in raising their children.

PracticalDad.com offers you guidance and information on:

  • Children’s Health
  • Childhood Development
  • Household and Family Management
  • How-to tips on your kids and the house
  • Raising kids in today’s world and culture

And whatever other topics might affect you and your family.

Fathers have a crucial role in the lives of their children, even if they are home with their mother while their father works. The everyday importance of Dad rises even further when Mom leaves the home for work, study or even the military. The household has to continue running and the kids must have stability and continuity in order to grow and thrive. And PracticalDad.com is here to provide the information and tips that you need to help you with your kids.

What is a PracticalDad?

A PracticalDad is a father who believes that as women take a larger role in the working world, he must shoulder his share of rearing the children and managing the household.

A PracticalDad understands that the old fatherhood models are broken and will use what’s available to create his own model, suited to the particular needs of his own family.

A PracticalDad doesn’t have to be a stay-at-home dad, executive, mechanic or professional. He doesn’t view himself as a SuperDad or PerfectDad. He will simply take the information and opportunities available to help create a working, vibrant and productive home life.

PracticalDad is a website dedicated to the idea that fathers are as capable of being equal partners in the family’s life as women can be equal partners in the workforce. PracticalDad is written for these fathers.

Becoming a Post-Consumer Parent

As I write this, the US in undergoing a taut-string, what’s gonna happen now zeitgeist with race relations at a nadir and poverty indicators rising.  To top it off, our two political parties are going to give us Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton as presumptive presidential nominees, the ugliest public duo since Cinderella’s stepsisters crashed the ball.  The parties talk about the decline of the Middle Class as a purely economic function – hint, it’s not – but many are now realizing that this goes beyond economics to politics.  Here’s a tip, folks:  because you’re ultimately talking about our cumulative resources, the two go together like shit and stink…always have and always will. 

When Does Fatherhood End?

So here is a question for you.  When does fatherhood end?

It isn’t rhetorical, but one that you’ll have to wrestle with frequently as the kids grow.  Stages of growth change as one passes into another and each with its own set of challenges

Kids, Socialism and the Communist Manifesto (Really…)

The conversation occurred one evening when Middle was home from college on break.  Given the political primaries occurring shortly, it naturally pertained to politics and where we stood on the issues.  But as the time passed, the discussion widened from specific issues and candidates to one of more general political leanings and it was here that I learned that Middle was now classifying himself as a Democratic Socialist cut from the European mold.  He likewise noted that many of his peers and friends now were leaning in that general direction and it was certainly in sync with the recent article that

A Summation to Date…

Change happens.  It sometimes comes unexpectedly and in the blink of an eye and at other times, with considerable notice and more than a little planning.  As I write this, Middle is on the cusp of leaving for his freshman year in college; when I began writing this website, he was in the fifth grade.  Eldest is working two summer jobs to squirrel away money for her final year of college and she was in middle school when the first article ran in 2008.  Last night, I realized that Youngest has continued his persistent growth spurt as I now have to slightly incline my face to look into my eighth-grader’s eyes.  When I began this project, he was just entering kindergarten.

Some years ago, my better half suggested that I write a book.  I personally enjoy writing although it’s sometimes been frustrating because being the stay-at-home parent with active kids doesn’t always lend itself to long periods of time for reflection and composition.  Activities, errands, meals, laundry, paperwork and all of the things that make a household run means that the traditional model of sitting down for hours to compose an essay or article isn’t always operative.  Never having written a book and knowing that the fatherhood is cool but look at the funny things that happen when Dad is in the household meme was well covered, I opted to start with a website instead with the notion of moving on to a book. 

That hasn’t yet happened.  But after more than 740 articles and essays to date, I’ve learned a few things.  The first is that the writer that I’ve become is not the writer that I was at the inception of this site.  I believe that a writer has to have a voice and what I write now is nothing like what I wrote at first because I simply didn’t yet have one.  My voice is that of a father who sees massive change ahead and who wants desperately to raise his children to be productive and moral adults in an America that’s going to be truly different from the one in which I was raised.  I am a late Boomer, now in my mid-fifties, and believe that my generation has done a poor job of parenting, most especially in letting their children become wrapped into an electronic cocoon and devoid of the guidance and information that kids need in a complicated culture.  I do not believe that a person raised as part of the Me generation – who truly embraces that notion – is the best fit for a role that is as far removed from Me as being a parent.  It is personally galling to talk to a young person and hear the phrase I wish that someone had told me and my personal vow has been that my own children never be able to say that about me.

The second is that I’m not the kind of writer who can just sit and write a quick article in response to one thing or another.  A publicist told me years ago – yeah, I tried that – that I was what was referred to as a source writer, someone who wrote in the background and frequently provided materials for others but never engendered an avid following that left a lengthy comment thread.  She was correct because I find it difficult to write quickly and can indeed spend hours – and on a few occasion, days – to find the right information and words for a particular article or idea.  It’s honestly a bit lonely since I hear so little in response yet it’s immensely gratifying to know that over the years, so many have taken the time to place me on their Syndication Feed

So…What is This Middle Class?

There’s been an ongoing flow of ink and discussion about the decline and potential demise of the American Middle Class, that economic entity in which many Americans were raised.  The data over the past seven years has shown material damage to the entity with a drop in median family income as well as a loss in median family assets.  A record number of Americans are receiving food assistance, more than 93 million are no longer in the workforce and the discrepancy in wealth distribution is now at a point not seen since the Gilded Age of more than a century ago.  My own thinking in the more recent past has been about the questions, what precisely is the American Middle Class and how did it come to exist?  When did it become a real thing and what factors led to its rise?  I don’t believe that you can remedy a situation until you manage to understand it and frankly, focusing on only the economic data is akin to saying that the patient died of massive hemorrhaging when that hemorrhaging was actually caused by multiple gunshots from a Sonny Corleone-style gangland shooting.  And yes, that is a purposefully pointed analogy.

What we’re watching now is just a bleeding out from a wounded mass of people, but that hemorrhaging is the result of both purposeful and inadvertant policy decisions that have occurred over the course of decades.  This American Middle Class didn’t just arise because a gaggle of World War Two veterans returned home and said Woot! We survived, so let’s start buying!  It arose from the culmination of four principal factors that coalesced together after more than a half-century of oft-times painful development.  Had any of these factors not occurred, my belief is that what we’ve come to appreciate and mourn would probably never have existed in the first place and we’d have been no different as a nation than any other developing nation with an intransigent oligarchy.

Another Look at the American Middle Class

There’s been a persistent drumbeat of commentary over the past eight years – since the onset of the Financial Crisis of 2007 – that pertains to the demise of the American Middle Class.  It’s the start of a period that I refer to myself as The Great Reversion.  It’s framed within the context of a declining median family income as well as declining number of assets, backdropped against what is now the largest gap in wealth distribution since the Roaring Twenties, prior to the Great Depression.  But to consider the American Middle Class in such a light is too shallow, both in terms of what it is happening as well as how it came about.  What’s happening to the American Middle Class is not just an economic event.  To say that the American Middle Class will suddenly make a magical comeback with a

A Nine Year-Old With an Uzi?

On the news that a nine year-old girl accidentally killed a shooting instructor with an Uzi submachine gun, I could only sit back in slack-jawed wonder and shake my head in literal disbelief.  Seriously, who in the hell even considered that this would be a good idea?  The range owner?  The parents?  The dead instructor?  Certainly, common sense died well before the child took the weapon and it’s with that that the questions now arise once again about gun control.  But even before you get to the philosophical questions about the right to bear arms in America, what are some of the common sense questions that a parent should ask before allowing their child to handle a firearm, if at all?

As a full disclosure, I am a gun owner and have had each of my three children undergo basic pistol training with a trained instructor.

Conversation with the Teen:  Is the American Middle Class Dead?

You know that a concept has hit the mainstream when high school social studies teachers raise it in class.  Such was the case with the apparently imminent death of the American Middle Class, a topic that was raised by Middle’s honors history teacher the other week.  This teacher is a known and highly respected quantity since Eldest made it a point to tell Middle that he had to get this guy if at all possible since he makes it a point to riff on the subject matter with topics of modern consequence.  As he discussed the industrialization of the Far East, he shifted the topic over to the problems facing today’s American Middle Class and it was a topic that Middle brought home in a later conversation.

What Middle, and most, know is that the American Middle Class is suffering from a significant income drop over the past decade due to a true paucity of jobs.  He’s aware that many of the jobs now created are of the lower paying, benefit-free variety in the service sector so that the typical American that loses a decent survivable wage job can replace it with a lower paying job.  The first whammy is the loss of income and the second whammy is the new need to suddenly pay for previously "free" benefits that had been covered by the former employer such as health insurance.  Okay, you not only now have less but you have new and unexpected uses for that decreased income…When the news hit that millions of health insurance policies were being cancelled and the former policyholders were being forced to go to the market via the 1929 Obamacare Flivver (with a rumble seat), we had to explain that the cancellations were actually expected since the old policies were non-compliant with the new health insurance feature. Reissuing new ones with the required features, available to anyone now, would cause new policies with wholly new pricing.  Lesser income, likelihood of more variant hours worked and a new category for the money than what was faced by the parents are huge stressors.

So the middle class is under assault but like the refrain from the old Monty Python skit goes, I’m not dead yet…