Fatherhood, Growing Up, Masculinity, Parenting

father absence quizHas a Father’s Absence Impacted Your Life? Take the Quiz to Find Out

When I was five years old, my father had, what was called at the time, “a nervous breakdown,” and was hospitalized. He never came home again and he and my Mom got a divorce. I was raised by a single Mom and it never occurred to me that my father’s absence might have been harmful to my future health and wellbeing. Like all of us, we adapt to change, and get on with our lives.

I did know that my father’s absence meant my mother had to go to work outside the home and I spent a lot of time in childcare programs and started nursery school early. But I adapted to those changes as well.

Not all father absence is physical. Most people grow up with a father in the home. But many fathers are absent emotionally. A father may work long hours and not have a lot of energy left over for his wife and children. He may have a drinking or a drug problem or he may become irritable and angry because of added stress in his life and become critical of his sons or daughters.As with a physically absent father, we learn to adapt. We rarely recognize that later problems in our lives have anything to do with our absent fathers or the emotional wounds that occur when we don’t have a close, intimate, loving relationship with our Dads.

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Family

Four Ways Goodwill Can Help with New Year’s Resolutions

When do you start planning your resolutions? Most people start right about now. Sometimes our goals are pie-in-the-sky dreams of things that we certainly want to accomplish but may not have the time, the budget, or the wherewithal to get there. And that’s okay. This year, shake things up a little by setting some really easy goals. Doing that will have a double payoff. First, you’ll be setting yourself up for success. Second, crossing those goals off your list feels fantastic.

Here are some of easy-to-meet resolutions, and a few thoughts on how Goodwill can help you get there—and beyond.

 

Resolution #1: Clear the Clutter

Starting your new year out with a clean slate (or garage or something else) is one goal that’s usually pretty easy achieve. Some people like to take it head-on and knock it out in a day, a weekend, or a week. But for some of us, it’s easier to bite it into small chunks, tackling one room at a time throughout the year. Either way, Goodwill has some great solutions for storage or donation bins that won’t break the bank. Then, of course, once you’ve filled up a bin, return it to Goodwill along with your gently used items that someone else may need.

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Boys, Health, Substance Abuse

The Connection between Income and Addiction: It May Not Be What You Think

Dear Mr. Dad: The high school in our old neighborhood were well known for drug and alcohol problems. For that reason, a few months ago, my family moved to a new (and very expensive neighborhood) so that my son could attend one of the best schools in our state, one that we hoped wouldn’t have those problems. My husband and I place a high value on education, but from what I’ve been hearing, things may be even worse at this top-rated school. Did we just get unlucky or is this a national issue?

A: Unfortunately, it’s a national one.

A lot of us fall for the stereotype that poor people are more likely to use drugs and alcohol than wealthier people. The thinking is that poor people are self-medicating to cope with the stresses associated with poverty or that they don’t have enough information about the dangers of drugs and alcohol to make smarter decisions. The truth, as you’ve discovered, is much more complex, with different income groups abusing different substances and for different reasons.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 35% of adults living in homeless shelters have substance abuse problems. No one knows what the percentages are for homeless people living on the street, but I’m sure it’s even higher. For one drug in particular, heroin, those making less than $20,000/year are more than three times more likely to be users than those making more than $50,000/year, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Overall, the rate of overdose deaths from prescription opioids (hydrocodone, oxycodone, etc.) are highest in counties with the highest poverty rates. So yes, poor people may be more likely to use some drugs.

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Nutrition, Parenting

Farmers Market`Five Ways to Create a Healthier, More-Humane Menu for Your Family

Creating healthy eating habits for my family has on my mind since my kids were born. But as we become more aware as consumers, we also begin to think about how our purchasing habits impact the rest of the food system. I love the ASPCA’s increased efforts to create more humane practices for farm animals and workers.

Here are five simple ways to become a more-aware and welfare-conscious consumer when shopping for your family’s groceries.
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Fertility

sperm count tempest in teapotThe Sperm Count Tempest in a Teapot

Like monsoon season, this storm surfaces every several years, and has for decades. And it does so with seemingly undiminished intensity. Human sperm counts are falling, and we are headed for extinction.

Analysis Paralysis

The latest published report came in the form of a meta-regression analysis, the latest, uber version of the ordinary meta-analysis, filled to the brim with enough pithy statistics to boggle your mind. It reviewed and summarized the findings from 185 previous worldwide studies of 49,000 patients from 1973-2011. Unfortunately, none of the analyzed data was new. Yep, the same old data, replete with bias and confounders, rehashed anew and jumbled into one mighty “new” paper. It is well done? Yes. In fact, it’s the best you can do given the input. Does it claim anything new? Absolutely not. Just another slightly bigger monsoon.

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