Fatherhood, Parenting

kids shouldn't have caffeineShould Kids Have Caffeine? Uh, Nope.

Dear Mr. Dad: I have been noticing kids who look much younger than high-school age buying frapuccino-type drinks at Starbucks and similar coffee places. It worries me, because I didn’t think caffeine was good for children, and didn’t allow my own son to have any while he was a teenager. Is coffee really bad for children? If so, what is your advice to parents whose children can buy their own snacks after school?

A: You’re absolutely right. Caffeine and children don’t belong in the same room. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration says that for adults, 300-400 milligrams (mg)–about three cups of coffee—per day is generally safe. But the FDA hasn’t established safe levels for children. Most pediatricians, however, say that children under 12 shouldn’t have any, and kids 12-18 shouldn’t consume more than 100 mg/day.

Those recommendations haven’t stopped kids from getting it. In fact, about 75% of children and young adults consume caffeine every day. Where’s it all coming from? Until fairly recently, children’s main source of caffeine was soda. However, ever since researchers started drawing the connection between sugary drinks and obesity, soda consumption has been on the decline. Today, children—especially teenagers—are turning to coffee and energy drinks, both of which generally pack a lot more caffeine than soda.

Read the rest of this article here.

Photo credit: pixabay.com

Aging, Cardio, Fitness, Health, Nutrition, Sports

Gut-Check for Guys: Re-Thinking Your Approach to Fitness After 40

I seek a sustainable plan for fitness after 40: physical health and feeling “whole” for the 2nd half of my life. I want to feel great, look my best, keep getting happier, and live long.

Of course. But how to really do it? We all face—and can powerfully answer—the same questions…

1. Exercise: What do I need more (and less) of?

We need to purposefully mix endurance, strength, flexibility, and balance. Obvious? Many “fit” guys don’t do this – I’ve been one of them. I was “lucky” to have some injuries over time push me toward more variety. Some of us never had a consistent regimen, and now need one. Wherever you start, the goal is a healthy mix, and that goal leads to questions like these:
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Aging, Sex

sex in the 10th decadeSex in the 10th Decade

He was close to 90 years old and came to see me wondering whether he could still have sex. A widower for several decades, he had just met a “younger” woman, a sprite 75 year old, and he was feeling things he hadn’t felt for years. There was fire in his loins.

What impressed me most about him was how young he looked. A retired graphic designer, he loved what he did and had a great career doing it. He stayed fit and stayed involved and had taken great care of himself through the years and was, essentially, the picture of health. And, to boot, he had a sex drive after all those years, another good sign.

Although I know that the chance of having significant erectile dysfunctionis essentially age minus 10 years as men get older, it’s also true that about 1 out of every 4 men his age are still having sex in America. It just didn’t seem like he would have any issues.

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Depression, Domestic Violence, Family Issues

mean husbandWhy Is My Husband So Mean to Me?

For more than 40 years I have been helping men and the women who love them. In recent years, more and more women are contacting me who are concerned about their husband’s anger and how its impacting their lives. Here’s how one woman described her confusion and concern:

“For about a year now, I have gradually felt my husband of twenty-two years pulling away from me and our family. He has become more sullen, angry, and mean. The thing that bothers me the most is how unaffectionate he has become. My husband used to be the most positive, upbeat, funny person I knew. Now it’s like living with an angry brick. I want my husband back. Can you help us?”

I developed a quiz for men and for women who were asking why the man in their lives had suddenly become more irritable and angry. It was eventually filled out by more than 60,000 men and women. When the results were in, I thought of writing a book titled The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome. This seemed to capture the way a man could change from being loving and supportive to being angry and mean.

In reminded me of the novella by Scottish author Robert Louis Stevenson, written in 1886, titled “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.” The novella’s impact is such that it has become a part of the language, with the very phrase “Jekyll and Hyde” coming to mean a person who is vastly different in moral character from one situation to the next.

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Aging, Fatherhood, Parenting

talking about death and dyingTalking with Kids About Death

Dear Mr. Dad: My father, who had been sick for quite some time, recently died. He and my 7-year old daughter were very close. Naturally, she’s sad that Gramps isn’t around anymore, but I know that she doesn’t completely get why. Do you think she’s old enough to grasp what death is? If so, what’s the best way to talk with her about my dad in a way that will mean something to her?

A: I’m very sorry to hear about your father. Chances are, the concept of death isn’t completely foreign to your daughter—she’s probably seen dead insects, a dead skunk or raccoon on the road, or maybe a family pet died. But it’ll be a few more years before the stark permanence of death sinks in (BTW, that’s a concept that’s not easy for older kids either; most play video games and if their character dies, all they have to do is wait a few minutes and they’ll be resurrected). So while she definitely gets that something pretty major has happened with Gramps (as you mentioned, she’s aware that he hasn’t come to visit in a while), death is still a relatively abstract concept to her. Explaining it is going to be a little tricky, but it can be done.

Read the rest of this article here.

Photo credit: pixabay.com

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