Expressing affection doesn’t have to mean giving up agency.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

Dear Other Dad —

I’m having an issue with one of my dads. He knows I don’t like to give hugs, but he thinks that rule applies only to people outside our family and that I should still hug him. I told him when I was 10 that I’m not a hugger (I’m 15 now). Sometimes he’ll listen but mostly not. His family is very touchy — like his mom still pats him on the butt even though he’s 50. So I know why he thinks physical affection is important. But what about private space?

— Hands Off

When my…


There are ways to help him get out of his head when he can’t get out of his house.

Photo by Ron Lach from Pexels

Dear Other Dad,

Help! I’m caring for my father, who’s disabled. He has previously had serious reactions to vaccinations, so his primary care physician won’t clear him for the COVID-19 vaccine. Now, the Biden administration and the entire Democratic party are denying my father his right to take part in society. You see, going to the museum during the week is the only joy and social activity he has been able to enjoy. How can I keep my father from drifting into depression when he is being excluded from life?

Determined Daughter

There’s so much to unpack here. If the…


The problems are real, but the pessimism doesn’t have to be.

Photo by Sora Shimazaki from Pexels

Dear Other Dad,

I am a 2021 College graduate, still paying off my college debt, and unable to find employment, other than gigs without health insurance amidst this pandemic. I don’t see a future for myself nor for my peers. What if nothing changes? How can I still choose joy?

Adrift

It must be hard wrestling with so much uncertainty and worry, Adrift, which is the opposite of the hopefulness and excitement that one associates with graduation from college. The pandemic has thrown your class and the class of 2020 into the same constrained job pool, a context that makes…


Your Other Dad says parenting is about making choices — even ones your kid doesn’t like

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Dear Other Dad —

My husband and I are in a fight. I told my 13-year-old son he could choose whether or not to get vaccinated. He chose not to. (We’re both vaccinated, so this is not an anti-vax thing.) I let him choose because it’s not 100% safe for him to have the shot, with all the heart stuff, and I don’t want to be responsible for putting him at risk. My husband is furious because he thinks we should have made the decision. I get why he’s mad but we’ve been trying to let our son make good…


Your Other Dad says it may not be the kid; it may be the travel.

Photo: Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

Dear Other Dad —

My kid is such a jerk when we travel and it makes me crazy. What should I do? Ride him till he acts like a decent human or leave him home?

— TravelHell

You are tapping into a subject that will elicit groans and cheers from parents all over the globe, and it is especially well timed as I am newly returned from a trip with my own teenage daughter. The first thing I would say is that you are not alone in feeling this way; the second is that your son probably could have written…


Your Other Dad says consider all your options before pulling the trigger on loans

Photo by Timothy Works for Pexels

Dear Other Dad —

My son really wants to go to college but I’m not sure we can afford it. Should I let my son take student loans? I’m still paying off mine. I don’t know what’s worse — no college or debt till he’s my age.

— Nervous

This is a question for which is there is no easy, universal answer. The variables are so great — from field of study to kind of school to region of the country to what you mean by “not sure we can afford it.” …


It’s no secret why the war on voter “fraud” targets people like Hervis Rogers.

Photo of Hervis Rogers: ACLU of Texas

When the police arrested Hervis Rogers for voter fraud, he thought it was a mistake.

He had completed a prison sentence for burglary in 2004 and has since settled into a stable new life with a family and a job. He’s kept his nose clean for 16 years. When he waited in line for 6 hours, one of the final people to vote in the 2020 presidential primary in Texas, he says he considered giving up, but told reporters, “I wanted to get my vote in, voice my opinion. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me.”

For more than…


Your Other Dad says you and your kids define patriotism differently.

Photo: Josh Willink for Pexels

Dear Other Dad —

Fourth of July was a disaster. My kids didn’t want flags up and they gave me a hard time about wearing red, white, and blue. I let them put up their pride flags in June, so why can’t they do this for me? When did loving my country become a bad thing?

— 4thBlues

You are not alone in seeing a generational shift away from embracing the American flag. Gen Z has the lowest rates of self-identified patriotism among all demographics, a title once held by their predecessors, Millennials. These statistics raise questions. What do symbols…


Your Other Dad says start online, then look for the blue bubbles

Photo: Kamji Ojin for Pexels

Dear Other Dad —

Where is it a good idea to go drag queening? I live in a red state.

— Tobi12

When I first read your question, I wasn’t sure if you were serious. “Drag queening” (which makes it sound like a sparkly cousin to dry cleaning) isn’t really the common term for what you’re talking about — doing drag — and I wondered if it might be a joke question, of which I get a fair number. …


Your Other Dad says you can’t carry the weight of another life alone

Photo: Brett Sayles for Pexels

Dear Other Dad —

My friend is suicidal and I’m trying to be there for him. I’m up till 4 or 5 in the morning every day talking to him to make sure he’s good. But it’s killing me. I can’t keep up with work or school. But he’s one of my closest friends and I can’t lose him.

— Exhausted

This is an incredibly stressful situation to be in and simply talking about it with others is a good start, because you need a release value for the pressure that is building up inside you. …

David Valdes

David Valdes is a Cuban-American playwright and author. He’s written about family, race, and LGBTQ issues for the New York Times, Boston Globe, and HuffPo.

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