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Author of Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad ( Twitter: @jordosh
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You were probably taught that testosterone is responsible for characteristics commonly associated with masculinity. Supposedly, testosterone makes men assertive and competitive. It’s why they seek out social status and pursue multiple sexual partners. It’s the reason men prioritize acquiring material wealth. And it’s why they’re driven to defend their homesteads.

Yes, testosterone often gets the credit for a father’s inclination to protect his spouse and offspring. But the custodial instinct has nothing to do with nurturing or caring, since those qualities are usually imagined to be the exclusive domain of feminine estrogen. Instead, testosterone makes Dad the family’s guardian because…

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It seems like a lot of men have the maturity of middle schoolers. I don’t have any empirical evidence to prove so, but when I listen to the young teenagers who live in my house, the things they say sound a heck of a lot like the rhetoric I hear from some of the grown men on cable news.

That means either my kids are gifted, or many adults are stunted. I’m pretty sure it’s the latter. My children still exhibit a developmentally appropriate lack of basic executive function skills — they can’t remember to put their dirty dishes in…

For me, writing happens alone. It’s an isolated and independent process. My ideas are transmitted through my fingers to my keyboard — a cold, lifeless companion that I adore. My teenaged gamer-children taught me about mechanical Kaihua Speed Bronze switches, loud and clicky with a tactile bump. Switches are what register the keystroke. Mine sit underneath specially curved ABS plastic keycaps, perfectly designed for dorky authors. The keyboard is a nostalgic, 21st century remake of the iconic seafoam green Hermes typewriter that so many famous authors used (Sylvia Plath, Adrienne Rich, Patti Smith, and more). …

Available May 11. To preorder visit

My new book, Father Figure: How to Be a Feminist Dad, will be published on May 11 — many months from now. But I’ve already started promoting it. Almost every day, I’m recording podcast interviews, or responding to emails and calls from journalists. The other night, I participated in my first ever event on the trendy new Clubhouse app.

The transition from writing to promoting is the weirdest part of being an author. If you think Facebook creates an echo chamber, try living with only your own ideas long enough to finish a book. …

Real questions submitted by parents and caretakers who are trying to navigate their children’s education, entertainment, and emotional well-being during COVID-19.

Answers from Jordan Shapiro PhD., author of The New Childhood: Raising Kids to Thrive in a Connected World (Little Brown Spark, 2019).

How much do you tell your kids about what’s happening during the coronavirus crisis?

Unless you’re going to turn off the news and never talk about it on the phone or during a video conference, you can’t hide what’s happening from your children. They overhear everything and they jump to their own conclusions. They’re also experiencing the coronavirus crisis in their own very real way. With school, extracurriculars, and play-dates disrupted…

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Doors slam quickly when I return home after picking up my 11- and 14-year-old sons from school. They’re not angry or depressed, but they seem to crave some time alone on weekday afternoons. I guess they need opportunities to be liberated from the social stress of the everyday school routine. And their preferred way to do that is online. I sympathize, but I also can’t help but be annoyed.

Within minutes, I can hear the muffled sound of YouTube videos blasting from my sons’ smartphones. After a while, they transition out of the spectator role, and I cringe hearing them…

Illustration: Rebekka Dunlap

Earlier this month, during a visit to a YMCA in London, Prince Harry argued that Fortnite should be banned, complaining that the video game is “created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible.” The prince is just the most recent in a long line of folks who worry about what digital technology is doing to our brains. …

Reasonable Doubt

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“Please don’t talk about this in some interview,” my 11-year-old pleaded with me.

We were wrapping up a long text message exchange about his online behavior. And I’d bet, if you asked him, it felt more like a lecture than a discussion.

Earlier in the day, I found a “notice of Xbox Live enforcement action” in my email inbox. My son’s communication privileges had been suspended for 28 hours because another player reported “abusive or offensive language.” The notice provided very few facts for me to consider, so I immediately sent a message to him at his mom’s house (we…


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When my oldest son was six or seven, I was newly divorced and trying to manage the unfamiliar logistics of joint custody. Family life was chaotic. Our daily routines were in flux. But my son found comfort in his Nintendo DS. Perhaps it’s because video games are predictable and the rules are always consistent. He clung to that device, throwing temper tantrums if we forgot it during the changeover between my house and his mother’s. Even when he wasn’t playing, he insisted that it always be within arm’s reach. It became his “transitional object.”

Pediatrician and psychoanalyst D. W. Winnicott…

Power Trip

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I pay my kids to do chores. They vacuum the rug, scrub the toilets, take out the recycling. It’s amazing how quickly they’ll turn away from video games when there’s money involved.

I know plenty of people would object to my method. They’d tell me that it’s not the right way to raise my kids. After all, popular opinion says that extrinsic rewards promote the “bad” kind of motivation. But the truth is, it’s only mainstream pop psychology and revenue-driven human resource departments that still cling to the dichotomy between intrinsic and extrinsic incentives. …

Jordan Shapiro

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