Hello to all my players and haters -- every week I want to do a Q&A post regarding anything that has to do with parenting. You can ask me a question via Twitter: tweet me @GayAtHomeDad and use the hashtag #AskFrank. I will pick several queries and then answer them. Think of me as your bitchy, gay, Dear Daddy.
Question #1 (from @KweziFerguson):
Has anyone ever been an asshole or homophobic towards you for being gay in front of your kid? If so, how did you deal with it?
A: You would be amazed at how often people ask me that. The simple answer is no. Kids tend to silence haters, which actually doesn't come as a big surprise to me. That's not to say I'm not armed and ready to go in case something happens. I would try to be as tactful as possible because my kid would hear what I say, and I want him to learn how to respond intelligently and with a sense of humor. For example, the hater: "Oh my God, your child is being raised by two men? Ewwww that's disgusting." Me: "I know, isn't he lucky? AND we're open-minded so he never has to deal with people like you!"
Question #2 (from @noextraay):
How do you deal with all of the weird looks and rude comments?
A: If I get any, I sure as hell don't notice them. I've always had a policy that if I catch someone staring at me, I stare them the fuck down. And I win every time. The majority of homophobes don't put two and two together that we're a gay family until it's too late anyway. I'm sure if my spouse or I wore pink polo shirts and skin-tight spandex pants, it would attract more negative attention, but we don't. However, if you do wear those, more power to you -- get it, gurl.
Question #3 (from @SmashleyStrugar):
Any tips for dealing with four-year-old's meltdowns? Bedtime tricks? (legal ones)
A: The best thing that works for our four-year-old when he has a meltdown is a time out. It calms him and he abides by the rule. It only takes about 5-10 minutes for him to cool down. In public, we just ignore it until we get in a private space, and then talk to him about it. The trick is to "out-cool" them. If you stay chill the whole time, it subdues the entire situation.
The best bedtime trick that has worked for years is an hour of quiet time before bed. We bought him an iPad for Christmas, and downloaded a ton of Disney flicks, so he can watch a movie, play games, or whatever until he relaxes. Once they're asleep, break out the Grey Goose.
Question #4 (from @StierOnFire):
Should I lie to my kids and perpetuate traditional holiday myths only to later break their hearts with truth?
A: Sure, why not? Otherwise, they will tell their friends it's all a bunch of bullshit and cause a new set of issues. Plus, things like Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, etc., are just plain fun. I tweeted about this subject once:
"When your kid finds out Santa Claus is a lie, tell them Hogwarts exists."
Be creative when you tell them the truth. And hopefully they have the right mind to say "thank you so much for years of gifts that a fat man in a red suit received all the credit for." Because, damn.
Question #5 (from @seanopy):
Do you believe that television, movies, iPads, etc., are raising children to develop ADD-like symptoms?
A: I am not a doctor, I don't have any friends that are doctors, and I've never even slept with a doctor, so I have zero medical knowledge, but that sounds like a bunch of crap. Most of us were raised on television, and most of us don't have ADD. I personally feel ADD is something genetic. I could be dead wrong. With our son, we just limit those things and make sure he is highly active and involved in sports and social activities. When it comes to TV, there are two types of kid shows -- educational and mindless garbage. We allow him to watch educational shows freely. He can only watch the garbage on the weekends in limited amounts. So far this has worked for us and so far he doesn't have any ADD-like symptoms. However, if he did, I wouldn't blame it on electronic media.
Author's note: This has been my first week writing for The Advocate, and I've read all of the comments on my posts. My writing style is brutal honesty mixed with hyperbole. I leave it up to the reader to decide what is what. I write what I'm thinking because I find out it's what a lot of people are thinking, and then it becomes comforting. I'm no expert and don't think I'm better than anyone else, which is why I self-deprecate often. I enjoy mocking the gay stereotype because I think stereotypes are stupid. Please keep any hateful comments coming though, I find them highly entertaining.
FRANK LOWE is The Advocate's parenting writer. Follow Frank on Twitter @GayAtHomeDad and on Instagram at gayathomedad.