The Daddy Complex

One Family, Two Generations Of Stay-At-Home Dads


If there was ever any doubt that Charlie Capen from how2beadad is anything short of brilliant and arguably the most important voice in the parent-blogging community, then his spot-on, heart-felt article in Fast Company should settle it. Charlie Capen is, in fact, a genius.

I second all of this.

It’s a great read.

I'm curious if you went thru a tough time when the boys were 3-4 yrs old? We have a 3.5 yr-old boy. A yr ago he was challenging but mostly sweet & fairly easily diverted from mayhem. In the past 5 months he's morphed into one of those purple minions from the 2nd Despicable Me movie. No volume control, endless energy, a tiny tornado of destruction always wrestling, play fighting & hell bent on getting what he wants. Will our sweet little dude ever come back? Have we lost him to the dark side?

Asked by tlogirl

Yes, we did. And again at 5-years-old. And 5½. And from conversations I’ve had with other parents, it basically goes on like this —periods of calm followed by periods of havoc—until the child leaves for college. And also after that.

Your kid is fine. All kids go through these stages. He’s figuring out how the world works and his place in it. Your sweet little dude will comes back, but he’ll have better cognitive and social skills for having battled you. 

I read your blog and HowToBeADad every morning when I take a break from pretending to work. Need advice that I can't seem to find much info on from a man's POV: I am a dad (13 happy months in to a very chunk-like baby boy). My wife's dad and step-mother are completely self-centered, arrogant, pushy, toxic, and thankfully out of state. Wife now is taking a stand on her own accord, but I can sense the battle for middle earth is upon us. Any advice before we take this plunge?

Asked by Anonymous

I need some clarification. She’s taking a stand against what exactly? Battle for Middle Earth over what? Just their personalities? Or are they, like doing something more egregious than just being assholes? Like are they telling you what to do or trying to steal the baby? Wait…

Oh, my God! Is your father-in-law the Goblin King? If so, tell him I think Hunky Dory is, like, one of the best albums ever.

Without knowing the specifics, I’ll offer these two pieces of advice, the first of which is my standard bit of wisdom:

  1. I barely know what I’m doing, so keep that in mind.
  2. If your in-laws are truly “toxic,” keep them from having anything to do with your child. Or monitor their interaction with him. Sure, an uncomfortable conversation lies in your near future, but your baby is more important than the resulting awkward silence during Thanksgiving dinner.