TIME Family

The 7 Dumbest Things You Can Buy Dad for Father’s Day

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Boy and girl watching father open Father's Day gift Blend Images - Ariel Skelley—Getty Images/Brand X

Searching for a last-minute gift for your dad? Here's what not to buy

Sunday is Father’s Day, and you’re still searching for a gift. Sure, you could buy him a tie, but does that really say, “Thank you for changing my diapers and helping me with my homework and picking me up when my car broke down?” Here are seven other gifts you should probably avoid.

A day to himself

A day off from fatherhood may sound nice, but telling dad he can have the day to spend alone or with the guys in front of the TV watching the game is depressing. Make plans to watch sports with dad or better yet, get cheap tickets to a minor league baseball game.

Power tools

Don’t let those commercials with dads having so much fun fixing things in the garage fool you. They’d have way more fun spending time with you: throwing a ball in the yard or watching a movie together. Unless your dad has been complaining about how terrible his old set of tools is, he’s probably set on the toolbox front. And if you get him power tools, he might feel the need to fix things, and who wants to spend a relaxing holiday fixing the sink?

Cologne

Even if you know the scent he likes, he probably has more than enough. Be more inventive, people!

Man candle

Not caring whether a room smells like lavender or ginger is not the same as wanting the room to smell like bacon or pizza. That’s just going to make you hungry all the time, and it’s going to make your house smell like a dirty dorm room.

Apron for grilling with a joke on it

Moms shouldn’t have to cook or clean on Mother’s Day, so dads shouldn’t have to grill on Father’s Day. If he wants to, fine. But getting him an apron implies that you expect him to fire up the grill. It’s even worse if it’s an apron with a joke on it like “The Grillfather” that will no longer be funny in a month but that he has to wear when you do actually have people over to grill.

Something that’s really for you

I’m unapologetically mining my “7 Terrible Mother’s Day Gift Ideas” here, but the rule still applies. Don’t get dad tickets to a concert or game or movie or play that you want to go to. That’s selfish. And definitely don’t buy him a pet that he is going to have to end up taking care of just because you want a puppy.

Useless tech toys

Sure, dad’s a gadget nut. And yes, you want impulsively want to purchase everything in that Brookstone or SkyMall catalogue. But dropping big bucks on something your father will only use once—a virtual keyboard, a fork with a digital meat thermometer in it, a remote control that looks like a magic wand—is not worth it.

MONEY Odd Spending

What You Wish You Could Give Dad on Father’s Day — But Shouldn’t

Your dad might really be in need of a hearing aid, a fitness regimen, or some form of anti-snoring assistance. But Father's Day is probably not the day to tell him.

Father’s Day is an excellent opportunity to give your pops something he’ll really love. And, like all gift-giving holidays, it’s also a great chance to send him not-so-subtle messages about his lifestyle and habits via passive-aggressive presents.

This might sound like a funny prank, but be warned: While you may wish to give such gifts, it is not advisable to do so. Handing Dad a cheeky present is all fun and games until he turns the table on you. And make no mistake, he will.

When he does, you better brace yourself (especially millennials out there) because he has more ammo than you can possibly imagine. By the time Dad was your age, he’d already moved out of his parents’ home, got a first job (maybe even started a business), found a partner, and had a child or three. He’s the spitting image of the American dream—he’s bullet proof! You? Maybe not so much. Your latest brilliant idea involves buying your dad snarky presents on the day established in his honor. So if you go this route, don’t be surprised when your birthday present from dad is an all-expenses-paid trip to boot camp, a job search guide, or “How to Get Married Before It’s Too Late.” Remember: You started this.

So you probably shouldn’t go there. But if you were to do so, here are some ideas.

Protein Powder and Fitness Magazines

A huge tub of whey and a subscription to Muscle and Fitness might be a great gift for a dad who’s already extremely into working out, but could seem a little sarcastic if your father’s workout routine consist of one sit-up per day (when he gets out of bed). Another, more covert option? A Fitbit or other wearable fitness gadget. Everyone loves new toys, and dad will be forced to go outside for a while in order to play with this one.

Anti-Snoring Gift Box

If you really want to make your point about Dad’s power to wake the entire house with one deep unconscious inhale, be sure to give dad a real sampling of anti-snoring products. That means anti-snoring spray, anti-snoring nasal strips, an anti-snoring pillow, and my favorite: an anti-snoring jaw strap. Who cares that many snore stopping products might not actually work? As the Joker said, it’s about sending a message. Put them all in a pretty basket, with a bow on top. Dads always appreciate good presentation.

Soap

For whatever reason, giving nice soap (as opposed to other personal hygiene products like toothpaste or shaving cream) is actually pretty standard Father’s Day fare. This is good because you can achieve your objective—more, or at least better, bathing by the old man—without causing offense. Well, not too-too much offense. The standard route is an organic soap sampler, but if you’re interested in giving the clearest possible hint, it’s hard to beat a single bar of Dove in an otherwise empty box.

Cooking Lessons

The offensiveness of cooking lessons really depends on how hard everyone else in the family laughs during the reveal. If it’s more of an “ahhhhh” reaction with lots of head nodding (and maybe a few snickers), then you’re all clear. If everyone spits out their soup guffawing over dad making anything other than reheated Mac N’ Cheese, then your message will get through. But don’t expect any gifts from dad next Christmas. Or ever.

Hearing Aid

There’s no subtlety here. This is something many fathers need but do not actually want because it suggests they’re getting a littttttle over the hill. However, if you’d like to avoid yelling whenever pops is in the room, you might just have to force the issue. Before you do, though, consider this: Does your dad actually want to hear everyone’s dinner-table squabbling at family gatherings?

MONEY Shopping

Just Plain Awful Father’s Day Gifts, and What to Buy Instead

There are the Father's Day gifts that you think are funny or cute or clever, and then there are the Father's Day gifts that dads actually like and will use. Which kind are you giving dad?

Here’s a list of common Father’s Day gift categories that dads really don’t want, followed by what you should buy instead:

Gag Gifts
You might be tempted to have a little fun with dad on Father’s Day by purchasing something silly and embarrassing like “meggings,” denim swimwear, or another joke from this list of gifts so bad they’re awesome. You might think it’ll just be hilarious to see the look on dad’s face when he opens up an inflatable toupee, or a “Senior Moments” memory workout book, or adult diapers, or something else that makes a show of how old your old man is. Ha-ha-ha. Joke’s on you, uncool, bald, pathetic, incontinent old man! You know, dementia and death are probably right around the corner! Ha-ha-ha.

Granted, some dads might think this stuff is really a laugh riot too. But … probably not. Same goes for gag gifts that burp and fart. We don’t want them, nor do we appreciate the message sent when we’re given them. As one dad blogger put it on his list of Father’s Day gifts dad doesn’t want, “I understand that I don’t hide my body’s venting. But I realize every Father’s Day that’s how you see us. I’m just a cartoon fart machine to you.”

What to Get Instead: Almost anything, really. Heck, even some stupid “World’s Best Dad” T-shirt or mug—often on Bad Father’s Day Gift lists themselves—would be way better. Far better than that, though, would be something genuinely thoughtful and practical. It doesn’t have to be something the average person would consider a “gift.”

If you’ve noticed your dad’s wheelbarrow wobbles, or his favorite work boots have no more tread, or his college alma mater baseball hat is falling apart, go and get him a new replacement. Save him the trouble of a trip to the store. The elimination of a headache or a chore is a wonderful gift the average dad deeply appreciates. Above all, be sure that whatever you do or give implicitly demonstrates you see him as more than just a silly old fart machine.

Useless Gadgets
Just say no to anything that you’ve seen in the Sky Mall catalogue, and anything that you imagine might has or ever will be in the Sky Mall catalogue. Again, this basically comes down to knowing who the gift recipient is: Is your dad (or spouse) really the kind of person who would want—or even know what to do with—a wrist fitness monitor or a voice-activated golf cap?

Most dads hate to see money wasted, and hate it even more when the money is being wasted in their honor. Think about that before presenting dad with a dubious doohickey that’ll sit unused, unopened, indefinitely.

What to Get Instead: Some piece of technology that’s actually useful, and that dad actually wants. Dads aren’t tech idiots. They just like what they like, and they’re skeptical (for good reason) about the value of any hot new “must have.” Father’s Day, which should be a day of relaxation and enjoyment, isn’t the day to prod dad into embracing something unfamiliar. That’s sorta like giving a high school student homework on the day he graduates. It’s cruel.

If you know your father (or spouse) well, you should be in tune with his likes and dislikes, and what’s in his comfort zone. In some cases, it’s a great idea to give dad the newest version of his favorite e-reader or tablet, or perhaps even to splurge on the 70-inch HDTV you know he’s been dying to see in his living room.

If you’re pursuing this route, go the extra mile and make dad’s transition to the new tech as smooth, simple, and easy as possible. That might mean importing his contacts or e-book library, or taking care of the wiring and installation of the TV or video game system (yes, some dads are big-time gamers). Remember, Father’s Day isn’t the day to give dad extra work to do. Speaking of which …

Gifts That Put Dad to Work
Whereas moms may get “a dozen long-stemmed, obscenely expensive flowers” for Mother’s Day, the corresponding gift for fathers, according to Detroit News columnist Brian O’Connor, is “an entire flat of tomato seedlings from the farmer’s market for you to plant, weed, water and fertilize for the next three months.”

What to Get Instead: Feel free to buy those tomato plants—or some other gift that’s really something of a project—but volunteer to take responsibility, or at least share the responsibility, for them. Not just on Father’s Day, mind you, but for the long haul. Come harvest time, make dad his favorite homemade sauce, or if you can’t cook, slice those tomatoes up and serve them with fresh mozzarella, basil, olive oil, and balsamic vinegar.

Gifts That Tell Dad He Should Change
Even worse than gag clothing gifts for dads are some of the clothes that givers actually expect dad to wear—and that cause him extraordinary discomfort as a result. Sure, traditional dad fashion may be embarrassing (black socks and sandals anyone?), but it’s even more embarrassing to see a blissfully uncool, out-of-it dad try to pull off donning the latest trends, be it skinny jeans, floral prints, or whatever else someone deems as “hip” at the moment. Or rather, to see a dad being forced to wear such clothing because one of his children decides it’s in his best interest.

Father’s Day is about fathers. It’s about celebrating who they are, not who you think they should be. The day you’re honoring your father is not the day to implicitly send the message that you think he should be more fashionable, or lose weight (would you buy your mom a treadmill for Mother’s Day?), or learn to cook, or try some cocktail that’s all the rage, or stop snoring, or change in any way. Yet some gifts unsubtly send just those messages, and they come across not as helpful, but as disrespectful and insulting.

What to Get Instead: His tried-and-true favorites. Whatever brand of cigars, Scotch, craft beer, sunglasses, or sandals he favors is a can’t-miss gift. Stop fooling around and get the man what he likes. By doing so, you’ll demonstrate you know him well, and that you accept and love him for who he is.

Or you could just get a “World’s Best Dad” T-shirt. At least he can mow the lawn in the T-shirt without drawing snickers from the neighbors. That’s more than you can say for skinny jeans.

TIME Family

Mila Kunis Gets Unbelievably Candid About Childbirth

Mila Kunis on the cover of the July issue of Marie Claire Marie Claire

This is the definition of real talk

Mila Kunis is really not sugarcoating pregnancy. Earlier this week, the actress jokingly called out Jimmy Kimmel for saying “we’re pregnant” when referring to the baby he’s expecting with his wife. And now that Kunis is preparing for the birth of her first child, it sounds like she knows exactly what she wants.

“Two people are allowed in my delivery room,” Kunis told Marie Claire for its July cover story. “My doctor and my significant other [her fiancé Ashton Kutcher]. And he is staying above the action. He’ll be head to head. Not head to vag. Unless he wants to risk his life and see. But I wouldn’t if I were him. I highly doubt he wants to see that being ripped apart and shredded. Because it will be shredded. It’s just a matter of how badly.”

Luckily for Kunis, Kutcher is probably familiar with how the female body looks after giving birth. After all, the actor was married to Demi Moore, who has three children with former husband Bruce Willis, for eight years.

And Kunis recognizes that there are perks of being pregnant, namely her breasts growing. “They’ve tripled in size,” Kunis said. “I was a 34A; now I’m a 36C. I’m so excited! I’m telling everyone I know, ‘Go ahead, touch them!'”

On a more sentimental note, the actress explained how her long-time friendship with her That 70s Show co-star Ashton Kutcher blossomed into a relationship. “One day, it just changed,” she said. “All of a sudden, it wasn’t the same. And I was really proud of myself for acknowledging that. The best day of my life so far was the proposal. I cried. I was a mess. Not to discredit any relationships in my past, but this relationship is different.”

[Marie Claire]

TIME Parenting

Yes, Mila Kunis, WE Are Pregnant

Mila Kunis is pregnant. And so is Ashton Kutcher. (Sort of.)
Mila Kunis is pregnant. And so is Ashton Kutcher. (Sort of.) Jon Kopaloff—FilmMagic

Maybe we can't physically carry and bear that baby, but we can—and do—share in the pitfalls and joys

The road to completing our family was fraught with four years of bad luck and emotional torment. So when we finally got a positive pregnancy test and then made it to the 12-week mark, you know what I shouted to anyone who would listen?

“WE’RE PREGNANT!!”

But according to Mila Kunis, the actress and ridiculously beautiful person who is having a child with Ashton Kutcher, my words were poorly chosen and out of bounds.

Kunis, in what was actually a really funny segment on Jimmy Kimmel Live, corrected the host when Kimmel said he and his wife are pregnant and expecting a child in February. Then she launched into a fake public service announcement.

“Hi, I’m Mila Kunis with a very special message for all you soon-to-be fathers. Stop saying, ‘We’re pregnant,’” she joked. “You’re not pregnant! Do you have to squeeze a watermelon-sized person out of your lady-hole? No. Are you crying alone in your car listening to a stupid Bette Midler song? No.”

Even though I’m someone who says, “We’re pregnant,” the bit made me laugh and I thought it was well done. I even posted it to Facebook with a message saying I disagreed with the premise, but had a good laugh.

And that’s when things got ugly.

Apparently some women are very touchy about the whole “We’re pregnant” thing. Comments like “WE aren’t carrying the baby, I am!” and “YOU aren’t going to have your most holy of orifices stretched, I am!” began arriving in droves. And those women are right.

Men cannot get pregnant. Men will never know what it’s like to endure morning sickness, lose control of our bladders (when we haven’t even been drinking), or have a miniature Jean-Claude Van Damme going all Bloodsport on our internal organs. Carrying and birthing a child is something only women have to endure, and the whole process is much harder on them than on us dads.

But that’s not what “we’re pregnant” means when I say it, and it’s certainly not how my wife interprets it. (I asked her.)

“We’re pregnant” means “We’re having a baby.” It means, “As a dad, I’m excited as hell.” It means, “This is actually happening.” But most importantly, when I say “We’re pregnant,” I’m letting everyone know that even though I’m not carrying the baby, I’m fully invested.

I’ll be at all the OB visits, I’ll read the baby books, and I won’t come near you with that smelly food that doesn’t even really smell but you think it smells so I’ll eat in the basement to avoid you vomiting for the 456th time.

Even though I didn’t go through the pains of pregnancy and childbirth, I was with my wife every step. Holding her hair back through the nausea, holding her hand through contractions, and getting her Kit-Kats and grapefruit (yes, seriously) when she had cravings.

Or, think of it this way:

While I’m not a professional athlete, I am a lifelong Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots fan. Fanatic, actually. I’m a crazy person with my sports. That means I sat through the dark years of the Sox and the even darker pre-2001 era of the Patriots. I invested money in the team via tickets and merchandise, I subscribed to the local cable channel that shows the baseball games, I brought them good fortune through a bevy of “lucky” trinkets that absolutely influenced the outcome of games, and I lived and died on every pitch and play.

So despite never donning a Sox jersey or strapping on football pads, guess what I said when my favorite teams won their respective championships?

“WE’RE CHAMPIONS!!”

Even though “We’re pregnant” is technically wrong because it ignores some biological impossibilities, my wife understands and appreciates the intent behind my words. Others might feel differently, and that’s fine, too. To each his and her own.

But during a time when more dads are stepping up and heeding the clarion call for added involvement, I’m not sure striking “We’re pregnant” from the expectant-parent vernacular sends the most productive message. If you have a supportive and doting partner, is this really the hill you want to die on while quibbling over semantics?

All I know is if that + sign ever appears on that magic stick again, my wife and I will happily announce: we are pregnant. And then I’ll stock up on Kit-Kats.

Aaron Gouveia is a husband, father of two boys, and writes for his site, The Daddy Files.

TIME Parenting

7 Things to Do Before Your Kid Goes to College

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Teenager loads car for college Blend Images - Terry Vine—Getty Images/Brand X

Teaching them to do laundry and how to open a bank account are important, but don’t forget to spend time together and have fun

For the millions of parents who will send a son or daughter off to college in the fall, this is the summer of lists: making travel arrangements, picking meal plans and ordering linens and other items for the dorm.

But two lists, in particular, are of the utmost importance: One will help kids with the realities of being on their own for the first time. The other will prepare them—and you—for the emotional toll of this major milestone.

The first list is practical. As parents, we pride ourselves on getting our kids ready to leave the nest and soar on their own. But then reality sets in—and the kids land with a thump.

I remember feeling like a terrible parent when my oldest, Emma, called home at the beginning of freshman year to ask me how many stamps she needed to mail an envelope and where to buy them.

My good friend, Mindy, says she felt like a failure when her daughter called to ask, “Do you separate laundry by weight?”

Another friend, Ruth, who has seen three children through college, recalled a litany of first-year cluelessness: “How do you know what light bulbs to buy?” “How do I send a box by mail?” “How do I find a dentist?” “I think I broke my foot. Did I?”

Whether such ineptitude is a byproduct of us having overindulged our kids is beside the point. No need to beat yourself up now. Just use this summer to teach a few of life’s basic skills—and save yourself some panicky late-night calls, not to mention feelings of parental inadequacy.

  1. Teach them to do laundry and then insist that they do their own—clothing, sheets and towels—for the entire summer. By the time they get to college with a roll of quarters in hand, they’ll have the hang of it.
  2. Teach them the basics of banking—how to use an ATM card, how to write a check (or make a payment online), how to deposit money and how to balance their account. As an added bonus, then ask them to teach you how to use Venmo.
  3. Teach them how to navigate public transportation. Most kids go off to college without access to a car, and obviously they won’t have you to schlep them places. If they don’t already know, teach them how to get around on buses, subways and trains, and then take away the car keys for a while so that they gain confidence.
  4. Teach them how to cook a few things. While most freshmen are on some kind of meal plan, knowing how to cook at college can come in handy. Many dorms have communal kitchens, and it can be fun to occasionally make a meal and eat with friends. And just in case your kid ends up living off campus at some point, knowing his or her way around the kitchen will be useful. Plus, making a point of cooking and eating together a few times a week over the summer is a nice way of spending time together as a family.

That said, don’t be surprised if the last thing your teen wants to do is hang out with you. As I wrote at the time, the summer before my daughter left for college, she went AWOL. As far as I was concerned, Emma went out with her friends too much, spent too much time at her boyfriend’s house and stayed out way too late.

Over time, I came to understand that Emma’s uncharacteristic rebellion and moodiness were her ways of “soiling the nest.” In order to make it easier for her to leave in the fall, she was going to make my husband and I so miserable that we couldn’t wait for her to go. In other words, she was doing exactly what she was supposed to do—getting ready to grow up and out.

Given all this, emotions can run high, so as promised, here are a few more tips to make it easier to let your son or daughter go:

  1. Make sure your grad sets aside some one-on-one time with you, your spouse and any sisters or brothers, and does so regularly through the summer. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it’s fun. (This does not include going to Bed Bath & Beyond to buy stuff for college.) Head on a hike, take a walk on the beach, go out for lunch or coffee, watch a movie—whatever makes sense for your family.
  2. If you can manage it, take a family vacation. It doesn’t have to be anywhere fancy (and can even be a long weekend away). My friend Ellie and her husband, David, took their kids on a road trip up the California coast before their eldest went off to college. “All the kids have said it was their favorite trip we ever did,” Ellie says.
  3. Buy them one beautiful thing. This advice comes from Lisa Heffernan, cofounder of Grown and Flown, a parenting blog for teens and older children. “This moment, these last days, are worthy of commemorating,” she says. “Do not let them slip by unmarked. Jewelry and watches are traditional choices for senior year, but beauty and meaning, not expense, are the salient factors in this purchase.”

On that front, I indulged Emma—something I don’t usually do. I bought her a somewhat extravagant comforter for her bed at school to make her feel cozy, comfortable and at home. It was my way of tucking her in from afar.

TIME Family

The Top 10 Interests Dads Share With Their Kids, According to Facebook

US-FACEBOOK-MENLO PARK
A thumbs up or "Like" icon at the Facebook main campus ROBYN BECK—AFP/Getty Images

Facebook figured out Dads and their kids' shared interests for Father's Day

In honor of Father’s Day—it’s this Sunday, buy your presents now!—Facebook pulled data on shared interests that dads have with their kids.

The social platform pored through its 1.28 billion active monthly users to find self-identified fathers and their 18-and-up children to compare their “Likes” in topics including movies, TV shows, athletes, and musicians. It then broke down how things differ between father/daughter and father/son shared interests.

The contrast was pretty stark. Dads’ and daughters’ most liked movies, for example, is The Notebook. Dads and sons were into Star Wars. Dads and kids of both genders “liked” The Hangover the most. The most surprising and stereotyped data, however, was for television. It turns out that Dads and their girls are really into Teen Mom!

Here’s the top 10 shared TV show likes for fathers and daughters:

  1. NCIS
  2. Teen Mom
  3. The Ellen DeGeneres Show
  4. Grey’s Anatomy
  5. Duck Dynasty on A&E
  6. Criminal Minds
  7. House
  8. The Secret Life of the American Teenager
  9. True Blood
  10. Pretty Little Liars

The father/son TV favorites have no overlap:

  1. Family Guy
  2. SportsCenter
  3. MythBusters
  4. Tosh.0
  5. South Park
  6. Band of Brothers
  7. Two and a Half Men
  8. The Walking Dead
  9. Futurama
  10. Sons of Anarchy

And now here’s what fathers and both of their children “like” to watch:

  1. Family Guy
  2. Tosh.0
  3. House
  4. NCIS
  5. The Office
  6. Duck Dynasty on A&E
  7. The Big Bang Theory
  8. Two and a Half Men
  9. Sons of Anarchy
  10. MythBusters

Now you know what DVD set to get Dad for Sunday. You’re welcome.

TIME Family

Neon Trees Singer: How I Told My Dad I’m Gay

Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees
Tyler Glenn of Neon Trees Mike Windle—Getty Images

The Mormon frontman for rock group Neon Trees tells how he came out to his conservative father—and shares a note for his dad.

My father and I had always had a fascinating relationship. For a long time growing up, I didn’t know what he did for a living. I knew he made a reasonably high amount of money a year; during my teen years, we went from eating chicken casseroles at home to going out every meal. I would raid his drawer for loose change, steal his favorite socks and always use his cologne. I never thought twice about not asking—he was my dad. But he wasn’t necessarily someone I really wanted to be friends with. One evening, we got into a heated fight over something trivial (most likely how I dressed) and we both said things we didn’t mean but couldn’t take back: He told me I was “disappointing” and I followed up with, “All you are to me is money.” I still feel a chill go down my spine when I think of that spat.

Things distinctly changed for the better when I decided to go on a post-high school graduation business trip to the northwest with my dad. On that trip, I became a full-blown vegetarian in protest of my father and his coworkers’ bloated steak dinners (I haven’t eaten meat since). And he accidentally saw a journal entry of mine that confessed how much I didn’t like him. Both broken-hearted, we pulled off at a truck stop to use the facilities and ended up talking for hours outside on a picnic table. There, he confessed he just wanted to understand me. And I confessed I didn’t hate him, I just felt that I didn’t know him.

A few months later, I left on a two-year mission for the LDS church, and for a life where communication with family was reduced to letters and weekly emails. When my family said their goodbyes, my father broke down sobbing and began to tell me how sorry he was that he wasn’t the father I needed. Over the two years I served as a missionary, my father and I got to know each other through letter-writing. I learned of his rebellious streak, of how hard he worked to build a career to provide for all of us. I learned how much he loved my mom. I learned we had built a wall between us out of ignorance.

When I decided to come out as gay to my friends and family, my dad was the only person I was scared to tell. With everyone else, I only had the natural anxiety or curiosity of declaring such an important part of who I was. But with my dad, there was so much uncertainty. My dad had never been overly vocal with disdain for homosexuals, nor was he ever outwardly disrespectful. In fact, I can’t remember talking about homosexuality at home. It never even really came up at church, despite what so many have said we Mormons preach on Sundays. The uncertainty came from not knowing if my relationship with my dad would suddenly change, or simply break apart because of my confession.

My mother’s reaction was loving amidst a few questions. She wanted me to tell my dad because she “couldn’t lie to him for too long.” I don’t think she actually was concerned about the lying part—I think she simply wanted to talk about it with someone, and would probably tell if I didn’t.

So, I called him. He was driving to a meeting, and I was in New York City preparing for a photo shoot. I sat in my hotel room, turned a on video camera and pressed “record,” just in case he reacted in a crazy way and I could have the evidence to show later. I felt relatively calm, but I also wondered if telling my dad that his second-born son liked boys was a good idea while he was at the wheel. Once I had him on speakerphone, I began the conversation as normally as possible.

“Dad, I have to tell you something…”

The concern in his reply made it worse. What if this was the last time he would ever sound concerned about me? What if, after I told him, he wouldn’t talk to me anymore?

“I’m gay.”

“You are?”

There was genuine shock in his voice. I began to overshare, telling him I had known since I was three years old. That I didn’t have a boyfriend but had had experiences. That I still loved the church, but didn’t feel like I really fit in the last few years. He said he still loved me, “of course,” but didn’t understand how someone would come to the conclusion they were gay. I let it slide, because that ignorant response was coupled with love.

Before we hung up, I welled up with tears and told him I needed his acceptance because we had worked so hard on maintaining a father/son relationship. He was the only person I cried in front of while coming out. He made a joke that if I was kidding, I could just hang up and call him back and say so. We laughed.

Weeks passed, and I saw my parents. Nothing felt different, and nothing was different. Christmas. New Years. All incredibly normal and uneventful. When I came out to the world a few months ago in Rolling Stone, my dad was his typical undramatic self. I thought it would have been nice if he called and asked how I was handling everything—something parental. A few days passed, and that’s exactly what happened. He told me that he had heard from various coworkers giving support and love. I think it helped him realize that it shouldn’t be a big deal to him, because it wasn’t a big deal to them.

Today, he’s one of my favorite people in all the world. He has an odd sense of humor, and he always makes me laugh with his outlandish jokes. And I have a note for him here.

Dear Dad,

I’m starting to look like you more and more, and it freaks me out. I am doing everything I can to keep my hair and not get a belly like you. But it may just be inevitable. I am so happy I inherited your calm nature, though. As I’ve gotten a little bit older and wiser, it’s come in handy. I also inherited your work ethic and drive. I know we don’t share the same passions, but I think we both had to build something from nothing.

Dad, thank you for marrying mom and being so great to her. You deserve more time away from your cellphone and office desk. You and Mom succeeded in raising four fairly well-adjusted kids, and I hope I see you in more Hawaiian shirts, smiling and enjoying the rest of your life. We, your kids, think you’re the funniest guy ever. (That counts for something because we’re pretty snobby and don’t laugh at everything.) My favorite memory of you will probably always be the passion you have at my band’s shows. You sing and dance louder and harder than the 14-year-olds in the front row. You don’t have to do that, but you do.

Dad, thank you for accepting me every time I threw something new at you. My latest weird hairstyle… The times I took your money and socks and cologne.. And accepting that I like guys. You should know I sincerely have faith. I don’t have it all figured out, but I do have that. Thank you for showing me the importance of family and telling me about Jesus Christ. I should have been the guy that turned my back years ago, but I can’t because I feel his teachings are true.

Dad, I love you.

Oh and, Dad, please be kind to the guy I bring home someday. I know that will be weird for you, but I promise that if I love him, you will too. Let’s cross that bridge—together—when we come to it.

Happy Father’s Day, Dad.

Love,

Tyler

 

Tyler Glenn is lead singer and songwriter of the pop band Neon Trees. The group just released their third record, Pop Psychology, and is on tour now.

TIME Family

If You’re a Strict Parent, Your Kid Is More Likely to Smoke Pot

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Overbearing parents may be putting their children at a greater risk of using drugs

A study conducted in six European countries reveals that children who have strict parents are more likely to smoke cannabis, as well as use tobacco and alcohol. The team, led by the European Institute of Studies on Prevention, observed the relationships between parents and their children in Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Slovenia and Portugal to determine what parenting style best prevents drug usage.

Over 7,000 adolescents between 11 and 19 years old were asked if their parents had a more controlling or lenient parental style. The study found that parents who reasoned with their children were most effective in persuading their kids to abstain from drugs.

“Our results support the idea that extremes are not effective: neither authoritarianism nor absence of control and affection,” Amador Calafat, the main author of the study, told the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Calafat noted that different styles of parenting are helpful in varying situations: when dealing with a child’s school performance, parents who assert low levels of control are the most effective. But, when protecting students from drugs, Calafat asserts that “a good relationship with children” is essential.

TIME Family

10 Brilliant Grilling Gifts for Father’s Day

The Big Green Egg smoker The Big Green Egg

This article originally appeared on Food & Wine.

From smokers that can fit an entire hog to the best tongs for nighttime grilling, here are 10 fantastic Father’s Day gifts.

1. The Big Green Egg XXL
This cult-favorite smoker can hold a whole hog.

2. Weber Smokey Mountain
This inexpensive smoker is a great way to try the trend.

3. Double-Duty Grill
Perfect for the urban dad, the Hot-Pot BBQ features a charcoal grill hidden under an herb planter.

4. 18-Inch Grill Tongs
These Weber tongs are great for small foods such as shrimp or vegetables.

5. Pit Mitt
This flexible glove can withstand temperatures of up to 475°.

6. Pizza Stone
This fantastic ceramic pizza stone can be used on a gas or charcoal grill.

7. Herb Infuser
Charcoal Companion’s Herb Grid has hinged gates that hold herbs for extra flavor.

8. Sturdy Skewers
Double prongs keep the food in place.

9. Korean Barbecue Insert
This cast-iron round insert keeps thin-sliced meats from falling into the coals.

10. Illuminated Tongs
These tongs feature detachable LED lights for night grilling.

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