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John Badalament  

Fatherhood Expert

John Badalament is the author of the acclaimed book The Modern Dad's Dilemma: How to Stay Connected with Your Kids in a Rapidly Changing World and the director of the PBS documentary All Men Are Sons: Exploring the Legacy of Fatherhood. His work has been featured on ABC and NPR and in Men's Health, Mom magazine, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, and Rocky Mountain News.

Badalament is a Harvard-trained educator with 20 years of experience as a teacher, dean of students, and counselor in school and clinical settings for children, teens, and adults. For the past few years, he has been recognized in The New York Times by the Family Violence Prevention Fund for his commitment to ending violence against women and children. Badalament serves on the honorary board of the Year of Responsible Men, a partnership with the White House. His latest documentary project is titled Gender Traps: How Marriage Problems Start in Kindergarten.

In his presentation and workshops, John Badalament draws on the innovative ideas and activities in his book The Modern Dad's Dilemma; his work with thousands of parents, children, and professionals across America and abroad; cutting-edge research; and scenes from his documentary films for PBS. With in-depth knowledge of changing family structures and gender roles today, he works with parents, students, and educators in coed and single-sex environments in early childhood education and K-12 settings.

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Speech Topics


Modern Dads: The Critical Role Men Play in Children's Lives at Home & School

This powerful presentation for men and women presents a clear new vision for modern parenting. Drawing on his extensive professional experience as an educator, counselor, and trainer; stories from his book The Modern Dad's Dilemma; video clips from his films; and the latest research, speaker John Badalament delivers practical parenting tools as well as key insights into meeting the challenges of modern family life, including:

  • The four practices of a modern dad: creating your legacy, showing up physically, connecting emotionally, and modeling healthy relationships
  • The latest research about how dads impact boys' and girls' lives academically, cognitively, and emotionally
  • Takeaway activities and skills to help dads handle conflict and keep the lines of communication open with their partners or spouses and children
  • What women and mothers can do to support, encourage, and challenge their children's dad to be and do his best
  • How men and dads can make a difference in the lives of children growing up without a dad or father

Central issues facing modern families, such as how to parent "on the same page" with a partner, through a divorce, with media influences, and while balancing work and family

Workshops are available for both parents, dads only, and moms only.

Dialogue with Dad: Keeping the Connection Between Dads & Daughters or Dads & Sons

This groundbreaking event led by speaker John Badalament gives dads, father figures, and children the rare opportunity to share important intergenerational stories, learn and practice lifelong relationship skills, and strengthen and deepen the dad-child bond. Whether your relationship needs general upkeep or an overhaul, this enjoyable, one-of-a-kind event gives all dads and sons or daughters a forum to:

Take time to focus on what matters most. Discuss the key elements of a healthy, close dad-child connection and take stock of your own. Research shows that children with a close relationship to their dad do better academically, socially, and emotionally than those with more emotionally distant dads. Discuss important but often difficult-to-address issues. Find out how other dads are handling issues such as drugs and alcohol, bullying, friendships, dating and sex, media influences, and new technology, among other issues. Listen to what young people have to say about modern life. Learn how to keep lines of communication open at all times. Develop skills for speaking and listening respectfully and responsibly to each other and practice using "the relationship check up": a structured way to have heart-to-heart talks on a regular basis. Create a regular, shared ritual for spending time together. Learn why one-to-one "dad time" with your kids is critical and hear about a variety of different rituals other dads do with their kids.

Workshops are available for schools, schools partnered with community organizations, and retreats.

Beyond "Dads & Donuts": How to Build & Sustain a Fully Engaged Dad Community

Research shows that when dads and father figures (resident and nonresident alike) have been more involved in the school community - volunteering, attending school events, going to conferences, and getting involved in parent associations - children have gotten better grades, gone further with their education, and enjoyed school more. Yet most schools and parent organizations today do little to engage and educate dads beyond sporadically hosting events like the annual "dads and donuts" day. Using examples from different school settings, speaker John Badalament helps educators and parents think systemically and pragmatically about how to best engage their community of dads and father figures. Badalament will:

We Teach Who We Are: Relationship Skills for the 21st-Century Educator

Healthy relationships with students, parents, and colleagues are at the core of a positive and thriving teaching and learning environment. This workshop led by speaker John Badalament gives educators the opportunity to reflect on their relational lives at school, sharpen the skills they already have, and learn new skills to apply in all their relationships.

Participants will learn a powerful new framework for developing relationally healthy schools. Combining Roland Barth's work on what he calls the "four kinds of relationships in schools" (parallel play, adversarial, congenial, and collegial) with Terry Real's communication skills and strategies, this framework addresses both whole-school and interpersonal relationship dynamics.

Participants will analyze everyday school relationship scenarios and apply practical skills to their own situations and settings. The workshop will combine lecture, case studies, audience participation, and video scenarios from the new documentary Gender Traps: How Marriage Problems Start in Kindergarten. Featuring bell hooks, this powerful film captures the voices of children, adolescents, and adults as they attempt to define and develop healthy relationships.

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