32 episodes

Daddy Square is a new weekly podcast for and by gay dads, joining the successful blog of the same name. Coming to you from West Hollywood, Yan Dekel, an independent web designer, and Alex Maghen, EVP Technology at Warner Bros., are a married couple with 3-year-old twins. In each episode they bring a guest and tackle an issue that arises in parenting in general and in gay parenting in particular. All of their interviewees are professionals in their fields and gay dads themselves.

Daddy Squared: The Gay Dads Podcast Yanir Dekel

    • Kids & Family

Daddy Square is a new weekly podcast for and by gay dads, joining the successful blog of the same name. Coming to you from West Hollywood, Yan Dekel, an independent web designer, and Alex Maghen, EVP Technology at Warner Bros., are a married couple with 3-year-old twins. In each episode they bring a guest and tackle an issue that arises in parenting in general and in gay parenting in particular. All of their interviewees are professionals in their fields and gay dads themselves.

    3×04 Gay Divorce

    3×04 Gay Divorce

    Marriage Equality means Divorce Equality. Although it's not being talked about a lot, sometimes things just don't work out and you have to break up your marriage. We asked journalist and author Steven Petrow, who often writes LGBT educational editorials in the Washington Post and the New York Times, and a gay divorced man, to talk to us about what it means to have had this experience.

    Journalist and author Steven Petrow have recently made his divorce a teachable moment in an opinion article he published on The Atlantic. It turned out that many of his and his ex-husband's friends—straight and gay—didn’t think divorce laws applied to same-sex couples. Fred Hertz, a California-based lawyer specializing in same-sex-family law, had told him that many of his clients are surprised that nowadays there's no separate set of rules for gay couples . A divorce is a divorce.

    So in retrospective, how does Steve see his divorce? "The best and the fairest way to describe it," he tells us, "as a friend described it to me, if you think of a couple that starts off, think of them as railroad tracks. You hope that they're parallel, and they're going to stay parallel and you'll stay in tandem forever. But if they're just off a little bit, like if the one on the right is bending a tad to the right and the one on the left is bending a tad to the left, well they're close at the beginning but 14 years later they have really diverged a huge amount and you're in different places. And that's how I understand what happened to us."

    At a time when gay marriage is such a big deal to the community must a gay couple stay married as a symbol of our success? What does it mean that a gay man gets divorced after we worked so hard to get married in the first place?

    "As a professional who was giving advise to LGBTQ people about their relationships, who wrote a book about gay weddings I did feel a certain sense of responsibility about doing it in an appropriate way and of course I felt huge sadness,” says Steve Petrow in our interview with him.

    "I did have that conversation in my head as well, and of course when something doesn't work out there's a personal disappointment. As I said to friends, I never imagined in this lifetime that I would be married as a gay man nor did I ever imagine that I would be divorced."

    Gay Divorce is Part of Marriage Equality

    Steve wasn’t alone in these feelings and this experience.

    "Early on people were quietly getting married and many of those - I call them the early marrieds - they ran aground fairly quickly. I think we're now seeing stabilized numbers where in the end the percentage of same-sex couples who divorce will be about the same as opposite sex over time which is to say about 50 percent."

    So is there anything qualitatively different between gay marriage and straight marriage that may speak to the potential success of such a commitment? This is a good question. We talk in this episode about the opportunity that comes with the novelty of same-sex marriage to establish new patterns in relationships. Will such patterns improve the quality and longevity of marriages? We don’t know. But we’d love to hear your thoughts too.

    Our Guest: Steven Petrow

    Steven Petrow is an award-winning journalist and book author who is best known for his Washington Post and New York Times essays on aging, health, and civility. He’s also an  opinion columnist for USA Today,  where he writes about civil discourse and manners. "Steven has long been an eloquent voice for civility in public discourse, and such a voice is needed now more than ever," editorial page editor Bill Sternberg said in a release. Steven's 2019 TED Talk,

    • 56 min
    3×03 Fear and Grief

    3×03 Fear and Grief

    After Losing our beloved dog Koobeh earlier this year, we faced the challenge of explaining death and grief to our kids. When we started working on this season of the show we wanted to create an episode that will help parents who had to experience loss in front of their young children.  We found Jesse Brune-Horan, a minister and a grief consultant who faced the worst of all - the loss of a child. In this episode we explore fear and grief, how to move through them and how to deal with our kids' facing them.

    Jesse Brune-Horan doesn't recommend pushing yourself through your grief. "We're inundated with self help things and material like that that people feel like they have to power through your enlightenment or your healing or whatever it is," Brune-Horan explains, "and sometimes it's not helpful."

    "I really encourage people to always take the most peaceful path in the moment, whatever that is for you. Sometimes it looks like not dealing with it, putting on your sweats and watching Netflix for the weekend and that's ok," he adds.

    Deal with your grief when you're ready to deal with it

    When going through grief and loss, some people experience relief when they are 'giving themselves permission' to be sad. To just stay in the sadness and cry for as long as they need.

    "When I work with people who are moving through grief there's like big, big piece of permission I give them, like, do your best in the moment, today, what's the most peaceful thing you can do today," Jesse explains. "And when we focus on peace, then whatever it is that's preventing us from feeling that peace will naturally arise. And if we're patient enough then we can sort of look at what's coming up in that moment and we get to choose, like am I ready to tackle that horse yet or am I letting it ride by for now. The good news is, and you have been through enough life to know that, if there's an issue that needs to be dealt with, then it eventually will be dealt with or [it will show up over and over again in your life] and you'll be miserable."

    "Be a Man"

    Jesse believes that we as dads should show our kids how we deal with our emotions - especially the 'bad' ones.

    "A lot of what we were told, what a man is supposed to be and how 'a man' supposed to act - toughening up, not showing emotion, not being sad and all that stuff," he says. "And now we know that it's all b******t and unhealthy and doesn't really serve anybody. So to allow yourself to express emotion in front of your kid I think it's a brilliant beautiful thing and you should, and you should let them know that it's ok to be sad, it's ok to have these experiences, it's ok to grieve, show them how to grieve."

    "I think that's the key: the key is we teach through our demonstration. We show them what it is to be sad, what it is to be happy. We show them what healthy boundary is, we show them what love is, we show them what family is."

    Our Guest: Jesse Brune-Horan

    Founder and Spiritual Director, Active Love Ministries.Jesse is a celebrated spiritual teacher, writer, activist, and lifestyle expert with over 15 years in the field.

    He's the co-founder of Inspire Spiritual Community, a Los Angeles based Independent New Thought organization serving the LGBTQ+ community & allies. He served as Spiritual Director from 2013-2019.  Since 2010, he's offered hundreds of teachings on spirituality, facilitated retreats, workshops, and group counseling.  

    Jesse leads classes based on the teachings of Science Of Mind, A Course In Miracles, The Way Of Mastery and A Course Of Love. He offers meditation training, meets privately with clients as a spiritual coach...

    • 58 min
    3×02 Single Dads Finding Love

    3×02 Single Dads Finding Love

    Daddy Squared is playing matchmaker: When you are a single dad, it seem almost impossible to find time for dating. In this episode we tried to explore the (potential) love life of single gay dads, with Daniel Vandenbark, a divorcee and a single dad of a 7-year-old, who spoke candidly with us in the studio, and with Tammy Shaklee of H4M, a professional LGBT matchmaker.

    Having to juggle house management, kids and work, some single dads often testify, "I'm comfortable being alone." But sometimes, this 'comfortable' situation is just a result of not wanting the constant filtering through extra noise of trying to find love. We brought Daniel Vandenbark, a single dad and a (gay) divorcee, to the studio and he spoke candidly about trying to date as a single dad. "I sit here and I start pondering, ok is it because I'm 43 now and you reach that certain age when you less willing to deal with this sh*t. I don't want the antics I don't want the silliness, I want someone who has responsibility, professionalism, etc," Daniel said.

    "I get annoyed with the apps," he added, "because it's the same antics that probably many people here know about so I don't really love the apps. But yet, I hold out hope because [every now and then] you talk to somebody and they're like 'oh, we met on Grindr' so there might be hope."

    More in this episode: We are dads, not 'daddies,' plus Alex and Greg give tips on how to hit on men in bars, we discuss setting your financial goals for 2020 and of course -- don't be scared of matchmaking! Now is the time to date a gay dad!

    Guest Host: Greg of @greginla Blog

    Greg, a single gay man, grew up in the northwest suburbs of Boston in a middle-class family with its share of enjoyment and challenges. He grew up with an interest in biology and a passion for health and fitness. He started weightlifting in college and graduated with a degree in biochemistry. He started his career as a tech and scientist in the biotechnology/ pharmaceutical industry in the Boston area while documenting his fitness and modeling journey on instagram. In 2015, he moved to Los Angeles, CA to pursue a more enjoyable lifestyle as a young gay fit man while his career slowly became more engineering focused and regulation-driven. More recently, his Instagram became better focused on showing others how to live a healthier lifestyle. In 2018, he launched his own lifestyle blog to supplement his Instagram to help others with their fitness journeys and mental awareness to pursue the lifestyle they have dreamt for themselves.

    Our Guest: Daniel Vandenbark

    Dezineinc.comInstagram: @dznrdad  / @dezineinc

    Daniel Vandenbark is the founder and principal of DEZINE INC, and works for over 20 years in interior design and branding in Los Angeles. When he isn’t creating beautiful homes for his clients, you’ll likely find Daniel making adventures with his seven year old son. And when you can’t find the two of them in the city - well, they’re probably up in the mountains, regardless of the time of year.“I really love exploring the world through my son’s eyes. It’s fresh, it’s simple, and often entertaining. I look forward to sharing that with someone special again.”

    On the Phone: Tammy Shaklee, LGBTQ Relationship Expert and Founder of H4M Matchmaking

    Since founding the national offline matchmaking company in Austin, Texas in 2012, Tammy and her team have successfully paired thousands of LGBTQ clients across the country that were seeking long-term committed relationships.  Shaklee's unique process focuses on traditional introductions and dating for LGBTQ singles who are interested achieving relationship success that rival...

    • 1 hr
    3×01 Raising A Positive Child

    3×01 Raising A Positive Child

    All we really hope for as parents is that our children will grow up to be not only healthy, but also positive, optimistic people. How wonderful life can be for them if they see and imagine the bright side. We began our third season with some positive inspiration from life coach Scott Cruz, and talked to him about positivity and how to instill it in our kids.

    We all want to raise a positive-thinking child, right?! According to Scott Cruz, a leading LA life coach, being ‘positive’ is subjective, and it’s only a matter of preference, how would you like to perceive your life? "When people focus too much on positivity they become very judgmental,” Cruz told us in the podcast, “so I would say if we focus on our own personal preferences we just end up being naturally positive."

    "Negative thoughts will always be there, it's all about teaching [your kids AND yourself] how to use them. For example, self worth or self confidence, let's say if a child is not confident in what they're doing, and they really love, for example, creating art. They're not confident because they're comparing themselves to others. That's a negative thought, but you can use the comparison to build their artistic style or to be more inspired. So they can take the negative feeling about themselves to push them further... so the negative challenges can turn more into self-defining experiences. If people are trying to run away from it or numb it that prevents growth. "

    Teaching Your Kids Optimism

    While we argue that raising a positive child has a lot to do with an optimistic way of thinking, Scott thinks that optimism and pessimism can be instilled in a child by their parents, to a certain degree. So those who wonder if the fact that they come from a non-optimistic household will automatically make their kids pessimistic will be relieved to know that being pessimistic is not biological, it's belief structure. By working on yourself and facing your own challenges you can “correct” negativity that was passed from generation to generation in your family.

    "If your kids are having their own point of view and their inner being is very optimistic,” Scott says, “they’re just going to resist you. I mean, the older they get, the more that they will try to go to [Alex] and less connect with you - because they don't like your pessimistic energy."

    "If you work on that within yourself you let your children understand that being defeated is not even an option and experiencing failure is just a growth experience, not an end result. You want to tell your children, ‘It's not about what I do wrong or what I do well, it's about, are you allowing yourself to grow from the experiences?’"

    According to Scott, instilling of positivity and negativity towards life happens at a very early age, "Between ages 1 and 7 the human brain is in fetus state, which means the child is purely observing,” he says. “So maybe [for a 6-month old baby] words don't mean anything but the words are reflections of your energy and your intentions. For example, there's a three-month-old in the crib, and you guys are constantly in distain of each other, the baby feels that energy, of disconnection. But if you're aware of figuring out through your nonsense, even if you're showing distinct toward each other but then you resolve it and they see you resolve -- they're going to pick up on resolution. It's not the argue that was the issue, is about the fact that you resolved that and then back to the same page, team work."

    Co-Host: Braden Sanford

    Braden is a blogger and a stay-at-home Dad raising 4 kids under 3… including triplets and identical girls (aka a valiant attempt to retain my sanity…).

    • 59 min
    2×14 Daddy Squared Movie Awards!

    2×14 Daddy Squared Movie Awards!

    It was just a matter of time, wasn’t it?! Everyone else has done it so now, introducing, the Daddy Squared Movie Awards. Our season finale this season, will hand a magnificent ‘Gayby’ Statuette in multiple categories of movies for kids of gay dads.

    No more just 'mommy recommended' stuff! The gay dads community has voted on the best movies for kids and now we give the ‘Gay Dads Recommend' stamp on children's movies. Guest gay dads studio executives judges help us decide who takes home the ‘Gaybys’ in multiple categories. View the categories and nominees. Listen above to find out who won or scroll down to download Daddy Squared Season 2 Cheat Sheet for the full list of winners.

    Why Are We Doing This?

    As the number of LGBT families in general and two-dad families in particular grow on a daily basis, we would like our type of families and values to be more visible and represented in kids’ movies. We hope to influence movie studios and executives to consider our community’s opinion and become a significant ‘customer buying power.’

    Our Guests

    Andrew Hotz is the executive vice president of worldwide digital marketing for Warner Bros. Pictures. Hotz previously served as head of industry at Google, managing the relationship between Google/YouTube and NBC Universal, and consulting with the studio and networks on digital marketing efforts. He also worked on Google’s TV ads business and managed its relationship with Procter & Gamble. Hotz began his career in production at DreamWorks Animation.

    Daniel Leary is the Digital Co-Executive Producer, “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.” Daniel joined the writing and producing team of “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” in 2010 and was promoted to Digital Co-Executive Producer in September 2016. Leary has overseen the creative vision for apps and games, as well as the social platforms and digital strategy for “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” currently in its 16th season. Leary has earned six Daytime Emmy® Awards for his work on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show.”

    Leary started his career in stand-up working with The Improv in Hollywood. He then began producing at LOGO creating original series for the network. Daniel currently resides in Los Angeles, CA with his husband, Ben, and his two children.


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    Co-Hosts: Yan Dekel, Alex MaghenGuests: Andrew Hotz, Dabiel LearyOpening Theme: Hercules & Love Affair, “Leonora” buy hereArticles Related to this episode:"Ooga Boo" Music Video feat. Cher from Netflix's Home AdventuresJoin our Facebook group!

    • 1 hr
    2×13 The Schools Episode

    2×13 The Schools Episode

    Finding the right school for your kids is difficult for anyone, but gay dads sometimes have to face an additional challenge making sure that the school that their kids go to is open to diversity and inclusivity of LGBTQ parents. How to start looking for the right school for your kids? And how to help your kids’ school be more inclusive? We talked to Steve Disselhorst, an adoptive gay dad and co-chair of Our Family Coalition, an organization that works for equality of families in education (among other things).

    Our role as a parent is to create a safe environment for our kid at school. Sometimes it requires spending extra time in talking to the teachers, the principle, and whoever provides this environment, to make sure that your class and school are inclusive supportive of same-sex families, and specifically for two-dad families. Especially when it comes to activities at school around days like Mother's Day.

    "In our house, the month of May is the most difficult month of the year," shares Steve Disselhorst, a coach and consultant, and co-chair of Our Family Coalition. "Mother's Day is real. We live in a culture that really adores mothers. If you look at a lot of kids books there's always a mother figure. So for us, we had challenges with Mother's day.

    "We had a negative situation that happened, not in kindergarten, but in preschool. They were very open to LGBTQ families, the director was adopted so she totally understood our kids for being adopted, but then came Mother's Day and I went to pick up my daughter the Friday before Mother's Day, and I looked up on the wall and it said, 'what's your mom's favorite to cook,' 'what's your mom's favorite color,' 'what your mom's favorite…' and I was horrified. I was literally in tears and went up to the teacher and said How could you put my child in this position, she can't answer these questions.

    "So that was a big learning lesson for me. So now when the school year starts and I get a new teacher, during the first parent-teacher conference, [I say to her] we've got 8 months to work on this: what are your plans for Mother's Day and how are you going to include our family, and what do you plan to do and can you share that with me in advance of Mother's Day - and that had worked really well."

    Regardless of how much we try to protect our kids, bad kids can happen, even in the most accepting schools. In our discussion with Steve, he shared an incident that happened where his daughter was picked on for having two dads and no mom.

    "The most important thing that I do, I do a lot of it, I talk to my daughter about how it feels for her," Steve says. "'how does it feel when they say that to you,' 'how do you feel that you have two dads,' 'how do you feel that you don't live with your mom.' Those are the things we talk about because I need to help her understand and build the tools because I'm not going to always be there to protect her. She's going to grow, and she's going to change, and maybe at some point she's going to be embarrassed of her dad-gay or straight-being around.

    "My role as a parent is how do I teach her to understand what she's feeling, how these things are impacting her and then how does she resolve them: either talking to me or talking to her friend or her teacher."

    "I don't believe in trying to take away discomfort," Steve says, "I believe in trying to be present and witness discomfort--and move through it."

    Our guest: Steve Disselhorst

    Steve Disselhorst is a proud husband, father, consultant and coach. He is thefounder of his own firm, which focuses on personal & professional leadership development and diversity, equity & inclusion consulting.

    • 59 min

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