Bobblehead Break: Dr. John Duffy

Posted September 19, 2011 by jimhigley

John and Julie with son, George.

I had a Bobblehead Break recently with Dr. John Duffy – a clinical psychologist, parenting expert and author of “The Available Parent.” John’s an easy guy to like. He and his wife, Julie, have a 15-year-old son, George and are enjoying – yes enjoying – those teenage years. To find out more about John’s strategy for maintaining a great, open communication with your tween and teen, check out my interview with him on Bobblehead Dad Radio. The show is titled “Those Terrific (?) Tween and Teen Years! His message makes sense no matter what your child’s age!

1. Where’d you grow up? I grew up in Park Ridge, Illinois – a town very much like La Grange, Illinois – the town my son is growing up in.

2. Any siblings? If so, where’d you fit in? I have an older brother, Michael, older sister – Mary Ellen, and a younger brother, Tom.

3. Where do you live today? I currently live in La Grange with Julie, my wife of 20 years (we cannot believe it’s been 20 years!) and my 15-year-old son, George.

4. Where I grew up: Park Ridge was sarcastically nicknamed “Action Ridge” by most everyone who grew up there. Not a whole lot happened, good or bad. Lazy summer days at the pool, bike riding through town, Kick-the-Can. It was a very nice place to grow up.

5. I’ll never forget: Christmas 1972. We went to midnight Mass, and Santa came while we were gone. Opening gifts at 2 in the morning was an amazing experience for my 8-year-old self. Even more amazing, Nick Lyons from down the street had just returned home from Viet Nam, and stopped by in the middle of the night. I remember my mom crying with joy. And at one point, Nick knelt down by me and told me that, in real life, my GI Joe would not be allowed to have that beard.

6. Ever break a bone? No, but there was a time when I was reprising an Evel Kneiver trick on the sidewalk in front of Keith Clark’s house across the street. I launched my bike off the “take-off” ramp, but my front tire caught the edge of the landing ramp, a major ‘fail’. Six stitches across my chin later, I was good to go.

7. When I was  a kid my bedroom: was shared with both my brothers. We had such a tiny house for the six of us. To my parent’s credit, it never crossed my mind as a kid, ever!

8. Two words to describe your mom: Strong, intelligent.

9. My dad was: a warm, loving, giving, joyful presence in my life.

10. I’m similar to my dad because: he taught me to give all I could, and laugh louder than appropriate.

11. When did you become a dad? When I was 30, and just starting grad school.

12. When I first found out I was going to be a dad: I realized I’d better fast-forward through grad school and get a job!

13. Tell us about your family today: We have a very happy house. We talk a lot, laugh a lot, argue a little.

14. The back seat of my car: is enormous. I’m 6′ 2″, and my son has me by about half an inch.

15. When I’m in charge of making lunch: my wife is lunch-obsessed, so I’m not allowed anywhere near it. She has nightmares about George going hungry.

16. My favorite T.V. dad: Phil Dunphy from “Modern Family” – without question. Hilarious.

17. When things to bad: I panic first, then breathe and figure it out.

18. Laughing is: my forte.

19. I’m proud of: the choices I’ve made, following my heart and living with integrity.

20. The best time of the day: Those moments right before I fall asleep. The house is quiet, I’ve spent some time reading, and I can reflect for a moment on life and family. Peace.

21. Best “dad” advice you’ve ever received: Be available to your kid in every way. I live this as best I can.

22. Favorite T.V. show to watch with my son: We actually loved “Lost”. We like Coldplay too.

23. When I”m away from my son: I can’t wait to get back. My kid is perhaps my favorite person on this planet.

24. I see myself in my son when: we laugh together.

25. When I see my son asleep: I’m so happy I have to work not to cry like a baby.

Hop over to, Bobblehead Dad on WebTalk Radio and search for John’s interview titled “Those Terrific (?) Tween and Ten Years!

  • mystory

    I watch Steve Harvey Show now and then. I’m a retired elementary school teacher , after a wonderful 40 year career. I saw Dr. John Duffy on the SH Show and said to myself….. “That’s John Duffy!!! “I was his third grade teacher in a parochial school in Park Ridge. I was 22 years old. Very proud of John . Miss L.