Bobblehead Break: Anthony DeBenedet

Posted November 8, 2011 by jimhigley

I recently took a Bobblehead Break with Anthony DeBenedet, co-author of  The Art of Roughhousing: Good-Old Fashioned Horseplay and Why Every Kid Needs It. This is a book that will make you stop and think about how you’re connecting with your own child. Anthony’s a fun guy and far-too-wise for his youth. I like him a lot. And I respect his simple approach to raising kids. I hope you’ll check out my radio interview with him!

1. Where’d you grow up? I grew up in Northville, Michigan. It’s a small town just outside Detroit.

2. Any siblings? If so, where’d you fit in? I have one younger sister.

3. Where do you live today? Ann Arbor, Michigan.

4. I’ll never forget: juggling sour cream in the grocery store. I dropped all of them and my mom made me find the manager to apologize!

5. Most embarrassing Halloween costume as a kid? Or as an adult that you’d admit to?  Ben Franklin, as a kid, for sure. But I need to clarify. The costume was part of an American history play my second grade class did. I never actually went trick-or-treating in it. My mom did enter me into a community Halloween costume contest though. I took 2nd place to Clark Kent who showed up in a makeshift, cardboard telephone booth.

6. When I was a kid: My parents gave me a lot of freedom to play, but they also played with me. The only time I recall being seriously roped in was when I though it would be a good idea to tie pieces of ham to tennis balls and hit them into the air at dusk for bats to feed on. Let’s just say I was really into Batman.

7. Favorite childhood teacher: I was fortunate to have a lot of inspiring teachers growing up. If I had to pick my favorite it would be Mr. Lightfoot, fifth grade. He challenged me to think on my own instead of following the dogma of others. He was also fun, creative, and made each student feel like he truly cared about their success.

8. One word to describe your dad: Playful

9. Two words to describe your mom: Smart. Loving.

10. I wish I was more like my dad in the way he: is handy.

11. First thought when you held your oldest: I love you more than you will ever know.

12. Tell us about your family today: My family is the core of who I am. I love hanging out with them and we have a lot of fun together. I met my wife, Anna, in college and we have three daughters – Ava (5), Mia (3) and Lola (1).

13. I go nutty when my kids: while about a seemingly meaningless problem. Then my wife reminds me all problems are relative, and sometimes mole hills are mountains in the eyes of a child.

14. Family dinners: are sacred.

15. Pop Tarts or fresh fruit? Fresh fruit.

16. Number of hours you sleep each night: Six

17. When things go bad: I’m reminded that behavioral flexibility is the most underrated human trait of all time.

18. Patience is: a lost art.

19. Laughing is: the grail of social intelligence.

20. Best “dad” advice you’ve ever received: Don’t be too hard on yourself.

21. Most awesome “Dad” moment in the last 24 hours: Writing “Happy Friday!” on the note for my oldest daughter’s lunchbox – it was actually Monday.

22. Favorite TV show to watch with kids: So You Think You Can Dance?

23. Your old standby game to play with kids: Memory

24. I always tell my kids: To smile or say something nice to someone who looks like they need it.

25. I hope my kids never forget… to take time to truly connect with other people and then take time to nurture those connections.

Hop over to, Bobblehead Dad on WebTalk Radio and search for Anthony’s interview titled “Why Roughhousing is Right!”