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On Empathy and Same-Sex Parenting, With Scott Hadland
Dadditude Newsletter #9
Dadditude interviews dads from different backgrounds, professional fields, and ethnicities to get their insights on what it means to be a dad in the current moment. If you enjoy this release, please ♡ at the bottom of the newsletter or share it with a friend. It helps us reach new readers.
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On Empathy and Same-Sex Parenting, With Scott Hadland
Dr. Scott Hadland is a Canadian dad of 2, living in Boston with his husband. He’s a pediatrician and addiction specialist who’s very active on social media and TV, where he talks about his work helping teenagers struggling with substance use.
We spoke with him recently about raising two children in a same-sex couple household, how becoming a dad has changed him and his work, and the struggle of parenting during covid.
Hi Scott, tell us a little about yourself.
I grew up in Vancouver, Canada, but now live in Boston with my husband and two kids. My husband is from South Carolina and, like me, is a doctor. I'm a pediatrician and addiction expert and take care of teenagers who struggle with substance use. Being a pediatrician has been helpful for me as a young parent, although I have to say that parenting has been a very humbling experience that has helped me see my work from an entirely new perspective.
My husband and I bring to parenting the somewhat unique perspective of being a same-sex couple. We’ve been very fortunate to have loving and affirming families, workplaces, religious community, and neighbors, and have experienced very little adversity despite being a family with two dads. Still, we’ve navigated barriers in my immigration to the US and several difficulties in healthcare and the occasional confused look as gay dads.
Explain your work around teenagers drug use?
I’m a pediatrician and addiction specialist at Boston University. My work focuses on adolescent and young adult substance use disorder prevention and treatment, and on improving care for youth and families affected by substance use. We care for youth who struggle with opioids, stimulants, alcohol, marijuana, and vaping, among other substances. As part of these efforts, I also work to improve education on addiction to pediatricians in the US and beyond. It’s been a fascinating career so far. Our work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, CNN, NBC News, CBS News, National Public Radio, and other leading news outlets.
Tell us about your kids.
We have a 3-year-old son and a 6-month-old daughter. Our son is a classic toddler who is loads of fun and constantly making us laugh, while also keeping us on our toes with his tantrums. :-) He loves swimming lessons and has just started soccer, and otherwise loves playing with Legos and watching Disney movies. Our daughter is just starting to develop her personality and is exceptionally ‘happy go lucky’, smiling constantly.
How do you manage to mix work and family?
Being a parent has completely changed my perspective as a pediatrician. Although I could previously try to identify with some of the struggles that parents experience when, for example, their child is sick, I now feel their concerns so much more acutely. On the other hand, I'm fortunate to be a parent who is also a pediatrician, which helps me to know when to worry and when not to, particularly when one of the kids is sick.
What do you think is your biggest strength as a parent?
Most of the time, I am able to stay level-headed, and that’s one of my greatest strengths. If there is one thing I know as a pediatrician and a parent, 80% of the job of a parent is to just stay calm. :-)
What stresses you out the most these days as a parent?
Like everyone else, Covid has left our family with an enormous amount of uncertainty. Both of our children are in daycare, and we are constantly struggling with daycare closures, illnesses, and repeated covid testing to get our kids cleared and back to school.
What side of parenthood do you wish you had invested more time and energy in the past?
As a pediatrician, I know that I should be preventing my kids from engaging in as much screen time as we have during the covid pandemic, but balancing the tasks of work, running a household, and parenting have left us a little ragged. So, we rely on the screen more than I would like. But we're all just trying to do our best.
Can you tell us about an especially favorite/special moment with your kids recently?
Our son and I have been doing swimming lessons at the YMCA, and this has been an enormous amount of fun. He really enjoys the classes, and they harken back to one of my favorite activities I engaged in as a kid.
Thank you Scott!
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