#howloveworks

Love gives hope, heals and changes lives. But how? Join us on a journey to discover how love has such
a profound impact on those we care about most. We’ll explore evidence and anecdote, science and story.
And together, find out how love works.

Love gives hope, heals and changes lives. But how? Join us on a journey to discover how love has such a profound impact on those we care about most. We’ll explore evidence and anecdote, science and story. And together, find out how love works.

johnson & johnson
for all you love

Welcome to #howloveworks

Welcome to #howloveworks

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We love. Unconditionally. We’re born with incredible powers to nurture and heal with nothing more than our own bodies, voices and minds. Still, many of us don’t know how love works.

Why does a hug make us feel better? Is it really better to give than to receive? What makes a dad’s love so powerful? #howloveworks is a series of content and conversation that takes on these questions and more, as we explore the amazing power of love and care.

Here, you’ll find original films, timely posts and insightful articles, all themed around the different ways that love works.

Which brings us to our first topic – dads. Join us as we celebrate Father’s Day by exploring the hows and whys of a father’s love.

The Emotional and Challenging Role of Being a Dad

The Emotional and Challenging Role of Being a Dad

Summers spent playing with Dad are often a child’s most cherished memories. Whether it’s playing catch or dress up, just having Dad there makes it that much more special. See how a dad’s dedication shapes a child’s life at ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/Sponsored/JohnsonandJohnson/video/emotional-challenging-role-dad-24010427

Bringing Out the Real Impact of Dad

Bringing Out the Real Impact of Dad

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By Dr. Kyle Pruett

Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry & Nursing

Yale School of Medicine

A month after we celebrate moms in the calendar, it’s dad’s turn, as it should be. Moms come first – always have, always will. But two generations ago, women (many, if not most of them, mothers) fought the norms of that time and sought out jobs like their male counterparts. Child care in the home changed right then and there, and it started a revolution in parenthood. Work and family needs, responsibilities and delights collided like atoms smashed, and the collision by-products affected us all, not the least of whom — the dads.

According to the Ad Council, 86% of dads say they are spending more time with their kids than their dads did with them. What they may not be aware of, however, is how much impact being an engaged dad really has on a large scale. Kids who have positively engaged fathers or fathering figures in their lives do better in school, have stronger language skills, are better problem solvers, are less aggressive, and are more emotionally available. Not to mention the positive effect fathering has on men, who live longer, have fewer accidents in life and on the job, and are described as more emotionally available by their partners. The impact on moms is significant too. Moms with engaged dads (whether they live with them or not) feel more supported as parents (whether they are working or not), and this affects moms’ health and wellness.

While the balance may be hard to strike, it is worth the effort. With dads more engaged in their children’s lives, there is no end in sight to the benefits. So, in honor of this Father’s Day, here are a few things families can do to help strike that balance in parenting, and trust in dad as much as their child does:

  • Support time alone for father and child together, which helps the child lead dad to more sensitive reading of their needs.
  • Encourage dad, even if his methods seem a little unconventional. This not only protects and maintains the love between just mom and child, but also mom and dad.
  • Take a moment to just watch children’s faces while they are in dad’s care. The proof that dad is irreplaceable is right there. 

In looking around for partners to spread the word about the true impact fathers have in their children’s lives, I worked with Johnson & Johnson to create the short film Distinctly Dad, which portrays three diverse families’ paths to positive paternal engagement and who, by aiming to strike a parenting balance between mother and father, are promoting such (obvious) child and family well-being. 

I encourage you to share Distinctly Dad with a dad (and his partner) who’s making an impact in your life, or the lives of others.

Why Dads Matter, According to Science

Why Dads Matter, According to Science

imageFrom the way you were reared as an infant to how Mom and Dad treat you as an adult, your relationship with your parents is one of the most vital connections in life. Click to Read Full Article >

Here’s to the Song and Laughter Sparked by Dad

Here’s to the Song and Laughter Sparked by Dad

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Well before I had my son, when my husband and I were dating, I read an editorial from a mother who had come to recognize that while her husband’s version of playtime was very different from hers, it was equally valuable to her child’s happiness and development. For some reason, even though I wasn’t yet a mother, that article stuck with me.

Later, when my son was an infant in the stage of smiles and giggles, I began to notice the differences in my son’s playtime that were highlighted in that article, and as a result would always say that, “Mom could make him smile, but Dad could make him laugh.” That just seemed to be how things worked, and while I was quick to spot the differences between how my son would play with my husband and how he would play with me, I did not yet appreciate the value of those differences.

Some days, our different parenting styles play out in ways that warm my heart, yet I must admit that on other days it can be a little more trying – like when my husband and son begin singing at the top of their lungs in the middle of dinner, their mouths full of food.

Later, when I hear my son singing the story from his schoolbook – as if he were leading a choir – I remind myself that everything is connected, and that the spontaneous concerts with his dad likely have sparked my son’s interest in rhythm, music and language.

My husband’s way of interacting with my son is different – it’s sometimes silly, loud and playful. Now I see more clearly how important these differences really are in helping my son learn and grow. These are exactly the kinds of things that Dr. Kyle Pruett highlights in his work on how fathers uniquely parent with profound, positive impact, and that’s why I am thrilled that he agreed to share these perspectives in Distinctly Dad, a film by Johnson & Johnson. Distinctly Dad celebrates fathers and all they bring to the healthy development of their children.

At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter who sparks the song or the laughter, because love is at the center of it all, and no one sees that more than the child. Happy Father’s Day to all of you dads – including my husband. This Father’s Day, I might even join in for the “dinner sing-a-long.” 

How will you celebrate the special dads in your lives? Salute a dad who makes your child laugh and sing by sharing Distinctly Dad with him this Father’s Day – and discover more at www.seehowloveworks.com.

Holly M. is Vice President of Corporate Equity Strategy and Sponsorships at Johnson & Johnson.

A Father’s Love: More Important Than We Thought?

A Father’s Love: More Important Than We Thought?

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Paid-Post on NYTimes.com. Spend time on just about any playground, and you’re sure to witness familiar — even iconic — examples of how dads can have a profound impact on their children’s well-being. Click to Read Full Article >

It’s OK That We Parent Differently

It’s OK That We Parent Differently

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This story by Gigi R. originally appeared in our Johnson & Johnson Parents blog.

“Can I try? Let me take him.”

I had been desperately attempting to soothe our newborn son for what seemed like hours. Nothing had worked: diaper change, feeding, nap, bouncy seat, car ride, Teletubbies, lullaby music.

As his cries grew louder, anxiety rippled through me: Why can’t I do this? I’m his mother.

I had believed that I had all the answers and all the skills needed to be the Best. Mother. Ever. And whatever I lacked, I could get from reading one of the dozen parenting books stacked on my nightstand. I just hadn’t hit on the right approach to quiet the baby…yet.

I handed our son to my husband with hesitation.  He was an attentive, helpful and involved dad.  But…

He didn’t read that book about sleep routines.
He’s not swaddling him like they told us to in the parenting class.
He’s holding the baby differently than I do. Is that safe?
He’s just winging it!

My husband was the picture of serenity. I wondered if he was deaf – how could he be that calm amidst the screaming? He gently cradled our son against his shoulder and placed his other hand on his back. He sauntered around the house, softly bouncing the swaddled package as he walked.

Within minutes, our son was sleeping peacefully. And my husband became the go-to guy at naptime and bedtime.

“He’s picking up on your frustration and stress. You can’t let him feel that,” he’d say.

While I consulted books and read product reviews of every baby item we purchased, my husband relied on intuition and careful observation. He was the first to figure out that our son’s formula was causing him tummy problems and that he liked the swing going left to right better than forward and back. He analyzed the shapes of different baby bottles and knew why some worked well and others didn’t.

Two children and eleven years later, our approaches haven’t changed much. We parent differently. I still try to manage my kids like a corporate project. I read parenting books and wonder whether I’m too much of a helicopter mom or an over-the-top free-range parent. I fret that neither is interested in playing team sports and ask them about every detail of their days.

My husband has yet to read a parenting book – he finds most answers by listening, trusting his intuition and observing our kids, just like he did back then. He doesn’t worry about helicoptering or free-ranging – it depends on the situation. He doesn’t pepper them with “how is your day” questions – he knows when to let them do the talking. He points out that neither of us played a lot of team sports and, hey, we both turned out okay.

And our kids are turning out okay, too. Not in spite of my husband’s different approach, but because of it.

So every time I find myself trying to get him to parent my way, I think back to those early weeks of parenting – when I discovered that my husband shows his love for our children differently than I do – and that’s exactly the way it should be. It’s how love works.

Gigi R. is the Manager of Corporate Social Channels for Johnson & Johnson. She is also a wife and the mom of two tweens (one boy and one girl). Gigi lives with her family in sunny San Diego, CA.

Dad’s Impact: Nurturing Independence

Dad’s Impact: Nurturing Independence

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Fathers bring their own unique skills and qualities to parenting. Among these is a natural instinct to share experiences side-by-side with their kids. From working shoulder-to-shoulder on projects to exploring and hiking together, dads thrive at activities that require them to be right in the action with their children. 

“(Parenting) shoulder-to-shoulder helps build competence and confidence, and it’s really because someone’s in there with you, doing things with you,” says psychologist Lawrence Cohen. (As cited in “Six Ways Dads Win at Parenting, Ghose, 2013)


While mothers often favor face-to-face confidence building, a dad can help by being a partner with whom a child can take on the world. This is invaluable to a child’s development, because it’s much easier to be brave when there’s someone you can count on right next to you.

“He’s often more of a ‘let’s go do this together’ (type),” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry and Nursing at Yale School of Medicine, “Because dads feel very committed to getting their child ready for the outside world.”

So dads, next time you find yourself enjoying an activity side-by-side with your child, take pride in knowing you’re also nurturing their independence.

Featured Story: Kids Help Dads Too

Featured Story: Kids Help Dads Too

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We asked a few of our Johnson & Johnson Family of Companies employees to share their stories of fatherhood. Here’s Tim O’s story.

Father’s Day 2014 will hold special significance for my family: we will be celebrating a marriage on the preceding day.

In October 2013, same-sex marriage became legal in the state of New Jersey, where my partner Tim and I live with our daughter May, age 9, and dog, Tess. Tim and I had opted to wait to marry until it was legal in New Jersey, because we felt it is important for the marriage to be held in the community where we live and have created a family.

The timing of marriage equality in New Jersey was fortuitous: May had been struggling to establish a clear understanding of her family as a result of being adopted and having a nontraditional family. In a moment of clarity, I saw a way to link these situations together.

Part of our typical weekend routine is that May accompanies me while I run errands, and I look forward to our conversations during the car ride. On one such trip in October, I asked her to help me plan a marriage proposal. She had some crazy, wild and spectacular ideas that come easily to a creative nine-year-old’s imagination (“Fill the house with a million flowers!”). But we decided it would be best at the restaurant where we regularly have dinner. May would create a card asking Tim to marry me, which the server would deliver to Tim at the end of the meal, and champagne would follow, served in flutes that Tim gave me when we first met.

Throughout the meal, May kept kicking me under the table, randomly winking at me, and was giddy with excitement. It was one of the perfect moments of my life: sitting with the man who walked into a yarn store before May’s birth and asked the clerk for simple instructions so that he could knit her a hat and booties before she was born, because, “I don’t want her to miss out because she has two dads,” and the young lady who is the sassy center of our family.

I believe having a child is inherently optimistic and future focused, and yet with everything Tim and I do to help May lead a rich and positive life, we reap the benefits every day. For that reason, when we profess our wedding vows, May will be in the center, holding both of our hands, just as we do when we walk down our street.

Dad’s Impact: Building Curiosity

Dad’s Impact: Building Curiosity

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It’s no surprise that fathers tend to play a lot with their young children. Just watch any dad with his infant or toddler. But what does this do for the child?

As it turns out, quite a lot.

“The more hands-on fathers are with their very young children, the more good they’re going to do,” says Dr. Kyle Pruett, Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry and Nursing at Yale School of Medicine.

Indeed, experts agree that fathers who actively play with their children are doing them a world of good, from teaching problem solving to helping them grow as individuals.

“They start to have an appetite for a little more excitement. And the dads start to play a little harder with the baby. And it turns out the babies love it. That playfulness helps build a child’s curiosity. That helps autonomy grow,” Pruett adds.

Even simple things like the way a dad holds a child seem to matter, with fathers more likely to carry their children facing outward, letting them see the world in front of them. “Children actually find this very enchanting,” says Pruett, “because they’re not having to turn around and look to see where we’re going or who’s new or where’s that dog.”

The best news is that dads do all of these things naturally. So keep doing what you’re doing, dads. Your kids are getting a lot out of it.

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