Dad of Teens Interview: Phil Corless

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From time to time we are able to present interviews with other Dads grappling with teens at home. We are grateful to Phil Corless for taking time to give us an interview.

Phil is a “stay-at-home dad, living in the not-so-wilds of North Idaho.” He’s been writing since 2004, “about family, fatherhood, kids, teens, toys, parenting, music, movies, homeschooling, family travel, and, of course, being a SAHD.”

Over the years, Phil’s writing has appeared in: The Huffington PostFamily Vacation Critic, Spokane Spokesman-ReviewNorth Idaho Family MagazineNational At-Home Dad NetworkAll4WomenSan Diego Reader

With no further delay, we’ll get down to our interview with Phil.

1: What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed between raising a toddler and a teen?

The biggest difference between raising a toddler and a teen is the amount of together time. My teens are either busy with activities, or they want to be left alone. There aren’t many hours in the day when I’m allowed to hang out with them. So, my “dad time” has gone from quantity to quality, which can be jarring for someone accustomed to being around his kids the bulk of each day.

2: Has your teen taught you anything about yourself? If so what?

Yes, that I need to relax and try not to control everything. Plans can be made, but you have to allow for spontaneity and change, or life is just going to be filled with disappointment that things didn’t turn out as expected. Stuff happens, and that’s okay.  

3: How has your parenting style changed since your child(ren) became a teenager?

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I was too close for comfort to being a helicopter parent when the kids were young. I hovered too much, stepped in too often, and controlled various situations more than I should have. Luckily, as they became teenagers, I realized I was doing them no favors, so started backing off. One major way I did this was ending homeschooling for my daughter, who asked to return to public school when she was 13. I had been thinking about it for awhile, so her request was easy for me to approve. It was time for me to stop controlling her education, and time for her to start calling the shots. She has thrived in the past year, and is embracing her independence in a good way.

4: What’s your biggest challenge in balancing life/work/blog? How do you manage it?

My biggest challenge in balancing life/work/blog is everything. I never developed a routine, organization, or schedule around blogging because of the 24/7 nature of being the primary caregiver. As a homeschooling dad, I didn’t have the school hours to plan and write. For the past 12 years, I pretty much spontaneously blogged whenever I could. That still holds to this day, even with the kids busy and out of the house more often. I’m still on chauffeur duty, and I do have a side job writing travel articles for various web sites. On top of all that, with teens in the house, there are very few kid-related topics I can write about without referencing my experiences with my own children. And both kids have asked me not to do that. If I continue to be a small voice in the grand circle of dad bloggers, my challenge will be to find something anonymous away from my family.

5. When/why did you start blogging?

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I started my blog, A Family Runs Through It, in 2004, as a way to connect to other moms and dads. I felt quite alone as a stay-at-home dad, so blogging was a great way to hear from others, through reading, writing, and commenting. Before Facebook, we updated our daily parenting status through our blogs. It was a great way to realize that I was not crazy. Last year, I rebranded to Idaho Dad for simplicity’s sake.

6. What blogpost are you most proud?

My latest personal post “Carry That Weight“. I wrote it to see if I could still do something other than a travel or sponsored post. Something straight from the heart. Surprisingly, it turned out well.

7. Cookie or Brownie?

Simple chocolate chip cookies. No nuts or M&Ms please.

8. If we want to connect with you on social media, where are you?

I’m also quite proud of this site:, which is all about our upcoming week-long walk in England to raise funds and awareness for Camp Kesem, the organization that provides free summer camp opportunities for kids who have been affected by a parent’s cancer. It was an idea I had just over a year ago, and I am beyond ecstatic at what it’s grown to be.

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