In the new book “Sober Dad,” a recovering alcoholic, writing under a pseudonym, details the essentials of being a better parent.(czarny_bez/Getty Images/iStockphoto)

He calls himself Michael Graubart, which is not his real name.

He uses that name because he is a sober member of Alcoholics Anonymous and does not want to break his anonymity.

He’s just published a book titled “Sober Dad: The Manual for Perfectly Imperfect Parenting,” with Hazelden, a leading publisher of recovery books.

The book is already #1 on Amazon’s New Releases list for books on Alcoholism and Recovery, and #2 on the New Releases list for parenting.

“Parenting books are mostly written by and for people who had happy childhoods and just want to get some new ideas about parenting,” Graubart says.

“But what about the rest of us? People who grew up in insane, alcoholic, drug-addicted, or even violent homes? We know what we don’t want to be as fathers. We have no clue how to do things the right way.”

That’s why Graubart wrote “Sober Dad.”

“Men have great intentions,” Graubart says. “We just don’t always have the knowledge about how to turn those intentions into reality. It’s one thing if we screw up a relationship with a girl we’re dating. We can always find somebody else. If you screw things up with your kid, well, that’s something you really want to avoid. That’s why I wrote the book.”

One of the suggestions Graubart offers is that fathers don’t have to be Disneyland dads all the time.

“A lot of fathers are constantly trying to make up for the shortcomings in their own childhoods,” Graubart observes. “They’ll do anything to keep their kids happy, even if it’s at the expense of their kids’ growth.

Cover of "Sober Dad: The Manual for Perfectly Imperfect Parenting," by Michael Graubart.
Cover of “Sober Dad: The Manual for Perfectly Imperfect Parenting,” by Michael Graubart.

“You don’t have to give your kids ice cream for breakfast. You do have to stand up and say no sometimes. You can do it in a courteous manner — you don’t have to chop their heads off, which is what most of us experienced. But you don’t have to say yes, if saying yes isn’t in their best interests.”

Kids, especially young kids, want to lose every fight, Graubart notes.

“Every kid wants to fight for that extra piece of cake, a later bedtime, more screen time, or whatever,” Graubart says. “For dads like us, who come from chaos, the natural tendency is to placate and give in. I really believe that kids secretly want to lose every fight. Sure, they want that extra scoop of chocolate ice cream, but deep down, they really want to know that the parents are in charge. That’s what makes them feel safe.”


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