We had the good fortune of connecting with Yan Dekel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yan, what’s the most important thing you’ve done for your children?
The most important thing I’ve done as a parent is therapy – not for the kids, for me. I am a true believer in therapy. Not only have I been committed to it for the past 20 years, I’m also very outspoken about it both on our podcast and in my personal life. The main thing in therapy is that you learn about yourself, about behavior patterns, childhood memories, dealing with life challenges and “your dark side” – all of this ‘life study’ has a direct impact on how you raise your children. As a kid I was bullied, I was lonely and felt misunderstood. I have little to no memory of having a good time with my parents, or feeling secure and happy. My reality as a kid was not really great. Passing to my children a totally different experience requires tons of learning, which is something I do both in my individual therapy and in couples’ therapy with Alex. If we’re going to pass baggage to our children, we’d like to remove dangerous liquids and sharp objects first, you know.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been working in creating branded content, websites, graphic design and social media for other people for so many years, in so many forms, so to finally get to a point that the content comes from me and what I have learned in life and in therapy is incredible. The combination of my passion for self development through therapy and creating content – it feels like this is what I’ve always wanted to do in life.
What we try to do on Daddy Squared is bring authenticity to our experience in parenting, I think that Alex and my dynamic as a couple and as parents really comes forward in the episodes, including some juicy dirty laundry between us, which, while sometimes uncomfortable to discuss, is also so much more common than most parents think.
Turns out the “gay thing,” while central to Daddy Squared, is also about another form of “coming out” – the willingness that we hope we can help other parents (gay and straight) achieve, to recognize that imperfection and some degree of misery is naturally part of every parent’s life. You’re ok, and, well… “it gets better.”
So we combine this with valuable information for gay men about some aspect of parenthood. We never claim to be “experts” – we bring the experts and want to hear and learn from them.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
OK, let’s face it: if you are gay and come to Los Angeles and don’t visit the Starbucks at the corner of Santa Monica Blvd and Westmount — you haven’t seen the gay scene. So I would say, get your laptop, and sit there every morning to answer your emails or… whatever. Also, I would recommend going to the gym regularly (I’m now on the look for a new gym) and hang out at hiTops or Revolver, my two favorite bars in West Hollywood, a couple of blocks from our house.
Since we had the kids, Alex and I rarely eat outside (or do anything outside) without them. But we do like Sushiya on Sunset (The Gossy Roll is incredible – thanks Matt Goss!) and just last week we went to The Henry (where the Newsroom used to be on Robertson) and really liked the place. I, personally am obsessed with Sprinkles Cupcakes (at the Grove) and the Apple Cinnamon Muffins at Brooklyn Water Bagels in Beverly Hills.
But mostly you’ll hear from us about trampoline places like Sky Zone in Van Nuys (Wednesdays are Glow in the Dark days!) and Pan Pacific Park… and now we just starting to get to the phase of Dave & Busters (Hollywood & Highland), God help us.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It’s going to sound very cliche, but the support, mentorship and encouragement is coming from my husband, Alex. Starting over in a new country while not speaking the language very well is so hard to do, and I was so fortunate to have a husband who basically said: “you are now at a time of investing in your future, in our future.” We were so lucky to be able to have one of us making enough money to support us both, so I went and studied and developed myself. And I envisioned the life I wanted.
Also, there’s Mark. Who is Mark, you ask? In the most “LA” way possible, Mark is our couple’s therapist. On Daddy Squared we always talk about the incredible value of couple’s therapy, if one can afford it. Our couple’s therapist helped two people who love each other but who’s backgrounds and personalities couldn’t possibly be more different, translate and connect, and come closer and closer together. Were it not for couple’s therapy, we would never have had our wonderful children – we may not even have continued to be together. I think therapy has helped me a lot, both as an individual and in our relationship, to grow.