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Are you bad or are you dad?

Parenting

Are you bad or are you dad?

February 14, 2020

Ask my friends, I am known for my fondness of puns and dad jokes, so you will have to bear with me with this headline. But the truth is, sometimes the difference between being bad and being dad lies in changing just one aspect of what we do – turning it around so to speak (told you to be patient with me).

But groans aside, it’s the truth, especially for our kids. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I do that drive my kids insane, things I will not change as I am confident that they are important in their development (not watching TV too much, eating fruit, having manners etc) but there are other aspects of my behaviour which I have recently taken stock of based on an article I read recently.

Titled “Dads just need to show daughters they’re special” this piece talks specifically about the daughter-father bond with reference to how a daughter takes cues from her father which shape her into her adult years, with regards to how he treats her. Is he absent (all men are), does he show emotion (is he emotionally available), does he play with her (men can be friends) why isn’t he affectionate (men are unfeeling) and so forth, are all aspects which shape how his daughter will come to view men later in life.

It is a powerful piece to read, and shows in many ways how far society has come, yet how far we are yet to go. But for me, there was a further understanding that came – which I inherently knew but sometimes forget – that as a dad (and you too mums) my influence on my son is going to be just as profound, if for different reasons. My son is a sponge and currently looks up to all men, shaping himself against them and learning what they do. So I have made it a priority

  • That I learn to curb my anger and speak levelly even when frustrated
  • That I show him men work in and around the house as do women
  • To show him when I am sad, or to talk through things that worry me
  • To teach him the manners that will have him respected by his peers and appreciated by those he has affections for

What I am saying is

I am not saying that I am a good dad or a bad dad, but what I am saying is that something as simple as changing a few aspects of my own behaviour can have long-term positive impact for my kids. Something simple can turn me from them seeing the bad and seeing me as a Dad – someone fallible, involved, patient and loving.

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