Every generation creates its own parenting style based on a variety of factors and variables shaping our view of what it means to be a parent.
For some time, I’ve jokingly referred to modern dads as a part of “Fun Dad Nation.”
These dads are a blast. Involved with all kinds of sports, they love playing video games and doing goofy stuff at the dinner table – what a package!
As we go into Father’s Day here’s one bit of caution to the dads of Fun Dad Nation. Hierarchy still matters in the family. That is, parents need to be parents. It can’t be “Fun Dad” all the time.
As I write this I reflect on a memory from my own childhood to illustrate with a simple example.
Watching sports with my dad in the family room a couple of my dad’s friends came in to join him. Without blinking, my dad immediately commanded, “Get up, Richard, and let Uncle Frank sit down.”
(There is no way my dad would let Uncle Frank be relegated to the cheap seats while his punk kid sat in one of the “grown up seats.” There was plenty of space on the floor for me to place my behind, so off I went perhaps unhappily.)
It’s my sense that the dads of Fun Dad Nation have a tougher time with this concept.
In other words, it is a more child-centered, less parent-centered era. We are very oriented to making sure the kids are happy and comfortable.
Has it gone too far in that direction?
Many children that I meet seem to be running the show, making the demands, wanting pleasure without compromise.
Regardless of what parent era we are talking about, children still need direction from someone (preferably a parent) with clarity and a backbone.
Wishy-washy parenting never plays well with kids – they sense the weakness and take advantage of it.
So, dads of Fun Dad Nation, listen up.
It’s ok to give a directive or set the rules, that may even make the kids a bit uncomfortable, even a little put out.
Restore order in the universe.
The tail can’t wag the dog.
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