Sign up FAST! Login

Father's Day 2014: Portrait of a Slack Dad: Dispatches from the frontline of wayward fatherhood

Stashed in: Advice, Awesome, Manifestos, life, Parents, Parenting, I'm Hetero But Mother of God!, true datt, parenting

To save this post, select a stash from drop-down menu or type in a new one:

1. Don't be a hypocrite. And don't think you can get away with double standards. Children smell that a mile off.2. Be gender-neutral. They know whether they're boys or girls. No need to nudge them in either direction.

3. Be age-neutral. While bearing in mind at all times their capabilities, plant the idea of Getting On With It Themselves whenever you can.

4. Don't be needy. Don't demand love, or respect. I've seen parents who do this, and it's quite revolting, frankly.

5. When they outsmart you or answer back with a frustratingly viable objection, respect them. You might even go so far as to applaud them.

6. Be funny. Almost always. It's grim out there; no need to make it grimmer.

Hahaha, dude this is like the OPPOSITE of what parents today do. How many parents force their kids to walk instead of carting them around in a big-ass stroller? I swear I have seen 8 year olds in strollers, chillin' like a boss -- and actually able to force out a few tears when they don't get their way immediately, which I had read that kids can't do! Kids can outsmart you without viable objections, tears and screaming are way more effective today.

One of the coolest things I ever saw was a dad hiking with his two young (maybe 7 and 5 years old) sons up a rather steep trail. The kids were SCREAMING their heads off about how they didn't want to hike any more, and the dad kept saying there was a shortcut a little ways ahead. I knew damn well there was no shortcut... but the dad basically won by outright lying and paying no attention to the kids' expressed needs!!! At first I was kind of appalled but by the end I was ready to fist-bump the dude because he was actually doing what they needed instead of what they wanted.

I force my kids to walk! And yeah, you see some obese children here and there, drinking a soda while their mom/nanny pushes them around. But that sure ain't my problem!

That crying thing doesn't work on me either. When one of my kids meltsdown we leave... I don't care if it's a trip to a store, restaurant, movie... if they screw it up? we're gone!

I like point #5 a lot. I speak to my kids as if they are little people. Every once in a while my daughter will catch me off guard with a solid point. I try to reward critical thinking like this.

Being a parent is hard... I don't know how single parents can do it without someone helping them. Hell being an adult is already hard enough.

In the end I think it comes down to one important word, it's a topic that many parents of today don't want to acknowledge or embrace: sacrifice

Eric, I've come to appreciate how hard it is to be a parent.

The single parents I know do the best they can, but it's a constant struggle for them.

As you said, being an adult is hard enough without the extra responsibility.

My favorite thing is watching upper-crust mommies ASK THEIR KIDS what they want to eat in the Whole Foods! Kid isn't even old enough to be able to grasp the concept of "2 hours in the future", and now you're asking it to do menu planning on the fly from the seat of a shopping cart?!?!? It would never have occurred to me as I child that I had the slightest say in what I was going to eat. There were a plethora of factors that made that decision, all of which instantly trumped any preference of mine. These included: "You're Korean, this is what Korean people eat dummy"; "This is what there is, and there ain't gonna be anything else"; "[Yummy food] is bad for you"; "If you embarrass me by not eating your aunt's cooking, I will destroy you when we get home"; etc. I never had the opportunity to demonstrate my logic skills or what have you, because nothing I said about the subject mattered one little bit to anyone. But I think most of this stuff does not apply to the people I see in my daily life now.

joyce, i love your description of kids in strollers "chillin' like a boss!"  so true!  i gave away our monster stroller when my youngest was 2. sorry dude, you're walking now!

and i do think it makes the 8-year-olds in strollers feel pretty lame when they see two tiny toddlers walking around them in stores, at airports, etc.  it reminds me of the last time i went trick or treating.

the point is to help our kids grow up... to use their little legs!  when my kids start whining that they can't walk as fast as i can, i say, "then run!" :)

Camping and hiking with your family are activities I cannot recommned enough.  They help build a sense of "team family" and allow kids a chance to problem solve (pitching tents, making fires, following trails) in the great outdoors.  What could be better?

true geege.  camping is so good on so many levels.

i also like to give my kids chances to problem solve at home.  like, "hey, i wonder if your squirt gun could water all these plants?" 

Is it better to ask it as a question or make a suggestion: "you should totally water these plants with your squirt gun!"

i don't know.  the questions work for now, but i guess when they get older they won't answer my questions with actions, they'll just say, "yeah, my squirt gun probably could water all these plants, but i'm going inside to watch tv!"

So questions engage them and encourage them to be part of the solution? That's Socratic.

i guess so!  how cool.  i hope it continues to work!

I hope so too. Sounds like you're inviting them to be part of a solution.

I fed off my my children's tears.  They were surly little animals.   :)

What do you feed off now that they're grown?


As in George Michael?

geeeeeeeeeeege!!  you kill me!  HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

More like

Mel Gibson freedom meme Imgur

But Geege, Mel Gibson dies in that scene. 

Whereas George Michael is surrounded by hot models. Isn't that a better freedom?

Why yes, yes it is.   <mind wanders ....>

But Mel was crying for freedom from servitude, which (in a way) parenthood is.

and george michael really had no interest in the hot models... 

...Emily, true, as it turns out George Michael wasn't into them at all! Funny.

Remember: Freedom isn't free.

freedom costs a buck o five!

It does! And if you don't kick in your buck o five, who will?

You May Also Like: