This post was originally published on my PhDadBlog.
Happy Father’s Day Week!
In honor of Father’s Day, the PhDadBlog is sharing a Dads Roundtable throughout the week. If you missed the first few parts of the Dad Roundtable, please click on the following links to catch up:
Part 1: Meet the Dads!
Part 2: What We Wish We Knew
Part 3: Disciplining
Part 4: Victories and Struggles
Part 5: Parenting and Our Relationship With Our Partner
Part 6: The Influence of Our Own Parents and Religion
This is it! The final installment of the 2016 Father’s Day Dads of the Roundtable©™!
It’s been an incredibly educational ride for me. I loved being able to connect – and in many cases REconnect – with a number of my friends on the level of fatherhood. It’s a fascinating bond we share, and I think we can really learn a lot from each other. I truly feel like this was a worthwhile experiment, and it helped me reflect on certain questions and issues I had not thought about before. I didn’t have any expectations, expect the hope that I could help demystify the parenting process a bit. And I think the dads’ incredibly thoughtful and honest answers helped do just that. I’m definitely interested in creating more spaces like this, even if it’s just repeating the same GoogleDoc approach next year. We’ll see how it goes!
But for now, I give you the dads’ final thoughts, which conveniently ends with Vahid N. giving me some pretty high praise…which I, of course, left unedited. : D
Also, be on the lookout for Chase’s call to #MoveFathersDay with some pretty valid points. Maybe you’ll want to join and support his cause!
What are some of your parenting goals for the next year? To put it another way: if we had another Dad Roundtable a year from now, what do you hope to be able to look back on and see some personal growth and progress in when it comes to parenting?
CHASE: If we can all just survive for another year I’ll consider that a win.
You remember when your child was a newborn? Where every single thing we did was literally a life-or-death struggle for existence? Feeding them the wrong food, tickling them too much, dropping them on the head, everything I did was followed by the question: “Will this be what kills my baby?” That doesn’t change, except it becomes more of a focus on outside forces. My kids go to the park and play with some stranger kids. We go camping out in the wilderness. Terrorists bomb a market. There are potential threats everywhere, and if somehow I fail to protect my child from death and their opportunity to procreate, then I am basically a failure as a parent from a biological perspective. But it’s also a struggle as their mouths get smarter, they fight with each other more, and they break more of my stuff, I also want to kill them. The caricature of Homer Simpson strangling Bart is not too far off from reality around here. So yeah, if I still have four healthy kids a year from now, I’ll be happy.
VAHID SMITH: Chase, don’t kill your kids and I won’t kill mine.
MUNIB: I just want to say that I have really loved and appreciated your honesty and candor in this roundtable, Chase!
VAHID SMITH: As my oldest child is nearly 8 and I have 4 other children. My goal will be to meet new challenges as my 8 year old matures and changes while giving each of my 4 other children the love that they need to know that I am there for each of them. One challenge of having 5 children is being able to give each individual child love. Each child needs one on one time, which is pretty difficult when there are 4 other children fighting for it. Lastly as I mentioned I have a 7 year old daughter and I am watching her change rapidly. Each new year brings brand new challenges from her that I have little experience with. I fear for her teenage years and I want to prepare now as I had a younger sister that pretty much made no sense at all to me as she became a teenager.
MUNIB: So many things I hope I do differently this coming year. But for the sake of the question, I’ll pick two I want to try and focus on. The first is being able to better incorporate my kids into whatever activity I’m doing. Especially housekeeping-related stuff. Yeah, it’s easier for me to just get dinner ready by myself and get them distracted with a game or books, but I also feel like it would be so much more beneficial for them to actually be involved in the food-preparing process, even in the smallest way, like setting the forks out on the table or something. It’s more work for me. And can get annoying. But I hope I can get over myself and include them in more of those types of activities that I just have to do. The second one is I hope to a better job hanging back when the two of them are interacting with each other, especially if they’re getting on each other’s nerves. I really want them to figure out their relationship on their own, but it’s hard not to step in when it seems like someone’s about to get hurt. But I’m getting better at even letting some of that happen – within reason, of course – so they can really see the consequences of their actions for themselves.
Any final thoughts? Questions for other dads? Comments about parenthood or this Roundtable?
VAHID SMITH: This has been a great experience. Everyone who participated was very thoughtful, articulate and had great perspectives. Because of the level of thoughtfulness from the dads, I’m sure all of us will do well in the future. Finally I wanted to add that as a parent of 5 and having teaching and martial arts backgrounds, I believe I could be a pretty good resource as far as discipline goes. I’m not claiming to have all the answers but I have lots of ideas and techniques that could be helpful if anyone would like to use me as a resource.
MUNIB: Vahid, thank you for that offer! I’m really interested to hear more! Would love to learn more about it. Could you see a guest PhDad blog post about these techniques in your not-so-distant future???
CHASE: Yes, this is something that has been vexing me for quite some time, and maybe the good people of PhDad and the Dads of the Roundtable can start a grassroots campaign to do something about it. We need to move Father’s Day from June to any other month during the school year. Let me share my reasoning. Mother’s Day being in May means that the kids are still in school but are done with standardized testing so they have plenty of time to waste. Additionally, the vast majority of schoolteachers are women who are sympathetic to the plight of the mom. That means plenty of arts and crafts made from handprints and cottonballs to show mom how much they love and appreciate them. What do dads get? Exactly dick. This year between their regular school, sunday school, and other childcare facilities my wife was buried in construction paper and crayon tributes of affection. But Father’s Day is in summer, while the kids are out of school, and around here, we’ve got no sunday school either. You would think that all this free time translates into more crepe paper and pipecleaner concoctions, but no, the kids are too busy playing outside and being carefree. I believe if Father’s Day were moved to sometime in September or something where schoolteachers can fill their day with the structured busywork of popsicle sticks and fingerpaints, dads could expect a better haul. I want macaroni pictures, too, dammit! #StandWithDads #MoveFathersDay
MUNIB: While I definitely agree that dads are often short-changed in some respects, I am in no rush to receive a pile of artwork to add to the rest of the “stuff” that just begins to pile on when kids come into the picture! But I’m definitely sympathetic to your cause! And think a lot of dads out there could really benefit from that emotional/self esteem boost. I also wonder though if maybe we kind of make up for that lack of public adulation in the ridiculously low standards society has for what we can accomplish as dads? Just keeping our kids alive for a day comes across as the most amazing feat, while the social pressures and burden on moms to do way more than any one human being should be capable of continues to be insane. Know what I mean? Just a thought.
JON: It’s been great reading everyone’s responses and questions! I wish I had more time to participate, but hopefully my comments at least made sense and contributed in some way. I especially liked the candor with which everyone was able to talk about their successes, challenges, beliefs, and so on.
VAHID N’DOBE: I’ve really enjoyed reading everyone’s comments here and i’m particularly grateful to Munib for creating a forum like this for us to share our ideas, thoughts and frustrations. Munib, you’re one of the best Dads i know and the fact that you came up with a forum like this says a lot about how close the subject is to your heart. You inspire me to want to be a better Dad each day. There is a saying that ..“The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree”…your parents are also two of the most amazing parents i know and i feel very lucky to have them as my in-laws and the grand-parents of my kids. I wish i could make the time to answer more of the questions here and to give feedback to the comments. Hopefully, there will be another chance 🙂 Or I’ll invite myself to your blog sometime 🙂
By the way, just a thought: I think you should consider writing a book on this subject. You’re not just qualified based on your academic credentials but also in the aspects i’ve already mentioned above. I bet it will be a best seller. There is a massive need for it out “here” 🙂