Once you’re in a relationship for a while, it’s usually time to get around to discussing expanding your family with the addition of children.
Parenting or just being a Dad or Mum always has a few challenges attached – share your experiences of questions to other community members and live for a better family life.
Which Father Type are you?
November 12, 2010 at 9:28 am #2349
Archetypes are useful descriptions to help us identify typical characteristics that we can relate to. Steve Biddulph in his latest book, the New Manhood describes 4 Father Types. I have added one to make it 5. Which one or more are you that you can identify with? Or perhaps parts of some of these?
Dad is the king of his castle and everyone has to bow to him. He rules and everything is about this phrase ” When you are under my roof, its my rules you obey”. Mum is subservient to him and his whims. His space is sacred especially when he comes home from work. He knows best and knows everything. He is The Disciplinarian and dishes out punishment where he sees fit. This is very much a traditional older type profile.
Whatever anyone does is never good enough. There is always the remark “You could have done this better”. The Critic Dad does this from wanting to help his loved ones improve and be better. He is so focussed on this that he has forgotten to use praise. Another belief is that praise will dilute performance as it will send the message that what is achieved now is good enough. The criticism may also be a reflection of stress, unhappiness, anger and deep resentment going on inside him. His tongue cuts sharply with negative remarks and he unwittingly shames his children frequently.
This Dad always says ‘Yes Dear’ to Mum. He does not offer any leadership or direction. He just goes along with whatever his wife or partner says. He is non-confrontational and hardly offers his opinion. When the going gets tough, he’s not going, just sitting. His children grow up to despise him for lack of backbone. He takes being NICE to Nothing Inside me Cares Enough. No boat rocking is his mantra for life.
This sadly is common as a result of the pressures of our working world. Dad here is either hardly home or when he’s home, he’s not there emotionally. Just present in the body. He’s hardly involved in the life of the family. He’s the provider and part of the furniture when home. “Dead wood” would be a term to describe his presence. The busy Dad who is a workaholic and pursues his passions/hobbies leaving little time for his family fits this category.
This Dad spends time with family and children and is involved in their lives over a range of activities. Family go and do things together eg camping or holiday trips and Dad is frequently at their school events ie sports etc. He also blends with the different stages of development of his children and shifts parenting style accordingly. He is emotionally connected with his family and freely expresses love, fun and enjoyment. He knows his children’s friends, teachers and what is happening in their lives. He works as a team with his wife/partner in creating a dynamic, loving and nurturing environment for the children.
Its unlikely that any Father will be 100% of any of the above categories. There will be times when a Father will float into most of the above modes. A useful exercise is to rate yourself out of 10 in each of the above categories and ask your wife/partner to do the same. If you are brave enough, ask your older children to do the same. Compare results and have an open discussion about it.
When my son was 12, I asked him to rate my performance in his eyes as a father out of 10. I wanted him to be honest and I got a 9.5. When I asked him where the other 0.5 was, he simply said that I was not perfect!!! I was a highly active and involved father in his life.
Mostly, acknowledge what you are doing and recognise that the good that it is.
1. Schedule time monthly to date your wife/partner and each of your children. Guard this time with a passion.
2. Make more time in your busy schedule by dropping things that are urgent but not important. Make a list and start weekly eliminating the small things first.
3. Do a stock take on your involvement in your family. How is it? Where is there old stuff, missing stuff and good stuff.
4. Identify areas out of balance and make adjustments.
5. Be brave and tackle the hard issues, particularly the ones swept under the carpet. Whatever you bury festers alive to bite you sometime in the futureNovember 22, 2010 at 3:58 am #2419
Thanks Richard – great article for us all to keep in mind.
I’m a little of all types as I’m sure alot of readers are too. I’m busy, I’m absent, I forget and I remember too.
Interestingly, I’m going through a period with my son where he’s got other interests besides his Dad – girls are starting to look interesting and I make sure I’m supportive as well as interested (which I certainly am too)
It’s a matter of keeping away of criticisms and the negative areas as well as being a Dad and a good friend too.November 22, 2010 at 4:35 am #2420
but it’s something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. I certainly want to be the Involved Active Dad, when I have kids that is…I want to know everything or as close to everything as I can about my kids, who they hang out with, what they’re eating, and what time they’re coming home. I don’t mind being The King, because I know I will “rule” with a velvet glove over my iron fist :)November 22, 2010 at 4:46 am #2421
Well, I only have really close neices and nephews who are treasures as well as little devils. I count them as own sons and daughters so I’m loving these articles on parenting as I’m growing more and more from reading them.
I know I’m not their father and more of a close friend and, I think, older brother which is kind of neat. As fathers, my thoughts would be that there needs to be careful balance and management, especially when your sons and daughters are going through tough times. Ruling with an iron fist could be quite dangerous, despite having a velvet glove on. Just wear that velvet glove and have a great degree of understanding as well as compassion.
Thanks for posting too – it gave me some ideas and prompted me to think a little deeper too. Wonderful to have your involvement with the site. You sound like you’ve got lots to offer.November 22, 2010 at 5:52 am #2422
Thanks for your comments. 80% is about Intention and stepping up. The rest happens. Love is amazing as there is so much forgiveness and grace when its expressed. There is a timeless rule with children ” Rules without Relationship = Rebellion”.
You can rule with a velvet glove over your iron fist and it can work well for you and your family. There is no right or wrong in parenting. What is right for someone will not be for someone else.
Also, knowing everything requires a balance as well. You can be too nosy or pushy in your pursuit to know everything. The critical factor is giving your children space to grow and be who they are meant to be, not everything you want them to be.
Your intention already sets you well down the path of being the Involved Active DadNovember 22, 2010 at 6:51 am #2423
Some fantastic comments on this one!
At a very early age (and the earlier the better I feel) I unknowingly set the intention for my son to be happy in whatever it was he wanted to do with his life and I’d always be there to support and help him with that. Having that outward thought process helped me from that point on.
Having a good mindset from the beginning allows you to navigate all those mysteries of parenting. You’re sailing to a land far far away with your compass fixed on the destination. Whether you get blown off cross a little along the way is irrelevant. You still know where you’re going and you continue on, regardless. As has been said already, there’s no perfect guidebook for parenting – there’s just ‘doing and getting on with it, with intention’November 22, 2010 at 6:55 am #2424
Wonderful you’re getting valuable content and advice here, Gary.
I can see parenting is so vital and those principles carry over to other aspects of relationships such as yours, with nieces and nephews. The Geek and Jock site is about supporting everyone where possible and I find it encouraging that we’re getting more of that, from both men and women – both sides of the coin is vitally important. Everyone is different and perspective often holds the key to new understandings.November 22, 2010 at 7:06 am #2425
Uncles are very important as are grandparents in the life of children. Steve Biddulph categorically states that when a boy is 14 and older, he needs mentors in his life. This is when he shifts from relying on dad to finding his own identity. Uncles play a vital role as mentors. They already have a position of trust being family.
I have 8 nephews and nieces in my family and some 22 in my former wife’s family. I play the role of fun and radical uncle and there were times where a couple of my nephews could not talk to their father on some issues. They came to me.
I regularly take out my nieces and nephews during school holidays for outings and its a lot of fun. They all know I am there to help and support them.
Treasure your nieces and nephews. They are family after all and part of your life.
I have a couple of uncles who I keep in contact with and we get on really well. In fact, I am about to stop off overnight later this week in Sydney with him. He is a car nut and we have lots of great conversations on cars. He’s fun to wind up as he is a one eyed Ford fanatic.
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