Dads come in all shapes, sizes, colours, and even gender – so be yourself.
Be yourself – your kids will love you for it.
There’s enormous pressure on dads today to step up and excel as parents – in every way. Talk about stress! What makes the father role particularly hard to identify is the change that is taking place in the male role in our society generally.
The days of the authoritative father coming home from work to a wife and children dutifully waiting for him – with supper on the table no less – are few and far between in North America. Such expectations still abound in other parts of the world for economic, religious and cultural reasons. No wrong or right here – in fact, the “father knows best” scenario harkens back to simpler times which you may well yearn for given the more complicated environment we now live in.
Here’s the thing: the shifting male role from straight-up masculine, in charge, logical, systematic, and competitive to one of greater sensitivity, awareness, and equality, has closed the door on what was absolute dad behaviour to opening the door to fluid-identity behaviour. In other words, the dad role has expanded into a much broader spectrum of what it means to be a father. A woman can take on this role as effectively as a male given dads come in all shapes, sizes, colour and gender.
However, the question, “How is a dad supposed to act to be a good dad?” remains. You’ll get countless different answers on this issue. Be firm with the kids or you’ll lose their respect. Share your gentler side so they know it’s OK to show your feelings. Cry. Don’t cry in front of the children. Bake brownies to offset the stereotype of no men in the kitchen… although we have enough cooking shows dominated by male chefs to suggest the opposite. Play hockey even though you dislike the game.
The list can go on and on without any clear indicators. Guess what? There are no more points for gardening than there are for building a deck here. What’s great about the loosening of the dad role is that it allows you to be you. Instead of getting into the perceived suit that a father should wear, you get to wear your jeans, and let your parenting role grow into you.
Don’t try to pretend at being or doing something that is not in your nature. Your kids will love you for being authentic.