Parenting Tip: Dad This One’s for You
I’ve devoted this blog to the fathers out there who are committed to being the best DAD they can be.
Typically, when I refer to dad in my blogs, I emphasize and stress the importance of a “responsible, healthy and safe dad,” or in the absence of dad a “responsible, healthy and safe mentor” like grandpa, uncle or coach. More and more fathers are asking “how to” be a good dad? “What do I mean” when I tell them their son needs them?
It’s time to explain this! In their words, they’re “doing it like their dad did-or-just the opposite of their dad.” I thought I’d put this in a way that will really make sense to all you dads who are doing the best you can with what you know.
Take a Trip with Me
Let’s take a journey back in time, way back before the Industrial Revolution. Dads were responsible to show (model) their sons what it takes to be a man. They worked the fields and shoed the horses side by side, they molded their young sons into men. They taught them the rites of passage of becoming a man.
Then the Industrial Revolution happens and dads were forced to leave the farms and close their shops. They would have to go to work in mills, factories, and offices to survive and support the family. They worked long hours and got home in time to have dinner, shower and do it all over the next day.
Everything changed. That change has continued generation after generation. Each time the next generation of dads got further away from those early teachings and mentoring and most importantly “rites of passage” that not only they needed, but their sons do too!
Fast forward to today. Men are working long hours; research tells us on average they spend about 10 minutes a week with the kids. Divorce is almost common place. And who is suffering? Our boys. In fact, our boys are in trouble and if not rectified, the results will be devastating.
In speaking with a counselor at a local middle school this week she made this comment. “I had an 8th grader tell me recently that he didn’t know how he was supposed to become a man when he doesn’t have men in his life!” Sadly, that really says it all.
So, what’s the magic bullet? It’s very simple, and even more important than that it’s easy. There aren’t “5 easy steps” or “10 secret tips” there is only ONE and here it is:
Dad starting at age 11 (that’s the age he innately turns to you to see the man he is likely to be like) schedule 3-5 hours “one-on-one time” a week with your son; keep this schedule until at least age 16! Even If you don’t feel like it and/or he doesn’t want to-DO IT ANYWAY!
I don’t need to repeat how I think the time should be spent, just do it! The bottom line is you could literally be doing nothing and he’ll get something he needs from you. Think back to when you were a kid, chances are your sweetest memories are the ones that you and your dad (grandpa, uncle or stepdad) were just being guys together.
Need a resource? Check out my book “Saving Our Sons-A Parent’s Guide to Preparing Boys for Success” available on Amazon and The Quest Project®.
Coming soon I’m devoting an entire book to dad and how to help them with their son so stay tuned!