A Dad’s Point-of-View
One of my favorite mantras is: Be your kid’s best parent rather than his best friend.
As strongly as I believe in that, I also believe we can support and be cool to our kids. This may seems at odds, but truly it’s not.
Once our kids get to be teenagers, life as we know it simply changes. Just keeping them alive is our primary job and their view of us changes dramatically but, hopefully, comes back to some level of sanity sometime in their twenties.
Unfortunately, what we think makes us appear cool to our kids is not helpful. Here’s a short list of my 15 suggested do’s and don’ts, in no particular order:
- Do not, I repeat, do not try to dress like your kids. This is especially true for moms who look absolutely ridiculous in Forever 21 outfits! Dads, don’t wear baggy shorts or your baseball cap backwards.
- Be a supportive and consistent parent with rules. This is in sharp contrast to many of your kid’s friend’s parents. Stick to your rules. It will be a beacon among your kid’s friends that you are actually doing the job of a parent. Don’t think they don’t know the difference.
- Watch your use of slang and swearing. It’s not cool to them and it comes across as dad or mom trying too hard.
- The only word that transcends time is “cool.” I suspect that its first use took place in the beatnik fifties and it’s been “cool” ever since to every generation. No other word, I think, seems to carry over to every generation.
- When you were a teenager, you couldn’t force “cool.” It only comes naturally, so don’t try too hard!
- Let the kids control the radio in your car. Yeah, you’ll puke, but do it. You’ll not only come across as “cool” but you’ll learn a lot about what your kids are listening to.
- Watch what they watch some of the time. Don’t force your favorite old music or films on them. If they express interest, okay, but let them come to your interests on their own. When your kids are very young, it may be all right to introduce them to your favorite music, television, and movies, but once they’ve become tweens, it’s their time to assert their own tastes. Let it be!
- Be careful how much interest you display when your kids have friends over. Don’t hover.
- Drive your kids as much as you can. Keep quiet when they have friends in the car. Listen and learn.
- Always have food available at your house. Whenever your kid’s friends are over, bring out food whether they ask for it or not.
- When you think something you might do is cool, do the opposite and you’ll likely do the better thing!
- Parents love to take photos and videos of their children. Be sensitive when you do this. Don’t be the kind of parent who shoves aside other parents at a school event. Don’t ever be the parent who’s always in the front filming a video and shouting instructions to your kid to wave or smile.
- When you happen to successfully capture those great photos and videos, do not force your kids to watch or look at them. Put them in your scrapbooks, edit them and post them on your Facebook profile, but do not tag them.
- Try to remember how you viewed your own parents when you were a teenager. As hard as this may be, recognize your kids probably view you exactly the same way. You may think this is not possible because you swore you’d do it differently but, trust me, you’re exactly the same (more or less), so get over yourself and accept that they simply don’t care about the things that you care about.
- Model a loving marriage. There’s nothing cooler than a mom and dad that like and love each other. However, do not be overly overt in your PDA’s, though a kiss and hug is perfectly acceptable in spite of your kid’s objections. Close the door to your bedroom when it’s that time. Put on some music so they can continue to believe that mom and dad only did it the same number of times as the number of kids in the family.
Okay, mom and dad, go for it. Be cool, Daddy-O…