Fathers: Parent or Playmate Part 1

I have had many questions latelyasking if fathers should parent different andhow to help fatherbecome part of mother’s vision for the family. There are many different situations and personalities, so there areprobably many ways to treat each different relationship.I am going to share some of what I have learned about fathers and what I havedoneto help myhusband and our relationship.For the next few days, I will give segments of a very long answer to the question below. I think that this long answer will answer most ofthe other questions too. Ifyou find your question about fathers stillisn’t answered afterall the segmentshave been published, then please ask.

“And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”

How do I get Dad to be an equal partner in the parenting?When he comes home, he only wants to play.

Before I answer this question, I want to say that on occasion I have had fathers voice the same frustrations about their wives, although this is generally not the case.If you are a father with the same frustrations, my answer should be able to be applied to you as well.

To answer questions, it is helpful to ask other questions. What does you home feel like when dad comes home? Is it a stressed environment? If it is, dad could think that some good fun might fix the problem. He could even think that his wife is grouchy and that his children probably need a break from the stress.

More than likely, the real problem is that dad has separated what he does from what you do. Is this separation wrong? No and yes.

Addressing No

No, this separation is not a problem, because his parental role is very different from mom’s role.We shouldn’t try to make everything equal.God didn’t make us equal and I am glad.Without individual strengths we wouldn’t have differences.And, without differences, our marital relationships wouldn’t make us stronger people.

Most dads spend the majority of their days working to provide for their families. After a whole day away from the people that he loves most, he wants to come home to fun and happiness. Is there anything wrong with this? No, it is natural for a parent who has been away for period of time, even an hour, to have expectations for their arrival home.

When I am at a meeting or away at a conference for a day, I find myself thinking while I am in my car on the way home, about the joy I will feel when I see my children.I can’t wait to pick them up and hug them and hear all about what they have done while I was away.When my husband and I come home from a date I envision all the fun we will have when we get there.Most parents crave this joyful atmosphere that home is supposed to be.

This is good.We should all strive to have joyful homes.Don’t ever lose sight of that vision and you will gradually draw closer to it.

Usually, fathers have less time with their children.And, contrary to popular opinion, quantity of time has more impact than quality time does in small bits.Whoever spends the most time with your child, whether it is friends, teachers, or you, will have the greatest influence on him.

Fathers’ lives and schedules push many hopes, for being that quantity of time influence, out the window.Although, I have seen many fathers try to correct this by going to work early or rearranging other schedules.

Steve and Janis

Steve and Janishave eight incredible children. Janis teaches school to the children at home and Steve is a lawyer. By watching their family, I have noticed that their children are who they have become because mom is always there, teaching and loving them; and because dad goes to work at 4:00am, so that he can finish his workday and be home by 3:00 p.m. He is able to be with the children all afternoon because he rearranged his work hours. Then he is able to have more of that valuable quantity of time.

Candice and Jerry

Candice and Jerry have seven children. Jerry chose to start his own computer business so that he could stay home with his family. He stops working each day at 5:00 p.m. whether he is done with his work or not so that he can help make dinner, eat as a family and spend time with his wife and the children. After he has tucked his family in bed, he begins his night work until he is too tired to continue. He refuses to sacrifice his family time for work.

The Peck Family

Neither of these options work for our family, but we recognized the importance of dad’s presence in the home, so we have come up with a different way for Spencer to have additional time with the children.

Spencer owns his own plumbing business, so that he can have more flexibility for family time.In his business, there are slow times and there are times when business in ‘booming.’When times are slow, he is home with us.He jumps into the home world.He finds things to teach the children.He reads to the children whenever he can.Even if it means reading them the book he is trying to get through for himself.

What does that teach the children? He is showing them that reading is good; that Dad has academic goals, and inspires them to have similar goals too. He shows his children that real men never stop learning; that he wants them to be able to get to a point where he can discuss hard books with them; that reading is play; and the Dad wants to share everything he does with them.

When business is ’booming,’ Spencer will stop by the house on his way to the parts store or a job and pick up one of the children to accompany him. The outing may only be for a short time, but he is unconsciously showing the children that they are more important to him than work.

When my oldest son turned 10, Spencer started taking him to work every Wednesday as his apprentice. He felt, based on his mentor sessions, that Quin had a desire and was mature enough to start learning to plumbing trade. He also sings barbershop with Quin for at least six hours a week.

Because of these experiences, my oldest son has a solid vision of what it means to be a man. Going to work with Dad and being in a nationally renowned barbershop chorus with incredibly focused, inspiring men has caused my son to tackle big projects and set life goals for himself. He knows his life has purpose at age 11.

Addressing Yes isContinued here.



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