How to be a great dad: How to ensure your daughter has good relationships with men.

This is another post in my series of how to be a good guy/better man. I see all over the web about MGTOW and men checking out and to be blunt I completely understand why. We aren’t going to get into that in this post but I want to make sure I am clear here, traditional gender roles, traditional relationships and traditional marriage might not be for you regardless of gender. I happen to be in one, by choice many years ago and that is the context of this advice.

Children watch adults and mirror behaviors. I don’t think that is going too far out on a limb, it’s how we all learn by exposure to situations, observation and modeling successful outcomes. That out of the way let me state for the record I am no expert in women romantically, I mean I have had a decent amount of romantic relationships in my time but I am years removed from that.

I am however experienced and nuanced in female relationships. I spent a lot of time with my Grandmother and mother, I have sisters, I have a wife, I have a daughter. IMHO I have observed the women in my life conduct themselves in just about every normal situation you can think of. Again this isn’t a post that is pertaining to sex but rather real life (power goes off, flat tires, sick spouses, politics, work issues). So while I am not going to proclaim I am an authority I do have a broad scope of experience.

OMG is this guy going to get to the point….

How do you ensure your daughter has a good relationship with men as a dad? Conduct yourself toward the women in your life the way you would want a man to conduct himself with your daughter. Your daughter is watching you and how you treat women and it’s the most likely influence for her to base her future relationships with men. Treating women with respect, and conversely expecting women to treat you with respect is paramount. Respect leads to trust, trust leads to several positive outcomes in personal relationships.

If you are an angry aggressive man, chances are your daughter ends up with one. Are you a pushover, and are miserable at work and your spouse doesn’t treat you well? That’s likely to be what your daughter does as well. The point here is pretty simple, your daughter is looking to you for more than just the normal emotional support you give children but what she should be looking for in a man in the future, if she in fact wants one.

It’s not just how you behave in the home or with family that is crucial it’s how you expect others to treat you as well. Stand up for yourself, be compassionate but confident. Be understanding but firm. Work on yourself as best you can, work on improvements where you deem it needed and remember she is watching you.

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Advice from a Dad: How to deal with kids going back to school during a pandemic

Normally I would link an article and give a quote then pontificate about the theory espoused in said article. We aren’t going to do that today. Today I am reaching into my parenting tool box to give you one sure fire way to navigate the pending education issue in the fall that most families are going to have to deal with due to the pandemic. It’s actually a very simple technique, one you have heard of over and over again. That said many of us get exhausted from trying this, we get lax and we settle into an uncomfortable acceptance.

The “simple technique”? Talk to your kids. I know you have heard it before but do you actually do it? When my kids were little (they are now college age) I talked to them but not as directly as I think I should have. You see as a parent one of our primary jobs is to help our kids navigate hard times, to soften the blow of reality if you will. Well reality is pounding on your door with a pandemic raging, civil unrest, and a pending Presidential election that will probably be the most vitriolic we’ve had in a long time.

“What do I say?” I know that’s the hardest thing to get started. The first thing I would recommend doing is ask your child directly “Do you feel comfortable going back to school in the fall?” No matter what their answer is, follow up with a “why?” Let them have the chance to explain why they feel the way they do. Let them have the adult conversation. I know there are some of you out there who are aghast at the notion your 7 year old daughter/son has to deal with this let alone answer these adult questions.

Whom would you prefer they ask? It’s everywhere, and they hear it. If it’s the TV in the back ground, your cell phone conversation, news blips online they see, they know what’s going on. The thing about going back to school is, they are the ones who actually have to go and do it. The adults make the decision and the kids have to execute the mandate. Involve your kids in reasonable discourse. Example: I wouldn’t say bring your kid to a protest at the town hall but when the school committee meeting is on your local cable access and they are discussing it, have the child watch.

An engaged and educated child is critical today. I know, it’s an adult issue and it sucks they have to deal with it. It’s far more important that they engage this issue with you first and learn what they can about it through your guidance prior to being thrust into a situation where they will be confused. Let’s assume school DOES happen in the fall, what does it look like? Segregated seating, masks, some teachers out? Not to mention, what narrative are they going to get from said teachers?

There isn’t a right or wrong answer here. Your kids are going to be on the front lines of a huge social and political issue in a month. It’s a lot of pressure for them and they need your guidance. You are a great parent, give them the benefit of the doubt and let them grow up a little here and engage them on this issue NOW.

I know, I wish things were normal. Soccer on Saturday mornings, a winter play/concert in the school auditorium. It’s not going to happen anytime soon and as a parent with older kids who got all that unfettered you have my empathy. Talk to your kids, find out if they are okay, find out what they think and they will be better prepared for whatever happens in our schools this fall.

You are doing awesome, one day at a time.

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