Update: Related: Why are Modern Women Angry?
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“Every 3.24 minutes, a dad acts like a buffoon.”
That’s the conclusion of a small study done by a student at Brigham Young University after watching eight hours of the two most popular Disney “tween” shows featuring families. The results of the research — “Daddies or Dummies?” — are not particularly surprising.
Are “Good Luck Charlie” and “Girl Meets World” any different from previous sitcoms like “Roseanne” or “Home Improvement”? A 2001 study by Erica Scharrer in the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media found that the number of times a mother told a joke at the father’s expense increased from 1.80 times per episode in the 1950s to 4.29 times per episode in 1990.
But what’s interesting about the new research is that the author, Savannah Keenan, also looked at the reaction of the children on screen to their fathers’ displays of cluelessness. At least half the time, children reacted “negatively” to these displays — by rolling their eyes, making fun of Dad, criticizing him, walking away while he’s talking or otherwise expressing their annoyance.
This behavior, especially on Disney shows, has become the norm to such a degree that parents regularly tell me they don’t allow their children to watch the channel. There’s no sex or violence — but there’s only so many times they want their children to watch their counterparts on screen ignore, insult or pretend to humor their parents for laughs.
We should probably be most concerned when dads are the butt of the joke. Decades ago, when the place of men in the family and in the work world was clear, the use of comedy to make the powerful powerless was understandable and helped lighten the mood by humanizing the authority figure….Today’s sitcoms, by contrast, often show dads trying to act like mothers have traditionally — and failing miserably.
Our oldest daughter was about 10 when we finally got cable. It went away a week later when The Missus realized how rapidly she was devolving into Lizzie McGuire. Not to mention the trash on all the other channels.
We’ve never missed it.
Defense Sec. Ashton B. Carter announced a series of initiatives on Thursday designed to make the military a more family-friendly employer, extending maternity leave across the force and expanding access to child care and expensive reproductive technologies.
“As we introduce today’s reforms, our calculation is quite simple,” Carter told reporters at the Pentagon. “We want our people to be able to balance two of the most solemn commitments they could ever make: a commitment to serve their country and a commitment to start and support a family.
As part of the new measures, the Pentagon will now provide 12 continuous weeks of paid maternity leave for all uniformed service members. That will be a major jump for many service members, including those in the army, who now receive only 6 weeks of paid leave. It’s likely to be a disappointment to members of the Navy and Marine Corps who, under a change last year, receive 18 weeks of paid maternity leave. Carter said members of those services who are currently pregnant will be granted 18 rather than 12 weeks.
“Twelve weeks is extremely generous … It puts us in the very top tiers of American employers,” Carter said. “But then, you have to balance that against the readiness costs associated with it.”
Paternity leave will increase from 10 to 14 days.
Because fathering is only 1/6th as important.
Fatherhood Leader – How You Can Get Started Online
In my over three years working with fatherhood leaders and programs, I know you. You’re well-intentioned and care about people. You’re doing great work with great heart. But, you’re too busy doing this great work to talk about the great work. You don’t have time, staff, or energy to get started online. So you don’t…and no one is seeing your great impact. It bothers me that you aren’t getting the attention you deserve.
I don’t have all of the answers. But, it seems to me, if you can get a small start with blogging and social media, you and others can quickly start to see the impact you’re having on fathers and families. I’m not talking about celebrity stuff here. I want you and your program to be seen. I want folks around you to see what you’re doing and I want it to inspire others to help dads. Let’s talk about how you, the super busy fatherhood leader, can get started online.
KIM: Melissa began to write her dad letters. She would also call him and update him about her life.
MOORE: I would tell him about my grades. I would tell him about the dances that I was going to at school. And also, I would ask him for advice. I really wanted to have fatherly advice and wisdom just like he used to give me. My father’s advice was really good most of the time. I felt like the letters that I received from my dad were a different side of him. Instead of him signing the letter with a smiley face, he was signing, love, Dad. Thick or thin, I would still be his daughter, and he would still be my dad. Even though he can’t physically be there for me, he could maybe be there emotionally for me.
KIM: As time goes by, Melissa goes to college, gets married, has two kids. And for 10 years, she tried her best to keep him in the loop. Still, she never mentioned him to her kids. Melissa says that most people won’t understand. But she knew that her dad, Keith Jesperson, was a serial killer – one of the worst ones. And still, she also knew that the same man was a loving father.
10 Tips for raising teens without losing your sanity. A sense of humor is so important! And if you’re in the thick of this right now, run – don’t walk – and go get a copy of Smalley’s book on parent-teen relationships.
For far too long, we’ve downplayed or dismissed manual labor because it is toilsome. Toilsome labor—work that is often associated with the hands rather than the head—is work that is incessant, extremely hard, and exhausting. Yet as Scripture says, we can find satisfaction in toilsome labor (Ecclesiastes 5:18).
We must ensure there’s a place for manual work and toilsome labor in the faith and work conversation. We’re failing in our efforts if we aren’t showing people how through such labor they are participating in God’s own work.
Indeed. Here are some earlier thoughts on how this shift from manual to “knowledge” work is already impacting fathers and their kids.
Research: Single Mother Families a Hotbed of Abuse
The vast majority of child sexual abuse occurs within the family setting. However, the fact that in 70-80 per cent of cases the perpetrator is found to have a “familial relationship” with the abused child obscures a more significant truth.
Numerous studies have found that children who do not live with both biological parents, irrespective of socio-economic status, are far more likely to be sexually abused than their peers in traditional families. Girls living in non-traditional families are found to have been sexually abused by their “stepfathers”, either the married, cohabiting, or casual partner of a divorced or single mother, at many times the rate that girls are sexually abused by their biological fathers in traditional families.
Considering walking away? Picture if you will the dude who might be raising your kids someday.
Pushing back twice as hard: Father of bullies fired after Minnesota man takes Snapchat harassment of his daughter into his own hands.
An honest confession of parental hypocrisy.
No sweat, Dad. We still get it right 99% of the time.
“The experience of play changes the connections of the neurons at the front end of your brain,” says Sergio Pellis, a researcher at the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada. “And without play experience, those neurons aren’t changed,” he says.
It is those changes in the prefrontal cortex during childhood that help wire up the brain’s executive control center, which has a critical role in regulating emotions, making plans and solving problems, Pellis says. So play, he adds, is what prepares a young brain for life, love and even schoolwork.
But to produce this sort of brain development, children need to engage in plenty of so-called free play, Pellis says. No coaches, no umpires, no rule books.
We used to call it “roughhousing” and Dad is the ideal adult for this sort of free play.
Moms establish rules with only as much departure from that as seems safe. While still just as invested in their offspring, Dads are much more comfortable with unstructured play. For men, rules are not as much about making play safe (think football or hockey) but making it fair. It’s the latter that truly challenges kids and creates this sort of out-of-the-box learning. That’s the beauty of a mother-father team by the way: A learning environment that energizes kids while quietly balancing risks in the background.
Unfortunately for so many kids, Dads are being told to raise their kids like Moms.
#HowToDad: Dad poses as preteen to nab online predator.
How he resisted the urge to drive over and end the guy, I’ll never know.
Parenting in a fear-based world – Raising kids these days is a scary prospect.
For every possible physical risk that your baby may accidentally encounter (like a sharp-edged coffee table), there’s gear to protect them. This isn’t to say that all baby proofing gear is terrible, but it breeds feelings of anxiety while making a fortune off nervous new parents.
But here’s the thing: We can only protect our kids from so much. If anything, I’ve learned that my kids will find ways to injure themselves in completely safe and supervised situations (like the time Isaac broke his hand on a school trip and knocked out some teeth in our living room). Raising brave children who are willing to take risks means that, as parents, we need to listen more to our intuition than we do experts and books. It’s hard work, but a whole lot cheaper than buying gates and gadgets that provide us with a false sense of safety.
Research shows a father’s intuition is better in this area of parenting.
Consider the New York Times and its Motherlode site. Its goal is “to cover the ways our families affect us, and the ways the news affects our families.” We love the play on words if it were a moms-only site, and bear with us – we’re not comparing a term like white trash to Motherlode – we’re only using an analogy to make a point. Even its url is listed in web language as http://parenting.blogs.nytimes.com/. Note the first word used is parenting, as in moms and dads.
Obviously, families include dads, and with a title like Motherlode, how can it possibly make dads feel welcome, or even make them want to check out the site?
Ignoring half your customer base is a stupid business strategy.
a Video by Philip Bloom (11 minutes)
Did “childcare guru” Penelope Leach backpedal on shared parenting?
One (the more reliable of the two) studied only data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing database. That population very clearly bears no resemblance to that of adults and children generally. It deals with families that have broken down, are poor and mostly consist of racial minorities. The data from that study are an excellent source from which to derive many conclusions, but generalized notions about children and overnights aren’t among them.
The second was far worse. It of course was authored by Jennifer McIntosh, et al and is so bad methodologically as to be irrelevant as demonstrated by Dr. Linda Nielsen’s utter destruction of it. In brief, not only did the authors study a tiny sample of children (as few as 21), but they used matrices to conclude that certain behaviors indicated stress in children that had never been verified to indicate that. As if that weren’t enough, they went on to decide that one type of behavior that has been verified as an indicator of progress toward the acquisition of language is actually an indication of stress. No one before or since has made such a claim or validated McIntosh’s claim.
Tellingly, Leach relies on the latter study to advance her theory that overnights away from the primary caregiver are detrimental to young children. She did that earlier this year and, as this article indicates, she’s still at it (Daily Mail, 11/29/14).
What Leach, McIntosh and the few others who are committed to marginalizing fathers in children’s lives refuse to acknowledge is that the great weight of good science on the subject of children and overnights demonstrates no detriment (assuming both parents to be fit and capable) and suggests positive effects. That’s the gist of the summary of existing science authored by Dr. Richard Warshak and signed onto by 110 of the preeminent social scientists on children’s well-being around the world.
You can’t back-pedal if your fish doesn’t have a bicycle. Or whatever.
The playing career of his famous son, beginning in Little League and continuing for 20 years in The Bronx, is finally over and now Derek’s dad will have that same empty feeling most fathers experience when their sons and daughters are teenagers, or in some cases their early 20’s.
Listen: Our children naturally need a lot of instruction from us. But when was the last time you just hung out with your child and listened to them? Chuck Swindoll recalls such a time.
Despite Dr Coulson being a widely known and highly respected parenting expert, author and speaker, he is acutely aware of his gender — and how he might be perceived — when around children.
“I’ll often be at a park, in an airport, at the shops, and I’ll see a child who’s distressed and crying. The mum’s hands are full, she’s effectively helpless, and I want to help, but I hesitate,” he explains to news.com.au.
“I’m a parenting educator. But I’m terribly concerned what a parent might say or think if a random guy stepped in to comfort a crying baby. I don’t want to be seen to be looking to initiate contact with a child, other than my own.
“There are two reasons for this; a fear of judgment, and it’s also a self-protection mechanism. It’s all about not wanting to be accused of anything, and if I stay away entirely, there’s no risk that that accusation would happen. For most men I’d say it brings peace of mind — it removes any concerns for anyone.
Well, it doesn’t help that women/mothers/children have been taught to fear men generally.
Also reminds me that at one time, all the dads knew each others’ kids. When we saw one in trouble or out of line, a dad would get a thank-you from the other later on for stepping in. And since we knew our folks knew each another, getting out of line was pretty unlikely at all.
A shame that such a thing is long since passed into history.
Unexpected Dad: Life In 3-Hour Increments
At the most recent doctor visit, our daughter weighed in at 6 lbs. 3 oz, so whatever stress or fatigue we feel as a result of the feeding schedule is worth it. Our daughter is gaining weight and growing, playing catch-up from her initial small size. There are nights where shifts go well, but she just refuses to calm down and go back to sleep; most nights all 3 of us get very little sleep. The thought now is that she has colic, that vague, nebulous diagnosis that apparently has no treatment and we must deal with for at least another month.
So for now we live our lives in 3 hour increments, squeezing in sleep where we can, and looking forward to the time when baby will sleep through the night, or at least for 3 or 4 continuous hours.
Good on ’em! When our first came along I quickly realized how little compassion I had for our pink screamer at 2 a.m. Went better when I took the late-evening shift (tuck-ins are fun for dads!!) and the 5 a.m. I-have-to-be-up-anyway-so-come-hang-out-with-me-kid shift. The Missus got a good night sleep on either end.
Every couple – and baby – benefit when they work as a team.
MochaDad: 5 Tips to Help Families Discuss Serious Topics at the Dinner Table. He also recommends ShareTheTable.com.
Claire Flatowicz: How my father shaped my life
By the time he worked at the bakery, Dad was well into his 60’s. He had worked hard all his life, and now was doing a job he had done while in his 30’s. It wasn’t a challenge or anything fun.
One day when he was talking to me about his philosophy of his current job he told me very bluntly, “My name is Schmitt, and I give a sh_ _“
That saying has become the mantra of my whole family. My daughter, Lyndi, told me that if I ever write a book that should be the title of it. I wholeheartedly agree.
I have learned that I really don’t give a sh_ _ about most things in life. They really don’t matter.
The truth about Motherhood regrets.
Now, I have three daughters who reject bedtime and, at the mere mention of it, spin themselves into such a fit that I can not even fathom how to handle three fits at once. The games are ridiculous and redundant, the time it takes to get them to finally lay down is a waste and the entire experience leaves me in tears almost every night of my life. And them too. And I regret it every.single.night. I have no one to blame but myself. I know I should have instilled a structure that was unbreakable. Demanded the respect it takes to get them to mind without punishment, been a PARENT.
Planting honor in the home at a young age is the best way to ensure it blooms down the road. I’m sure that’s in Proverbs or something…
They can’t stop all of us at the same time.