Alright Dads, No More Sitting On The Side Lines: GET IN THE GAME

Alright Dads, No More Sitting On The Side Lines:  GET IN THE GAME

 

By: Spencer Loyd

 

Recently I came home from work, and the house was a mess, the kids were not fed, and my wife was watching TV. My first thought, which I kept to myself, was, “Are you kidding me? I worked all day and come home to this!” However, instead of putting my foot in my mouth, I did something different; I asked what I could do to help and went to work. After thirty minutes of getting the house clean and cooking dinner, my wife basically jumped in my arms and said, “THANK YOU!” She proceeded to tell me of the terrible day she had, which involved cleaning up one of our kid’s vomit and diarrhea, finding out her mom may have another tumor, cleaning more vomit, and then vomiting herself. For a moment, I was grateful I spent the day at work! Then it hit me; just a little bit of help from me made a world of difference for my wife.

If you are anything like me, you may have separated your responsibilities from your wife’s. In the past, our society designated the man as the breadwinner and the woman as the caretaker and housekeeper. We don’t live in this world anymore, but many people continue to believe in this ideology. In fact, a 2017 study by Rebecca M. Horne, Matthew D. Johnson, Nancy L. Galambos, & Harvey J. Krahn found that women still do more housework than men at all stages of life, even when both husband and wife work. Despite your upbringing or past examples, the first major flaw in this ideology that must be addressed is the idea that the responsibility to care for the kids is solely the mothers.

Being a father is much more than just taking care of your family financially. Sociologist David Popenoe said, “Fathers are far more than just ‘second adults’ in the home. Involved fathers bring positive benefits to their children that no other person is as likely to bring.” In my life I have found I can address issues in a different way than my wife. Sometimes, because my children have similar traits as I did when I was a child, they are able to better understand my perspective. As my wife and I work together, each focusing on our strengths, our children are the beneficiaries of a happier home.

Here are a couple of tips I have found extremely helpful for becoming a more active dad in my children’s lives:

  • First and foremost, the way you treat your wife is the example you’re setting for your kids. Therefore, don’t be a jerk! Treat your wife the same way you did when you were dating her; bring her flowers occasionally, court her, make sure she knows you love her, and make sure your kids know you love her!
  • Next, love, respect, and protect your kids. It can be hard to remember at times, but kids are people with their own likes and dislikes and with different opinions than yours. Your children should know through your thoughts, words, and actions that no matter what choices, mistakes, or decisions they make, you love them and will always love them.
  • Even though we show unconditional love, we have to establish rules and boundaries and model how to live within the guidelines. These rules and boundaries can be anything from showing respect for adults such as using sir or mam to basic household rules such as everyone cleaning up their own messes and helping with household chores. It is essential to discuss the rules and consequences for breaking the rules with your wife before you implement them, and make sure you support each other in upholding the rules you have set.
  • It is also important to get involved in conversations with your kids, even the ones that might make you uncomfortable like sex and puberty talks. Generally speaking, dads talk to sons and moms talk to daughters when it comes to sex and puberty. This doesn’t have to be the case. Dads can give daughters and sons a different perspective on subjects like these, but they have to choose to actively participate. Check out 30 Days of Sex Talks and 30 Days to a Stronger Child for some advice on these conversations.
  • Model the behaviors you want your kids to have–especially online. If you don’t want your kids to be bullies, then make sure you aren’t a bully. If you don’t want your kids spending all of their free time on their phones, then don’t do it either. It may seem small and simple, but your kids will do what they see you do.
  • Become more involved in what your kids like. A majority of kids in society today enjoy video games, TV shows, movies, and other forms of technology. Therefore, make sure your kids know your standards and only use technology in ways that are appropriate. You have to be the one who teaches them what is and isn’t appropriate! A great book about teaching your kids how to use technology for good is Noah’s New Phone.

There are many things we can do as dads to step it up and help our kids. Having a desire to do better is where we all start. I personally believe many dads can do a little better than they have in the past because I have been there, and I am trying to improve my abilities as a father every day. We can do it; just get off the sidelines and get in the game!

 

Spencer Loyd is the father of four amazing children under the age of 10. He attended Brigham Young University-Idaho and studied Marriage and Family Studies, and he currently works as a substance abuse counselor at a correctional facility. Spencer has a passion for music, especially creating his own with his family, and binge watching scary movies with his brothers. He also enjoys helping others succeed and seeing the joy this brings.  

Citations:

Horne, R. M., Johnson, M. D., Galambos, N. L., & Krahn, H. J. (2017). Time, Money, or Gender? Predictors of the Division of Household Labour Across Life Stages. Sex Roles. doi:10.1007/s11199-017-0832-1

Stanton, G. (2004). The Involved Father. Retrieved November 30, 2017, from http://www.focusonthefamily.com/parenting/parenting-roles/the-involved-father/fathers-matter