Tag Archives: fathers

Getting Dads Involved in Schools with National PTA President Otha Thornton

I had the honor of interviewing, Otha Thornton, new president of the National PTA. Mr. Thornton shared his plans for the organization and resources for dads to get involved in their local PTA.

What Kind of Man Do You Want to Be: Image of a Real Man

This month’s What Kind of Man Do You Want to Be topic: The Image of a Real Man was a conversation about the image of a real man and how societal  and media masculine standards perpetuates male stereotyping.

Panelists  for Part I:  Enrique Pascal,  author of What Does A Real MAN Look Like? and host of Transformation Radio and Alan Bishop, founder of The 365 Effect, producer and creator several television shows .

Panelists for Part II: Edmund Adjapong, Rey Saint-Vil and Alex Hanse

Have Faith in Dad

This week, I am dedicating a post a day to a word the exemplifies a “real dad”.  Unfortunately, our society had taken a polarized stand when it comes to fatherhood. Basically, you’re either Cliff Huxtable or Darth Vader.

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We tend to neglect or forget the men in between. The dads who despite not having a great role model, dis their best to provide for their children, love them and instill strong family values. These men are rarely talked about because we have this unfair expectations of fathers. We laud fathers who make supreme sacrifices but we demonize those who fall short of being “Dad of the Year”.

We forget that these men are human  and not without fault. Yes, its not enough for them to provide for their children, they must be emotionally, mentally and spiritually present in their lives. Before a man can do all this, he must have faith in himself as a father. He has to believe that he is the man for this job. He has to know that parenting is a futile attempt to make order out of chaos.

Yes, there will be days when you disappoint your kids and yourself, yet this does not mean that you are a bad father.  It is a learning experience.  Just as there are no perfect moms, there are no perfect dads.

So today, I urge all fathers who feel they are threading closely to parenting failure to take heart. For every dad that thinks he’s screwing up, there’s a kid proving him wrong.

Moms, let’s do our part to be supportive and encouraging instead of critical when dad is doing his best. We can not control and dictate every situation.  If we want our sons to become responsible fathers, we have to let them see their dad in action.

I used to think that I did things better than my husband and would micromanage almost everything.  Looking back, I was afraid that if he could handle it,  he would take over my role as mom.  It sounds silly now, but the insecurities we have as parents manifest in our actions.

Learning to share the responsibilities gave me more freedom to do the things I wanted to do and gave my husband a chance to bond with his sons.

Iron Man 3: How Fathers Create Their Sons In Their Own Image

He was cold, calculating, never told me he loved me, didn’t even tell me that he liked me, so it’s a bit hard for me to digest that he said the whole future is riding on me thing, you’re talking about a man who’s happiest day of his life was shipping me off to boarding school.
  ~Tony Stark, Iron Man 2

There is one thing that can reduce a powerful man to a little boy. It’s the need to gain his father’s favor or approval. We see it with powerful men who work tirelessly to live up to a father’s legacy of fulfill a father’s unfulfilled dreams. Whether his father is living or deceased, these men yearn for an  “Attaboy” or a pat on the back.

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Maybe the dad withholds praise from his son to keep him motivated or he disapproves of his son’s choices in life.  Unfortunately, what the father perceives as motivation, the son sees as criticism.  Howard Stark wants his son to excel but he pushes  Tony to his breaking point.  Instead of seeing his son for the brilliant young man he is, Howard sets exceptionally high expectations for Tony.  In father’s eyes: Son is not living up to his potential. In son’s mind: Dad will never be satisfied with me.

They say every superhero is complicated.  Tony Stark is no exception. Behind the “iron mask” Tony Stark has managed to suppress the pain and disappointment in not having a better relationship with his father.   He becomes a man of contradictions wanting to save the world but incapable of saving himself from his anger and pain. Despite being wealthy, successful and intelligent, Tony Stark can not live up to his father’s expectations. He creates a double life for himself and tries desperately to balance the dysfunction in his life.  He seeks security through women and expensive toys.  The money and the sex does little to bring him any real satisfaction.

An internal war rages inside Tony because he feels he will never receive what he wants: His father’s approval.  While Howard Stark focuses on his legacy and Stark Industries, Tony focuses on winning his dad’s love. The “Cat in the Cradle” relationship between father and son proves to be damaging to Tony’s self-esteem despite his attempts to cover it up with self-glorification. His drive for becoming a superhero is more about proving his father wrong and proving himself worthy.

This need to win over his father keeps Tony in a perpetual state of boyhood, no matter how accomplished or successful he is in life.  The connection between father and son is powerful and a father must keep in mind that his son defers to him as he transitions into manhood. A father’s approval or disapproval of his son can make his son feel unworthy and insignificant. His son may spend his life chasing success, fame, wealth or power just to prove to his dad that he is just like him or better.

The father/son relationship is the least nurtured in a family.  In the Stark family, the message is clear: Achievement takes precedence over emotional connection.  The result of a broken father/son relationship is that the son never fully develops as a man. He longs for praise and adoration.  What Tony Stark fails to realize is that as much as he wants to set himself apart from his father, he is very much like his father.  While his father built an emotional armor, Tony built a real armor.  Until a father hands his son his ” spiritual birthright”, a son spends years in the “waiting place”, waiting for dad to give him a wink and say, “Attaboy!” Fathers need to understand that withholding approval from their sons creates feeling of resentment, shame or inferiority. Our goal in raising boys is to help them become happy, healthy, confident, and successful men. This starts with fathers and sons connecting, communicating and breaking the cycle of  unhealthy relationships.

This post is part of the Building A Better Man: Iron Man 3 The Upgrade Yourself Review Series

Please read:

Part I:  Who Does She Really Love: The Man or the Machine by  Victory Unlimited Show

Part II: The Blueprint of a Man by The Style Gent

Part IV: How to Dismantle an Iron Man by Victory Unlimited Show

Part V:  May 9: Live Discussion of The Upgrade Yourself Series on the Dr. Vibe Show- 9pm Est

Is Your Husband a Sitcom Dad?

Goofy
Photo courtesy of CarbonNYC (Flickr)

If you're looking for a great example of a mature, responsible dad, then don't watch sitcoms.  Shows such as Modern Family, Two and a Half Men, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Cleveland Show and Family Guy depict dads as goofy, irresponsible and unpredictable. The last mature sitcom dad I could think of was Clifford Huxtable on The Cosby Show

Most of the dads on these shows are incompetent, needy and dependent. They are emasculated by their smart, educated and strong wives, who often come to their rescue because of  their irresponsible passive behavior. These men can not be trusted to watch the clock, let alone their kids.

It hit me last night as I was watching The Cleveland Show with my son and realized that no one respects poor Cleveland.  Although we laughed through the show, I couldn't help but think how the portrayal of dads on these shows somehow stereotype the men as dads.  Yes, it's all for fun, but it makes me think how boys view their own manhood.

What message are we sending boys when he is watching a show where a dad can't be trusted to spend time with his own kids without getting into trouble. It bothers me when I se a disengaged father on tv, because to me it sends the message that as long as a dad is physically in the home, he does not need to be emotionally involved with his children.

I know many men offline and on line who do not fit these stereotypes but yet the media continues to reinforce this image of dad as a bumbling fool. The same way the catty, vindictive and often vicious behavior of women on show such as Real Housewives and Bad Girls Club shouldn't be condoned where is the outrage that most dads on tv misrepresent dads in real life. Is it me or is it a double standard?

There has to be a balance between empowering girls and women and encouraging boys and men to be men of honor and integrity.

I know that as a parent it is my responsibility to monitor what my sons watch on tv or the internet, and we do our best to have family discussions about expectations. I'm grateful that my husband, my father and my brother are not like these sitcom dads, but I still worry about how much the media influences boys and distorts the reality of fatherhood.

What are your thoughts on media portrayal of dads?

 

 

25 Things a Boy Should Learn From His Father

FatherSon

The father/son relationship is the least nurtured in the family. Fathers play an important role in their son's  lives and as moms of boys we need to support and encourage these relationships.

  1. How to have self-control
  2. How to value his money
  3. How to manage his time
  4. How to practice safe sex
  5. How to give back to society
  6. How to tie a tie
  7. How to be self-disciplined
  8. How to lose graciously
  9. How to buy a suit
  10. How to change a tire
  11. How to buy a gift for the women in his life
  12. How to choose the right woman
  13. How to do laundry properly
  14. How to engage in a meaningful relationship
  15. How to tip at a restaurant
  16. How to properly shake a hand
  17. How to be accountable for his actions 
  18. How to get out of an unhealthy relationship responsibly
  19. How to travel internationally
  20. How to dress for a job interview
  21. How to negotiate
  22. How to speak up and stand up for justice
  23. How to take care of his family
  24. How to rely on his faith
  25. How to put the seat down

What do you think should be added to the list?

Image: Flickr

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How to Be a Great Dad

Dad

I'll be honest. I wrote this years ago and I felt the need to share it today. A special thank you to all the great dads who are emotionally, spiritually, mentally and financially invest in their children. Also, check out Great Dad.com

Any man can be a father, but it takes an exceptional man to be a dad. Being involved in a child's life make a big difference in his/her life. Here are ten tips for all you dads.

You are your child's most important teacher- Your child's informal education is just as valuable as his/her formal education. Teach your child core life values.

Be affectionate. Some dads do not show affection because they do not know how to or they think that it is not a masculine thing to do. However, by showing your child affection, you are helping your child to be more loving and be comfortable with expressing his/her emotions.

Spend valuable time with your children. Bond with your child in a way that is special to both of you. If you love sports, but your son doesn't, find a hobby or task that you can do together.

Be clear and consistent with your rules. Respect and make an agreement about rules with your child's mother and follow them. Once your child realizes that you will not follow through with your discipline, he/she will regard your rules as insignificant.

Discipline with love. Many dads see themselves as the disciplinarian. This doesn't mean that you raise your child with an authoritarian attitude. Let your child understand the consequences of breaking the rules. Hold your child accountable for his/her behavior.

Be a positive role model. Be the kind of man you want your son to grow up to be and the kind of man you want your daughter to marry.

Respect your children's mother- Even if you are no longer with your child's mother, be respectful of your child's mother and ask for her to grant you the same kind of respect. If she's saying negative things about you, be the bigger person.

Be involved in your child's life. Make the time to participate in your child's school or extracurricular activities.

Know your child. Do you know your child's favorite book, song, color, food, toy, subject in school, teacher, sport, television show, friend, etc?

Listen to your child. Strengthen your relationship with your child by listening instead of trying to fix the problem. Sometimes children just want to talk through a situation, not have someone jump in and solve it for them. Ask your child if he/she wants your advice or opinion before offering it.

Fun Quiz to See How Well You Know Your Child

Quiz

We assume because we speak to our children and listen to them on a daily basis, that we really know what's going on with them. Once my son hit puberty, I began to see a change in him. He no longer had interest in the things that he once enjoyed when he as a "child".

I had to keep up with the changes in his life and prying or asking too many questions would be a turn-off. Even though we have a close relationship, I know there are times when he doesn't feel like telling mom or dad anything.

This quiz is a quick and easy way to find out more about your child without getting the brush-off. In addition, you can have your child ask you some of the relevant quiz questions.

The quiz should be played like the Newlywed Game.

Have fun!! :-)

How Welll Do You Know Your Child Quiz