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July 24, 2014

Raising Fathers

Image: Flickr/Charlotte

Image: Flickr/Charlotte

“All women should know how to take care of children. Most of them will have a husband some day.” (Franklin P. Jones)

It’s a sadly common joke to make — dads occupying the role of the biggest kid in the house. Robert Young (“Father Knows Best”) and Bill Cosby have been replaced by Peter Griffin and other imbeciles somehow married to thin, attractive, and hyper-responsible wives. But before we blame television, let’s think about how early we introduce this narrative to our children. Have you read a Berenstein Bears book recently? Dad is just another kid mom has to put up with, and the kids only learn what not to do from him!

There’s a reason why this stereotype persists. Both men and women do just enough to perpetuate it. Husbands, you cannot let your wives do all the child-reading and housework, blame her for your lack of freedom, and then expect her to respect you — let alone long for you — as a man. Wives, you cannot complain about your husband’s lack of involvement, criticize his parenting and/or housework when he does get involved, and then expect him to appreciate you — let alone woo you — as a woman.

Dad, stop acting like another overgrown child. Mom, stop treating him like one. You both may be surprised what grows in that environment.

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