You know what bugs me? Going out with the family and seeing a young (and sometimes older) couple where the Mom’s pushing the stroller with one arm and carrying a child with the other while the Dad strolls behind. There are examples like this all over the place. What am I talking about? The lack of affection and support many guys show for their children when out in public with their families. I say, “out in public” of course because I don’t follow these people home. However, I think there’s something to be said though for the fact that they are out in public.
I think there can be a social stigma around a guy showing affection and loving care for their children. Is this real though or just perception? I would argue it’s mostly perception on the part of the immature guy. We can almost immediately rule out women of prescribing negative attributes to a man “caring” for a child. Most women find a guy who shows affection and support for the care of his children something nice to see. That leaves the rest of the guys out there. But really, have you seen or heard any guy give another guy slack for kissing on his children? Has any guy really gotten slack for pushing a stroller with his baby in it? I can’t even imagine this is the case and if it is I would argue it’s few and far between. So how do we explain the common sites I described in the opening paragraph?
I think it’s a self-prescribed false perception. That is, these guys have it in their head that it’s not “cool” to push the stroller or feed and burp the baby, etc. etc. I’m of course ruling out those guys with a bad back, sprained foot, and/or who are just plain lazy. Could it be more though? Could it be that we don’t have many males that we look to who model this caring behavior? When watching TV whether it is a movie, television show, or sports game you rarely ever see any male figures “care” for their young ones and show affection.
So why is it that the rest of us have no problem taking care of our children and kissing them until they fight us off? I think most of you reading this are probably in this camp. What separates us from those other guys? We watch the same television and may even have the same role models. I guess maturity plays a huge role here. I also think independent thinking is a big factor. We may have had fathers who showed us the “right” way to be with our children. On the other hand we may have had fathers whose behavior we’re trying to avoid replicating. In either case we’re choosing. We’re choosing to ignore what the mainstream would like for us to believe is “right”. There are those that let others decide for them and then there are the rest of us. We’ve made the decision that we’re going to decide how to father. We’ve made the decision that pushing that stroller and kissing our children in public is not only acceptable it’s expected!
When we start deciding that we choose to be Real Dad’s instead of allowing others to form that mold is when change occurs.
What factors do you think played a role in your becoming a “Real Dad”?