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Entries in styles of parenting (4)

Wednesday
Jul312013

Happy Belated Father’s Day… Mom (Guest Post)

One of Films most Famous Single Moms (Forrest Gump, 1994)

A Guest Post by Brian Gawlak (a.k.a. The Cook at Home Dad)

Last year was my first father's day since my biological father passed away. I spent the day mourning less the loss of the human being whom I had little connection to, but more the loss of hope that I would ever have a dad. I felt semi orphaned. I always hoped things would get better with my father, even when we were estranged and in difficult times. Sadly, that will never be. Today marks the two year anniversary of his death. I have been trying to give meaning to the loss since this past father’s day and I was a bit surprised with what I came to.

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Wednesday
Jun192013

Dictating to Dads - The Madness of Maternal Gatekeeping

Today I was put on to a great parenting term by a fellow dad blogger: "Maternal Gatekeeping." According to an article provided by Dr. Josh Misner, more affectionately known in the dad blogging community as Mindful Dad, "Maternal gatekeeping is conceptualized within the framework of the social construction of gender and is defined as having three dimensions: mothers' reluctance to relinquish responsibility over family matters by setting rigid standards, external validation of a mothering Identity, and differentiated conceptions of family roles" (Allen, S.M. & Hawkins, A.J. (1999). Maternal gatekeeping: Mothers' beliefs and behaviors that inhibit greater father involvement in family work. Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 199-212). As a layman that confused the hell out of me, so I asked Josh to explain it in his own words. "For mothers, there is a social identity component to being a mother," says Misner, who did his doctoral thesis on the subject, "...and when that is challenged by an outsider (e.g., Dad), there can be a fierce and defensive subconscious reaction to defend the ego and identity. Many mothers do this without even knowing it." So, to put it in it's simplest terms - moms have a lot of pressure on them to be perfect from a society that tells them no one can do it better then they can and therefor they just take over without ever giving dads a chance.

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Sunday
Jan272013

Free to Be You and Me- It's Not Just For Children Anymore

If you ask me, I think the worst realization a parent can have is the fact that one day their children are going to ask them the meaning of life and their either going to have to tell them the truth or they going to have to flat out lie to them. Talk about finding yourself between a rock and a hard place. Do you tell your children the truth and destroy all the ideals you've tried to instill in them since birth, or do you lie and allow them to go on believing that human nature is inherently good and people aren't just self-serving, self-involved servants to their own egos. The truth is maybe people just don't know how to be human anymore, and all we're left with are individuals who only care about their own points of view and nothing else.

Now, I'm not one who wants to believe the worst of people, but it gets harder and harder all the time. It seems like no one can ask a question these days without some one or some group of people turning it around on them and attacking them for their audacity for asking such a question, or for not knowing the answer on their own, or for not knowing what they already know, or think. From where I stand, people are so quick to attack others for not being exactly like them that there are no safe questions to ask anymore as someone is always looking for a fight and will take it to you whether you want one or not. And parenting forums are the worst. People scrutinize everything you say these days from your wording, to your intentions, to your fitness to be a parent. And why? So they can feel superior? Well that's an illusion, and it's not doing anyone any good.

Are we so afraid as a society to make mistakes? Do we hold on to our beliefs so tightly, so rigidly that we can't admit that, more often than not, we're arguing over things that are meaningless in the grand scheme of things? Is the goal of parenting not to raise well-adjusted adults, and does it really matter how we get there? It has been suggested that humans are so smart we're stupid, and I'm one to agree. We spend so much time arguing about things that just don't matter, and attacking each other instead of working together to achieve the one thing we all so desperately want- a better world for our kids. We don't suggest better ways of doing things to those who seek our help, we instead defend our choices to the death, and seek and destroy any one who tries to tell us our way is not THE way of getting things done. Is there no room for differences of opinion anymore? Can no one agree to disagree? Do we always have to choose sides, with no room for compromise, or compassion, or common sense? Why do we even have the ability to reason if few of us even attempt to use it?

From what I'm starting to understand, the meaning of life is to be right, at all costs. No one wants to ever admit they're wrong anymore. We all just seem to hold on to something that works for us and push it on everybody else so WE don't feel like we might have made a wrong decision, or we don't have to feel like someone else can get the same results as we did by doing it differently, or faster, or smarter, or with less effort. We have to know that we did everyhting the right way, and therefore someone else has to always be wrong so we can feel "good" about ourselves, and our choices, and our parenting. But what are we teaching our kids? People always complain about this generation being spoiled, and self-indulgent, and unrealistic - but who the hell raised these kids? Who raised them to believe that it's okay to think they are always better than somebody else, or superior, or that their opinions are more important than anybody elses? We did. And we can't admit it to them, or ourselves.

I can't tell my kids that the world is selfish. I can't tell them that everyone around them is out to satisfy their own ego at the expense of anyone who might try to suggest viable alternatives to their way of seeing the world. I can't tell them that the world hates what is different, or in the minority, or what isn't tried and true. I don't want to tell them that having a difference of opinion is an offence punishable by death in some countries or by public attack on the World Wide Web (the Internet). I don't want to be the one who destroys their innocence. I don't want to be the one who destroys their natural instincts to help their fellow man. But it's my job to be forthright and honest with my kids.

The world sucks. Now, who wants to be brave enough to help me, and my children fix it?...

Repeat after me. "I am not always right, and my way of life is not everybody elses'."

There, don't you feel better now? Don't you feel "free?"

Change starts with one person- you! Be brave. Be human. And let's teach our kids it's okay to be the same.

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Original Caste Recording, One Tin Soldier- The Legend of Billy Jack (1971) 


Saturday
Jan122013

THE ESSENCE OF PARENTING- THE AGONY AND THE ECSTASY

Image courtesy of City Slickers (1991)When you're lucky enough to talk about a topic as interesting as parenting on a daily basis, and you are opened up to a variety of opinions and attitudes on the subject, you can't help but come to one realization: every body parents in their own way. But, if someone were to ask me my take on what parenting is all about, I guess I can break it down in to something very simple that every parent can agree on- the essence of parenting, if you will; something all parents will read and say "yep." So here are my thoughts on the how to break down parenting to it's simplest terms...

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