Sunday, July 01, 2007

Don't Discount Dad

A distant acquaintance of mine is moving away this month. She and her husband have been separated for some time and now she is moving out of state to be close to her family. I remarked to another friend, "wow, isn't she worried about taking the kids away from their Dad?"

"No," was the reply, "because he's not really working to be a part of their lives anyway. He just calls before bed." This answer was from someone who feeds her kids before their Dad gets home because he doesn't leave work early enough for her. From the days when I was home full-time, I know that it is easy to fall into the "I'm-the-parenting-expert" role because the at-home person knows the kids' rhythms, habits, routines and how to make them their most presentable. The parent who is home less is more apt to change the schedule, skip the nap, bestow the treat or start the wild game.

I don't pretend to know which is more correct, the rigid scheduler or the willy-nilly fun bringer. Regardless, to deny kids the ability to see their Dad, or to disclaim and discount his presence at dinner, in the house, in the state seems weird to me. Dad (and I mean that generically) is too important to be left out. It's silly pretentiousness to think that the stay-at-home parent's input is all that is necessary to help the kids grow up.


Dogwood Girl said...

God, that is so sad. Forget the SAH parent vs. working parent - Kids really do better when they have both a female and male role model. I am not saying that gay couples raising kids are shortchanging their kids - I am fully in support of loving parents raising loving kids, especially in a world where there are so many kids who don't even have ONE decent parent. But I am amazed, time and again, at the lessons my kids learn from dad that they would never learn from me.

That being said, there is a chance that the dad in this situation is just plain a jerk, and in that case, maybe some uncle or Grandpa love is actually going to do them some more good.

Steph Bachman said...

Yeah, I have no idea if the Dad in question is a jerk or not so that is certainly a consideration.

However, in the case of my friend who doesn't wait dinner on Dad - he's a good guy and dad and just can't leave early because of the work atmosphere.