So lately, I have been witness to some amazingly epic fathering failures across all parts of my life. It’s starting to piss me off because the whole fatherhood thing is really not that hard and I can’t believe there are so many men who are utterly incapable of mastering it. While I may not be an expert, per se, as my children are 3 years old and 11 months old, respectively, I do have extensive experience with teenagers and happen to have had a decent father of my own. I also know at least a few other people with fathers, both competent and incompetent, so I think I can write on the subject with some degree of authority.
So, without further ado, here are a series of rules that should serve any father or potential father well. These apply especially to fathers of daughters, but most transfer easily to boys.
1. Do not be a petty asshole
Here’s the thing about your kids, they are kids. They might act immature occasionally, but you know what? They’re supposed to. Don’t pick ridiculous fights with your children. It’s important that you at least appear to be reasonable.
2. Show affection to your children.
I know, you’re a “man” and stuff. I also do not care. You know how many times my dad has hugged me and told me he loved me? Yeah, me neither because the number is uncountably huge. On a related note, I have a really awesome relationship with my dad.
3. It is not your children’s job to learn about your interests, it is your job to learn about theirs.
Also, you should at least attempt to feign an interest. Learn about it a little bit. If you show this kind of initiative, your children might realize you care about them. If you dismiss your child’s passionate interests, it it often the same as dismissing them.
4. Don’t get mad when your kids turn out to be different than you.
Your child is not your clone. Chill. If your kid likes to murder people, this is cause for ceasing the relationship (and reporting them to the police). If they support a presidential candidate different from yours, this is maybe cause for a fun political argument, but not the time to scream at them and make threats and other stupid shit.
5. Admit when you are wrong.
This seems obvious, but apparently it isn’t. You will be wrong sometimes, and, get this, often your kids will know you are wrong. If you refuse to admit it, you just look like an asshole.
6. Don’t act like you own your children.
You especially don’t own their sexuality. Your daughter’s value is not tied up in her virginity. For more information on this, see here.
7. Do not lord money over your children.
Oh, you raised them! You paid for everything they ever did! You bought them food! You know what that’s called? Being a parent. If you aren’t willing to do this stuff, don’t have kids. It’s one thing if your children are openly ungrateful for luxuries, but never act like you’re doing something special by providing necessities. That just makes you a jerk.