The world of celebrity gives us a wide variety of cool dads. Will Smith, David Beckham, Neil Patrick harris, Ben Affleck (let’s face it, what’s cooler than being able to tell your kids you’re Batman and not be lying)… the list goes on and on. These guys seem to juggle the pressures of demanding jobs and raising a family with ease, presenting themselves to the world with style and taste and appearing to garner genuine love and respect from their kids. Of course it can’t hurt that they’re all also impossibly good looking millionaires. For those of us who live in something that more closely resembles the real world, striking the balance is a little harder.
The obstacles to being a cool Dad
As much fun as it is to all the good stuff like playing video games with your kids, reading them bedtime stories or playing sports with them, the realities of fatherhood simply make being cool prohibitive. The mistake many parents (particularly Dads) make is to try and be friends with their kids. This just isn’t possible, because they already have friends and their friends don’t need to shoulder the burden of raising them. Friends didn’t have to get up at 3am to feed them every morning for their first three months. Friends don’t have to chide them for leaving their room a mess or have to have difficult conversations with them about puberty. You’ll have to tell them off, you’ll have to draw boundaries that they won’t appreciate, you’ll be obliged to teach them lessons they don’t want to learn and you’ll have to tell them not to do things they want to do. The sad fact of parenthood is that the nature of parenthood will lead you to do things that will make your children hate, fear or resent you.
Are you trying too hard?
From Phil Dumphy to Randy Marsh, pop culture is littered with painful examples of Dads who often try too hard to win the acceptance of their kids. Swapping your smart Dickies work pants for skinny jeans, talking in their slang and expressing a taste in their music is likely to engender nothing but eye rolls and smirks.
Many Gen X parents view parenthood as a way to enjoy the things they love through a fresh pair of eyes with their kids. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t. There is, however, nothing more likely to foster resentment than forcing your kids to like Star Wars if they’re simply not into it.
It’s better to be a good Dad than a cool Dad
The only way to be a cool Dad is to be a cool person who happens to be a Dad. You don’t need your kids to tell you you’re cool, you just have to make sure you’re doing your job and looking after them to the best of your ability. They might not say it out loud. They might not even be consciously aware of it, but they’ll appreciate it far more than your feigned interest in Calvin Harris.
GetConnectDad is growing at an incredible pace because parents are actively sharing what we are doing with their friends and families. We are so thankful. If you would like to receive a bi-weekly summary of articles like this, please fill out our subscription form below. We are very careful to limit the number of emails we send per month because we, like you, are busy parents!