Parenting advice for dads; just deliver it straight

parenting advice, parenting advice for dads, dads, fathers, men

If providing parenting advice, please don’t assume your audience is this man. Pic credit below.

I am about to have a rant. The subject; the approach many organisations take when providing parenting advice to dads.

There’s a widespread misconception about us men. For whatever reason, authors, charities and businesses often seem to think men will only respond if the advice they’re given is “tongue in cheek”.

I’ve no idea why this is. It’s as if the whole world thinks 50% of the population is made up of Jeremy Clarkson clones who are incapable of taking their responsibilities seriously.

I musn’t make sweeping generalisations. There are organisations that are very good at treating men appropriately. Unfortunately, however, many just don’t make the grade.

I can think of a business that approached me a while ago wishing to promote its product while also offering advice about “dad dancing”. Last year I started reading a parenting book aimed at dads. I had to give up after just a couple of chapters because the advice was so shocking (worse still, the book in question was written by a father).

Just the other day I was approached and asked if I would publish some “tongue in cheek” advice for dads on my blog. Initially I wasn’t too bothered by the request. When I considered it properly, I realised this followed a depressingly common pattern and that I frequently receive such requests. Essentially there’s an underlying suggestion that fathers can’t be taken seriously as parents.

Allow me to be absolutely crystal clear about this. If I want parenting advice, I want it to be delivered in a straightforward, unbiased, non-judgemental way. I do not need wisecracks about the next time I might have sex or be able to watch football without being interrupted. Such quips are unbelievably clichéd.

When I have needed advice, the situations have been very serious; needing to know what to do with a child who is projectile vomiting while holidaying in a hot country, why my days-old baby is sleeping all day and screaming all night, how to discuss personal hygiene with my daughter. Yes, I have also read up and considered the impact children might have on my marriage, including the most personal aspects.

There’s a time and a place for humour. It’s not when dealing with the more serious aspects of parenting. Dads simply need advice, they don’t need it to be tongue in cheek.

Photo credit; Ed Perchick, reproduced under Creative Commons agreement 2.0.

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3 Comments

  1. April 28, 2015 / 7:38 pm

    Urgh, I had no idea that so much information for fathers was delivered in such a manner. How inappropriate and totally clichéd. It must be terribly frustrating to be continually bombarded with this nonsense.

    Do you prefer to seek serious advice from sources that are aimed at men, or is some of the serious advice that is out there for mothers also useful for you?

    • John Adams
      Author
      April 28, 2015 / 7:50 pm

      Very good question Fiona. I’m afraid trial and error has taught me to go for the sources that are aimed at mums. At least mums are treated seriously.

      I’m not going to pretend men and women are the same; they aren’t. To assume, however, that dads will only react to ladish humour when dealing with their kids is wrong. Thanks for stopping by.

      • April 28, 2015 / 8:00 pm

        Absolutely – I can totally see that men and women are not the same. To take your example of teaching/discussing personal hygiene with your daughters would not feel as natural as a mother talking to her daughters. Advice from other men would be incredibly useful, and this is certainly not a subject that would be best tackled with ‘lad’ humour (I hate that stereotype – it totally belittles men).

        Gender stereotypes annoy me so much. ‘Annoy’ is not a strong enough word, actually. I hope the world changes and we have less of the nonsense to deal with. Sorry it has been a while since I stopped by – life gets in the way of blogging. Nice to ‘chat’, John.