Fatherhood in a Technological World – Message #51
The formation of adult behavior starts earlier than most new parents think.
Spoiling children with attention at the sacrifice of respect between parents decreases the leverage you have as parents to help children to follow rules and act responsibly according to rules you must set. When we’re talking about the use of technology, we’re talking about even more house rules.
I want to point out how a seemingly innocent oversight can lead to sabotaging some of your authority as a father and that is when a mother spoils the young child with attention at the cost of ignoring the father in his presence.
It’s subtle, but even a child can observe that if they are always given priority in getting attention, then they will think that their needs are more important than the needs of others in the house, including the parents.
A simple example may be: the father has something to say, and then the mother diverts attention to the baby or child, without acknowledging the interruption of the father. You wouldn’t just ignore someone in mid-speech in the presence of other adults, at least if you are practicing good manners, so you shouldn’t do that in the presence of your children.
The relationship of the parents must be held with respect in front of the child in order for the child to form a healthy perspective of his or her station in the family order. Let me explain how this is important even when it seems it does not matter.
Some of you may resonate with this viewpoint that there are several benefits to the father being the “head of the household.” Now on the outset, some of you may think this sounds old-fashioned or wreaks of chauvinism, but let me point out that, since the mother is often on the front lines of dealing with the children, the day will come when any inordinate amount of attention given to the children will backfire. When that time comes, the reservoir of authority and respect banked on the father and his role will help reinforce the efforts of both parents to maintain cooperation of the children.
Now this doesn’t mean that the needs of the children should be ignored while dad is rambling on a routine monologue, but each child is developing the subconscious and conscious awareness to the habits of the parents and the respect shown for each other. If the parents do not show due respect for their roles as parents and relationship as a couple, then the child will tend to develop a certain level of contempt or disrespect for one or both parents. That’s my take.
I haven’t read about this specifically, this is mainly the result of my musings and synthesizing schooling, self study and life, but I believe there are some credible concepts to support this theory and I hope you find some value from it.
A key take away as a father is, you can cite this long term view in discussing parenting issues with your spouse. Bring the topic up in a respectful way, knowing that ultimately both of you will pay a price for not establishing clear protocols of respect and hierarchy in the home in front of your children, even when they are at a very young age.
About Fatherhood in a Technological World
Fathers of young children in today’s modern society are facing unprecedented challenges with the wave of technology allowing ever easier access to the internet. The effect on your children has and will have a great influence on their growth. As a parent, you may be feeling the anxiety of having to confront the challenges of being at the end of the rail of the powerful forces driving technology into the laps and hands of your children.
Your work is cut out for you are a father. Even though popular culture doesn’t do well to herald the value of the leadership role of men in the form of fathers, let me tell you right now, being a father in this time and age has never been more important.
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