Dad Challenge

This is not a blog post about being a veterinarian. If you are looking for veterinary blog posts click here. If you don’t understand why I am posting non-veterinary blog posts click here. If you just want to read today’s post then get on with it already.

I am the best dad in the whole world. It’s true. Don’t believe me? I don’t care. I am hands down the best dad in the whole world. Think you’re a better dad than me? Fine. But you’re not. If you want to prove it, go right ahead. Here’s the challenge; you raise your children to the best of your abilities, put in as much time as possible and be as involved in their lives as possible while still giving them a chance to grow on their own. The game doesn’t actually end until you and I are both dead but maybe our children can tally the score. You know who will win? Everyone involved. Directly or otherwise. So get to it.

To help you along, I’ve compiled some parenting advice. The best dad in the world doesn’t give parenting advice you’d expect and that’s what makes it the best parenting advice you’ll ever get. Grab a pen. You’re going to want to take some notes.

1. Put your children in danger. You don’t have to toss them into the bear cage at the zoo but let your kids put themselves in precarious situations and then let them figure out their own way through the situation. Be there to keep them safe but try to intervene as little as possible. You won’t always be there to catch them when they fall physically or figuratively but you’ll always be there to comfort them after the fact. Give them the tools they need to recognize danger and take appropriate measures to minimize risk. Also teach them that a little danger is an important ingredient for a well rounded and satisfying life.

2. Get in trouble. Whether it’s getting pulled over by a police officer while driving or reprimanded for climbing up on the shelving units at your favorite home improvement store, let your kids see you get in trouble. Let them experience you being respectful and attentive to an authority figure. Show them how to apologize when you’ve done something wrong or made a mistake and then make sure you change your behavior for a few days. Forever would be better but let’s set realistic goals here. Let them see that it’s alright for them to mess up or break the rules every now and then so long as they are respectful and learn from the situation.

3. Fight with your spouse. I know, everyone tells you never to fight in front of the children. That’s because most people fight like spoiled children in a “who can be the biggest jerk” contest. Don’t be that guy but don’t shy away from sharing your feelings with your life partner in front of your children either. They need to see that two people can have disagreements, major disagreements, and still not only respect each other and work together on building a life together but can stay madly in love with one another even after they’ve worn the polish off the relationship. Fight honestly, respectfully and in a way that will set an example for your children. Teach them to expect that from and to provide it to their life partners then sit back and watch them have really fulfilling relationships.

4. Bully them. Your children aren’t going to be as coddled by the world as they are by you. In fact, no one on Earth is going to be as good to them as you are. You’re spoiling them but you can fix that. Tease them, pick on them and make sure you don’t stop until they are good and upset. This works best with young children. If you get tears, you’re winning. Then remind them that you love them and are trying to make them into the best person you possibly can. The lesson is; the way a person acts towards you is not a reflection on who you are as a person but how you choose to respond to them is. Teach them that when someone acts like a fool and is really mean to them, the best thing to do is brush it off, feel bad for them and love them anyway. This is the most important part; never ever stop doing it and don’t let them forget the lesson. Then when they are bullied in school or in life you can remind them that even you bullied them and look how much you care about them. Who knows, maybe they’ll make some of their best friends out of the people who initially bullied them. Or maybe they’ll drive a few jerks nuts with their incessant kindness in the face of terrible behavior. Either way it’s a win.

5. Give them nothing. Instead teach them how much more they appreciate things that they have truly earned. If you’re really going to take a shot at my best dad in the world title, you’re going to have to really push the limit with this one. Don’t give your children an allowance, make them earn every penny. Don’t buy them a car, tell them to get a job within bicycle riding distance and them help them learn how to manage their money well enough to buy a car for themselves. If you hit the college years and they are looking at going to schools they can afford to pay for, you’re doing pretty well. Teaching your children that hard work is the only way to get what they want will teach them to either work harder or want less. Either way that’s a pretty important lesson.

There you go. Five simple tips about parenting from the best dad in the world.

In all of this, don’t forget to set an example. If you’re teaching them to not lose their cool when people bully them and then you freak out when someone insults you in traffic, you’re losing. If you fight with your spouse and start calling them names or putting them down, you’re losing. If you get pulled over and start yelling at the police officer, I hope you get pepper sprayed. In front of your kids.

Thanks for reading.

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