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At the Park

Went to the park by my house over the weekend and had an eye opening moment. I was there watching, holding, running and generally playing around with my son. There were a few other families around as well.

Another man came by with his two children, maybe 4 and 5 or 5 and 6 - but no older, and sat down to read the paper while they played. The park has a rock wall (5' high) a few slides and walkways on this giant playset. Plenty for them to do. As they were playing his daughter 9the younger one) started climbing up a weird ladder where there are no rungs from one side to the other, only footholds on each side. She made it almost the whole way up before she lost her nerve and started calling for help from daddy.

His first reaction was to tell her 'figure it out' which I thought was hilarious, until she didn't move for a few minutes. The other parents started milling about until daddy showed up to help. Heres the thing, when he gets to her he doesn't pick her up, he stands there and tells her how to solve her problem. At first I thought that was pretty cool and cruel at the same time because you could tell she was crying...but eventually she was able to climb all the way up w/o his assistance...

that's all back story~

A little later both of his kids came over to the swing set where I was pushing my son and tickling him as he went past, and they just kinda stared at us... at first I didn't know what to make of it, but when I spoke to my wife about it, she agreed that they were looking at us because they were jealous.

Jealous of a dad playing with his kids. if you could've seen their faces...it was like they were hungry... I don't know. I can't fault the guy for trying to make his kids self sufficient, or wanting to enjoy the day at the park while his kids play...but to see their faces, you'd think that's not the way to go...

doitagain doitagain 36-40, M 21 Responses Jun 2, 2008

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I applaud what the father was trying to do when teaching his children self sufficient, but children need a tender touch, participation in their play and just knowing that you are interested in what they are doing. Those newspapers will be there, the park will be there, his time to rest and relax will be there, but his children will not. They will disappear into adulthood themselves and they will have never learned how to touch their children in their hearts, minds, and souls. They may even do the opposite of what he did for them. Unfortunately, the children won't come back home to see Dad, because after all, Dad showed them that he was self sufficient. Give both tough love and tender love to your children, they need them both in order to grow into productive whole human adults!

That other dad sucks. He might be trying to teach his kids how to be self sufficient but what a kid really needs is to know that his Dad is a safe person that can be relied upon and trusted to help in a loving way when the kid feels she needs help. That is how humans learn that there are trustworthy and dependable people in the world. You first learn it by learning that your parents are trustworthy and dependable. Then you go out and develop trustworthy relationships with other people in the world. I feel sorry for his kids. They'll probably grow up to cling to the first person to give them a little kindness (that they crave) whether that person is emotionally healthy or not. They will be vulnerable to predators who offer what they crave and didn't get at home.

Abooklover is right BALANCE. and IT is not A BLACK AND WHITE ISSUE (excellent point on both observations). First off you need to take in to consideration the childs intellect, then their sensitivity. And you need to do both, use the situations that arise as a teaching tool and as a time to spend TOGETHER playing with the kids. This is how my wife and I raised our children, both have extremely high intellects, superior problem solving skills EXCELLENT social skills, and substantial skills in other areas that their friends do not have, from martial arts to auto mechanics to using hand tools to pretty much anything that comes their way... one is thirteen the other nineteen , both girls and both carrying a 4.0 gpa. I'm an engineer and have been retired for 12 years due to bad health so I've been able to spend the time with them while my wife works. A full time parent makes a major difference in many ways. While I am a highly skilled individual and leader, and as a role model, am able to directly pass my skill sets on to my "rugrats" (we have many terms of endearment that are openly used back and forth and really do help keep the lines of communication open between us), this isnt necessary for everyone to be a successful parent. Ths things I directly taught can be learned from others or in other ways, but the one common goal for all parents is to HELP their children learn them, NOT make them learn on their own.

What a great story. I thought you were going to say it is good to teach independence then youj said how they wanted a dad to play. A parent has to have that balance of teaching and playing with their children.

THE HAPPIEST TIME OF MY LIFE WAS WHEN I WAS GIVEN THE HONOR TO BE A STAY-AT-HOME-DAD FOR MY SON. WE WATCHED SESAME STREET, READ "HOP ON POP", "GREEN EGGS & HAM". WE WENT TO THE PARK, THE AIRPORT, THE LOCKS ON THE RIVER, THE RAILROAD YARDS, HAD ADVENTURES. I'VE ONLY FOUND IT NECESSARY TO SPANK ONE TIME, WITH ONE TAP ON THE BEHIND WHEN HE RAN OUT IN TRAFFIC. HE WAS A GREAT KID TO RAISE,<br />
IS A GREAT YOUNG MAN TODAY (17 YRS) AND HE'S DESTINED FOR GOOD THINGS IN LIFE.<br />
MANY THINGS I WOULD NOT GIVE HIM ANSWERS TO, BUT I ALWAYS TOLD HIM I'M HERE TO HELP YOU FIND ANSWERS.<br />
WHEN HE WAS BORN, I WAS TERRIFIED! I HAD NO REAL ROLE MODEL THAT I WAS TAUGHT FROM. WANTED TO JUST RUN AWAY!<br />
I SAW A GUY ON PBS SPEAKING ON RAISING CHILDREN, AND NEVER CAN GET HIS NAME RIGHT, SOMETHING LIKE LEO BUSCALGLIA(?) BUT HE SAID A DAD ONLY HAS ONE JOB TO DO IN RAISING HIS CHILDREN, THAT BEING TO SEND THEM OUT INTO THE WORLD BEING OK WITH WHO THEY ARE! AND THERE IS ONLY ONE THING HE HAS TO DO TO ACCOMPLISH THAT:<br />
"LOVE THEM"- <br />
HE BROKE IT ALL DOWN TO THAT ONE, ALL ENCOMPASSING WORD: "LOVE"!<br />
I THOUGHT, "YA KNOW, I CAN DO THAT"<br />
TODAY, MY SON LISTENS TO MY MUSIC, HIS MUSIC, OTHERS' MUSIC AND HAS AN OPEN MIND<br />
ABOUT IT AND IS NOT CONCERNED WITH WHAT HIS FRIENDS THINK, NOR IS PRESSURED BY THEM AND EVEN IS A ROLE MODEL FOR THEM! YOU CAN HEAR THE RESPECT HE'S GIVEN FROM HIS OWN PEER GROUP AND DOESN'T CONCERN HIMSELF WITH THE EGOTISTICAL ASPECT OF THAT AND TAKES IT ALL IN STRIDE!<br />
DO I SOUND LIKE A PROUD FATHER? YOU BET! BUT AS GOD AS MY WITNESS, I CANNOT POINT TO ANY ONE THING THAT I DID TO GET HIM THERE, EXCEPT FOR WHAT THAT GUY TOLD ME: "LOVE HIM"! BECAUSE THAT IS ALL I DID! THAT, IS ALL I KNEW HOW TO DO!<br />
I DON'T KNOW IF I WILL EVER GET LEO BUSCALGLIA'S NAME RIGHT, BUT I OWE HIM A DEBT OF UNDYING GRATITUDE FOR WHO MY SON IS TURNING OUT TO BE.<br />
I CAN'T HELP BUT TEAR-UP WHEN I WRITE THIS BECAUSE NEVER IN MY WILDEST IMAGININGS, DID I EXPECT SUCH A GREAT RESULT. <br />
THEY TALK ABOUT HEROES IN THE MEDIA, MAKING REFERENCE TO MEN IN WAR, POLITICAL <br />
ENDEAVORS ETC. I DON'T MEAN TO LESSEN THEIR ACCOMPLISHMENTS, BUT I'LL BET A DIME TO A DONUT HOLE THAT THEY ONLY ACCOMPLISHED WHAT THEY DID BECAUSE THERE WERE GREAT DADS OUT THERE THAT EITHER RAISED THEM OR SENT THEIR SONS & DAUGHTERS TO HELP THEM! i ALSO DO NOT MEAN TO SLIGHT MOM'S BECAUSE THEIR PART IS JUST AS IHEROIC. BUT I WAS THAT KID STANDING AT THE SWINGSET WONDERING WHY MY DAD WASN'T DOING WHAT OTHER DADS WERE, AND WHEN I SEE THOSE DADS TODAY... I TIP MY HAT TO THE REAL HEROES IN THIS LIFE!

That's definitely not the way to encourage small children, that's how you frustrate them and lead them to believe everything in life should be a difficult challenge. That age should be the age of trust, when children know their parents will always have their back.

My W and I hold our kids accountable for their actions, so they learn that actions and choices have consequences. However, that doesn't stop the wrestling and giggling right when they're supposed to be going to bed :) Fine model of responsibility, I am.

The poor kids to feel jealous.... I mean, their dad did take the time out to take his kids to the park to have fun though. Just sometimes kids want to have fun WITH their father, not just on their own.

I'm 28 years old, and I still can't listen to songs or watch dads who love their kids. I guess I'm not so alone.

My Husband Hasn't Seen Our Daughters Since September. Not because Of Choice but Because the Army. He will be home in 6 weeks an Can't wait to See His Daughters. Props to you for being Yet another good father.

I really enjoyed this story and the comments that followed. Thank you everyone - I appreciate ep more and more everyday (I am still relatively new here).<br />
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By no means am I the perfect mother, but I find that my child responds well to direct involvement (he is 6), and letting go when he clearly needs/is ready to try it on his own. <br />
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I have also noticed that (like me) he has some perfectionism in him and he sometimes is unwiling to try something he is not 100% sure he is capable of doing. It is times like these that I remind him that it is ok to fail, but waiting for perfection that may never come can mean missing out on a lot of fun. With that, I always make sure that he gives it a try (with obvious safety measures in place). We also do this around food - he has to try everything at least once. If he absolutely hates it, I don't make him eat it. This has worked well, as he now loves bell peppers, artichokes, avacados and many foods that really surprise me given his age.<br />
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I love raising my son. It is fun, challenging, and basically brings me more joy than anything else in the world.

It is a treat for me, as an adult, to see Dads with their kids, playing and interacting. I am an adult and even now when I see this, i nearly choke up. It is something I missed growing up and seeing it makes me wish I had the opportunity to have a Dad when I was growing up.<br />
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So thanks for being the cool Dad that you are!

Great story!<br />
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I was a stay-at-home dad for 3 years before going back to work about a year ago.<br />
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We would always visit the park and for the most part I feel like I err on the side that you do - making sure we have fun together.<br />
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I don't see why parents can't do both though. I think there is a time to get your children to figure things out on there own and also a time to just let loose and have fun with them. <br />
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Either way, I think the most important part is being involved.

Wow. A very interesting story. I kept thinking you were going to conclude about how it's better in the long run to teach the kids to deal with stuff... but that last bit was touching. It's so hard to choose between the two sometimes, so hard to know exactly how to mix them. Thanks for sharing. :)

Every parent sees things in a different way. Sometimes we respect their technique and other times we wonder What is wrong with their way of thinking?<br />
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I was a parent that would get on the swing next to them and swing along. When they were younger, I was always there with my hands at the ready to shoot out and catch them. Even if I am around a toddler at a party, I am always watching and at the ready.<br />
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I see now that my youngest, 19, still expects me to watch over him and catch him before he falls. I wish I was a little more like that father at times. Not all the time because I love to play. But I see that my over protectiveness and his depression is causing him great difficulty as he enters the adult world. Now I need to encourage him to solve his own problems, but it is so very hard for a mother to let her baby fly on his own. I am trying and pray for him more then he would ever suspect.

My dads my hero. And when i talk about him people say to me.... you love and respect your dad very much don't you. I get really emotional. I am learning about 2 great dads on this site and your one of them. Your son will will be very proud of you when he's an adult...

I agree, there's a need to teach your kids to be self reliant. Your dad did right giving you those memories to cherish. I hope that when he thinks of me later in life, some of this stuff is floating in his mind...

This is a great story. Sad too. Websters comment is great. Be proud:o) What the other guy did was great for his daughters development but he needs to get in there and rumble with them. My dad used to chase us around and help us along with things that were a little harder and when we rode our bikes through the park he would chase after us and make sure he was invloved. You sound like a great Dad! And i'll tell you now... its the little things like a push on the swing or throwing us into the pool that i remember most!

i'll tell ya storm, it definitely was awkward!

i'm no model dad. but i know how to pal around @ the park :)

I almost want to cry when I see Dads like you spending time with their kids. <br />
Be proud of yourself every single day, because you're giving your kid something that is priceless, yet he'll always remember it and cherish it.