Deadbeat I do not understand you

Frederick Classical Charter School ran an event this morning in an attempt to draw in more customers for their book fair.  “Doughnuts with Dad” they called it.  No cost to the parent just show up early for school and eat a doughnut with you child.  My daughter was very excited about it.  I will admit was looking forward to it as well.  A quick moment to hang out with my kid and not have anything else on the agenda.

 

I missed it.  We had a leak in house, I didn’t double check the time, and then I misplaced my keys.  We got to school at normal time and were all set to go when I discovered that we had missed the entire event.  I thought it was at 8:45 just after the start of school and in reality it was an hour earlier.

 

I didn’t get to see my daughter after I discovered my error to explain how I had messed up. At this point I don’t know how let down she was or how confused it left her.  I am heart broken to think that I made her sad,  to have not been able to be there when all of her other friends had participated.  I got her a card and wrote her a note explaining and apologizing.  But I know it is not enough.

 

Perhaps if I never had the opportunity to be a stay at home day I would not feel as close to my children as I do.  But given the experiences I have had with them from skinned knees to the friendships that just didn’t work out.  I can’t help be feel for them.  To care for them.  To want to protect them from everything mean and ugly thing in the world.

 

I see posts from friends and family members who have bad family situations.  You read stories online,  hear the term dead beat dad thrown around.  This phenomenon is not really that uncommon and I just can not understand it.

 

My children are good, sweet kids.  But what child under eight isn’t.  How can anyone neglect their role as a father.  For every family this role is defined differently but never should it be reduced to simply being a supplier of genetic material.

 

Careers and work have always been a central defining element for men in our society.  Sometimes we have to sacrifice in some ways in order to provide for families and this is expected and understandable. It is such a crime that there are those that do not contribute to the growth of there children.

 

Dead beat is typically a term used to describe a guy who does not pay his child support but financial contributions are only a fraction of the investment we should be making to our children.  Spending time with them, playing with them, teaching them,  both by example and through direct lessons,  these are the things that dads need to be doing.

 

Dianna Baumrind in a 1966 paper outlined types of parenting styles and the associated outcomes of parenting in these ways.  As you would expect “Most”  parents who parent in one of the three ways have children who behave in a predictable manner.  There is of course a range, and many people fall along a continuum of outcomes between those predicted.  But what her paper didn’t go into was the parenting style of non existing or extremely lacking parenting.  In 1966 the  phenomenon of divorce which is prevalent in our society was so very uncommon that I would guess she just included this group of children as outliers to the data.  I am curious if any new work has been done on the subject.   You would think that after 60 years following the publishing of this work the types of parenting would begin to drift towards an ideal parenting style producing ideal outcomes and not the opposite which we are seeing where a fourth or fifth category needs to be considered.

 

Children are so resilient but also very fragile.  It is in these early years when insecurities and feelings of self doubt begin to take hold. This is when they begin to shape the ideas of self worth.

Spend the time! Sacrifice elsewhere!  Now that mom isn’t at home as much as she used to be do we really want kids whose entire psyche is constructed by a minimum wage 20 year old?  Yes there are Outstanding child care professionals but all to frequently I see young adolescents dominating the playgrounds with their armies of our future.

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