This Dad Takes on Fatherhood Stereotypes and Tiger Moms in His Chill Out Plea

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Fatherhood Stereotypes don’t live here; How I Handled my Son’s Bad Behavior

 

Fathers get stereotyped most of the time because of a role that has been pushed on us. When the majority of the world thinks of what that role looks like, it is very boxed in. I can sum it up in one word. Enforcer. We are the muscle when it hits the fan.

 

Every child has dreaded the phrase “Wait ‘til your father finds out about this.” Growing up in the 80’s & 90’s in a black Baptist home, son to a minister, there was no let’s make a deal. Corporal punishment was in full effect in our house. Don’t gasp as if I am some broken creature and my parents are monsters; that was just parenting during that time. It put a healthy fear of God into us, and we are all productive citizens today with happy, healthy families of our own.

 

The hulking father image is still very real today and is even found in tiger moms. (Yeah I have a beef with tiger moms). But what if you don’t want to be the enforcer? At least not all the time. What if you just let go?

 

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For the first time with my oldest son Michael, I let go. I let go of stressing myself and becoming that “hulking father” that enforces. Every day he comes home with a folder that shows how his behavior was for the day. They have a number code with a small description of what each number stands for. As with anyone his days fluctuate, and he does get notes, and we talk about what happened and try not to have it happen again. We went a whole month with not one note. He was proving that he could make good choices and we were very proud considering some of his past preschool history.

 


 

 

 

 

Right before spring break, we took a downturn. I’m talking the teacher was actually writing in the day box not just numbers, incident reports. As a parent, you become frustrated because you know about the past success that your child has made, and you know they are able to repeat that. We asked why he was acting like this, I went to meetings with his teacher, had lunch with him to try and show that we are on your team. As it continued we started to take away privileges and my chats became way more intense as I began to hulk out. He ignored it. He did not care which just made me even more upset. My “oms” were not helping, my chest would start hurting, and it was just way too much energy being put into a negative reaction.

 

The day had started off like any other with everyone running around getting ready for the morning. It was Tuesday and Monday had produced yet another note to follow the long write up we started the weekend with. Tuesday is the day of restoration. Wrong. I pick him up from school, and I can tell by his face and body language he has a note. He did.

 

I was in a good mood after a morning of tennis on a court I had been trying to get on for weeks. The baby napped well today, and I had found some old songs I forgot I had. As he told me about the note, he quickly went into Mother’s Day stuff they were doing at school. I simply told him that was great and I’m happy about that. But I am disappointed, hurt, and upset that you still got another note today. If you want to give mommy a great Mother’s Day gift you should not get any more notes. Daddy is upset right now I don’t want to talk.

 

I did not raise my voice or go into a speech. I did not ask why or what happened. I let go and enjoyed our ride back home. Until Mom got home, I enjoyed music and cooking while he was out on the patio. We went played tennis again, and I had a glass of wine when we came home for dinner. The enforcer took the night off and would like to take more nights off. The mood was lighter, but he knew he messed up. The goal is no note for a week, and you get to have a full movie night in our bed. Complete with popcorn and sleeping in our bed on a Friday night. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!

 

So why enforce? We as parents have the endgame. In general as parents, we feel that we are supposed to have the control even though countless memes have already shown us that we have no control. At least not of kids in the toddler to 7 age range. I have no science to back that, but it seems about right. The fact is kids at that age are still in a very new world. They are just getting used to school and institutionalization. They are adjusting to social norms, making friends, being independent, and being influenced by the peers around them with different backgrounds. It’s hard to remember that because it was so long ago for us.

 

We have our own idea of how it should be and how we grew up. That does not equal to the right way tiger moms! Sorry I couldn’t help it. But seriously what our childhood was does not mean that has to be our children’s childhood. Take the good and the bad and find that middle ground. Read a book or a blog. There is no one right way. You don’t have to be an enforcer.

 

Relax, it’s just memories. Make them good and worthwhile.

 

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20 thoughts on “This Dad Takes on Fatherhood Stereotypes and Tiger Moms in His Chill Out Plea

  1. THIS POST IS GOLDEN!!!

    I loved it!

    My son is what most people these days call Hyperactive, or what I like to call “Being a 5 year old!” More times than I can count, I’m expected to be the Enforcer in my household, and it sucks!

    Recently, I too have begun a more laid back approach. I can tell when my son knows he did something wrong and I know he feels bad about it. Why do I “Have to” make that worse for him? He’s 5 for crying out loud.

    Awesome read! Thank you for that!

    1. I’m am gald you enjoyed it. It is refreshing when you have that ah ha moment. This still a work in progress because we are creatures of habit, but it is a step in the right direction. Thanks again.

  2. I loved this! My mom was a tiger mom and it was awful growing up. I am in therapy now because of it! She is a trigger for my anxiety, something my therapist said will never go away, but I can be in control of it, it’s just going to take time to be able to stand up to her. My husband and I hope to be better parents for our kids and I definitely want to take a more laid back approach. My SIL uses the “I am disappointed in you” approach and it works great with her girls! Or if the girls are fighting and one cries, she will do the “I’m not talking to you till you make it up with your sister” stance and it works! Way better than laying down the law.

    1. The relationships with our children shouldn’t be strained. As we progress we learn better ways to become the parents our children need. The best way is to not repeat the patterns and actions that our parents placed on us. This breaks the cycle. It’s not our parents fault it was them breaking and following a mold they felt worked. I wish you the best and have great faith in you and your family.

  3. This is so true for both parents. My parents were never big with yelling, so the few times that I remember them yelling, it was a big deal! Somehow, even though my dad is 6’5″, his yelling never has had the desired effect anyway. Everyone else is afraid of him, but my sister and I never have been. In my mom’s case, her telling us she is disappointed and getting teary eyed is WAY more effective than yelling! No one wants to disappoint her!

  4. You have a great perspective. It can be so easy to get caught up in the moment and become the “enforcer” too often. Sometimes we all just need to let go a little bit!

  5. Very thoughtful post. I agree that they way we were parented is not necessarily right for us and for the current times. I prefer taking a gentler approach, although it can be difficult to fight what you know. You have to make a conscious choice to do things differently. But I don’t think it’s right to force dads or any parent into the role of enforcer. There are many better hats for parents to wear.

  6. My husband and I both tend to take a more laid back approach to parenting. Most days we laugh stuff off though power struggles do come from time to time!

  7. This is such a great perspective! Thank you for sharing! I’ve heard countless times from others “just wait till your father comes home and hears about this” and each time I just shutter. We need to be a force together and not one necessarily an enforcer force either. So often a calm conversation can go such a long way.

  8. It is so great to hear a dad’s perspective on this!! I’ve been working really hard on not yelling. It is hard, but I’m getting there. Your husband’s post helps reiterate the fact that I’m doing the right thing, even if it is hard!

  9. I love your perspective! I know here we share the discipline so that our daughter doesn’t think there is a “good cop” and “bad cop” she respects both of us.

  10. It’s exhausting being an enforcer all of the time. Plus, I think it desensitizes kids if you’re always angry and shapes their relationship with you.

  11. I LOVE THIS! I really oppose staunch gender roles in parenting as I feel it limits children more than helps them. I am guilty of using my husband as “the enforcer” from time to time and he hates it. It’s not fair to box fathers into that role, just like women don’t like being boxed in as sole nurturers. BOTH parents can fill BOTH shoes. Or one shoe each? Idk. 😉

    And what on earth is a tiger mom?!

  12. Completely agree with your post and your views. I find in the circles I am in (U.K based) that Dads are actually more considered the fun ones that little Ines play with whilst mums are like bad cop and always complaining because we have to enforce the rules. I supposed as a SAHD you are reversing the roles.

    I’ve honestly never heard of “tiger mums”. Going to have to google that one.

  13. Interesting read… My ex (oldest’s dad) and my husband are definitely the fun ones, I’m the one who ends up with the role of enforcer. Definitely a great point of view for me to consider.

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