Advice for New Dads

At Grotto Network, Millennial editor Robert Christian writes:

Balance is important in many ways. If my kids are being too rough or not including others, I can surprise other parents with how sternly I respond. And parents have definitely been shocked when my daughter is tripped playing soccer and I tell her very directly to get up and go after the ball. These same parents might be surprised, though, by how warm and affectionate I am with my kids just moments later — for instance, if I carry my daughter to the car from the soccer field not because she’s tired, but because I can and she wants to be close. And they might think I’m too lax when I let my kids climb on a random rock or get quite loud playing a silly game.

But what could look like incoherence is a calculated attempt to find balance. I try to instill discipline where it matters, particularly in treating others the right way. At the same time, I don’t want to be a helicopter parent — I want my kids to fight through adversity and accomplish things on their own. Too often, kids are not given the chance to make mistakes and grow or to take on tasks that children in other contexts have been perfectly able to handle.

Alongside this, I also often see parents stifling the joy and fun of being a kid for no apparent reason. The very same kids who aren’t allowed to grow up and accomplish things on their own are treated like mini-adults, forced to conform to the senseless rules and etiquette of a soul-crushing bourgeois culture. So I do my best to avoid these pitfalls by being strict and intervening when necessary, while being relaxed where more space can help them to flourish.

You can read the full article here.