Our grandfathers knew exactly what was expected of them in their roles as fathers: go to work, put food on the table, step in and provide discipline when the kids are especially unruly. But, today, the expectations for dads are much more negotiable.
Our culture at large still hasn’t quite made up its mind about whether it is best for dads to be more traditionally masculine, or if they should be working toward a more balanced and flexible approach to fatherhood. On the plus side, this means that men get to decide for themselves what kinds of fathers they will be. On the other hand, having to make choices that will have a significant impact on who our children ultimately become can bring on a lot of uncertainty, fear, and anxiety.
In this episode, I sit down with author Jeremy Smith to encourage fathers to do some soul-searching — to decide what their goals are at every stage of their children’s lives, and to make conscious and intentional decisions that will help them be the kind of fathers their kids need them to be. We also discuss the challenges of parenting adolescents, the particular demands of being a stepfather, and how men can work to improve their listening skills, compassion, and communication.
About Our Guest
Jeremy Adam Smith is the author of The Daddy Shift: How Stay-at-Home Dads, Breadwinning Moms, and Shared Parenting are Transforming the American Family (Beacon Press, June 2009); co-editor of The Compassionate Instinct (WW Norton, January 2010); and co-editor of Are We Born Racist? (Beacon Press, August 2010). He is also the author of numerous essays, articles, and short stories for publications that include Mothering (magazine), San Francisco Chronicle, Wired (magazine), and Utne Reader. He blogs regularly for Mothering magazine, and is the founder of the blog Daddy Dialectic. Smith has also collaborated with the web show DadLabs to produce a series of segments on the science of fatherhood, and has appeared on Nightline, Forum with Michael Krasny, and other TV and radio shows. (From Wikipedia.)
Mentioned in This Episode