Sunday, June 21, 2009

How Exhausted Men Can Still be Good Fathers

This recession has been called a mancenssion because 82% of the jobs lost have been to men.

Many of those men still with jobs are working longer, harder, faster to avoid being axed in the next round. So ever more men are coming home exhausted, often after inordinately stressful jobs., using Department of Labor data found that all eight of the most stressful careers are male-dominated.)

Yet their wives and/or society often chastise men for not spending enough time on domestic chores or with kids, often even in situations in which the woman pressured the guy into having kids or failed to use birth control, deliberately or not.

How can an exhausted guy still be a good dad? My two favorites are:
  • Hanging out. Even if you're just vegging out, ask your kid if you could hang out in their room with them.
  • Ask good questions regularly. For example, don't just ask, "What did you do in school today?" and accept "nothing." Follow up with a question such as, "Well, did anything make you happy, sad, proud, scared, angry?" Then be a good listener, asking follow-up questions. Even if you get nothing five nights in a row, your child expecting that you'll continue to ask will keep your child's antennae out for things to talk with you about.
  • Warren Farrell, author of Father and Child Reunion, also suggests that roughhousing with your kids will be fun for the kid and reenergizing for the dad.

1 comment:

Grace said...

Something else you can do is take your downtime before you come home. After work, stop at a coffee shop and read the paper. Stretch out in the car for a 15 minute nap. You never know the problems you are going to have to deal with when you walk through the door and the kids don't understand that "Daddy/Mommy's had a long day" - they just want you. Have "me" time before you come home so that when you are home, you are available.


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