Haven’t you always wanted to be a “cool dad?” Regardless of whether you think so, you have it in you. You can do this. To be a “cool dad,” step away from the stereotypical dad role, and differentiate yourself from the other role models in your child’s life. That’s no small task, but remember that you have an advantage: your child has one dad, and that’s you. Put that advantage to work for you.
- Carve out a niche. Dads usually don’t get a chance to spend as much time with their kids as moms do. So, their time is precious. What you can do to become a great dad is to do something a bit differently than everyone else. One of the best ways to do this is to create a tradition. Don’t spend much money, don’t stuff your child full of junk food, but think of a way that you can give meaning to the precious time that you have with your child. You have something to offer that is different from what anyone else has to offer. Are you a musician, a mechanic, an artist, a cook, a cyclist? Whatever you are, whatever you enjoy, share it with your child. You have the opportunity to be special to your child, so by all means, step up and give it a try.
- Be something more than just “the bank.”Dads are often portrayed as the ones who hand out the money and then slip into oblivion. As a dad, you will be asked for money. It starts with, “Can I have a quarter, Dad?” and will continue for many years after that. If you can give, please feel free. But simply being the money distributor does nothing to teach your child. If your child asks for money, ask a few questions. Don’t say, “no,” but don’t say, “yes” right away, either. Inquire as to the nature of the intended use for the money. Take a moment to talk over the consequences of choices being made. Please, whatever you do, don’t hand out money just to stop the “Please Dad, please Dad, can I, Dad, oh c’mon dad”. You are more than the bank; you are responsible for helping to teach your child the value of money. At home, talk about how money can be earned by doing particular chores. Pay promptly when the chores are completed satisfactorily (be sure to check), and whatever you do, don’t “round down” when it’s time to pay.
A cool dad is one who clearly cares about his child. If you make your child feel special, important, worthy, and loved, you are a cool dad. Congratulations on your success.