Tuesday, May 20th, 2008
Disorganized Thoughts about Parenting Workshops — What’s Important?
Would you choose to attend parenting workshops? Would you pay for a plane flight, hotel room and meals to do it?
A current web survey hints at potential workshop topics for this year’s convention. Two of them struck me as slightly depressing.
“Dads With Daughters — This session would address issues faced by at-home dads with daughters. Topics would include talking to your daughter about “feminine issues,” dating, and personal relationships.
Fathers and Sons — Session would be an open discussion session focusing on things that we were taught by our fathers and what we should pass on to our sons. Session would have a few focused topics to be addressed, and efforts would be made to keep the discussion on those specific topics.”
Except for discussing biological differences, why aren’t those workshops the same for sons and daughters? The sons session is vague enough I suppose it could be identical, but seriously, you know it’s not going to be focused on dating and personal relationships.
In short, we need to prepare our girls to cope with boys who are unprepared.
Dads of all types who are getting “more
involved” in the raising of their kids need to learn to teach and role
model for their children things they didn’t learn from their own fathers, or mothers for that matter. A dad can learn to cook, but how do you learn to kiss a knee
and cuddle instead of tell the kid to just shake it off? Or take a dad who didn’t get “the friendships, dating and sex talk” in his own youth from his parents. He has to learn to give that talk to his kids, to sons as well as daughters.
For me, parenting is a continuing crash course in absorbing my wife’s technique while
finding my own. My wife and I each work part-time, a great mix if you can manage it. We have differing approaches to parenting, hers a little more coddling, mine a little more no-nonsense. But there is a
middle ground for loving and lots of give-and-take in how we raise our kids.
Am I being too hard on the dads convention? I was also disappointed by the convention’s (admittedly under development) schedule of pre-convention events for activities in the event region (Sacramento, Calif.). Namely, stereotypically manly events: sporting events and alcohol. I’d be the lone dad attending the Jelly Belly factory tour, and I really don’t like jelly beans.
My wife’s take is more sympathetic: “There’s nothing you’re going to learn in the conference that you can’t get in a book for $14.95. Stay-at-home-dads are pretty disenfranchised. It doesn’t matter what the topics are if you’re getting energy from meeting dads just like you.”
I agree with her to a point. That point is the “Basic Hair Braiding” workshop. That’s the class for me. I’ve got ponytails, hair clips and baubles down, but my wife is lousy at teaching braiding. Having been raised with three brothers, where else would I learn braiding if not from my wife?
Some of the workshop topics apply to any sort of parents, part-time, full-time, man or woman:
- Teaching children the value of money.
- Early childhood education, what we can teach our children at home to prepare them for school.
- Home fire safety and emergency preparedness.
- Creating and maintaining child ID kits.
The conference web survey got me thinking…
What workshops would you want to see? Moms, dads, at the office or at home, what would you want to learn more about?
Hair ranks at the top of my list, followed by cooking for kids and advance preparation for adolescence (which seems to start around 10 or 11-years-old these days).
My inclination is that many of the issues tied up with being a teenager begin as early as the toddler years in terms of confidence, motivation, peer-pressure, body image, ambition and healthy habits. In other words, how well a teen handles being a teen is greatly influenced by the child’s personal qualities nurtured by you long before that point.
I’d want to hear real-world examples of parents who have already navigated these issues. Reading blogs is one thing, hearing it first person and bouncing questions off parents is another.