21st April 2017, 09:42
Looking for Tips for Dads (past or present)
Ok, I figured there would be a receptive audience here, by most accounts the average TZ punter is eking out the years a bit and either has kids or has had them.
I'll be honest, I find having kids (2 young boys) both the source of my greatest joys in life but also some of my greatest frustrations - and I'm not really talking about the obvious unruly behaviour. On the face of it, I'm asking for some advice on how to best spend 'quality' time with them, but open to the collective wisdom of more than just lists, some real heart-to-heart stuff about maybe what made your own dad great, or for the older members, what you saw as enriching times/activities with your own kids.
I never had much experience growing up in an extended family, and whilst my dad is a lovely guy, he was never a strong role model. When I had babies of my own I didn't really know what to do with them (and found the 0-2yr stages very difficult), so deferred most of the decisions to my wife (though I was always there, more than most I'd say, helping along the way).
But now they're a few years older, that dynamic has stuck. Whilst I've still got the same involvement, I'd like to be more active as a decision maker, as I feel like I've become too passive in that respect (and most respects probably), sometimes I feel like The Invisible Man. As boys get older, I think they need a stronger male role model in their formative years. However, I get massively frustrated because, whenever I get the opportunity to have one-to-one time with them, I'm at a loss of what to do...it's like I've got zero imagination and have forgotten how to play!
I do realise there's probably an element of being too hard on myself, but it's still true nonetheless and there's always room for self-improvement.
So TZ, let's have it!
21st April 2017, 09:57
Have a look at "Raising Boys" by Steve Biddulph, I'm not usually one for how to guides but what this bloke has to say on the subject of boyhood, role models and boys specific needs certainly makes a lot of sense to me.
I believe when it comes to playing the best advice I can give you is to give it 100 percent and let go your inhibitions.
My lad is 6 and although he's got some extra challenges, he loves wrestling with me, chase, hide and seek, mock sword fighting, climbing trees, building dinosaurs on the beach and so on, it's just a case of observing what interests and stimulates or entertains the child.
21st April 2017, 10:01
I love reading bedtime stories to my kids. My 4yo son is currently loving The Hobbit and 8yo daughter is enjoying Harry Potter. I've always made a point of playing with my kids, particularly building Lego with them both. I've introduced them to my interests when I was a child, Star Wars, Action Man and Lego. My parents kept all my old toys so they've been playing with them too.
21st April 2017, 10:05
I don't have kids but the things I remember about my dad are things like: Playing football, me being in goal and him shooting, really loved those moments.
21st April 2017, 10:07
Some good advice already. I'd add check out Hoop if you're in london for loads of fun things to do on the weekends if your kids are still quite young. Take the initiative, regularly plan a fun day out and make it happen. Doesn't have to cost much or indeed anything at all but it's about making an effort and spending time together.
21st April 2017, 10:09
Toy guns, fireworks and horror videos.
That'll keep any little boy happy.
21st April 2017, 10:10
And big ones too ;)
Originally Posted by Seamaster73
21st April 2017, 10:26
Big box of Lego....tip on floor...make stuff.
Big box of cheap toy soldiers....create a battlefield in the lounge/garden/beach
Go to the woods and hunt gruffallo/Indians/build some dodgy stick hides/picnic etc
Go find a field or something (unless you have a big garden) and just play football,chuck a frisbee thing around or play chase
Take them round a zoo or a farm
If the weather is good enough and you are near one,plonk yourself on a beach and dig bloody big holes.
Get a load of boxes from the supermarket or whathaveyou and make rocket ships/robot costumes
Can they ride bikes?.... go on a bike ride
Are they into knights and stuff?... go and visit a castle
Find a nearby climbing centre and let them go ape,or just a nice big adventure playground.
I could go on and on and on....but most importantly,forget you are a grown up for the vast majority of the time and act like a big kid.
Last edited by village; 21st April 2017 at 10:29.
21st April 2017, 10:27
My two older ones (21 and 20) and our current young one (5), enjoyed/enjoy nothing more than being let loose in the biggest open air playground you can find and if the equipment is big enough for you to get inside, the more they enjoy it.
There's no blue print to bringing up kids but they do seem to appreciate the simpler things; making camps, kick about in the rec etc.
21st April 2017, 10:34
I don't have kids myself but things that I loved doing with my dad:
Going to work with him in the summer holidays (he was a food delivery man so I was able to). I adored this, and have fond memories of radio 1 and the bits and pieces quiz they used to do.
Learning to ride my bikes.
Watching him do work on my cars and restore a Lambretta for me
Spending time with him when we had our holidays.
My dad wasn't into footy but I went with my uncle from a very early age. The fact it is a huge part of my life means I treasure those days as well and am so grateful to my uncle for that.
My dad worked away a lot as well when I was very young (he was a fitter then) and I hated that. I also wish I'd really spent more time doing things with him - i.e. instead of watching him do work on my cars, actually did the work with him. He tried to learn me so much but I was too lazy. Hugely regret this now.
21st April 2017, 10:35
I haven't really got a scooby but I picked up a free copy of this at the Leipzig book fair several years ago.
I haven't read it yet, though. When he gets older perhaps you can take a look at Absinthe and Flamethrowers by the same author - sounds much more like my cup of tea.
21st April 2017, 10:46
Boys can be so different; you'll have to sort out what they like. My oldest is happy with every sport-related item: name it and he enjoys it, including a Saturday evening in the football stadium. My youngest has no interest in this sort of things. He's into museums especially the ones that explain things, he's into exploring all sorts of technical stuff and astronomy. My eldest never touched one piece of Lego. My youngest had 35 kilo bricks, sorted by colour... In short: it's personal!
On the other hand: my father wasn't into that sort of things like that. He was always busy with his work. Do I think I've missed out on something? No. Time will tell if I was a 'good father' when the boys think back of their childhood. Just be sure that what you do, is done with the best intentions and honesty.
21st April 2017, 11:00
Just ask them!
I'm sure they will have great ideas, my oldest (10) loves building stuff with me, last weekend he asked if we could build a table for his Pokémon cards, we had a rummage in the garage and I was careful to let him come up with ideas and bits of wood, I was then able to teach him how to use the saw, why pilot holes for wood screws are a good idea etc, it was a great hour, of course the 'table' was a right hodgepodge of a thing but he loves it and I loved the time we took in building it.
21st April 2017, 11:51
I never grew up with my dad so not much to go off...now my little boy is 5 years old I'm trying to make an effort to spend some quality time with him during weekends as we're all too tired after work (he goes to athletics and swimming 2 days a week after school)
I've learned that the material things are really not worthy to them...5 minutes of excitement before it's 'just another toy' , but take him out into the woods or to the beach and we can spend hours and hours, chasing each other, hide and seek, jumping in the puddles, looking for creatures in the rock-pools, crabbing, looking for 'shark teeths and fossils', building sandcastles ...as far as he's occupied and has your full attention he's happy. We always used to do bike rides since he was 3 years old and that's always a great way to spend the day (checking every few minutes whos bike is faster :) ) Just started introducing him to lure fishing so we can have a common hobby as he grows up and flying model RC aeroplanes will be next :)
21st April 2017, 13:25
Just unchain them and allow them out of the cellar for a couple of hours a week. They'll love you for it
21st April 2017, 13:34
The smartest thing that anyone ever told me about kids is that the thing they want more than anything else is attention. But it's one of those things that's simple but not easy. Focusing on lego or whatever works up to a point but if you're not enjoying it and you can't 'lose yourself' in it then it won't last long. As my wife sometimes says in moments of frustration (usually girly craft/dolly related) "I love them so much but they can be so BORING".
Anyway, for me the trick is to meet them half way by trying to involve them in stuff you need/want to do in a way that works for them as well as doing bits that are 100% kiddy.
I find that the former can be very gratifying on both sides because young sons generally want to be like their dads - and I intend to enjoy this while I can! A trip to Wickes can be an opportunity to bond and learn stuff if you frame it as 'let's go and look at some tools' (quiet at the back). Similarly, if you involve them in stuff you love then they'll enjoy being with you and you get the joy of having a doting, happy mini-me. Obviously this all means some compromise. They'll get tired, get bored and generally want to quit before you do. In which case, you have to apply the second golden rule of parenting, always quit while you're ahead.
Philosophising aside, though, my simple answer is fishing! If you're not already an angler, go to the local tackle shop and tell them you want to take your son fishing. Unless you're very unlucky in your choice of shop, they will tell you how and where – and sell you a kids pole kit and half a pint of maggots for Ł12-15.
This happened to me and my son (then 5) four years ago and has led to days and days of fun since. Not to mention an ever-growing collection of not entirely necessary but fun kit.
Last edited by jamesianbriggs; 21st April 2017 at 13:37.
21st April 2017, 13:39
Doing with them what they love doing. Making time just to share the moment with your kids doing what they love most is all that really matters.
It's the making time together that makes for great memories. Unfortunately not enough parents make that time unfortunately.
21st April 2017, 14:38
Do what they like doing, not what you like doing and think they should.
Sure, some boys love football, like their dad (or Motor Racing and Skiing in my case), but some just aren't interested.
By all means, introduce them to things you love, but don't persevere if they're not interested.
My son is a big Sci-Fi/comic fan, we'll watch Star Wars together and have a laugh about it (he's 20 now!).
I did (to a great degree) teach him to drive - He never showed any enthusiasm for that, but he's happy I made him stick at it now he's got a car and can go where and when he likes, so ignore my first point if you know it's good for him!
I'm sure I'm a pretty average Dad, but I see too many agonise over doing the 'right things' or, worse still, forcing their interests on their sons (or trying to live their lives out through them).
I had a friend at school, about as clever as me, but applied himself better. I met his dad the day our O Levels results came out and he asked me how I got on - I told him (a mixed bag, but an A in English) and asked him how his son got on.
"8 Bs" he replied, but the look on his face said "And not a single A!" - That was 40 years ago nearly, but I can see the look of bitter disappointment on his face as clear as day when he heard I had 1 A! Sad...
Experiences are what makes a life, not things - Something that I've come to realise more as I get older (although I do seem to have more watches than I strictly NEED!)
When I think of my Dad, I think of our annual trips to Le Mans or the odd little joke we used to share. I remember going out cycling with him as a kid on a Sunday morning, or to the local swimming pool.
Last edited by snowman; 21st April 2017 at 14:44.
21st April 2017, 16:08
I only really remember my dad ever playing with me once. I was really young and i remember being taken to a park and kicking a football about. However, I have lots of memories of being dragged along to things he was interested in and trying to spend time with him on his hobby of tinkering with motorbikes (which generally involved me sitting there while he cursed and swore and some rusty old bike). As it happens i've ended up turning out a chip off the old block and i get on like a house on fire with him most of the time now.
With my own son (now 6) I tend to do what he wants to do. I guess I find playing like a child quite easy as although i'm 40 i'm still pretty immature most of the time (still laugh at farts etc). I try to take a lot of interest in the things he's interested in and I try to encourage him to be his own man and follow his own path although he always wants to help me in the garage or come to training with me, which he can do now he's that bit older. It's not easy all the time but just knowing what they like, asking how there day was, engaging in a conversation about a programme or youtube video they watch opens up all sorts of doors.
My daughter is a completely different kettle of fish. It seems women are temperamental from an early age. I do absolutely adore her though and I see more of my personality in her than I do in my son.
I have always figured the best way to treat them is like mini adults that need a little bit of management.
21st April 2017, 16:19
All of this plus Meccano if you can still get it!! And don't forget if you're working in the garden, garage, under the car etc, get them involved to learn some useful llife skills.
Originally Posted by village
21st April 2017, 16:48
Some sage advice already
I get loads wrong as a dad, but, plenty right too and I'm absolutely confident in the strength of relationship I have with my kids
They are very clear on who's in charge, but, I'm very doting and always make time for them... I'm a soppy sod and they are told very often how much I love them and I know they appreciate it
We all go to the footy together and it really is a shared passion and something we can all chat about at great length, insight and interest... might be worth a go
One important bit, is to make time for them on their own...
Theo is easy - we'll go to an away match, Grace and I went to a makeup training session and posh lunch and Alice and I went to the theatre and McDonalds - just me and them and was great fun
Get involved, relax chat and roll around a bit
21st April 2017, 17:21
21st April 2017, 17:25
Oh and motorbike and sidecar.
21st April 2017, 18:30
Go to the coast , take bacon and a bucket and go crabbing . Did this with my 2 and we loved it , spent hours and I thought it was brill too
21st April 2017, 19:21
I just downloaded that raising boys book and saw he also has a raising girls one, read a bit and seems very good.
IMO it's important to have your own life too. Your kids need to see parents who have passion and interest for things, who enjoy life as they need inspiration as well as nurture. What is it that you enjoy? Is it something you could take them along for? Might be as simple as playing loud rock music and jumping around the front room, my little girl loves that!
21st April 2017, 19:55
Ever since my (then) 5 year old said "daddy, we have to listen to mummy because she's the only grown up in the house". I stopped offering tips
21st April 2017, 20:08
I think it's very easy to take a back seat when they're little, as it seems natural to let mums take the lead. We had a pretty awful introduction to parenthood, and I made the decision early on to force myself to get involved as much as possible because we genuinely didn't know how much time we'd have together. So glad I did as much as possible.
Always try and do things you enjoy as well, much easier to be engaged and present if you're having fun as well!
Sent from my SM-G950F using TZ-UK mobile app
21st April 2017, 21:35
Spend time with them. To paraphrase APJ Abdul Kalam "you'll not regret the times you spent with them but the times you didn't."
Love them, cherish them, at times spoil them.
Kids don't come with instruction manuals, do your best, right or wrong make an effort.
21st April 2017, 21:46
Couldn't agree more.
Originally Posted by 72bpm
21st April 2017, 21:55
Thanks for this recommendation, I bought this on Audible this afternoon and have listened to about 2hrs already - it's full of great info!
Originally Posted by Passenger
21st April 2017, 22:49
I have three little daughters. They love being silly, but also they love learning about the world.
Randomly, I also discovered that the older two (5 & 6) love playing noughts and crosses with me! Indeed my eldest matches my (limited) abilities now!
Instead of reading books about how to be with them, just read books with them.
The perfect parent doesn't exist btw. Just do your best, that's what everyone does.
All the best
21st April 2017, 23:00
Lots of good advice already I think. I have a 6 year old daughter. Lego yes. All good. Dolls well it's a struggle to play make believe but you just have to try. A bit of advice I would offer is join the YHA, family membership is good value. You can get private family rooms. They are usually in good locations for adventure or indeed several in London! I've just been to one with my daughter in Medway she had a good time. It's a bit like camping but with less hassle.
21st April 2017, 23:20
Forgot the most important, get them to like reading books.
Originally Posted by 72bpm
Every dad (parent) wants to be the perfect dad, there are no right or wrong answers. Every dad (parent) is afraid of making a mistake. Every dad(parent) WILL make many.
Read this http://learningispassion.com/abraham...-sons-teacher/
You will make your mistakes and learn. You are no different, every dad (parent) wants to be the best dad (parent). Success or failure who judges that? That is a moot question.
Last edited by 72bpm; 21st April 2017 at 23:55.
22nd April 2017, 04:02
Some fantastic advice and tips (perfectly timed thread for me - thanks OP) - I've saved the Hoop link and will buy those raising boy and girl books. Things to look forward to over the upcoming years. We've got 8 month old twins - hence this early morning thread read!
22nd April 2017, 08:46
That is all.
22nd April 2017, 08:58
22nd April 2017, 09:30
For me, my greatest joy is being one of the boys. I have two sons ages 2 and a half, and 14 months. We get down in the playroom and get the toys out and just play. No real structure we just drive our trains about and let Batman fly around. It's great fun and seems something my wife will not do, not sure why but they LOVE it.
I'm looking forward to taking them to their first rugby game, my aim for that is to be season ticket holders, that's Friday night sorted. That's a few years away yet. As it my other objective - camping.
Reading is also something we do. Play, bath, book, bed.
No such thing as perfect, I'm completely aware of that but if I raise two happy, well rounded decent boys I will be a very happy man.
22nd April 2017, 10:13
Point to note they might not like what you like. My son had no interest in football whatsoever despite me playing from a little 'un into my 40's. We took him down to the local rugby club when he was 6 and he's still playing at Uni. Within 2 years I went from supportive dad on the sidelines to being a RFU Level 1 coach running his team until they all rolled into Colts at 18. So you do what you gotta do to support whatever path they want to take :-)
Originally Posted by SteveR
22nd April 2017, 11:00
Absolutely. I would like them to enjoy going ot rugby but if it makes them happy going to see a poetry recital somewhere then I'm all over that too.
I never really did this kind of thing with my dad as a child, although I have always got in with him, it's not like he was a 'distant' dad, he has always been there, just not in the mould that I want to be in for my sons as they grow up.
22nd April 2017, 22:43
Cool I'm glad you're getting something from it.
Originally Posted by Vampire
23rd April 2017, 10:15
Thanks for all the great replies, I figured this would get a few responses but didn't expect quite so many, so I'm glad this'll benefit myself and others.
I do have a great relationship with my boys and do spend a lot of time with them, I just feel like some of the time we spend could be more constructive. On the note of letting them gravitate towards what they like doing, there's a little bit too much ipad/TV for my liking (again, to clarify though, not excessive). It's often what they'd opt for given the choice but I really try to keep that to a minimum.
I suppose a big gap in my life is not having a sport to share with them, I train at the gym regularly and snowboard but they're not quite hobbies I can share with them yet (personally, I've no interest in football and on the topic of giving them options, neither do they). I do realise there's plenty of other activities to fill time with them but having a sport we all enjoy would certainly be an easy answer and be constructive for us all.
P.s. am I the only person in the world that feels like lego's like assembly Ikea furniture after a while!? (I guess that's the lack of imagination evident right there!).