Dads2Dads: Be a nosy dad
Posted: Friday, March 1, 2013 7:00 pm
By TOM TOZER and BILL BLACK
We were nosy dads when our kids were growing up. We wanted to know who was calling. We asked where they were going and when to expect them home. We set limits and followed through. Occasionally we peered under beds, not really knowing what we would find. We found school lunches that never left the house. That led to a larger investigation. We periodically checked email correspondence if we had any concerns. (Texting didn’t exist yet.). We wanted to meet the boy with orange hair or the girl with the butterfly tattoo behind her ear and the ring in her eyebrow. Yep, we were nosy dads all right.
Guilty as charged
Of course our kids didn’t like it. They accused us of invading their privacy. Again, guilty as charged. We were often instructed to mind our own business. It was really more interesting to mind theirs. We wanted to know who they were visiting and what adult would be there. We surveyed the school outfits of choice for the day. We’d look at the books they were reading … or at least carrying. We tried to monitor the movies they saw. That was a tough one. We didn’t know one flick from another.
Certainly we didn’t shadow our kids during their every waking hour (their waking hours far exceeded ours!) As they showed responsibility and good judgment, they gained more of the freedom they longed for. But the point is, we tried to be in our teenagers’ business, and you should too. After all, it is your house. Your kids live there free of charge. They get food and clothes and shelter there. Yes, they want their space, and you should be willing to provide that space. But it comes free of charge. Your kids don’t pay the bank a dime for it. Here it is short and simple, Dad: You love them. You want the best for them. But -- your house, your rules.
Be in your kids’ stuff
Dad, you’re much too busy to be a snoop 24-7. And as your kids exhibit responsibility, they should gain independence. Ours certainly did. But we do suggest that you never disengage from what’s going on in your son or daughter’s life. We’ll state the obvious (although some parents don’t seem to get it). You’re the parent and you’re in charge. You and mom don’t need permission to ask questions, peer under the bed, peek around the corner. You have invested heart and soul into your children. You have prayed for guidance. You have cried out in the middle of the night for answers. When your teenager shuts you out—and he or she will—you need to bang on the door until it opens or falls off its hinges.
If you don’t take charge when your children are experiencing a sometimes scary world, someone else will fill your shoes. So … stick your nose in, dad.
Contact Tom Tozer of Nashville and Bill Black of Murfreesboro at Dads2Dads@comcast.net. Visit www.dads2dads.wordpress.com
Published in The WCP 2.28.13
Dads2Dads: Be a nosy dad