#DadsRT Discussion: Parenting Roles

As dads we are often labelled as the disciplinarian, which is completely unfair to all parties involved. I strongly believe (and had a Twitter conversation about this) that the “wait until your father gets home” form of discipline is detrimental to a dad’s ability to bond with and relate to their children. There are many styles to parenting our children that we take on either consciously, or because we don’t know any other way. The following is a excerpt from a post I did on my blog about a year and a half ago. Do you see yourself in any of these parenting roles?

BOMBER PILOT: Heavy-handed disciplinarian, when you’re around.  Your kids know your name, but refer to you as The Hammer.  You swoop in at the end of the day to dole out punishments with harsh precision because the ground forces (see GRUNTS) called for reinforcements.  May be the style of the executive parent, or you may see this in a single-income home.  “Wait ’til your father/mother gets home.”

BUFFALO SOLDIER: Parents who succeed despite everything. Socio-economic status, community environment, single parent, divorce, traumatic event, etc do now deter this parent from giving their child ALL they can. They are the exception to the rule, and do not conform to the statistics. Their child may be the first in their family to go to college.

ENTRENCHED SOLDIER: Stuck in a stalemate. Unable to see what’s coming. Unwilling to give ground. Shooting blindly at issues that do not relate to what their kids are dealing with. Feel as if they are going nowhere, but are afraid to try something new.

GRUNTS: Put in the hard work of parenthood. They are the first to get up and have everything ready in the morning, and the last to sleep at night once everyone is fed, clean, and happy. Some Stay-At-Home parents may feel like this, or like they are trying to take the beach at Normandy every morning. ;-)

KAMIKAZEE PILOTS: Parents who seem to sacrifice their own life and happiness to be parents. Abandon all for the title and status of parent. They forget personal hobbies, or interests, and their whole identity becomes that of So-and-So’s parent.

THE SABOTEUR: Parents who either knowingly or unwittingly undermine their child’s ability to be successful. A parent who is an enabler. Some kids who receive special education services may not have internal disabilities, but disabling parents.

THE SNIPER: A master of working behind the scenes. They recognize possible issues before they arise, plan to have themselves in a position to have it in their sights, and deals with the issue quickly so that it doesn’t grow out of proportion, or seem like an issue at all.

TUSKEGEE AIRMEN: when a child has an extended household devote to their success through life. This may be actual family members assuming partial responsibility of raising the kids, or friends and community members making sure all kids show respect and are safe.

I don’t want to get into a discussion of which is better, because that is all relative.  What is interesting to me, is finding out if you see yourself in one of these roles, if you’re happy with that role, or how you think you could change.  For me, I feel like a Buffalo Soldier Sniper.




The Beginning
About ManvDadhood

I am a man, and by my wife’s standards that makes me flawed. My challenge to parents, and to myself, is not to teach my kids about the kind of person I hope them to become one day, but to become that person today.

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  1. JB you are correct.  There is not right or wrong role that parents have.  Personally I see my self as more as a Grunt.  I put in all the work not because I want to but because I have to.  I enjoy it that way.  The wife is busy with school and I have to be there to be able to take care of my child.

    • ManvDadhood says:

      @therookiedad You sound like me in recent days… Trying to pick up the slack from the wife while she’s in school.  Trying, failing, and still trying.  This DadRT thing was a sweet deal, even if it just gets us all to stay connected!

  2. Hmmm, I honestly don’t 100% identify with any of these roles.  The closest is The Sniper.  My wife is definitely The Grunt, as she does the lion’s share as far as getting the boys ready in the morning, getting their lunches ready, dinner, laundry, groceries, packing their stuff when we go away, etc…  We both work, so there really isn’t a “wait until so and so gets home” dynamic, and since we both take turns with discipline/involvement depending on each other’s patience level, there is no real executive parent.  
    I believe my Sniperness is balanced by her Gruntness.  I’m a see problem, tackle problem kind of guy.  I want issues addressed and solved ASAP, whereas she tends to take the longer term approach because she is either busy keeping the ship going in the right direction, or wants to see how things will play out naturally…aka…give them a little rope and see what they do with it.
    I have the word “balance” on the brain these days, and that is how I see our household.  Our personalities and parenting styles, in the end, provide a nice balance for our children (I hope) and I believe it’s working out nicely.  
    How could I change?  Patience.  I need more patience.  I “pop” too quickly, and while sometimes I tell myself this is part of the balance, in that a strong, male presence is important for the boys, I need to pick my spots more carefully.  Them hitting each other, yes, the “dad deep voice” needs to come out.  Spilling something by accident?  Not so much.

    • ManvDadhood says:

      @readbradthedad Patience is key for a sniper, like yourself.  It would be a shame to take down a target too quickly.  😉 
      I’m with you when you say balance is needed.  If your house isn’t balanced, it’s hard to get your kids to turn out balanced.

  3. I’m kind of like a sniper/grunt. I get all the work done, but I do it quietly in the shadows just picking things off as I go. I also have no idea what I am doing sometimes so I am some sort of private just starting boot camp. I think I have my act together but these sargents (kids) are really kicking my ass.

    • ManvDadhood says:

      @DaddysinCharge I often feel like I rotate through the ranks… weekly, daily, and hourly.  😉

  4. ManvDadhood says:

    I will say that I think I was recently a Tuskeegee Airmen when living near my in-laws.  We were able to have extended family and friends be positive adult figures to interact with our kids.  Moving away, I’d like to say I’m a sniper, but I’m probably more of a Bomber Pilot trying not to become Entrenched.  Some days get Grunt status, but I hope to get back on top of things and see issues before they happen… like a sniper! 😉

  5. JamesHudyma says:

    Buffalo Soldier.  I also love that song.  Yes, I also know the history.

    • ManvDadhood says:

      @JamesHudyma “Buffalo Soldier, Dredlock Rasta!”  -Wyclef
      The Buffalo Soldier is just an analogy of having the will  NOT to let your circumstances turn you into a statistic.  😉

This is what I think...