Only three types of dads in media

We took a day to celebrate dads this past weekend with Father’s Day.

And while I could not spent the day with my own father, I spent some of the day on Facebook looking at the beautiful pictures of people with their dads.

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I could not have asked for a better dad. He was not perfect, but I know he tried his absolute best and did what he thought was right in raising my siblings and me.

Many people on my Facebook feed said the same of their own fathers.

In dad culture as portrayed in the media, we seem to have only three kinds of dads: the clueless, and lets face it, useless dad; the knows-everything dad; or the absentee dad.

I consider myself very lucky for the dad I got.

We all know or hear about people who have absentee parents, including, more often than not, dads.

Lone-parent families were the highest they have ever been in 2011, according to Statistics Canada.

One in five families have a single parent ruling the roost – of those single-parent homes, 56.2 per cent came after a divorce or separation.

Growing up in a home where there has been divorce or separation cannot be easy on children or parents.

Single parents have to play both roles much of the time, taking part in both traditionally maternal and paternal roles and being both people to their children.

For context, I think of the garden I just started. I do not know how I am going to keep that alive, and I can’t imagine being one half a parenting duo.

I work long hours at my job, and I cannot imagine doing that with kids at home, whether I was a single parent or part of a crime fighting duo.

In 2011, 328,000 children living were with their dads.

That still means that 328,000 kids are living with dads – dads who are making breakfast in the morning, getting kids ready for school and then earning a living.

Dads do not deserve the bad press they get.

There’s too much in media of the deadbeat dad, the clueless dad, or the dad as the focus of marital problems.

In how many television commercials are moms the superheroes to dads who are clueless about housework or raising kids? The same can be said about the portrayal of dads in television shows, including Homer Simpson (The Simpsons), Peter Griffin (Family Guy), Al Bundy (Married… With Children) and Jay Pritchett (Modern Family). They are all portrayed as hopeless idiots and are too often the cause of the conflict for the episode.

That kind of portrayal is having a bigger impact than people might think, says Christopher Brown of the National Fatherhood Institute in an article from 2015.

“When professionals hold a negative view of fathers, they are reluctant to engage fathers and may unwittingly support negative maternal views of fathers by not encouraging the mothers to involve fathers. Professionals also reinforce fathers’ negative view of themselves by not proactively engaging fathers to show them they can be good parents.”

For guys just trying to be good parents and doing the best they can be for their kids, you do not have to be the superhero, dad-who-has-all-the-answers-type-of-dad. The perfect dad who gets his perfect advice from a script.

Dads, whether you are bringing home the bacon, taking care of the house or juggling both, thank you for all that you do.

Most dads deserve more credit than they are given.

© Copyright Humboldt Journal

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