The Year In Fatherly Advice From Fatherly Readers
Participation trophies don't fare well.
Fatherly is big on experts, because they’re usually pretty smart about stuff. Want to build a cool pillow fort? Ask an architect. Need to talk to your kid about death? Talk to a woman who does that for a living, first. Have an awkward tattoo that your kid just started asking about? Fat Mike can help with that one.
But the thing about parenting is that everyone’s technically an expert, because no one can really know more about your kid than you. Which means you undoubtedly have a ton of insights to share that may or may not be relevant to other parents — it just depends on how similar your kid is to theirs.
We can’t figure that part out for you, but we did take the opportunity to ask the Fatherly Hive Mind some common parenting questions, in hopes that a few interesting/useful/unexpected answers might reveal themselves. Thankfully, you stepped up.
“Bad kids can be turned into great kids. If they aren’t getting good influences at their home, have them spend more time with your kid, and you. Teach them the same things. Then you have a great friend for your child.”
Wait … Can this kid help my kid hustle down the road? Everyone has that one friend right? You know. The friend you call when you need some dirty shit taken care of.”
“I’d end the relationship. I’ve done it before and I’d do it again.”
“Reevaluate why my influence as a father and parent isn’t stronger than another kid’s on my child and do a better job.”
“Honestly, a great part of me would light up with delight if he became a midnight vandal hell-raising societal rebel.”
“First Kid: Generally anything with too much sugar we limited. We also strived to get her the fruits and vegetables she needed. Second kid: Still lots of fruits and veggies, but we really let up on the sweets and maybe made a few too many trips to McNugget land. Third kid: Meh, those little f—ers are tougher than they look.”
“McDonald’s … Even my kids give people who are eating McDs a hard time.”
“Organic … I teach them not to believe everything they hear.”
“When they can afford to pay the bill.”
“Nine years. Technology boosts and makes the mind think faster and adapt rapidly to new ideas.”
“Kids should get a phone the day they go outside with their friends for the first time.”
“My daughter is 8-years-old and goes to before and after school care. She has a cell phone. She knows it’s for emergencies only and keeps it in her backpack. It’s pretty dumb to say ‘When they can afford it.’ Her phone was free with activation of less than $30.00 a month from AT&T.”
“Depends on what age you have them do chores. Because, if you have them doing chores then you can have the phone as an incentive. Which will teach responsibility and you won’t have a spoiled child. Two birds, one stone.”
“My son is 5 and I can’t wait to get him one so he can text and feel connected to both his parents at all times since we live in separate homes (like half of parents).”
“If you have done it, so will they. Then they will figure another way that you hadn’t. Just be patient and learn from them as much as they will learn from you.”
“I’m not better than you at something, I’ve just had a thousand more chances to screw up.”
“When you feel like giving up … remember who’s watching.”
“Don’t try to get too much work done while babies/toddlers nap. Enjoy a warm meal sitting down and then take your own nap.”
“Participation trophy is bullshit. But I do think my boys will get a reward for trying their hardest, whether they win or not. But they’ll only get it if they actually try their hardest and walk away proud of their attempt. If he wins, I’ll snatch that trophy the second I see him looking down on another kid. My kid’s gonna be a good person, win or lose. You lost? Well go on and congratulate the winner on a job well done. You won? Well go tell everyone who lost that they gave it a good try. Competitions should be friendly. People should be friendly.”
“I think a ‘trophy’ is a way of saying ‘earned’ and it defeats the purposes of the events you are ‘participating’ in if you give one to everyone. What value does a participation medal honestly have? Kids are smart they know when they’ve REALLY earned something. Or better yet they know when they’ve done something worthwhile.”
“Up until 5, they’re okay. They need to start learning about failure and how to overcome it starting at 5.”
“I have a homeschool trophy my mom made for me that says ‘Writer Of The Year.’ Having just acknowledgment trophies is good, but, ‘Wow this person is VIP on a team of 40 other kids’ seems BS and can harm others. Keep things equal and reward everyone for a job well done.
“Wish they would swap them out for a plaque with a pic of the kid participating in the sport, would be a much better keepsake.”
“Do you get a diploma, a job, a raise, or a promotion just for showing up? Then don’t teach children that that’s how the world works.”
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