Dad, how often have you wished that you and your teenager lived on the same planet? Spoke the same language? On some days, liked each other? How many times have you felt puzzled, frustrated, angry, hurt or just plain perplexed but weren’t sure where to turn?
This book took root over lunch a few years ago when we were exchanging war stories about fatherhood and discovered that our teenagers were raising us in the same identical manner. And we did not appreciate some of our upbringing! We were struck by how common our feelings (some not so admirable) and challenges (some monumental) were regarding our relationship with our kids.
Throughout many more lunches, the floodgate opened and out poured all sorts of issues and concerns. We met with other dads and learned that all of us shared many common frustrations and doubts about our role in the family and our relationship to our kids. We just needed permission to air those feelings and a venue where we could be open and honest. We had searched for someone to talk to and found no-one. Books didn’t speak to us. They didn’t apply to our situation as dads trying to do the best we could, or they were so clinical we couldn’t relate.
So we’re out of the café and on to the page. This book is for dads about dads by dads. It’s based on a newspaper column we’ve been writing for the last few years. We’ll focus on parent-child relationships, talk about our experiences, offer some tips, and introduce some perspectives. They say that confession is good for the soul. We’ll serve up some soul food as well. And, yes, moms are welcome, too. In fact, mom, you may need to tap dad on the shoulder and introduce him to us. Use your elbow, if necessary.
It seems to us that moms have more opportunities to share their feelings about parenthood. They connect on neighborhood walks, in the office, at church and within other social situations. Dads, on the other hand, don’t seem to have either the will or a way to open up to one another. So we appreciate and are grateful for this opportunity to provide a guide to the uneven road of fatherhood. And we hope you’ll learn a few things along the way.
We want to emphasize that we are regular dads, not professionally trained therapists or counselors. If you are experiencing a serious problem with your teenager, something beyond the typical pitfalls of generational misunderstandings and misfires, then we recommend you contact an appropriate agency or organization.
"I have been aware of the Dad's2Dad's project since its inception, and attended an early focus group at our church men's group with Bill and Tom. They are filling a big void in fathers’ lives. Men have too few resources to help them with a most important role in the family. Thanks to Bill and Tom we have a place to turn to."
Paul G, father and grandfather