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How Long Before I Become Phil Dunphy?

Some worry about becoming their parents. I worry about becoming Phil Dunphy.

It’s said, “A Dad is his son’s first hero, and his daughter’s first love.” I imagine in many cases this is probably true? Those of you with younger kids, like me (our daughter is 4), do you ever worry about the day when your hero or first love status wanes? I do.

Dad: A Son's First Hero. A Daughter's First Love.

Those of you with children in their teens or older, please weigh in on this fear many of us have. Is it inevitable that the day will come when we become an embarrassment to our kids? A day when she’ll look at me like Phil Dunphy’s kids look at him on Modern Family?

“I’m cool dad, that’s my thang. I’m hip, I surf the web, I text. LOL: laugh out loud, OMG: oh my god, WTF: why the face?” ~Phil Dunphy, Modern Family

What can we do to at least minimize the disconnect I’ve observed others have with their kids as they grow up. Would I be correct in guessing the investment in time and love we make today can at least mitigate the negative aspects of the teen years? What else?

Any suggestions for a dad stumbling his way through parenthood?

[important]I’d be honored if you’d Pin the “Dad” graphic (links below) or share this post via Facebook & Twitter. And please leave a comment. I need all the advice I can get! :)[/important]

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  1. JennyP

    You know, I don’t have teenagers yet… But I remember when I WAS a teenager, I loved hanging out with my parents. I would turn down invitations from friends because I liked being with my family. If I could define why I felt that way, I would say it was because my parents treated me with respect, taught me good principles, and then gave me opportunities to make choices, even those that sometimes ended badly. (Within reason, of course.) I felt trusted and loved, which empowered me to trust and love in return, I think.

    And I absolutely agree that if we don’t hang out and talk with our kids now, they won’t want to when they’re older. Just the other day I talked about basketball scores with my eleven year old for twenty solid minutes. I don’t have the slightest care for whether or not Sacramento won their last game, but he cares, which is reason enough for me to listen to a play by play of the last quarter. I even managed to ooh and ahh in all the right places. That doesn’t mean I’m not terrified of the teenage years… but at the same time, I’m excited about them too. I think kids these days can be pretty amazing.

    1. Michael Schmid

      That sounds like great advice, Jenny!

      I would turn down invitations from friends because I liked being with my family. If I could define why I felt that way, I would say it was because my parents treated me with respect, taught me good principles, and then gave me opportunities to make choices, even those that sometimes ended badly. (Within reason, of course.) I felt trusted and loved, which empowered me to trust and love in return, I think.

      My wife had a super idea when my daughter was still a baby; she suggested that I read to my daughter and put her to bed every night. And for the past 4 years I’ve only missed a couple of nights. It gives us some guaranteed quality time every day. We also alternate which of us feeds and bathes her before stories and bed. Lately she’s been asking to talk instead of the books; so we’ll sometimes just sit in her room and talk about all sorts of things. Sometimes serious stuff and sometimes about tea parties with her lovies (which I treat as serious, too).

      Thanks for the wonderful input, Jenny!!! :)

  2. Mary Kathryn Johnson

    I believe that we grow as parents as our kids grow, and we go through the same stages. Middle School is the toughest and most confusing for both kids and their parents, but letting your kids’ maturity level guide you through your parenting skills will help you the most!

    If you embrace each stage, and the opportunities it presents for your relationship with your child, you will be fine. If you hang on to the fun, young kid stage, you will have trouble relating.

    Parenting is truly a process of letting go, and we parents can’t let go unless we have treated our kids with respect, and created a safe environment which allows them to make their own choices and mistakes.

    I haven’t needed to discipline my 14 year old (yet), because I use common sense respect and communication to help him determine the outcome of his actions for himself and those around him. I don’t mandate, because he hasn’t been unreasonable in his actions. yet. We’ll see what happens when he starts driving?!

    Continue to have fun, and love her the best way you know how!

    1. Michael Schmid

      What super advice, Mary Kathryn. Thank you! I’d not looked at it with the mutual stages view before. Interesting. As for parenting being “a process of letting go”… so I should stop construction for the castle tower I was building her out back? Can I at least keep the moat… and the alligators? I know you are right. All any of us can do is our best, but speaking strictly for me, I know I can do better. Thanks again!

  3. Joe Rollins

    Well, that may be partly true because as the kids grow they get different exposures but I think it will also depend on how you have taught them to look at things, their perspective. All in all as a parent you will just have to love your child, despite what view they may have of you.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Good point, Joe. My daughter can definitely count on that, no matter what.

  4. Mitzi

    It is an absolute guarantee that at some point, when you wee girl gets older, you will inevitably do something that will embarrass her in front of her friends. All children get embarrassed at some point by their parents. But rest assured that not long afterwards, all will be forgiven; you will still reign as her 1st love and she will always hold you near and dear to her heart. And just because life is not without a sense of humor, when she is older, she will likely do something that embarrasses you and at that moment the scale will be balanced. Big hugs…PS. thanks for stopping by my blog earlier.

    1. Michael Schmid

      And just because life is not without a sense of humor, when she is older, she will likely do something that embarrasses you and at that moment the scale will be balanced.

      Good point. LOL. As today… it started with daddy-daughter cuddles on the couch while we watched the rest of The Wizard of Oz (her first time)… and then we scoured the house looking for that tricky little Elf on the Shelf. She did find her eventually, hiding partly behind some Irish stained glass my wife bought me as a wedding gift. I’ll let tomorrow take care of itself. Thanks for dropping by, Mitzi!

  5. Michael

    Hey, nice post and nice blog. I think a lot of it comes with how we grew up and how close we were with our parents. I liked hanging out with my parents and I hope my two little boys do the same. I think I am a fun person to be around and in touch with myself.

    Yes, parents can’t be best friends but we can be highly involved and important.

    look forward to reading more.

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thanks for the nice comment, Michael. Great name, by the way. You’re right, we aren’t our kids “friends”, but I certainly hope I can remain close (with the usual teen challenges). Let me know your thoughts/advice concerning the comment I just left on your post concerning “Please and Thank Yous”. Have a great Christmas!

  6. Dora

    My father still is my superhero and first love although I’m already over 30:) So don’t worry about that;)

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Dora. I hope my daughter feels as you do when she’s 30. :)

  7. Patrice Denman

    I love this!! I absolutely do! I’m 20 years old now and I’m such a sucker for my dad…the love a daughter has for her dad never fades because on the inside she’s still that little girl that loves to fall asleep in daddy’s arms. It’s a phase tht is teenagers go through (as I am still in the transition stage from teenager to adult) and a we figure out ourselves and what we want and don’t want, we need our parents more than ever (especially daddy to comfort during the heartbreak and make us feel better in our worst times). From our perspective, parents do annoy us, and place limits on the things we can or can not do but were stuck with you lol. I’m not saying this journey through teenage-hood is going to be peachy walks through the park but always being there when she pushes you away and always tellin her her worth and that she’s the best thing since before sliced bread is all she needs, and even though she may not show it, she’s listening and she will never forget it!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Always being there when she pushes you away and always tellin her her worth and that she’s the best thing since before sliced bread is all she needs, and even though she may not show it, she’s listening and she will never forget it!

      That is really lovely, Patrice, and clearly you’ve grown to be a young woman your dad must be so proud of. Sounds like he always was proud of you, and it’s wonderful he made sure you knew it.

  8. Patrice Denman

    Happy Father’s Day by the way!!!

    1. Michael Schmid

      Thank you, Patrice! Your father’s day gift to me can be to tell your dad everything (and more) you wrote in your other comment. I hope he had a super Father’s Day!

      1. Patrice Denman

        I went home (Nyc from Buffalo) to spend Father’s Day with him. He didnt know I was coming so the look on his face made that unbearable 8 hour bus ride worth it!

        1. Michael Schmid

          Awww… that sounds wonderful. I lost my dad years ago, so I’m happy you got to spend time with him, Patrice. Good for you.

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