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Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Dads in the 21st century

I've just read an article in the Autumn UK Handmade magazine, have a look, it's about the experiences of a modern Dad, dealing with, ocasionally, badly behaved kids in a positive and sensible way in the face of disapproval and suspicion from 'well meaning' nosy parkers.
I work in a library part time and we see all forms of the family in there, from the tired, frazzled and frankly impatient mother to the slightly bemused grandparent being dragged into the picture book corner by an enthusiastic toddler. Some of the worst parenting I've seen has been from mothers whose uncaring and selfish behaviour towards their kids has frequently appalled me, using the library as somewhere where they can let their kids run riot while they chat.

On the other hand when a Dad comes in alone with his kids he is usually the opposite, really focused on them and making sure they behave while enjoying themselves. Not all mothers are good and not all fathers are useless. I suppose the good fathers I see are the ones who have made a conscious decision to be the carer, wether on a permanent basis or just for a day, whereas the 'bad' mothers have perhaps been lumbered with kids they didn't really want at all.
The article talks about the portrayal of 'modern dad' on TV, I've often thought that the media has a huge responsibility towards the society they operate in, comedy particularly. It's easy, and lazy, to pick on a particular section of society and portray them as useless and bumbling or some other amusing characteristic, but people take that stuff in unconsciously and it becomes an established attitude if we are not careful. Racist comedy is, thankfully, a thing of the past but lazy comedy is still out there picking on other people and making their lives difficult. Librarians for one!

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