Our NYC Stay At Home Dads Group had a great experience today at the 92nd Street Y. In a partnership with the 92nd Street Y Parenting Center, Dr. Michael Thompson addressed the joys and challenges of being a stay at home dad.
For those of you not familiar with this “world-renown authority” on child development, Dr. Michael Thompson is a psychologist and a consultant to more than 500 schools in the U.S. and abroad, a prolific author, the coauthor, host and narrator of the PBS documentary, Raising Cain: Focus on Boys. Normally, our NYC dads group experiences are adventurous and focused on enrichment opportunities for our kids. Today, the focus was about us dads having a real, facilitated conversation about fathering.
This small, intimate meet up event for dads only enabled us to go deeper into our role as a stay at home dad. We really were able to talk about some sensitive issues we are facing in our unique role of an at home dad, our comfort level in this role, and different approaches on monitoring our child’s development. This discussion allowed some of the dads as well as myself to break down some of the barriers to sharing our true feelings and made for a meaningful morning. In fact, some of us said we definitely need to find a way to incorporate a brief, facilitated talk time in our weekly meet-ups to spend some time talking about best practices as well as ‘vulnerable’ moments we went through that week – become a support group for each other! I know we are not recreating the wheel here and I am sure other dad groups around the country do something like this, but it certainly is helpful.
Dr. Thompson brought up some very interesting points today including the notion of not being a “superdad”, but being good enough for your child. Also, interestingly, coming from a child development author, he mentioned that lots of research says we do not need to use parenting books about child development to be a good parent – that research points out that illiterate parents raise happy and healthy kids just as well without the books.