What does protecting your kids mean dads? What is your role? Is it just, “if you touch my daughter, I will kill you”? Don’t even think that some of you didn’t go to that line in your head, especially my male readers…lol. Dads like to think we protect the family. I would agree. However, I don’t think I’ve ever seen something as vicious as a momma bear. I mean this figuratively and literally. Moms, human moms can be bears. If you have seen a mom go off in defense of her child, you haven’t lived long enough. I just had to throw that in there. Some of your ladies…dang!
Anyway, I was reading an aritcle on animals protecting their young. I ran across information about the silverback gorillas. While a mother gorilla could rip your face off, it is the duty of the silverback to protect the group. This means anyone in his group. There was a specific line in this article that caught my attention. The silverback, the dominant male will “drive the group away from the source of danger and attack the enemy at the same time”.
What does it mean to drive away? Well, I typed it into google. Here is what it says. Definition of drive away. : to cause or force (someone) to leave especially by making a situation unpleasant or unattractive. Is this what you usually think about when thinking about the idea of protecting. It is not simply standing between your loved ones and the danger. That is the cool part. That is the macho part. That is how dads want to see themselves. That looks and sounds brave…a “real” man. However, the first part of protection is to drive those you care about out of the danger zone. This is not always achieved by saying “Tommy, you are fixing to be bitten by a rattlesnake”. We yell STOP or grab Tommy and jerk him away.
Dads, to be a good protector does not men that we consider junior’s feelings at that moment. You may have to deal with your tactics in the first line of defense later. “Dad, you scared the crap out of me.” “You scared Sally to death when you grabbed her at the curb.” To protect your kids means to get them out of the danger zone. This is not a typically pleasant thing.
The danger is not always a snake in the grass. It may be a snake on-line, on your kids’ phone, or at a party. Those that do not have your child’s best interest at heart have more access in our kids’ lives than ever. With the daily increasing reach of technology, there are more tools out there to be used for harm. Please understand that I am a techie. I love the good that technology can do for people’s lives. However, it must be monitored. Turning your kids lose with technology can be as dangerous as turning them loose with a gun. You must have a very clear and open sense of communication with them from day one. You are the rule setter and must follow through on steps to be taken if an issue arises. This won’t make you popular at the moment. You must drive them away from the danger, not just “fight an enemy”.
The idea of threats, bad guy, and harmful situations are nothing new. All these elements were around when I was a kid and throughout history. Bullies didn’t and don’t need the internet or smartphones. Drugs, bad people, stupid stunts, poor judgment have always been there. Don’t get caught on just the technology side of it. You need to know your kids’ friends and their parents. You need to know their teachers. Be involved men.
This is not trying to get you to NOT trust your kids. On the contrary, it has everything to do with building trust. You need to build those trusting relationships. This means getting and sharing information. Going back to some of my earlier posts, it is crucial to develop your communication of love to your kids on a daily basis. Then the inquiries will not feel so much like an invasion of privacy. The best way for you to protect is to be aware.
Your kids don’t need a spy and an accusatory parent, especially when it has not been warranted. They just need a dad that has shown interest from day one. If you walked into a pre-existing family, adopted, etc., taking the role of the protector is very difficult. You need to take what I call the Dirty Harry approach. Not talking all the time, but being a presence and willing to jump in if needed or just to back up and assist your spouse. Keep the communication open and healthy with your partner. This can be a journey.
Being a protecting dad is what you are supposed to be. It should stem from your overwhelming love for your kids. It is not always easy. Work on your communication and telling them that you love them. Talk with your spouse and discuss outside of emotion. Your dedication will show that you are trying to be the best dad possible.