With our newish blended family (we just had our first Thanksgiving as a family), we spent a few days with my son’s new step-grandparents after the actual holiday. Our Saturday was typical, some leftovers, some basketball and football, playing with the dogs, and watching some television.
“The Amazing Spider-Man” was on one of the networks and we kept it on for much of the movie. Usually, we watch movies commercial-free, but we were too lazy to even turn the channel. Between the full court basketball game at a nearby school and the leftover tryptophan-laced turkey, clicking the remote seemed a bridge too far.
I got distracted during a commercial break and re-engaged upon hearing my son ask, “what is erectile dysfunction?”
My mother-in-law looked at me and whispered, “So, how are you going to handle this one?”
I told her I would handle it in a private setting, not one with older step-cousins, a step-aunt, and other steps around. She smiled in agreement.
First of all, why do we need to put up with male virility clinic commercials during superhero movies playing during the afternoon? I’m wondering how many middle-aged men (myself excluded) are watching Spider-Man on a Saturday afternoon. But I digress.
Not long after, I pulled my son aside and answered the question in an age appropriate manner and only answered the question he asked. He appeared satisfied with the reply and said he had no follow up questions.
We dads will face many questions from our kids, some of which we may not know how to answer. I suspect my son or my stepsons will hit me with a few I would prefer to hand off to my wife.
However, we dads have the opportunity to approach these subjects with authority and wise instruction.
For several years, I had no other “parent” to help out with these types of questions and I took some great advice from my son’s therapist…only answer the questions your kid asks.
My hat is off to the single dads who have girls – they have an entirely different set of issues and questions to answer. And if any dads raising girls have any input/advice for fellow travelers, please share in the comment section below.
While I complain about ED commercials during Spider-Man movies, the fact is football games are probably worse.
In any event, let us try to be dads who invite questions, give wise answers, and encourage healthy growth in our kids.
Has your kid asked an awkward question or made a stunning statement during a family gathering? Please share!