This is the first of our fatherhood series being published this week in honor of Father’s Day (June 16th). Check back for the rest!
When I was younger, I had friends whose dads were really cool. In fact, my dad was considered one of the “cool dads.” These men were funny and actually taught us quite a bit about life (admittedly in an indirect way).
We looked up to these cool dads and I’m sure they received something from the relationship too. Likely, they got a chance to tell their stories and be a good (or at least fun) influence on the younger generation.
Lots of men with kids want to be a cool dad, but really have no idea how to go about it. They know that being a cool father will not only get them respect from their friends, but their own kids as well. Fortunately, you’ve come to the right place to be a cool dad. We explain how to be one.
Being cool means being relaxed and calm. Think about coolness; it really means calmness under pressure. Kids can be a pain in the butt and so can their friends. However, you have to be calm when dealing with them. Don’t get stressed out by their actions and roll with the issues.
Once when I was in high school, my friends and I were pranking people on the phone. A sheriff’s deputy came to the door and we quickly fessed up to his dad. The deputy was there for an unrelated reason, but clearly we were discovered.
His dad told us that we were pushing our luck in an age of caller id, but otherwise didn’t lecture us or lose his temper. And, we actually listened to him and respected him. Even when you’re ready to lose it, be relaxed. Be a cool father.
Be Attractive and Avoid the Unattractive
Ultimately, being cool to your kids’ friends means being attractive to them. I don’t mean inappropriately, just in the general sense of them wanting to be around you and liking you.
So, you’ll want to have attractive traits that others look for in men. These are confidence, humor, intelligence, good looks, high fitness levels, etc. I remember being very impressed with my good friend’s dad because he was in outstanding shape. And, we bonded over working out together.
If you want to be a cool dad then start embracing some of these high value traits. Our entire website is devoted to helping men achieve these values. So, have a look around at our different categories.
But, we wouldn’t be very helpful if we also didn’t list the unattractive behaviors that will make others think you’re an uncool father. These are: flipping out, being out of shape, meanness, judgmentalism, lack of humor, lack of confidence, etc.
It’s also worth mentioning here that trying too hard to be cool isn’t attractive either. So, as a dad, remember you can be trendy, fun, and cool, but don’t overdo it.
Humor is one of the quickest ways to win over anyone of any age. Plus, kids and teens are at that age where they still enjoy life and laugh a lot. If you can get them laughing, then you’ll be popular.
While humor is hard to teach, especially in a short essay, here are a few pointers. Observational humor is best. It shows you’re smart and makes the person hearing it feel more connected (because it’s their environment).
If you’re dealing with older teen girls, then gentle teasing is usually a way to get them to laugh. However, don’t be rude or have them think you’re serious. Always make sure they know you’re kidding as well. An example would be, “I like that shirt. But how many cheetahs had to die to make it?”
Avoid outdated humor (remember, these kids are much younger), anything dirty (you can be edgy, but don’t come across as a creeper), or unfunny material.
Assertiveness is Cool
You still have to be a dad, even if it’s the cool dad. That means setting boundaries for your kids. You can be a friend to your child’s friends, but you’re also the adult. That means you have to stand up for what is right and safe.
Assertiveness is actually cool and attractive. So, if you have to assert yourself for what is right, then you’ll actually earn the respect of your child and his or her friends.
But, be assertive, not aggressive, passive-aggressive, whiny, etc. Be upfront with the child and the friends. If you have a good relationship with them and assert yourself in the right way, you’ll not only keep their friendship, they might even listen to you.
So, hopefully you can be a cool dad too. It’s actually rewarding to have the respect and admiration of young people.