Friday, August 28, 2009

Nurture Nature

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You dads out there are scary. You read that right. You dads are scary. It does not matter what you do for a living. It does not matter if you work at home as a slave caretaker or work nights as a serial killer exterminator. As far as your kids friends are concerned, you may as well be the boogie man.

It doesn't matter how long you have known these kids or their families. It doesn't matter how many popsicles you hand out although cash works as a great comfort enhancer, starting right around school age your kids friends will begin to fear you.

This seems to be a phenomenon that passes from generation to generation. I remember feeling this way about my friends dads, as does Mr.Weasel. These dads had never done anything to offend. Yet, whenever they came home or entered a room, we felt the need to scatter like roaches for self preservation purposes.

I conducted a survey in the 12 year old age group and 100% of the respondents (okay, so it was just Boy Weasel) reported feeling this way towards their friends fathers. Even when those fathers were really nice.

Further inquiries (I asked Eldest Weasel) revealed that this natural fear starts to dissipate when the child reaches the Sophomore year of high school.

My research has led me to the hypothesis that this reaction stems from a baser instinct in human offspring, that any moment the adult males of the species will eat the young, for any threat real or perceived. Not a bad idea really, when you see some of these kids.

So if you find yourself impeded in your relationships with your children's friends you can always pick yourself up a tee shirt that sports the word cannibalism ensconced in that red circle with a line through it.

I however find that it's best to work with nature instead of against it and suggest that you harness this power you wield for your own benefit. It can keep unwelcome play pals away from your house, the room you are in will remain peaceful and quiet as neighbor kids scatter in fear away from you and will make it much easier to shake these kids down for snack/clubhouse dues if they are afraid you will eat them for non-payment.

I say nurture nature.

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25 comments:

Jason said...

I'm obviously doing something wrong because one of Number 1's friends actually told his father that he liked me better because I didn't yell...in front of his entire family. It's a good thing I wasn't there because I would have shrunk into the furthest corner I could find...

PJ Mullen said...

Going to have to keep that in mind for the future, especially when my son gains some annoying friend that will never leave.

Daddy Files said...

I never thought it about but you're absolutely right. Hmmmm...

I'm going to hang a sign in my living room when Will gets older that says "Unattended or misbehaving children will be eaten alive."

Thanks WM!

Kelly said...

I think your absolutely right, and I think my Father figured this out early on as he added to his scariness by refusing to talk to any of my friends, especially the boys. He would just stare at them like a crazy man, refusing to talk. They would say "Hi"--stare. They would say, "How are you?"--stare. They would ask "Is Kelly here?"--stare. Eventually they would get uncomfortable (probably afraid they'd get eaten), and would go away.

Yup...definitely right.

Tara R. said...

I thought eating their young was exclusive to the female of the species. I do know that at least in my house, they can make it to sophomores in college and still be highly intimidated by the old man. But, he is really scary, on purpose. HA!

Shawn said...

My 4 year old has a very annoying little friend, but I think she a little to young for this. If my daughter is still friends with her when they are like then pass the salt! :)

ciara said...

no one was really ever scared of my dad unless it was a boyfriend or a guy who might have had some interest in me lol but i do remember feeling intimidate by some of my friends' dads. weird how that happens.

BellaDaddy said...

Thanks much for this. Sharpening my teeth as we speak!

Peace

terri said...

Apparently my hubby defies logic on this issue. Though he's a constant source of eye-rolls and avoidance among his own children, the kids' friends think he's "SOOOOO funny!"

Otter Thomas said...

I like power especially if I ever have a girl. Then I will certainly nurture nature for the boys benefit.

Teacher Tom said...

I really only chase away the ones I don't like. =)

Mocha Dad said...

Fear is good. Especially when kids start dating.

surprised mom said...

The Mister encourages this fear. He has nurtured nature since our girls were born. He honed his skills when they got older. When the oldest started dating, he took nurturing nature to a whole other level. Because he is a big man and looks very serious, kids are afraid of him. They almost turn to me in relief because I'm not in the least scary. The girls' friends would rather talk or deal with me. I LOVE the fact The Mister is the scary one and the girls and their friends feel fear. It makes life so much easier.
Seriously, as much as The Mister has nutured nature, his girls still love him beyond distraction. He must be doing something right.
LOVED your post! It was funny and informative all in one.

Michelle said...

Heh. Add in the fact that Daddy's a teacher. In district. That makes for even more fun... or will someday, I assume ;)

I wish it were the same for moms sometimes. I'd like to have that power on occasion.

Surfer Jay said...

Keen observation, I actgually remember feeling the same way about a lot of my friends dads. Was most likely around the time they got off work too, when we dads are all grumpy asses.

Of course, I'm a SAHD, so maybe they will fear the wife. Hmmmm, I'll let you know.

Me said...

I've never thought about it before, being the mother of only a 2-year old. . .but now that you mention it, you're right. Hmmm.

Scott said...

Sometimes I even scare myself!

I agree with Surfer Jay, most interactions in my house came shortly after my (or my friend's) dad got off work which now I completely understand where they were coming from.

Mike said...

Keeping a little fear out there is just our way of having fun. BTW where can I find that tshirt?

RecycledDad said...

When I was about 6, I had a friend, Brian, whose dad scared me ****less. He was grouchy to me, and I figured he was just like that to everybody. But once when I went to their door, Brian's mom answered and I could hear Brian and his dad playing (both laughing) inside the house. So under the right circumstances, that dad was nice to *someone*. Maybe he had just been employing your suggested tactic with me!

The Devoted Dad said...

What a great observation. In retrospect, I would totally agree. My friends dads were all nice, but for some reason- maybe because of the authority figure thing ( we all know moms are the final decision makers though- just works out that way). My kids are still too young to test this theory, but I would say that it's already been proven. -Jason

Mr. Man said...

As dads, we bank on that subtle fear to resolve many simple issues and to prevent complex ones from occuring. Then there comes a point when the young males will try to test you. Start now by providing head pops and gut shots ...err...I mean "teachable moments" to make them think twice in the future :)

de-I said...

I really, really, REALLY wish I had a t-shirt like that when I was raising my kids. It would have made things so much easier.

JonnyTam13 said...

I've already started playing this up now so my daughter and her friends know what to expect. Forget waiting until 12 or 16 years. I'm starting at 12 months.

Mrs4444 said...

OMG-This is hilarious! I love your theory!!

huginnmuninnandme said...

Again. . .you've hit the nail on the head - though I've never pondered it before. Interesting thoughts.

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