How Not to Pick Your Parenting Style: A First-Time Dad’s Survival Guide

When I found out I was going to be a parent, a million different emotions ran through my body – excitement, happiness, fear, nervousness and how-old-until-I-can-prank-the-kids-without-my-wife-getting-mad.

I thought about what type of Dad was I going to be. What types of things would my kid (and eventually kids) learn from me?

And although many Dads won’t want to admit this, you can also feel a little lost at times – sometimes it feels like all the online educational resources about parenting are geared more towards Moms than Dads and we’re left reclining on the sofa, thinking what are we going to do?

 Naturally, that meant trying to follow the example of TV’s greatest Dads, like the one and only Danny Tanner (Full House), Ray Barone (Everybody Loves Raymond) and Tony Micelli (Who’s the Boss?), among others.

My attempt at picking my own parenting style by learning from TV’s favorite Dads didn’t exactly win me any parenting awards – and got me plenty of weird looks.


Here are a few things I tried (copy at your own risk):

  1. Hug moments. Full House’s Danny Tanner never let his kids leave the room without giving them a hug (and yet he never got the flu). For the first few months of my kids’ lives, I tried to do the same. Eventually, they learn to wave their arms in your face and push you away (on the bright side, at least they’re learning to make use of those arms). The first few times your kid pushes you away may hurt; follow my lead and listen to Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You to ease the pain.
  2. Every parent thinks they’re a singer; chances are you aren’t a very good one. I loved singing to my kids as I watched them fall asleep. Time flew and now they’re more likely to tell me (or yell) to stop singing all the time – even the good ol’ favorites like Mary Had a Little Lamb. I thought I could pull off a Jesse and the Rippers kind of groove but I was quickly told I don’t look or sound like John Stamos.
  3. Stars! They’re just like us. Anyone who has flipped through magazines while waiting in line at the grocery store has likely seen the pictures of celebrities doing everyday things like filling up gas. I learned that a helicopter parenting style of keeping my kids close at every second of the day didn’t make me that popular nor did my kids think it was fun to come along for outings like going to the bank, paying a bill, or yes, pumping gas. They like it even less so when you ask them to say cheese at each of these locations. You’d be surprised by how young of an age they learn to roll their eyes (Daddy’s first heartbreak moment).


Luckily, you don’t need to experience the same things I did because if you want to get a better understanding of your own parenting style, you can check out this fun quiz to find out what kind of parent you really are (the answer won’t be a Danny Tanner, don’t worry).


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