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June 16, 2014

Dads: Wrestle with sons, hug daughters

Ada —

A recent study has determined that moms and dads have different parenting styles when it comes to raising kids.

One wonders who pays for these things.

The study found that mothers and fathers have uhhh, shall we say, somewhat different approaches when it comes to making sure Johnny and Suzy make it to adulthood reasonably adjusted in an occasionally unpredictable, dangerous and scary world.

My wife tells a story about her father and brothers that could have saved researchers the hassle of finding people willing to waste time filling out questionnaires.

Her family lived in a two- story house, the second floor of which her dad one night carefully placed a mannequin on wheels. After covering it with a white sheet, he attached a long string to its base, turned out the light and went downstairs. He then ordered his seven-year-old son to go upstairs to get something for him. As soon as the boy entered the darkened second story, he came upon the ghostlike mannequin being pulled toward him by his father downstairs. 

All the younger brother knew was that his older sibling was screaming like a full grown woman. “Go upstairs and see what your brother is yelling about!” his father ordered. It is six decades later and that order is yet to be complied with. His brother was obviously in great peril and, as far as he was concerned, it was better for one to die than two.

It should go without saying that their mother would never have pulled such a stunt without a loaded gun being stuck to her head, and maybe not even then.

When my son was small he and I would wrestle, me being careful not to hurt him. The problem is that there is a statute of limitations on such fatherly prowess. Only later did I learn that when he got into his advanced teen years his mother pulled him aside and said, “You must stop wrestling with your father. You’re going to hurt him.”

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