Fatherhood on Friday: The Detached Dad’s Manifesto, Rebooted

dad2summitFatherhood on Friday

Remember this magazine cover? Seven years ago this week, it fronted a story about attachment parenting that nobody read because they were too fixated on the young mom breastfeeding a kid who looked old enough to be Peter Dinklage’s stunt double. And that incendiary headline! ARE YOU MOM ENOUGH? The media and the then-New Media went Full Firestorm, and Time’s arsonists gleefully rubbed their hands by the flame.

Lost in all this was a companion piece written by Roads & Kingdoms co-founder (and erstwhile dad blogger)

Yes, a headline like “Detached Dad Manifesto” is guilty of its own sensationalism, but the piece, for its time, lived up to it. Biological mothers will always be more “attached” to the children they bear, so Thornburgh urged dads to lean into their more-detached view of attachment parenting and “argue against the whole thing”:

“This is a natural argument for fathers to make. If a mother’s instinct often pushes toward more protection, a father’s instinct tends to tell us that the kid is going to be just fine. Fathers already have a slight–and I would argue, healthy–sense of distance from parenting.”

Seven years later, this argument seems particularly prescient, since we’re heatedly debating the pros and the cons of bubble-wrapping of bambinos.  Have we cheated our children of the childhood lessons they need to function as competent adults? You can’t learn from failure if your parents ensure that failures don’t happen.

Wherever this debate eventually lands, there’s one thing parents have learned–or should–since Jamie Lynne Grumet dropped her top. If anyone asks if you’re Mom or Dad enough, the answer is always “Yes, Dammit.”


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You might want to consider forwarding this to someone who loves you very much and can recognize a good hint.


What do you think? Will it be 75 years before the unpaid work of parenting becomes truly equal?

New baby? Exhausted? Is your fatigue beyond the “normal” for a new parent? Here are some tips to make sure medical concerns aren’t being overlooked.

Parents, thinking about sticking around for the long haul? Taking care of yourself is easier than you think!

“Research shows that a strong relationship between kids and their grandparents results in a lower chance of depression for both parties, as well as better physical and mental health for the grandparents.”

“Somewhere inside each man is a list of all the other men he’s loved without ever finding the words to tell them so.”

“It turns out, of course, there are plenty of ways to talk about what’s happening to the Earth in an age-appropriate way that doesn’t needlessly frighten a child.”

Are your kids ready for summer? No? That’s okay.

Parents, are your kids being pressured into online purchases?

Becoming a step-parent is complicated.



Image by Michael Kittell.

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