Superstar dad

What father figures give to kids that no one else can.   

Learning Stages

By Candace Lindemann

Children's Author & Education Consultant

Candace Lindemann is a published children’s writer and educational consultant. She holds a B.A. from Yale University and an M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. You can also find Candace blogging at While Candace’s degrees prepared her for a career in education, she’s found that the best preparation for parenting is on-the-job training.

As Father's Day nears, let's celebrate Dad...and not just Dad but also all of the father figures in our lives.

I was, and still am, a total Daddy's girl. He still comes over to fix things around my house and build bookshelves and play sets for my children.

And every time I see my husband playing with my children, I fall in love with him all over again.

Dads can do everything moms can do, except breastfeed. At the risk of stereotyping, though, involved dads bring a different type of energy and play to their relationship with children. And, as difficult as it can be to let go of my own parenting routine and methods, I try to remember that Dad's role is just as important as mine.

Here are 5 reasons I admire the dad, papa, and uncles in my kids' lives.

  1. Dads are more likely to get messy. Without hesitations they take the kids out in the mud,or break out the shaving cream for painting. After all, you can always just hose off the kids in the yard.
  2. Dads are more likely to act on impulse. As much as it drives me crazy to get in the car without knowing where we are going, some of our greatest family adventures are unplanned. Since having young kids tends to disrupt most careful planning anyway, sometimes it makes sense to just be flexible.
  3. Dads take calculated risks. My husband is far more likely to say, "sure, you can try to climb that". He's very careful with the children, and always within arms' reach, but he also lets them take the risks that build confidence more often than I do. And so far our one broken bone occurred when our kids were with me, not dad.
  4. Dads engage in more physical play.  Both the kids' grandmas are athletic and organize modified versions of sports games with the kids.  But the men are the ones who swing the kids around, put them on their shoulders, and do gymnastic-style "tricks" with the kids.
  5. Dads provide positive male role-models. Every time Dad changes a diaper or reads a bedtime story, my older kids get the message that men take care of babies, too. My toddler son loves to pretend to make "chocolate chip cookies and chocolate chip pancakes" in his toy kitchen just as much as he enjoys fixing things with his toy tool set because that is what he sees his dad and papa doing.

My husband does not parent "my way" but not only is that okay—it is an important part of my kids' healthy development.