What games, fun and activities are acceptable between a father and son? In particular, a father and son where the father is the primary carer? Football and all forms of ‘kickabout’ are essential, and therefore non-negotiable. Building camps and banning girls from them is also a rite of passage. It is, however, after these that we are now beginning to enter the grey area zone. The grey area zone is where you need to tread very carefully indeed, for it is a minefield. We are talking about painting. Art stuff, drawing, being creative. Drawing or painting stuff like cars, war or football is indeed perfectly acceptable, but be very careful, because during the process of creating these images, you could easily, albeit accidently, start to create flowers or trees. Should this happen, simply knock the utensils over, start to roll around the floor, grappling with your child and growling like a wolf. Quickly encourage a game of war (no girls aloud of course) and start to show him some boxing moves. This should indeed get the painting time back on track.
There maybe the odd occasion where you give in and allow a session using play dough. The shapes formed using play dough must be cars, planes or guns. Same as when painting. Any spherical shapes formed, must be referred to as football’s or, as hand grenades that can be thrown very hard at the wall, and then followed by a practical demonstration. Preferably on a white wall. All this focus on man stuff does require a large amount of vigilance and persistence. It’s not for the feint hearted, nor should it be. The reason is, of course, Mother. That woman in his life who holds the power to undo all that hard work and effort in one fell swoop of “do you want come and help mummy dry her hair?” or “do you like mummy’s dress? Do you think it’s pretty?” Pretty, by the way, is a word that should never, ever be used around your boy. Whilst you should encourage your boy to have an understanding of the concept of pretty, this should be achieved by replacing the word pretty, with the word fit where possible.
A lot of what I have stated here will come with practice, so just keep going through the exercises above, and you too can look forward to one day taking the phone call from a sobbing girl dumped by your son for her best mate. Brings a lump to my throat just thinking about it…….