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Dad Wonders If He Was Wrong To Have A ‘Day Of Fun’ With Kids After Wife Labels Him An ‘Irresponsible Father’

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dad playing with three kids

Parenting dynamics are complicated but trying to see eye-to-eye while raising children is essential for all families. That being said, everyone needs some external advice from time to time, which is exactly why one dad turned to Reddit.

The father and his wife take care of two kids — an 11-year-old boy and a 13-year-old girl — but when the mother, who is a stay-at-home mom, had to go visit her sick mother, it was up to the dad to take care of them while she was gone.

The father took two days off work and decided to make the time a fun bonding experience with his kids.

“My wife usually makes really really healthy food for the kids. So I thought one cheat day wouldn't hurt them,” he explained in his Reddit post, which has since been taken down. “I made eggs, bacon and waffles for breakfast. The 13yo wanted to eat this curry that my mom makes. So I took the recipe from my mom and prepared that for lunch. The 11yo said that he wanted burger and fries for dinner. So dinner was sorted as well.”

Eating healthy is good, and wanting your children to adopt a healthy lifestyle is also great, but when you try to force those lifestyles onto your kids without ever leaving room for more — for sweets, fast food, takeout — the children may adopt an unhealthy relationship with food. A balanced diet and lifestyle is what’s important, and developing a healthy relationship with food is important to avoid any eating disorders or false preconceptions.

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“They then wanted to watch the new Spiderman movie and make peanut butter ice cream,” he continued. “My wife doesn't like those kinds of movies so the kids rarely get to watch them either. So basically it was a full day of fun for the kids.”

The next day, he made them a healthy lunch before the mom came back home and took a nap until dinner.

After the kids explained everything and were tucked into bed, the mother and father talked in their room when she expressed her disappointment.

“She started saying that I'm an irresponsible father and that I shouldn't have been so lenient with the kids for an entire day,” he wrote. “She said that I'm a lost cause at parenting and that she shouldn't have left the kids with me.”

Unsurprisingly, everyone in the comments applauded the father, and some people even shared their own stories about times their fathers would do the same thing.

“Some of my favorite memories. I do remember various sit down meals with the entire family when my mom was cooking, I don't mean to denigrate her at all,” said one of the top comments. “But that was just.. Normal? Something about the change from ‘normal’ and throwing the rules out with dad was so special. He WAS NOT incompetent. He just.... had us do things dad's way, and it was FUN.”

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However, some people pointed out that regardless of the anecdotal evidence, this could create an unbalanced parental dynamic with the kids.

“NTA but you and your wife need to sort this out,” said one comment. “Otherwise, your kids will see you as the fun parent and her as the mean parent. You two, as a couple and as parents, have to be on the same page.”

Some people pointed out what I feel is the most important piece of this, and that’s the mother’s attitude and parenting style. They pointed out the healthy meals they made and the fact that they watched Spiderman as being equal to being lenient and irresponsible, saying “This woman needs some kind of counseling if she truly believes this.”

When parents don't have the same parenting style, collaboration is key.

Not everyone has the same parenting style. And often, parents with two different parenting styles will disagree on how to go about raising their kids together. 

"When parents have different opinions on raising their children, it can create tension or anxiety in the home," Jaclyn Gulotta, PhD, LMHC, a licensed mental health counselor, parenting coordinator, and Florida Supreme Court certified family mediator, told VeryWell Family, a situation that this father explained that their home is experiencing first hand. 

No parenting style is definitively right or wrong, as each one has its own pros and cons. But what's important is for parents to discuss each other's goals for the children and family as a whole and agree on the ways they'd like to approach situations in order to keep things streamlined for the sake of the kids.

"Collaboration is key under all circumstances, so set the tone of family life to be one of flexibility and openness to everyone's points of view, opinions, intentions, feelings, and motivations," Laurie Hollman, PhD, a psychoanalyst and author, explained to VeryWell Family. "Rule-setting and limit-setting in families should be explained, not just expected to be obeyed like an authoritarian rule."

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Isaac Serna-Diez is a writer who focuses on entertainment and news, social justice, and politics.