2021 might have had its ups and downs, but the one thing that we could truly rely on was dads beings dads. Our team here at Bored Panda has traveled to the farthest reaches of the internet to compile this list of legendary moments when dads ‘out-dadded’ even themselves, and then went viral for it on social media.
Our dads are our heroes, but they have an entirely unique vibe that you wouldn’t mix up with anyone else’s. In fact, we have a theory that the moment you become a dad, you level up and get invited to join the Global Dad League, a special club that has its specific rules and codes of conduct. From there on out, it’s all dad jokes and dad pants, loving awkwardness, and proud moments watching kids grow up.
These posts radiate some major dad energy, so make sure you’re morally prepared for just how awesome things are going to get. Get ready to be called buddy, champ, and slugger a lot because we’re about to go dad it up. Oh, and don’t forget to upvote your favorite posts, Pandas. (Pssst, don’t forget to check out these awesome dad jokes when you’re done enjoying this list!)
I had a chat about dadhood with relationship and dating expert Dan Bacon, who is a dad himself and the founder of The Modern Man project. I was curious how much our lives change when we become fathers and how we can tell if we're ready to have kids.
"One of the main changes is that your children want and need as much of your attention as possible, which means you have a lot less spare time to do things you want, including checking your phone," he told Bored Panda that having kids is the start of an entirely new era. "You are no longer a couple anymore. You are a couple and parents at the same time. It’s difficult to understand what it is like to be a parent without actually doing it." Read on for the insights he shared with me.
According to relationship expert Dan, the founder of The Modern Man, at its core, being a father means being responsible for others that want you to take care of them first, " before you even think of taking care of yourself." Getting this right will mean that everyone's happy and everyone will "get along beautifully." However, failing to do your dad duties can result in some nasty consequences. "If you don’t, you will have a strained relationship with your children and potentially with your wife/girlfriend as well," he said.
"Understandably, that might sound like too much responsibility for some guys. Yet, when you become a dad, you are happy to do it. It doesn’t feel like a chore. It feels natural to be that selfless and to take care of them."
In Dan's opinion, we should trust our gut instinct when considering whether or not we're ready to have kids. At the same time, we ought to remember that our gut instinct may change over time.
"I personally went from not wanting kids at all, to gradually opening up to it. At some point, my gut instinct feeling about having children changed and I decided that I'd like to have a family. So, I just went ahead with it. After a few years of trying, my wife and I eventually had twin girls when she was 26 and I was 41," Dan shared the story of how he started his family.
"Yet, prior to that, I never wanted to have children. Trust your gut instinct, while knowing that what you feel about the idea of having children now, may be completely different 2, 5, or 10 years from now and that is okay. You are allowed to change what you want as you go through life. You don't have to have everything decided right now and never change your mind about anything."
The relationship expert said that a lot depends on how each man perceives the idea of becoming a dad. "Some men see it as a truly amazing thing to become a dad, some see it as just a normal part of life, and others hate it. It really is different for every man and depends on who he is, what he wants from life, the importance he places on family, and what he truly wants to focus on," he explained to Bored Panda.
"For example: If a man was truly focused on achieving his biggest goals and ambitions in life prior to having children, he will usually continue to focus on that as being the most important thing to him, while also giving time to his children and wife, or girlfriend. If a man didn’t have big goals outside of the relationship prior to having children, his children will often become a huge part or the main part of what he sees as his purpose in life," he detailed.
"In other cases, a man will suddenly become ambitious and want to achieve a lot more to ensure that he can provide for his children and give them a better life."
Parenting isn’t something that you get to grips with theoretically. You need hands-on practice to truly get it. I previously spoke about how to be a good parent and what major mistakes to avoid with a couple of experts.
Lenore Skenazy, the founder of the Free-Range Kids movement and the Let Grow nonprofit, told Bored Panda that it’s not just hard to figure out the balance between being “too strict and too lenient, too prying and too hands-off”: it is actually impossible, according to her. However, one huge pitfall that she believes parents should do their best to avoid is sidestepping the desire to keep an eye on your kids the entire time.
“One thing many parents are choosing today is to keep their kids under constant surveillance, with the help of tech. Whether it’s being able to track their kids’ movements, read their browsing history, or even scan their texts, parents have all sorts of new tools to make them seemingly omniscient,” Lenore explained to Bored Panda one of the issues that modern parents face. However, they need to understand that even their kids require privacy.
“For the same reason you didn’t want your parents to read your diary, or to build a treehouse on the branch right next to YOUR treehouse, children need some space to grow into their own person. Kids need to know they are loved, but they also need to know they are trusted. They can’t prove that if parents never actually let them do some things literally on their own, without constant surveillance,” the expert stressed.
Lenore suggests taking the “talk, don’t stalk” approach when raising children because this results in a more powerful sense of trust.
“Try to keep the lines of communication open with your kids, and gradually give them more freedom as they get older and earn it by being responsible. Taking all independence away for their ‘safety’ is a way to teach them that you don’t think they can handle anything on their own— how deflating!—and that you don’t trust them. Would you appreciate a spouse who tracked your every move? Would you feel trusted? Love requires some trust.”
Parenting blogger Samantha Scroggin, the founder of the Walking Outside in Slippers project, noted that it’s vital that parents see each child as an individual. And one thing to keep in mind is that what definitely works for some other families, parents, and kids might not work with your own munchkins.
“I am trying to do more to meet my kids where they’re at, figuring in their personality and what their needs are for them personally. In the past, I would sometimes assume that I knew what was best for my kids, based on what the ‘average’ kid ‘should’ need or want. But kids can be so different, even within the same family,” Samantha told Bored Panda.
“My 6-year-old daughter, for example, is very organized and a bit of a perfectionist. She also needs lots of attention and affection. While my 10-year-old son is a sometimes wild but also very sensitive and artistic soul. He needs his space. They are night and day,” the parenting blogger told me.
“I have learned I need to adapt my expectations of them and goals for them based on their individual personalities and quirks. I can create space for them to be who they are, and I believe this acceptance and customized attention will benefit them in the long run as they develop into teens and then adults,” she said.