• Ashley Winters

New Dad Terms - Goodbye to “Deadbeat Dad”

Once upon a time, there were just two terms for Dads. You had “Dad” who was the man that was the man of the house. Taught you how to fix things, encouraged you to do well in school, supported your other parent (if there was one) and was the guy everyone aspired to be like.

Then, there was the “Deadbeat Dad.” This is a term well-known to most people. This Dad just couldn’t give a rat’s patootie if he was there for his kids, and generally just took off, abandoning them all together. These days, however, just as there are different titles for styles of parenting, there are a plethora of titles for Dads.

Meet the Dad Rainbow

Barely-there Dad -- This Dad will come around for the important times (graduations, birthdays, Christmas, etc.), but the Barely-There Dad is just that… he’s barely ever there. Leaving his kids feeling like he must love them, but always wondering if he really does.

Ghosting Dad -- This type of dad is worse than the “Deadbeat Dad”. The Ghosting Dad father figure will ghost his kids, much in the same fashion that made the term famous. When ghosting, a Dad will act like he’s into the relationship, then stop calling his kids, won’t come see them, then suddenly pop back up for no good reason, if the feeling jumps at him.

Minimum Dad -- This is exactly as it sounds: this Dad gives the exact minimum to his kids. Only helping with homework if he has to. Only taking part in school activities, if he has to. Only… you get the gist. This breaks the trust that he then builds back up by doing something great like, once a year. Maybe a cool gift for Christmas or birthdays. Go, Minimum Dad. Pfft.

Below-minimum Dad -- A notch below the Minimum Dad, you have the Below-Minimum Dad. The one who sits on the couch, either watching t.v. or playing video games. Claims that he was watching the kids when the house behind him is tore the heck up. Considers dinner some hastily made PB&J sandwiches before returning to his previous prone position on the couch or closing his eyes for 30 seconds and passing out.

Present Dad -- This is the Holy Grail of parents. The Present Dad is there, present and in the moment for his kids during their lives. Recognizing that regardless if they and their children’s other parent are still together, this Dad steps up at every opportunity, for big and small things to make sure their kids are well-rounded individuals who know they are loved.

As you can see, there are way more colors to Dads these days. While the Deadbeat Dad is still ever-present, new roles have been created over the last 30 years, that we felt should be addressed.

So, if Dad is around at all, try one of these lovely terms instead of just clumping them into one title. And if you’ve found a Present Dad… Hold onto that dear man for life!

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