I do not want to be the “fun dad.”
That is not to say that I don’t want to have fun with my son. Far from it. I love hanging out with him and going places. I’m demonstrably affectionate with him and take every chance I get to teach him about the world - just like my dad.
And I feel that because I’m affectionate and engaging, when I need to reprimand or punish my son, it should carry more weight. I’m trying to be in the trenches with him for the good and bad as he learns is place in the world, so I thought my guidance, even when sternly given, would be followed.
But others just see me as the “fun dad.” They don’t see the look of betrayal I get when I tell Ben “no.” They don’t see that my involvement in his life has made me tantamount to a prop for his happiness.
Maybe for Ben’s brain, it can only be either/or. Either your the person who runs, wrestles, and goofs around with him, or your the more distant judge.
I refuse to be the distant judge.
Can I be Harry Anderson on Night Court? The “fun judge?”