Regarding John Poorman’s response to Bob Orndorff’s fathering article “Dads can help kids develop a thick skin” (CDT, March 19), letters like this are welcomed, as the goal of this feature is to encourage healthy conversation.
But Poorman misunderstood the point and spirit of Orndorff’s article. His focus was on parents taking care not to be “oversensitive” or have “hyperconcern” when dealing with basic hurts of childhood (e.g. a friend or teacher who says something upsetting).
Orndorff promotes striking a “healthy balance” in fathering our children through these issues and suggests avoiding helicopter parenting.
Poorman brought bullying into the conversation — a major leap. If bullying were the issue, Orndorff’s take undoubtedly would be to advocate strong support for your kids while coaching them on coping and healthy response strategies. This way, we’re not only championing and protecting our children, but also arming them with the skills to more independently handle these issues as they get older.
The fathering group would never suggest shaming children, as Poorman writes, another leap. He skews his argument by suddenly switching from the perspective of the receiver of bad behavior to the one doling it out, saying that instead of teaching our children to thicken their skin, let’s teach them not to bully.
I suggest we do both — teach our children not to bully while arming them with strategies to help them deal with the whole spectrum of conflict inevitable in life.
Marc McCann, with Bob Orndorff and three others, is a member of the group responsible for producing monthly articles on fathering.