Living Columns & Blogs

Don’t take a back seat when parenting

This summer as my high school-aged daughter and I waited in line at a local business, we had the opportunity to observe the customers being served ahead of us — in particular, a father and his teenage son. During our wait, we witnessed several exchanges between the employee and the son, who displayed poor manners and was quite rude. The father stood by, remaining mostly silent except for one instance in which he reinforced his son’s behavior and continued to allow the employee to be mistreated.

On our way home, I asked my daughter her impressions of what had just occurred. Among her comments, she said that the most disappointing thing was that the dad just stood there and “took a back seat” to his son’s poor behavior. Her observations conveyed the need — and want — for parental guidance.


▪ Recall a time when you may not have handled a situation well. If your child handled a situation in the same fashion, what would you say or do?

▪ Exhibit the behaviors and attributes that you want your child to exhibit — walk the walk.

▪ Parenting is 24/7 and oftentimes comes under periods of duress and in the public eye. There will be times and places when it may be tough to correct your child, regardless of the age.

▪ Know that sometimes you will go against the flow, but also know that you are doing something good for your child. Don’t take a back seat.

The local fathering effort, in cooperation with the National Center for Fathering, provides monthly Action Ideas to stimulate conversation between fathers and parents. For more information, or to join local conversations, contact David Eggebeen at, Robert Orndorff at, Mick Trombley at, Chris Dufour at, Mark Oleynik at, Doug Loviscky at or Marc McCann at