In Praise of EQ Dads

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Father’s Day may feel like it has been an institution forever, but it was only ratified as a national holiday in 1972. President Richard Nixon officially designated the third Sunday in June as Father’s Day.

Father’s Day found its official recognition after a nearly 50-year struggle. Original sentiment ran along the lines of “real men don’t need gifts and pampering.” This tied into prevailing views of fatherhood and manhood in general. In our society, men were meant to remain stoic and straight-faced. This runs counter to current views of emotional intelligence. How can you develop social emotional learning if you deny your feelings?

Boys are taught these social norms from the very first months of their lives. Unless challenged, it’s ingrained into them that expressing emotion is unacceptable. This is toxic masculinity and it has untold negative psychological and social effects on men and boys. How can we prepare our boys for life in a world where their emotional experiences mark them as less worthy of manhood? How do we prepare our girls to seek out and support emotionally available men?

Today, more men are embracing social emotional learning and modeling emotional intelligence for their kids. For this reason, we recognize the emergence of Father’s Day as a day to honor dads and father figures everywhere – modern men who demonstrate for their girls and boys that emotional intelligence, social awareness, and community building are as much the domain of fathers as mothers.

Dads Model Expressing Emotions

You take the initiative to talk about what’s bothering you. When your kids see that Dad is comfortable talking about emotions, it becomes easier for them to talk about their own feelings, too. This is important for boys and girls, but boys in particular need examples of emotionally available men to counter the message that boys are stoic.

Dads Demonstrate Adult Friendships

Your kids learn the importance of connection and community by watching you. Do you have a regular running buddy, someone you meet for coffee, drinks, or dinners? Talk about how important these friendships are and the important role that they have in your life. Model for your sons and daughters that camaraderie and friendships are vital to your well-being.

Dads Help with the Mundane

Helping your kids find their socks, work out a math problem, or figure out why their phone isn’t charging shows them you are as much a resource as mom. You are a safe space, a caretaker, and so you tell them through actions and words that you are there for them.

Happy Father’s Day from The Big EQ!


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