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Father’s Day for the Modern Dad

June 18, 2015

By Jessica Vician

Father’s Day for the Modern Dad | This year, avoid the cliché gifts for Father's Day and give dad an experience he really wants based on the type of dad he is. | A dad works from home on his laptop while his daughter naps on the couch next to him.

We know the Father’s Day cliché gifts: the ties, the money clips, the cuff links. But today’s American father is very different from the father who might enjoy or need those gifts. Our idea of what a father is and should be has changed, and we can reflect that change with how we celebrate Father’s Day.

Back in the old days (which are as recent as the 90s), men were usually the primary breadwinners. They worked all day, so when a father’s children saw him, it was often at dinner and on the weekends. To his kids, those impersonal Father’s Day gifts seemed to be perfect for the man they didn’t really know. They knew he wore a tie to work or was responsible for the money, so those gifts made sense.

Now, defining fatherhood is just as complicated as defining motherhood, so buying a tie and saying “Happy Father’s Day” isn’t enough anymore (and thank goodness—who wants a generic gift anyway?).

Tradition suggests that dads should spend time with their children on Father’s Day. But isn’t it a day to celebrate and thank dads for all they do? This year, instead of a tie or a new shirt, think about the kind of father he is and help your child plan accordingly.

  • Is he a stay-at-home dad: hands-on, working hard every day to keep his son or daughter healthy, on time, and constantly learning? 
  • Is he the breadwinner: working long hours but trying to see his kids as much as he can and shape their lives in a positive way?
  • Is he a dad who works from home: balancing conference calls with playtime?

Whatever version of a father he is, he deserves a fitting Father’s Day celebration.

  • If he’s hands-on all the time, maybe the perfect gift is a day to himself. Let the kids make him breakfast in bed and thank him for everything he does, then let him be—whether that’s getting the kids out of the house so he can nap or sending him to a game with friends.
  • If he works long hours in a job where he’s on his feet, treat him to an affordable foot or body massage, let the kids make him lunch or dinner, and give him control of the remote for the day.
  • If he works from home during the week, get him out of the house. Head to a nature preserve or a park and organize an activity where he can watch the kids play while taking in the sunshine and smell of nature.

On Father’s Day, thank him for everything he does for the kids and show him he is appreciated. Gifts don’t have to cost money, but thinking about the type of dad and person he is and giving him an appropriate experience (with or without the kids) is a great way to say thanks to the modern dad.


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