Given today is Father’s Day, I thought I’d share with you a parenting tip from my dad.
It’s called “The Lesson of Fred”.
When your teenager, young adult begins to date, you may find an endless procession of boyfriends coming through your door. These boyfriends mean a lot to your young one and calling them the wrong name can result in abject mortification, especially if the young man is in the room.
(this happened to a colleague of mine recently)
To avoid such fo-pahs and to save brain space needed to remember all these names, just do what my dad did. Call them all “Fred”, and only learn their names once they have made a real commitment to your child… like buying a house together or getting engaged. It’s simple and it works…
“So how’s Fred?”, you ask your daughter. “Is Fred coming to pick you up?” “Tell Fred you have to be home by 11 o’clock!” “Does Fred want to stay for dinner?”
It also encourages a certain level of respect, of distance. IMHO (now that I have a daughter), there is nothing wrong with a little bit of intimidation, and oh, how special they feel when you finally address them by name.