PARENTS

The House Dad Chronicles: Why Millions Of Parents Like Me Are Living Their Childhood Dreams Through Their Kids

04/09/2012 11:09 | Updated 22 May 2015
The House Dad Chronicles: Why millions of parents like me are living their childhood dreams through their kidsAlamy
I never set out to be a House Dad. Oh, it's a noble and valued occupation, make no mistake, but when I sat down with the school careers officer when I was 15 years old, I didn't put at the top of my list: Cook, cleaner, ironer, nag, child-ferrier and dishwasher-loader.

I wanted to be a rock star. I went to as many concerts at Manchester Apollo as my paper round would pay for and I dreamed of being a guitar hero like Brian May, Eddie Van Halen and Ritchie Blackmore.

So impressed was my dad by my dedication to all things axe-related, he bought me a guitar with one simple command: "Learn to play it."

And I did – to a degree. I never learned music but mustered the mastery of a few chords and then formed a band with a classmate.

And for one night only, I lived my dream, playing to a 'crowd' of 17 students in a local community centre.

But then I stopped playing. And that was that. Until now. For now I have a son who, for whatever reason, worships his wooden spoon-wielding dad (used for cooking AND air guitar purposes – who says men can't multi-task?) so for his seventh birthday last year, I bought him a guitar and some guitar lessons.

My command to him was different to my own father's. It was simply this: "Don't waste your life like I did – become a rock star for real."

He looked at me with a mixture of bewilderment and pity, but he's a Dad Pleaser, and thus he replied: "OK."

He's been at it for nearly a year now. He's nowhere near as dedicated as I was, but he's got something I never had: natural ability.

His end-of-year report declared him 'Excellent' in every aspect and he has been invited to join an ensemble.

When I read that, my heart soared. He was going to live the dream – my son. He was going to live MY dream.

Pathetic, isn't it? But I'm not alone.

I know dads who scream at their terrified kids from the touchline at Sunday football matches; cricket-mad dads who buy the best bats and pads for their sons.

And who could forget the bonkers mothers who dress their toddlers in tiaras in the hope that one day they will become models or film stars i.e. the things they always wanted for themselves but never achieved.

According to new research millions of parents admit they live their life vicariously through their children by encouraging them to hit the highs in hobbies and sports which they never achieved.

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In fact, almost half of parents confess to encouraging their offspring to go down a certain path in life - because it was something they always wanted to do.

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Two thirds of those parents said they had persuaded their child to opt for certain career choices and 37 per cent said they encouraged them to pursue certain subjects at school or college because THEY personally enjoyed them.

One in five parents admit they push their kids to excel at sport because they're convinced they could have made it as a professional sportsman but never had the opportunity.

And more than one in 10 confessed to pushing their child to do a sport or hobby – even though the kid had no interest in it.

The study of 2,000 parents was conducted by Simple to coincide with its Spotlight On Talent competition, where the skincare brand is offering a £15,000 scholarship fund to one lucky youngster to pursue their talent.

A spokeswoman for Simple said: "It is tempting for parents to lead their children towards certain hobbies and interests that they loved as a child, but it's important for children to find their own way too.

"Naturally everyone wants the best for their children and it's understandable they need a nudge when it comes to releasing their potential.

"Some youngsters will need guidance from parents when it comes to making big life choices, whether it's what interests to take part in, what subjects to study or choices about further education.

"If some parents feel they didn't have the opportunities or chances to pursue things they wanted to as youngsters then it's understandable that they then encourage their children to."

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Children need to learn from their mistakes and as a parent you do have to stand back to some extent and let your children pursue their own goals and dreams.

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"We want to empower young people to help them achieve their talent independently by offering one lucky person a £15,000 scholarship to take their talent to the next stage.

"Whether they want to be the next British athlete or even prime minister, this scholarship will help them get a step closer."

As if I needed more incentive. I'm off to get my wooden spoon to show my lad how to play Smoke On The Water.

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