Reading with my first born

I was like many other women out there – youthful, recently married, and ready to start my family. When my first born arrived, I wanted nothing more than for him, and his future siblings, to succeed in life. I felt obligated to read because I knew that someone needed to support and help them. As as I read with him each night, there was something bothering me, something that concerned me more and more as time passed by. I couldn’t help but worry that my husband was not as involved with reading as he should have been.

Feelings and Questions

I wanted so much for my husband to be involved with reading and educating of our children. My feelings kept building up inside of me and bothering more and more each day. I had questions for my husband, many questions. Was it because he didn’t like to read himself? Did his parents not read to him as a child? Did he just not want to take the time to read with them?

The Discussion

I finally reached a point where I knew, for the sake of our children, that I needed to confront him about the issue. I decided to just ask the question straight out. To somewhat of a surprise, he was very willing to talk about his reasoning and issues. He described that as a child, he was not a good reader and always struggled with school. He felt that if he read our children he would hurt their progress more than help. He showed his big heart and love – that he truly wanted what was best for his children. If we would have had this discussion earlier, I think things would have been a lot different for our kids. Sure, time has gone bye, but now he reads with our children all the time. They don’t read novels or things that I would suggest, mostly  woodworking magazines, but at least they are engaged in reading together. But you know, who am I to judge? It is still reading.

As Women

As women we always want what is best for our children and must strive to do what it takes to help them succeed. There is often a good reason that a child’s father is not engaged with reading. My tapping into my husband’s feelings, I helped him open up and understand his valuable role. Quite often guys just need to be guided and nudged. He found his reading niche with our children and has helped make an invaluable impact on them!

What are your feelings?

What similar encounters have you experienced?

What advice would you give to single mom’s out there?

Posted in: Content

{ 23 comments… add one }

  • Debby-6-Kids

    Hi Kayla,

    You are a joy to both of your parents. :) We are very lucky to have you and you have turned out to be a wonderful young woman.

    Time will pass fast and soon you will start your own family and you then can be the drill sergeant. The great thing is watching all of your children growing up to be able to succeed in life.

    Reply
  • Mike McQueen

    Welcome Kayla! In response to this blog article, what would do you think a father’s role should be? Also, what specific things (reading related) do you think a husband should do with his son?

    Reply
  • Chuck

    Thanks Deb. I will certainly check out those books for my baby. Poetry! Definitely. Thanks also Vanessa. And Welcome to Kayla. Enjoy our website. Please do keep visiting this website. It is helpful for all of us.

    “what would do you think a father’s role should be?”

    I remember my dad introducing me to books which developed my imagination. He told stories of flying giant grasshoppers and the like. I think it would be nice that dads try to tickle their boys imagination by reading them books which out of this world!

    “what specific things (reading related) do you think a husband should do with his son?”

    Story telling! This for me is my favorite. It helps your kid be creative and at the same time you spend quality time with him. To spice it up a bit, you could also let your son do the story telling.

    Reply
  • Kayla

    Thanks for the welcoming!

    I’ve never really given the thought of what a father’s role should be in a child’s life specifically. It may just be the way I was raised, but I strongly feel all fathers should be comfortable doing everything with their children that the children’s mothers do. Whether it be reading nightly, helping with homework, or taking them on educational trips to the library.
    I also believe that if reading was considered one of those “gender neutral” activities, more young boys would feel confident in it and fathers would be more apt to read with their young boys, leaving us with a lot more life long readers that do it for enjoyment!

    Reply
  • Rose

    My ex was not the reader type and so most of the time spent for reading with the kids was assigned to me. I read to my boys a lot especially when they were younger. Not sure if it has to do something with gender roles but my ex seems to put himself in a position that the mom should be doing most of the educating part.

    Reply
  • Jane Hyde

    Good discussion! And Debby, I’m a Rhode Island native, from Riverside! Now in western North Carolina, where spring comes serveral weeks earlier but there’s no salt water, and the coves here are mountain ones. Anyway, I wanted to mention that there was a great article recently in the School Library Journal about the importance of men reading to kids, as role models. I’d never thought about it before, but it all made sense –it’s usually moms reading to the kids, not the dads. My son-in-law is not the great reader that my daughter is, but I have pictures of him reading to his toddlers, and he’s a great story teller. What can we do to promote this vision? Mike, thanks for getting in touch with me. I love your website. More later.

    Reply
  • Debby-6-Kids

    Hi Jane! And welcome to the GBR! Nice to run into a fellow Rhode Islander once in a while..it’s still cold yucky here I cannot wait until spring! :)

    Okay, back on topic. To answer the question of what we can do to promote this vision I think the more men read to our younger ones the more it will become natural. I believe if they are read to by the male role models while they are young then they will do the same and history will repeat itself.

    There is so much more to this than just reading. It’s quality time spent with the child. It’s bonding time. It’s adventure time!

     

    Reply
  • Donna Bills

    I have been an elementary school librarian for twenty years now. I have watched the reading behaviors of a lot of children.

    In my primary school libray (PreK – 1st grade) I see so many little boys who choose books they think will impress their fathers and older brothers. One first grader checked out a particular book about deer many times because his father’s passion in life was hunting. Another boy whose father was a busy coach always wanted a sports book, because Dad would notice that. These children are craving validation from their role models.

    Little boys, especially, are often given many signals from older males in their lives about what is “manly” or “grown up” and what is “sissy” or “baby stuff.” They are very sensitive to these at a very young age.

    Any way in which a father can show his approval for his young children’s journey to become a reader is very important. When father’s show disdain for the “ducky & bunny” easy reader or class reading lesson because it is “baby stuff,” or simply show no interest in reading or the child’s progress in reading and writing, the child learns these things are not important in ” the real man’s world.”

    I love that happy, proud look in a little boy’s eyes when he tells me he is going to read his “cool car” book with his Dad. I hope more and more father’s get to see that joy, as well.

    Reply
  • Chuck

    That is so true Donna, getting affirmation and approval from a father really is a big thing for boys and even for men. It is a good thing if the father is able to give that validation. Parents, especially the Fathers, play a primary role in the growth and development of a boy.

    Reply
  • Veronica Davids

    Hi Donna,

    I’d like to make a book suggestions for young boys, that EVERYONE would think is cool. It is illustrated by Robert Lence, who animates for Disney, Pixar, Dreamworks (he animated Shrek, Toy Story, A Bug’s Life, etc.). Anyway, before he was an animator/illustrator, he was an amateur wrestler at the University of Michigan with my husband. My husband and I wrote a simply rhyming ABC concept book on the sport of amateur wrestling (which all kids think is cool), and Robert Lence illustrated the book. It is for ages 4-10, and teaches much, much more than wrestling. Really it focuses on life lessons (nutrition, fitness, good sportsmanship, dedication, perseverance, etc.)

    The book has been widely accepted by not just the wrestling arena, but educators as well. The school district of Hazel Park, MI purchased quite a few copies of the book for their high schoolers to read to the elementary schools. Several other school districts have ordered copies as well.

    Just thought I’d mention it, not just because I wrote it (with my husband), but because we really have received a lot of positive feedback from parents that their little boys just loved the book. Several parents have said that their boys took it to school to read aloud to their classroom.

    Thanks, Veronica Davids (author, “Wrestling The ABCs-Creating Character and Fostering Fitness”)

    Reply
  • Gary Allen VanRiper

    I had read to my son every day of his life. After reading the book, Raising a Reader – Make Your child a Reader for Life by Paul Kropp, I took the issue very seriously and also began writing with him. Kropp said the two danger zones for when kids may stop reading are 4th and 9th grades. And more boys tend to drop out than girls. Other resources I have found helpful and enlightening are by Michael Sullivan and Ralph Fletcher.

    Gary VanRiper
    http://www.adirondackkids.com

    Reply
  • Tracy Rosen

    “They don’t read novels or things that I would suggest, mostly woodworking magazines, but at least they are engaged in reading together. But you know, who am I to judge? It is still reading.”

    Right here you have hit the nail on the head when it comes to thinking that boys don’t read.

    Reading novels is one kind of reading, not the only kind but often touted as the only ‘real’ reading. You ask, ‘who am I to judge?’ but be careful, that little disclaimer about how they aren’t reading what you would suggest, like novels, reveals clues about what kind of reading you value. In Reading Don’t Fix No Chevys by Michael Smith and Jeffrey Willhelm the authors did a study that revealed how many boys did not think they read because they weren’t reading books, novels, plays.

    Reply
  • Bill Dawson

    Deb,

    That’s such a nice story. Showing once again how important communication is. I could also imagine it being a role-reversal between me and my wife. We have a six-month-old and when it comes time to read to her, I’m pretty sure I’m gonna be the one to jump in and do it voraciously. Will be interesting to see if she does too! I think she will, and if she doesn’t I’ll have that little chat with her.

    Read, read, read!

    Bill

    Reply
  • Lynette

    It is great to read the above entries and I congratulate you all in your efforts to encourage boys (and men) to read. I think it is so important for kids to build a strong positive relationship with books and reading early on – no matter what the content. Comic books, Graphic novels, gross humor, woodworking magazines, picture books – ANYTHING. I believe content is key in grabbing the interest of boys, and probably dads as well.

    Positive reinforcement like enjoying a book with Dad helps build lasting memories and instill a love of reading.

    Bill – you say it well: “Read, read, read!”

    Lynette
    http://www.picpocketbooks.com

    Reply
  • Lynette

    It is great to read the above entries and I congratulate you all in your efforts to encourage boys (and men) to read. I think it is so important for kids to build a strong positive relationship with books and reading early on – no matter what the content. Comic books, Graphic novels, gross humor, woodworking magazines, picture books – ANYTHING. I believe content is key in grabbing the interest of boys, and probably dads as well.

    Positive reinforcement like enjoying a book with Dad helps build lasting memories and instill a love of reading.

    Bill – you say it well: “Read, read, read!”

    Lynette
    http://www.picpocketbooks.com

    Reply
  • Carrie

    I’m a single mom and my parents keep on pushing me to someone to share my life in order for my “4-month-old” baby to grow well. Until now, I still do not know what it feels to have someone to share my daughter with. I’ve just been reading a couple of essay writing on the web and that’s pretty much it. I have to admit that those essays do convince me that it is healthier for my child to grow with a father.

    Reply
  • Donnie

    Thanks, never had such experience as you ! May i use it in my course work?

    Reply
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