How am I doing, daughter?
Last month I took a bold step and asked my son for some feedback on my ‘dad performance’.
You see, kids are fairly black and white when it comes to telling you whether they are happy (“You’re the best Daddy ever!”) or cross (“You’re the meanest person ever!”) but when it comes to constructive feedback and ways to actually improve… well… they’re fairly inconsistent.
So, as a start I discussed my dad performance via a 360-feedback session with our eldest, NJ (age 8). You can read it here. Obviously having three kids means that this gives me only part of the picture. I had to speak to my daughter Roo (age 5) as well.
Three Time Daddy Annual Appraisal #2
Me: So, do you like me being your dad?
Roo: [nodding] Mmm, I think you’re very nice but NJ thinks you’re mean.
Me: Ah, that’s because he thinks I don’t let him do anything or buy him anything he wants.
Roo: I don’t think it’s true.
Me: If you gave me a score out of 10, with being a great dad scoring 10, what would I score?
Roo: If you were really nice to me and NJ I’d give you 100 money.
Me: Really? You’d give me money?
Roo: If I had 100 money.
Me: How much would I get after today?
Roo: 99 money.
Me: Woohoo that’s good. What would make me a better daddy then?
Roo: I don’t know. You’re always a better daddy.
Me: What’s the best thing I do?
Roo: Let me eat sweeties sometimes.
Me: Sweeties? Really? Anything else?
Roo: I don’t know.
Me: Ok. Well, is there anything I need to stop doing?
Roo: Stop not giving us sweeties.
Me: Really? So is there anything you don’t like?
Roo: No way.
Me: Is there anything you want me to do more of?
Roo: Cuddles. Give lots of cuddles and lots of pennies.
Me: What would you do with more money?
Roo: Put them in my money box so it’s safe.
Me: That’s a good idea. What do you think makes a good dad?
Roo: Can you stop talking now daddy?
Me: Er. Ok.
Roo: Read this big book now.
However, I got the impression Roo wasn’t taking this as seriously as me and seemed more interested in thinking about sweets, licking the mirror in her room (excluded from transcript) and demanding I read her a book.
I guess you could say it’s like having a bad manager at work – if they’re not prepared to give you important and timely feedback then how can they ever expect you to perform any differently. Yes. It’s EXACTLY like that.
I will of course document this for future reference and return to it in future years when I’ve suddenly become the worst daddy in the world. At least I have that to cling onto.
So, two children down, one to go in my Daddy’s annual appraisal. Considering our youngest is only 17 months old I will just assume I get 10/10 from him.