Schools Should Ban Special Daddy/Daughter & Mother/Son Events

Rant 71

daddy daughter danceFirst it was dodgeball. Now the age-old tradition of father/daughter dances at school is being phased out. But don't worry! Mother/son traditions are getting the heave-ho too.

A Rhode Island school district is blazing the trail, calling these gender-specific activities "discriminatory" after a single mom complained that her kid was left out of a daddy/daughter event because she didn't have a dad to accompany her. As a married mom, I can't agree with them more.

We live in a world where 11.7 million households have a single parent at the helm. We live in a world where same sex couples are finally making headway in the fight to adopt and raise kids. Telling girls they need to bring a daddy to an event or boys that they need a mommy is automatically cutting out a whole lot of kids, distancing them from their peers in a time when kids are already so split that we have a bullying epidemic on our hands.

These kids don't need another reason to feel uncomfortable around their classmates, especially not in the so-called "safe space" that a school is supposed to provide.

And quite frankly, neither do parents ... any parent, whether single, gay, or partnered up with someone of the opposite sex.

We don't need to hear from the school that one gender of parent is more important than the other. Maybe it's because I grew up in a poor school district that didn't have the fund for these gender-specific events anyway, but I've never quite gotten the allure of one parent in particular being lauded over the other.

Last year my daughter's teacher sent home an invite to help make gingerbread houses that specifically stated there was room for only one adult helper per child. We let our daughter choose, and she picked my husband. Technically it was better for us based on work schedules, but I won't say it didn't hurt a bit.

I want to be there for the moments big and small ... and so does my husband. That's part of being a parent. The two of us have made a point of deciding who goes to events at school based on our family's needs, not on some outdated notion that little girls need their daddies more and little guys are mama's boys.

What's your take on daddy/daughter and mother/son events at schools?


Image via sameliaz8/Flickr

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Heather Duso Johnson

Even if a parent died there is probably still a positive female/male influence in the child's life that could fill in such an aunt or uncle, a grandparent or even a close family friend.   And calling people's names is really classy people.  But I bet you'd be the first to cry and complain the second someone calls your kid a name or threaten to beat them up.  

Renee Perkins-Curkendall

Wow. I'm shocked at the comments. As an FYI, my children's school makes it very clear at the "Father-Daughter" dances ANYONE can fill in. We've had uncles, cousins, even brothers fill in when Daddy wasn't available. We have 6 kids and all have gone to the different events. Last year, I was in the hospital and my sister-in-law was there for my son for the "mother-son" soccer game. So, no, I don't agree they need to go anywhere. There are many kids who can't go who DO have both parents, due to scheduling conflicts etc. When we will stop taking things away in the name of. . . ? Actually, it's not in the name of anything. It's ok to have fun as a mommy/son or a daddy/daughter. 99% of the events take place at the elementary level where no malice is part of the process.
The comments related to gay couples. . . shame on you. How dare you insult those offering loving homes to children in need. Most adopt, few use IVF. But, who cares. Love and family are mutual so please grow up. To think that single parents are excluded from these events, I don't see it. Instead, it's a way for single parents to enlist the help of those who are there to support them and their children. What single parent doesn't have a good friend of the opposite sex OR a family member who can step and be the role for that special evening. It's a chance to dress up, be sweet and share a moment with someone special.

Konda Parker

I don't think they should be banned either. We have two boys so my husband would not have a father/daughter dance, but he would not be upset with me having a mom/son time. For those of us that are parents either married or divorced, why should our children have to give up this great opportunity because some kids dont ave a father. Let an uncle, grandfather, stepfather, whatever go, if none of those are around, then mom can explain why. Everyone should not be punished for a few.

BTW, our school has donuts with dad, or breakfast with mom. They will allow however any parent or grandparent or uncle or aunt to come to any of these so that no child is left out. I would be upset if they did away with either of these, my older son looks forward to it, as will my youngest when her is old enough. They also have lunch with grandparents. My husband's mother never goes to anything and recently moved out of state and they don't have either grandfather living, but my mom goes. Should they stop it because some kids have grandfathers and my kids do not? Nope, my kids just have to learn that we are all different and we all have different lives. Sure I wish my dad and father-in-law were living and able to be with my kids, but life isn't fair, butter to learn that now in life since you will be faced with the unfair all your life.

Newle... Newleaf32

Well this is a toughie for me. I hate to see so many traditions getting banned from schools, but at the same time I can relate. I was a single parent at one time, and have remarried, but I have kept my son out of school on days where Father Picnics were celebrated. I knew my little one would be too sad to attend without his daddy who lives in another city, so I kept him out of school that day to spend it with me. The advantage was that he was in preschool, and never knew what he missed. Had he been in elementary school and old enough to know about the event, emotional pain couldn't have been avoided, whether he attended that day or not. It's a tough call. Please be aware of the pain you can inflict on single mothers when you comment on these boards. Many of us divorced out of sheer necessity and safety of our children.

momma... mommaluvto5

Oh my gosh!  If we had to stop doing things because other might feel bad then we won't be able to do anything at all.  Get over yourself.

If a kid doesn't have a dad I'm sure the school wouldn't mind a friend of the family accompanying him in place of his dad. 


Newle... Newleaf32

Mommaluv, get over yourself? Who are you talking to, the writer? This particular single parent who complained? Or all single parents?

the4m... the4mutts

MY kids' school doesn't give a crap if a mom goes to a father/daughter dance. Or a dad to the mother/son dance. Maybe the mom should just show up and tell them "hey, I'm dad in our house" and get over herself.

How stupid. See where the banning stuff from schools gets us? Everyone feels left out for something. You will never please everyone. Let the schools stay NORMAL and let the people who want things to cator to ONE person, go somewhere else, or stay home.

Caera Caera


Kids need two parents. They need a mother and a father. Each offers things the other can't, no matter how much feminists want to stamp their feet and claim that's not true. No matter how much gay dads swear their child has everything they need.

They don't.

We're made with a male and female for physical, psychological, and psychosocial reasons. Anyone who claims otherwise, or thinks that something else is "just as good" is deluded.

My mom was a single mom. She was an awesome mom who did an awesome job in a terrible situation that she did not cause, but had to save us all from. And she is the first one to say that while single parents can raise kids, and raise them well, those kids will miss an important component if the other parent is not there.

There should be more activities that celebrate what each parent brings to a child. The most meaningful time I had with my father before we lost him was at the Daddy/Daughter Girl Scout Square Dance. And my friend, who didn't have a father, brought an uncle.

Society needs to stop watering down the mother and father role that parents are supposed to play together.

Todd Vrancic

This is a different kettle of fish than the nut ban.  A child generally isn't going to die from disappointment, and most schools would be quick to say that any other older relative or friend can fill in if the named parent is not available for whatever reason.  (That is, if it is a Father/Daughter event, any other older relative or friend can fill in for the dad, if a Mother/Son event any other older relative or friend can fill in for the mom.)

Melis... Melissa1508

Wah wah wah.  Nothing is fair anymore.  Everyone wants to bitch about something.  Someone is ALWAYS going to be left out of something.  We need to toughen up.

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