It’s good to have a strong dad. It makes him a role model and someone to look up to when you are small.
It’s very different once you become a teenager. My father loves rugby and American football. He is always suggesting we go to the park ‘for a kick around,’ and talks to me endlessly about players whose names I barely recognise. I have tried to look keen but it’s hard as I am not interested in sport. It was no surprise to me that I wasn’t chosen for any school team but he has seen it as both a rejection of him and proof of my inadequacy as his only son.
He also insisted that I play the guitar. I had lessons from 8 – 13 but rarely practiced as it didn’t interest me. I much prefer classical music and art, but dad’s focus is purely on what reminds him of his youth and he told me countless times that .playing the guitar helped him pick up girlfriends at parties.
He also sent me off to boarding school when I was eleven. This is strange as he complained regularly that his parents sent him away to board at eight to get rid of him. He’s never forgiven them because he hated it so much. Despite this I had to board, which never suited me and made me feel trapped. Even though boarding schools are not as draconian as they were and Harry Potter has made them acceptable, for an academic non sporty kid like me it just didn’t work.
I’ve tried to tell him politely that I have every right to choose what I like and dislike, but it always ends up with him shouting at him and saying how disappointed he is with me as his son.