When celebrating Father’s Day, which falls on the third Sunday of June each year, it’s important to understand the three stages of fatherhood: ‘That’s MY Dad’, ‘That Dad’, and ‘What Do You Think, Dad?’.

“The first stage of fatherhood is ‘That’s MY Dad’,” explained Dr. Beth Plachetka, LCSW, EdD

and owner of Safe Harbor Counseling. “During this stage, a father protects and provides for his children; danger is easily recognized. The third stage, ‘What Do You Think, Dad?’ is the stage where adult children appreciate their dad’s insight and wisdom.”

While the first and third stages may come naturally to many fathers, the middle stage requires discipline and determination. “The ‘That Dad’ stage seems to have special powers,” said Dr. Plachetka. “‘That Dad’ sticks to his values, saying ‘no’ when necessary. He allows his children to experience both success and disappointment. ‘That Dad’ is determined to teach his children to earn their privileges and to enjoy the satisfaction of a job well done.”

According to Dr. Plachetka, ‘That Dad’ knows about human nature, that circumstances can change, and that life can disappoint. “‘That Dad’ knows about the power of accepting responsibility for a mistake and the need to make amends,” she said. “He knows when to stand behind or next to his child, and knows when to intervene, to listen, or to correct. ‘That Dad’ knows his own physical strength and has the self-discipline to use it wisely.”

‘That Dad’ has the stamina to help change a flat tire or to look for a late child. He also knows that money doesn’t grow on trees. “He knows we need to save for a rainy day,” added Dr. Plachetka. “He reminds us to think before we speak, to wait and see what happens, and that just because someone else did something, it doesn’t make it right. ‘That Dad’ forms men and women.”