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Are You a Modern Dad?

Dr. Howard Bennett
Author Dr. Howard Bennett
Submitted 29-10-2007

If you’re like most men, taking your child to the doctor is a mixed blessing.
While it’s certainly nice to get some time off from work, surviving a pediatric
visit, even a routine checkup, is an ordeal that makes a fraternity hazing seem
like a walk in the park. Nevertheless, more and more fathers are spending time
nurturing their children these days. Therefore, to see if you have what it takes
to meet these new medical responsibilities, I have prepared the following quiz.

In your opinion, the best time to leave for a doctor’s appointment is:

    1. An hour early so there’s plenty of time to find a parking space.
    2. As soon as you can find your car keys.
    3. When the hockey season is over.
  1. The thought of sitting in a waiting room with exhausted mothers, crying babies,
    and hyperactive toddlers gives you:

    1. A warm feeling about the bond you share with other parents in the community.
    2. A migraine headache.
    3. A strong desire to be at work, even if it means getting yelled at by your boss
      for being a lazy, shiftless, good-for-nothing slob.
  1. How would you describe your child’s doctor?
  1. An intelligent, highly trained professional who works long hours to provide
    quality care for your family.
  2. A physician who is probably competent, but charges too much.
  3. A money-sucking parasite.
  1. You’re in an examination room with your 4-year-old who complained about a sore
    throat during breakfast. When the doctor asks her to open her mouth, she just
    sits there like the man is speaking Chinese. What do you do?

    1. Reassure your child that the doctor won’t hurt her, and ask her to open her
      mouth like she did this morning when she practiced with her VERY OWN doctor’s
    2. Offer to take her to McDonald’s if she’ll cooperate.
    3. Plead with your daughter to open her mouth. Say, “Please open up for the doctor,
      sweetie. Pretty please.” Repeat this 100 times, showing her how easy it is.
      Continue with this behavior until you are sweating profusely, red with
      embarrassment, and wish with all your soul that you never got married in the
      first place or, alternatively, that you had listened to your brother-in-law (the
      one with five children) and had gotten that vasectomy like he suggested.
  1. If it were up to you, under what conditions would you take your children to the
  1. For all routine checkups and illnesses, and to discuss each stage in their
    psychosocial development.
  2. For whatever is covered by your medical insurance.
  3. If the Health Department kicks them out of school.
  1. If your wife asked you to take a morning off to bring your 6-month-old to the
    doctor, what would you tell your co-workers at the office?

    1. That it’s important for fathers to take an active role with all aspects of child
    2. That your wife got called out of town at the last minute and she begged you to
      take your son in for his checkup.
    3. That your old lady banged up the car again, and you spent the whole morning
      rebuilding her transmission.
  1. In conversations with friends and relatives, how do you refer to your child’s

    1. Dr. Williams.
    2. Ralph.
    3. Old poop-head.
  1. Your 3-year-old is diagnosed with an eye infection that will require drops for
    seven days. The last time this happened, your wife lost her hearing for a month
    due to the blood curdling screams that emanated from your daughter’s diminutive
    mouth. Your wife is visiting her parents and won’t be back for a week. You

    1. Explain to your daughter why she needs the drops and instill them calmly despite
      her cries that you are killing her.
    2. Bribe your child to sit still by offering to buy her ice cream dinners for the
      rest of her life.
    3. Put the drops in the dog’s eyes and pray for a miracle.
  1. If you moved to a new town, how would you go about finding a new doctor for your

    1. Call the local medical society and academic medical centers to find someone with
      impeccable credentials.
    2. Ask your neighbors.
    3. Open the phone book and go, eeny-meeny-miney-mo.
  1. After waiting with your child for an hour and a half to see the doctor, she
    diagnoses an ear infection, hands you a bill for $75, and is out the door before
    you can ask whether the medicine should go in your child’s ear or his mouth. On
    leaving the office, you would:

    1. Pay the bill with a credit card, being glad that you got an appointment in the
      first place.
    2. Write a check knowing full well that it will bounce higher than the doctor’s
      malpractice premium.
    3. Bill the doctor at your regular rate ($200/hr) for the time she kept you in the
      waiting room.

Scoring the Quiz

To determine your score, give yourself the following points for each answer: “a”
(3 points), “b” (2 points), “c” (1 point). No points are awarded for unanswered


Score Interpretation
Over 25 Congratulations! You definitely have what it takes
to be a modern dad. Be sure to let your wife “find” this quiz
because it will get you some extra perks around the house (women
love hip men who are also sensitive).
15-25 Not bad, but you’re still living in the 20th
century. There is hope, however, especially if you buy some
self-help books and watch ten hours per week of women’s daytime
talk shows.
Less than 15  Sorry big guy, but your prospects are
glum. I suggest15 you throw away this quiz and try to
convince your wifethat sensitive men are wimps.


Dr. Howard Bennett Is a pediatrician in Washington, DC and the author of two
picture books, Lions Aren’t Scared of Shots and It Hurts When I Poop, both
published by Magination Press.