8 Signs You Grew Up With A Chill Dad Who Always Encouraged You To Just Do You

I imagine that fatherhood is probably a scary thing — sure, you can sit around and anticipate (and rub swollen feet) for nine months, but then the baby arrives, and it's pressure time. Will you end up being a strict dad, or will you learn how to be a cool dad? Will you give your kid a pass on bad behavior, or accidentally inspire him with raucous stories of your youth? Regardless of those first years, most fathers tend to mellow with age and experience. Thankfully, mine turned out to be pretty chill — which is strange, since I grew up knowing that he was the prime authoritative figure in our household. While he rarely yelled, he had the capability of yelling, and now? I can't even imagine hearing him express his anger. (Disappointment, sure — but never anger.)

After a certain age, you really learn to appreciate a chill dad. Chill dads often give the best advice, and don't feel the need to put additional pressure on you. First and foremost, they realize that absolutely everyone makes mistakes. They give you enough time to figure out your own problems, and totally have faith that their life lectures from the past have stuck with you. And, chances are they have... since a dad can totally afford to be chill when he's completely confident that he parented excellently.

If you have a chill dad, you might be able to relate to these major points that express how lucky you truly are.

1. A chill dad has an amazing sense of humor

When you're watching New Girl together, he doesn't need to have the jokes explained to him. He probably thinks Nick Miller is just like a friend he went to college with, and appreciates the fact that the show includes numerous friendships of young 30-somethings. There is no "Why aren't these people married already?" comments, or "Shouldn't Jess be focused on having a baby?" He would never think to utter "Won't anyone successfully help Nick out with his drinking problem?"

He appreciates a good laugh, and loves to sit down with some funny shows after a long day at work. He rarely takes work home, and believes that everyone needs to have a few hours to just unwind with the family. No matter how much the office enraged him that day, you'd never be able to tell — the second he enters the door, he's the relaxed family man you've always known him to be.

2. He isn't afraid of embarrassing himself if it'll help create memories

You've probably seen the stories plastered on Facebook, about the cool dad who dresses up in multiple costumes to send his kid off to the bus, and the dad who dressed up like Elsa to accompany his daughter to a Frozen singalong event. A chill dad lets go of his pride, and does everything he can to enhance his kid's childhood. There is nothing too goofy, too dorky, or too ridiculous for a chill dad — as long as it puts a smile on your face, he's totally game.

3. Chill dads know that communication about an issue is way, way more effective than a direct punishment

Back in eighth grade, I got detention for the stupidest reason. For the remainder of the day, I was near tears, just expecting my dad to be absolutely furious with me. As an educator, any kind of school misdemeanor was sure to make him upset. But he didn't come home that day with a red face, or a list of chores I'd have to complete — instead, he talked to me about how my actions were wrong, and that people make mistakes. If they didn't make mistakes, they'd never learn. You have no clue how much weight was taken off my shoulders after that talk.

4. He can understand your musical preference, even if he doesn't totally love it

He understands that back in the day, his favorite music probably made no sense to his parents, so he doesn't quickly disregard your picks as "trash," or "a confusing mess." Yeah, I have a feeling my dad won't totally get Arcade Fire. But he at least understands that they're a band, they have a distinct sound, and they're talented at what they do. It's just not his preference.

Will he give them a listen? Sure, since he respects your taste. He wants to know what stuff you like, and won't judge the fact that he can't understand the lyrics. I mean, Bob Dylan mumbled a bunch too, and look how far he got.

5. A chill dad totally celebrates average grades for subjects he knows you're not a natural at

Strict dads view academics as a way to gain scholarships for great colleges that will, in turn, land you a great job. A strict dad has a car littered with honor roll bumper stickers, and he has no intention of ever scraping them off.

Chill dads totally focus on academics as well, but they're realistic — you can be a smart kid, but you might just be kind of terrible at comprehending chemistry. As long as you try, and make an effort, and study your butt off, you should celebrate the grade you get. You worked hard for that C. You passed the class. You didn't give up. That's a reason to be happy.

6. Boyfriends aren't intimidated by your dad at all

They know that they won't be put under the spotlight when they're first introduced. Sure, your dad will ask questions — but the "What are your intentions with my daughter?!" speeches probably won't occur. Your new guy will be able to relax, and get to know your dad without a mountain of anxiety riding on his shoulders. Even better, your dad will be able to tell you his opinions in a way that isn't hurtful. "He seems like a really nice guy" is all you'll need to hear to know your boyfriend has the Dad Seal of Approval.

7. A chill dad doesn't need to be entertained

When your dad comes over to your place to visit, his idea of a fun time is catching up with his daughter over a beer or a Diet Coke. He doesn't necessarily need to be at an event to make the weekend visit worthwhile. Similarly, when you go over to his place, he totally doesn't mind if you spend an hour or two catching up on shows through OnDemand while he does his own thing.

In a way, you feel like you've only strengthened your connection this way — after all, you've gotten to know him pretty well through the conversations you've had. Planning a jam-packed visit might even feel kind of weird, since both of you get a little uneasy over fancy plans.

8. Chill dads typically love having pets

Your dad isn't a total slob, but he also doesn't have plastic furniture protectors all throughout the living room. He's totally cool with you bringing the dog over, despite the fact that Fluffy sheds a ton of fur. And licks her own butt. And generally smells a little terrible after a small time outside. Men who don't mind pets are men who understand that furry companions truly help make a house a home. Sure, their shoes might get a little slobber on them — but hey, they're only shoes.

You're just grateful that you don't have to worry about a pet-sitter or a kennel if your dad lives a small distance away. In fact, if you didn't bring the dog, he might be a little bummed out. Hopefully the dog isn't the only reason he invites you over... right?

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