A challenge to all of us fathers......
First a belated Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers out there!
Father’s Day has gotten me to think about just that….being a father. (*So Mom, make sure Dad reads this one.)
Over the last 14 years of helping parents raise their kids we have found the best and most effective way to develop great kids is not by working with the child but more through working with the parents, helping them develop into ‘rock solid’ fathers and mothers. As matter of fact, in our “New Parent Orientation” we spend much of the time sharing parenting tips (by the way, anyone is welcome to join the next one at 6:30 on July 8th).
We have seen everything from the very best that mothers and fathers can do to the very worse they can do. While mothers seem to spend more time caring for their children, fathers are no less important or impactful to their children. Here is the first new “story” fathers have to put in their heads (me included): Time has nothing to do with being a father! It is not a matter of how much time we spend with our children but more what we do with that time. We can be just as good as a stay at home dad that spends hours a day with his kids. Also spending less time with our kids may have an unexpected bonus, the time we do spend with them tends to get a higher level of attention from them.
So how are you as a father? Are you the father you should be? Are you the father you want to be?
Tough question huh?
To help you find answers that will mean something to you and impact you and your child, let me throw some eye opening thoughts at you.
Here is a fact of life: Unless we consciously are aware and think differently we will parent our children just like our father parented us (same for mothers too). The reason has to do with our brains. As children the way our parents related and treated us made thousands of early neuron connections in our brain. We all automatically revert to those hard wired connections when we parent. Pretty scary thought.
Hopefully you had a good father but I am sure there had to be something your Dad could have done better. So let me ask you this: Since you will pretty much parent like your father, I am going to throw out a challenge to you:
“Don’t”: The first is a don’t. I want you to think of something your father did that you absolutely do want to do with your children. So think back. What was the thing your dad did that you did not like or wish he had not done?
“Do”: Now think of the opposite, something you wish your father had done. Can you remember anything you missed or that you wish your father had done with you?
Here is the key. Little things matter and grow into big things later. So don’t work on trying to be the best Dad on the planet. That is too big and hard. Instead just start with these two small things. Just pick two things, one DON’T and one DO. Then just follow these directions:
Write them down but equally important write down why they are important to you and why they mean a lot to you.
The next step is become much more aware.Just become more aware and sensitive to when you spend time with your children, what you do, what you say, and what you are teaching them (You are teaching them all the time).
Then just notice when you use the “DON’T”” you identified and notice when you have the opportunity and actually use your “DO”.
If appropriate, share your DON’T and DO to your spouse/trusted friend and ask for her/their help.
When you do avoid a DON’T and do a DO – CELEBRATE !You are taking control, making a choice and intentionally being a better father.
“Lather, rinse and repeat ”If you did it pat yourself on the back.But don’t stop here.Go back to step one and find your next DON’T and DO!
If you need any help or just want someone to talk to please contact me. I would be happy to help hold you accountable too.
……….Now to get a pad of paper and write down my DON’’T and DO!
‘Till next time!
Yours for Rock Solid Kids (and Dads),