How to stop reacting negatively – decide to respond
Fathers are not perfect
Feeling of inadequacy, fear of losing your job, fear of not providing for family, feeling you know nothing about fixing a car, let alone changing the oil. You may feel like you know nothing about maintaining your home, a garden, how to teach your child to shoot a three pointer efficiently or teach how to dance to their favorite song. Maybe you struggle with having a short-temper sometimes with your kids and or other people Maybe you have very little patience with your kids from them learning a new skill which you have already repeatedly shown them or after asking them to clean up their room. You may feel like you do not play with your child enough or that you should have gone to their soccer game vs working on that big project for a possible promotion. Also, you may be depressed because of being unemployed despite making every effort to find a new job. Failure as a husband and the role you are setting for your children can also make you feel horrible about yourself. No father is perfect and will certainly experience feelings of being a failure for their children often as they grow up.
Change your mindset of Superman dad ideal
You may believe society expects you to be a Superman dad, do it all, be it all dad for your kids. You may get this idea from experiences in your life, news on media outlets or personal examples by fathers in your community. You may have a belief installed in you from a young age that fathers need to be able to do it all, all the time which honestly is a nice fantasy to have. Just as little boys dream of scoring the winning goal in the championship game to win the title, being the next astronaut to touchdown on a new planet or discovering the next big cure for a horrible disease such as cancer. Let go of this belief by learning to not react to the situation in front of you.
Do not react
The problem with having the superman mindset is that nobody is perfect, nobody can do it all, nobody can know it all and when you have this belief system you can end up beating yourself up emotionally. You know that a once in a lifetime opportunity just passed you by which each occasion should be thought of in this way. The pain of this is one if not the greatest feelings of pain a father will experience in his life.
The realization that you as your child’s father caused the mistake in the missed occasion is felt deeply inside. It can become a poison to you and your child if you let it. It is easy to react to negatively by allowing your feelings dictate how you respond. Choose instead to consciously respond to the situation in a calm manner and make the right choice to demonstrate to your child how to deal with adversity whether externally created or internally.
Choose to respond
The better option is to know and freely admit you are not perfect every day but especially when these occasions arise. You can then focus on minimizing and reducing the effects of your shortcomings to help protect your children. When an occasion passes where you have made a huge mistake with your child choose to respond to it by actively deciding on the best course of action of healing. If an apology is required, provide it with and own it so both your child and yourself can move on from the pain. Done correctly you will experience personal growth as a father, person and your child will learn how to own up to mistakes they make during their life with others by your demonstration.
You have great power to influence the reaction of your child to the situation. An analogy is how a key inserted and turned in the ignition of a car starts the engine. The opposite is true, if the engine is running and the key removed the engine follows suit. By choosing to respond to the situation you created you can create a new situation where your child hurt has been acknowledged, asking for forgiveness has occurred and been granted. After this you both have the opportunity to grow closer together as parent and child as a result.
Careful of distractions
Are promotions at work, hobbies, concerts, other personal interest and goals pulling your attention away from your children? If so this is dangerous for your relationship with your children. You will be losing time and rare opportunities to be with your children which will never coming again. Do not allow yourself to continue these moments to slip past you. Ask yourself what good will achieving your goals of achieving a dream position mean if you miss out on your child’s small milestones. When they are grown up you won’t be able to go back and be there for their major milestones. You will not be able go back and read them books. Missed will be the chance to teach them to ride a bike, or push them on the swing set. Keep aware of distractions.
Just like anything in life, having a person or a group of people supporting you, sharing the weight of life events and situations with you can help keep you on course. Find someone, another more experienced father willing to share their experiences and advice with you. A person or a group you can run ideas by, get advice from, someone that is there to share in your achievements and someone you can turn to when you do fail by letting your child down.
In a way it’s like having a coach or group of coaches there to support you, guide you, share in your triumphs and help you see where it went wrong when you fall down. Whomever it may it will make things a little easier knowing you have back up. Please consider if you do not already have one searching and creating a support group or finding an individual you can begin turning to for help. It’s never too late to change. Be certain it is someone or a group you can trust. Do not just got in 100% until you are certain.
It’s important when facing failure to approach it with the correct attitude and mindset. If your mindset is not enabling you to deal with a failure in a productive way change your approach from reacting to responding. Also, be aware that distractions do not get in your way of being with your children or later in life you will come to regret the missed opportunities to be with them when you had the chance. In order to keep on track you may find it beneficial to form your own support group or find an individual you can trust to run ideas off and get advice from.