Thursday, December 26, 2013

Strengthening Dad in their Eyes: Stronger Dad's lead to Stronger Mom's leading to Stronger Families

Hardships often prepare ordinary people for an extraordinary destiny.

C.S Lewis

Father's who make it a general habit to discuss and show their kids the importance of how they deal with setbacks as well as triumphs provide invaluable life skills teaching for their kids with tremendous long-term benefits that last a lifetime. You can start talking to them about how to deal with life's daily events when they are infants.

This post is about making Daddy's stronger because I see America rapidly becoming a Father-less society. I am a Dad of three children, and I want to strengthen Daddy's role in the family and help put him in his rightful place. May this be so in such a way that honors the wife, and her place as the Mother of the family. May his strengthening be complimentary to the wife, and by doing so, complimentary to the husband too, and eventually the children.

Dear Dad's

Consider that your face time with your kids is leveraged being that you are out most of the day at work. When they then do see you, it becomes primetime learning for taking direct and indirect cues on Dad. What he does and doesn't do all impacts the family dynamic. What he values, how he spends his free time, how he nurtures and how he treats their truly beloved Mother. Moreover, how he chooses to unwind, or lead the family in thankfulness at meal time are things that  actually leave an imprint on children on how to behave and treat others. Basically, how to live. 

One key area that I see can be easily rectified is a common parenting mistake that has compounding effects if not corrected.

A common mistake in parenting that breaks the children's perception of a unified front is:

Daddy's authority (power) being diminished if he is disciplined by Mom in front of the children, or if Mommy overrides a Daddy disciplinary measure that he is enacting. In the eyes of the children, Mommy literally just Became the Top Boss, and now their is a hierarchy in the parenting, rather than parenting of equals. 

You want to find balance again quickly because:

Kids who perceive weakness in their Father's are more prone to insecurity, bullying, and behavioral issues. 
Kids in homes without parental disciplining unity learn to be more manipulative, combative, confrontational, defensive, and with poor foresight.

The thing to do:

Wait and talk privately away from the kids. Don't like the way your spouse handles things? Tell them. Speak up. Make your voice be heard.... but not in front of the kids. That way it doesn't become a power play that then overshadows the actual child disciplining issue. 
If your spouse doesn't care to hear you out, seek a professional/ or a carefully picked person, like a family member with influence that can help mediate the impasse with your spouse.

Children need to look up to their Father's. If Daddy has second-tier authority in a hierarchical parenting setting, the children cannot look up to Daddy. In a parenting setting where Mom and Dad are cherished as equal partners, the children look up to both Mommy and Daddy. In this setting, Daddy in fact makes sure that Mommy is recognized for her hard work, sacrifice, and resourcefulness. To a great extent, in this paradigm of parenting, with Daddy having his rightful place, he then wants to ensure that Mommy is supported, cared for, and respected. Mommy is honored. Daddy is honored by Mommy. Kids honor Mommy and Daddy. Mommy has kids honor Daddy.
Lovingkindness is manifested and the family is strengthened and re-strengthened, one meal at a time.

Daddy's need to have an on-going class with their kids on self-management and dealing with adversity. Great times for Daddy's to relate how they deal with challenges is when their kid misbehaves, makes a mistake, loses emotional control, or thwarts parental authority.

 A misbehaving child may not be able to "be ok when things don't work out his/ her way." Reassuring the child that Daddy loves them and is ready to talk with them when they calm down is better than ordering them to shut up or risk being sent to their room. Daddy's are great at being nurturing and can play this role very well with their kids. Being firm, yet loving and kind is to walk a fine line. Daddy's can assert themselves in a powerful way without yelling, being rough, or getting tough with their kids who get out of line. 

Using slow gestures, and a continued emotion-free demeanor, parents can inform their children that that behavior is not allowed in this household. Daddy loves you, and is ready to listen and talk with you when you are calm and ready to speak. But right now you have to go to your room for one minute of every year of your age. This is ultra-respectful to the child who is a person in their own right and should be showed how we treat one another. Here we are showing fairness and seizing the opportunity to bring level-headedness to a child who has "lost it."

In conclusion, with a unified parenting system the growth-oriented mindset happens naturally. With this unified, parent-honoring, disciplinary approach in a unified parent structure behaviors that are unwanted are extinguished very quickly. The catch is that Mom and Dad have to adhere to the diplomatic protocol when they are at odds with each other. Risking the perception that Daddy or Mommy is not to be honored, or that she/ he can be dismissed leads to unwanted behaviors in kids with compounding negative effects if left unchecked across time. 

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