There is a ton of information about how to be a more present and active father. The importance of being a positive role model, reading books to them, making time for family dinners, playing catch, and many more positive ways you can influence your kids. Often overlooked are specific parenting methods and the behaviors attached to them.
Most fathers believe they need to be authoritative to gain respect in their families. They perceive they might seem weak if their child does not obey them. Usually, this happens because of internalized beliefs that we are not doing the best that we could. Instead of changing ourselves, we become reactive and focus only on our child’s behaviors.
We can try to suppress these ideas, but doing so is never productive. Instead of bringing some clarity into solving a problem with our child, we resort to disciplinary positions that we know deep down are ineffective and possibly damaging to our child’s emotional health.
Why go down this path if there is even the slightest chance it could adversely affect your child’s life?
The immediate goal of compliance comes from a place of power and control. Usually, there is no learning or explanation in this process, and most children will reasonably submit to the demands and threats from a much larger and stronger individual.
Unless, of course, you have a defiant child. This is an excellent time to ask yourself, is it the child or the constant pressure of your imposed consequences creating the defiance?
I often hear fathers talk about how one child is different, or they are strong-willed. Of course, every child is different, but this does not mean the principles of our parenting need to change.
We need to increase our capabilities and hold ourselves to higher parenting standards, especially in stressful situations. What type of examples are you showing your child in what it means to be a man if you are knowingly using your power to solve problems in the home?
A simple rule that helped me understand how I could improve these standards was to allow my child to be seen as a human being and not a problem to solve constantly.
I asked myself, what would help me the greatest when I needed support and guidance from another?
Hopefully, in our adult lives, we have this already figured out. We trust and keep those close to us that offer advice, patience, compassion, empathy, and fairness. How can you demand high standards in all other relationships and not allow your child to receive this goodness firsthand from their father?
Being honest with myself allowed me to see situations as they were, and I no longer look at my child as a nuisance that was purposely working against me.
We get caught in the trap of reconstructing the meanings of the words that we use, but they all have the same intent. Instead of punishment, we will use discipline. The language may be different, but the outcomes are very similar. Regardless of how you word each interaction, the underlying problems are not resolved, and punishments simply do not work.
Your kids now develop a great skill. They learn how to avoid getting punished and find clever ways to navigate around the rules. This is why it is more important to take the time and explain the rules than simply enforcing them in your home.
Enforcement is the easy part!
Putting in the work to become better is a universal law and doesn’t change because there is an easier way.
Going down the path of being an authoritative parent, you need to continually administer this painful existence because your child will instantly listen. The long term effects are unintentionally ignored, and this escalates severe problems later on in adolescents and adulthood.
If we repeat the methods enforced on us as a child and never question if what we are doing is wrong, how can we really be honest with ourselves?
The truth is that most fathers take this authoritative stance while very few are permissive in their parenting style. There is this false belief that many fathers are submissive to their kids and need to implement harsher treatment to get results.
This is simply not true.
What results are you looking to achieve?
What would my list look like of values I wanted to pass down to my children?
- I want them to love themselves.
- I want them to be independent.
- I want them to treat others well.
- I want them to face their fears.
- I want them to have good morals.
Of course, these ideas could be broken down into more complex definitions, but my focus is not on the children but rather on the dads.
We all understand the concepts of leading by example, and fathers can have the greatest influence on their children.
Do you ever ask yourself what type of example you are showing them? Have you had this conversation with other fathers? Do you catch yourself jokingly criticizing your kids, to get acceptance from fathers with lower standards?
Can we be honest and have enough courage to judge ourselves so that our children are a reflection of our best behaviors?
We are parenting without regard to insanity.
We have all heard the famous quote. “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” — not Albert Einstein.
There are specific standards that fathers have been following regarding their parenting that don’t work. It is one area in most men’s lives that does not get enough attention these days. They continually use methods that are inefficient and have no evidence of being effective in solving problems.
“Because I said so.”
This is often a phrase that we think displays strength but couldn’t prove to be from a weaker stance.
If I were to say you should negotiate with your child, most men would feel a sense of urgency. They would somehow think their child was undermining their parental authority. What better way could you set a foundation for a healthy and functioning relationship with your child by giving them the freedom to express themselves openly?
All fathers want a respectful and caring child, who shows that they are listening and concerned about others’ needs.
With all the information out there, ignorance becomes a choice, especially when we think of how we treat our children.
So how can we achieve this task that somehow always seems to elude us over and over again?
The best way to teach this to your child would be making a conscious effort to treat them with respect and consideration. You cannot genuinely have standards in your life and not apply them to your child.
To influence your child is far better than demanding control. When you raise your standards, you create endless possibilities to cooperate with them and become creative in your interactions openly.
Learning to negotiate with your child is a skill that will benefit both of you for a lifetime. Teaching your child they are not inferior, and that they can succeed with support from dad. It becomes about finding meaning within yourself, so you can continue to guide them to a life of fulfillment and abundance.
Every situation will be different, and every interaction becomes a test, but the underlying principles remain the same. You create goodness in your children through how you treat them.
No longer do you need to be a man who thrives on the submission of your child. No longer do you need to take a stance built on superiority.
The goal is to create harmony and build a family that shares common values that can be spread throughout the world in a time that desperately needs it.
The evils of the world will have an insignificant grip on them with a loving father.