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healthy relationships

Empowering The Fathers In Your Life

healthy relationshipsBy: Jami McDermott

All fathers are important and influence a child’s life. There are varying reasons why men either become active participants in their children’s life or do not. When the choice is to embrace the parenting role, either alone or with the mother, the dynamics of the relationship between father and child become integral to the child’s sense of well-being and development.

Having a child is filled with emotional ups and downs, accompanied by social media platforms and well-meaning friends giving advice. This can cause new and existing fathers to lack trust in themselves, feeding a negative personal narrative. Thoughts like, “Do I have what it takes to be a dad?” can tear down his confidence and desire to participate in the child’s life actively.

Let’s admit it; whether you are co-parenting or parenting alone, parenting can be hard and full of surprises! There is no way to fully prepare a dad for what his child will throw his way. Simple actions of encouragement and support can help him gain more confidence in his role. Knowing he is not alone in this journey will encourage him to value fatherhood.

 Actively Listen Without Judgment

Fears and doubts are usual to processing new and unfamiliar challenges of parenthood. A father’s struggles are real and should not be minimalized but met with compassion and understanding. Look and listen for signs of distress like malaise and lack of interest in personal appearance or outside activities. Resources like Birthright St. Charles can provide counseling at no cost as he and the mother adjust to these new roles.

Point Out The Attributes He Already Possesses

like humor, patience, compassion, and drive. Encourage him to lead with them and apply them to everyday challenges. For instance, introduce a bit of nonsense into difficult situations with his child, share personal stories of mishaps, and demonstrate how to laugh at yourself and manage disappointments.

Provide Guidance

Don’t show yourself as an expert, but as a friend who wants to share your experience. Everyone has a unique approach to life. Share with him that mistakes often allow us to grow and that every day gives him a chance to feel comfortable and clarify how he fits this role.

Find Opportunities To Join In His Daily Life

Parenting is just one side of a dynamic person who needs to be recognized for his interests and achievements. All people need to know they are seen and valued. Becoming a parent doesn’t mean you have to lose or give up who you are as an individual. Suggest to do things with him outside of his parenting role related to his interests; watch a game, socialize with friends, etc.

Encourage Him To Bond With His Child

Place the child as a priority in his life. Help him to see that his choices and decisions impact more than just his life now. He has things to share, teach and offer his child that will impact their life. Even little everyday tasks like bathing, feeding, and reading can provide memorable moments to enhance this attachment, including simply rocking your child to sleep.

Celebrating active fathers and those that fill that role for us is always necessary. Take time and reflect on the challenges your father or father figure faced, the lessons learned and the time value. Then, reach out and encourage a father you know to show him the weight is much lighter when shared.

Birthright St. Charles acknowledges and understands the vital role fathers can have. We have helpful staff and experienced licensed counselors available to offer information, tips, and support.

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