How often have you been out with your child when he has been misbehaving? Maybe this has happened in a restaurant or a park, and you have felt others are judging you? This happens quite a lot, and particularly to fathers on their own with their children. Other people will be wondering how you are going to handle such a situation.
If this misbehaviour, or worse still, a tantrum occurs in a public place, you shouldn’t worry what others are thinking about you. Young children always have their moments of bad behaviour, it is part of the growing up process, and everyone knows this can happen anywhere.
If it does, you should never lose your cool, but try to be relaxed about it. If possible, go outside for a few minutes until your child has calmed down, talking to him with a soft but firm voice. You can also try distracting your child with a game, such as spotting certain colour cars when you are either inside or outside the restaurant.
Don’t worry about others judging you, but think about why you are out with your child in the first place. It is to have fun and spend quality time with him. In that moment, actually it should always be like that, he is the most important person in your life, and it is an opportunity to enjoy each other’s company, and do something that you both love doing.
It is far more important that you have a great time together, even if it is sometimes very challenging, rather than worrying about what other people might say. You should never feel self conscious about being in a situation like this with your child, it is part of life.
Maybe you have a question you are looking for an answer to, and you haven’t been able to find a satisfactory outcome. So please ask me, whether you are a mother or father, or a parent to be.
The purpose of this Blog is to share ideas, and offer tips and advice on day to day situations that arise, specifically for a Father. Handling the relationship with your children and helping to improve its quality is vital, and time which is very well spent.
I don’t claim to know all the answers, but what I can offer is a different perspective perhaps, and a possible solution to a situation which troubles you. So please contact me and suggest topics to write about, or ask me very specific questions.
I guarantee I will answer every one that I receive. I also hope you are enjoying reading my Blog. Any feedback that you would like to give me is very welcome. Thank you.
How often does your child say to you “mum said I could do this”? You then respond, “in that case, it’s fine with me”. Then later on when you check exactly what his mother said, you find out it was not at all what your child said it was. It was actually “if your father agrees, then it is OK with me”. So when your child asks for, or wants to do something, you should always say “tell me exactly what your mother said”.
If your child can drive a wedge between you and your partner, he will. He will try to do this, often completely subconsciously, as he knows he will get away with a lot more than either of you want him to. So you have to be consistent and united all the time. This means you should never contradict your partner in front of your child, even if you don’t agree at all with what she is saying.
If you show any disunity between yourselves in front of your child, he will exploit it ruthlessly. Once your child is out of earshot however, then you can express your disagreement with each other. Never has the expression ‘Divide and Conquer’ been so relevant in family life, than with a child and his parents.
If your child feels he can get away with something, by creating a rift between you and his mother, he will. Then as he grows up, it may also result in a lack of respect for you and your partner’s authority, and this will be very difficult to manage in the years ahead.
One of the perennial problems you will come across with your teenage child is being listened to in an argument. Your child will have the same problem with you. Neither one of you is listening to what the other one is saying as emotions are so high, and you believe you are in the right.
There is a way that both of you can say exactly what you want to, and also be forced to listen to what the other one is saying. It is a simple thing to introduce, and involves a drinks coaster. Keep one of these in every room, so that whenever a dispute crops up, you are both able to reach for it.
It works with the following rules. If you have the coaster in your hand, you can keep talking for as long as you want, and the other person is obliged to listen until you have finished. Once one has finished, the coaster is handed to the other person who can do the same.
The very fact of passing the coaster ends up decreasing the tension, as both of you know you are being heard and getting your point across. It also ends up improving your communication together, which is a major challenge with teenagers.
This tip also works with younger children, and can be introduced at an earlier age, as soon as you feel tensions increasing with your child on certain subjects.
How often have you had a battle with your child over bedtime? “Can I just finish that TV program?” or “I’ve nearly finished my game” are just a couple of delaying tactics. By starting young, and creating a non negotiable routine, bedtime can be permanently enjoyable for you and your child, and not a source of disagreements.
Start when your child is about 4 years old, when he starts to go to nursery school, and introduce the ‘rule’ of going to bed at 7.00 pm. Once you have done this, make sure you always give about 15 minutes notice before bedtime. This will allow your child to finish what he is doing, whether it is a game he is playing or a TV program he is watching.
Once you have started regular bedtimes, you can introduce a later bedtime for every birthday that is reached. Each year the time goes back 15 minutes, so at age 10, it is 8.30 pm, then it continues up to the age of 16 when it becomes 10.00 pm. After this age, your child will go to bed when he wants, although you should try to keep a routine during term time.
If you introduce this routine very early on in your child’s life, it will never become an issue. It will also ensure that you and your partner get some quality relaxation time together in the evening, once the children are in bed, when you can really focus on each other.
As a Father, taking your child to school in the morning can be more than just good fun. Your child will be all excited about the new day, and is virtually always in the most responsive frame of mind. He will not be tired, and will be full of the joys of spring. He will be such good company and you, as his father, can share these wonderful moments with him.
This high quality time then becomes very important in terms of the closeness of your relationship together, as well as being enjoyable. It allows both of you to take advantage of a time when there is just the two of you together, when you are both very positive about the day ahead. Little things, like spotting a wild bird, becomes a little treasure you can both share.
He will be so excited about his day ahead, and you can tell him all about what you are going to be doing. He will love that and will be genuinely interested, and you will love seeing how he responds. Your child will never grow bored of hearing what his Dad does at work. This is very high quality time for you both, and will be remembered fondly in the years ahead.
If at all possible, try to walk to school, as this allows you to spend really good time together without having to concentrate on driving or riding a bike. You can be totally focussed on each other which will reinforce your relationship with each other.
I used to walk my children to school when I was going on to the train station afterwards. We would talk about everything and nothing. But to this day, they all remember what good fun it was, and really appreciate the fact I made the effort to do that with them.
Let me know your experiences of taking your child to school.
What do your children do when people come to your home? Do they always come and say Hello? This is something you should introduce to their lives from a very early age. When they are about 4 or 5 years old. By doing this, it will develop their social skills from a very young age. These skills will then come in very handy when they are older.
Every time somebody visits you, before you answer the door, remind your children that they need to stop what they are doing and come and say Hello. Once they are used to doing this, it will become instinctive for them to come and greet your visitors. Not only will this promote good manners, but it will make your guests feel welcome by all the family.
It will encourage your children to be more outward going as they grow up, and it will help them with their communication skills. This will benefit them hugely when they get older, and other people will form a good impression of them. This may help with job interviews or career contacts in the future. It will also make people value the interaction they have with your child.
Very often there are times when your baby just won’t settle. It could be that he is slightly under the weather, or has trapped wind, or is simply having a grouchy day. But you still need to be doing things around your home, and can’t afford to just to stop everything.
There is a way to continue getting things done and at the same time, calm your baby down. I discovered this purely by accident after a few months, and wished I had known about it earlier. Your baby will feel soothed if he is near you, and can feel your warmth and smell, and feels some gentle motion? How can you do this, you might ask, and still be getting things done?
Lie your baby along your forearm, it doesn’t matter which one. If you are right handed, he is better on your left one. His head should be towards your elbow, while he is lying face down along your forearm. You should then hold onto his upper leg quite firmly, but not too hard. Safe enough for him not to have any risk of you letting him go.
You are then ready to start doing things which need to be done. Your baby will be happy, as he is moving with you, feeling you, and can see what is going on. You will be happy, as you will be less stressed, and feel able to be getting on with things that need to be done.
Hopefully this will help you. Let me know if you try it.
What can you do when your child sulks? It will normally happen when she doesn’t get her own way, so you need to teach her that it is not good to do this. It may lose her friends or opportunities in the future so it is vital for you to change this behaviour.
As soon as your child starts to sulk, you need to distract her. Do this by talking about or doing something positive and enjoyable which your child loves hearing about. Make sure she sees and hears what you are doing.
If she doesn’t react at first, keep going, as the more she hears about what you are doing and saying, the more interested she will become. Eventually she will forget all about what she is sulking about, and become engrossed in what you are doing and saying.
This is a very important lesson that you can teach her. She will learn that there is always something else positive and enjoyable just around the corner. This will help her as she grows older, and she will be able to overcome disappointment and move on.
Once she is old enough, around 4 or 5, you, as her father, should start to explain to her why sulking is not good. She will understand, although it may take you a while to get the message across.
What can you do when you are stuck in traffic with your toddler? You know how tense it can become as your child starts getting boisterous or screaming his head off. So you need to invent some games to amuse him and stop him getting bored.
A good game to try is “the snooker game”. This can take anything up to 30 minutes to play, and will keep your toddler very interested. The objective of the game is to spot cars which are the same colours as the balls on a snooker table.
Most of the colours are easy to spot, so you start off with red, and go all the way through to black. However, have you ever noticed just how few yellow, brown or pink cars there are on the roads? In fact there are virtually no pink ones at all, so the game can really go on for as long as you want it to. Your child will be enthralled.
A variation on this game is spotting makes or types of cars. You get to choose the make to be looked out for, and whoever spots one first gets to choose the next one to find. This too can go on for as long as you need it to.
Try them, they really work, and tell me what you think.