One of the major responsibilities you have as a father is to help your child learn to make choices. Whether it is what trousers to wear today, or when to cross the road, or how much effort he makes with his school work. Life is full of choices, and some of those involve risks. The question is when and if you voluntarily allow your child to take some risks.
Every day you take calculated risks, whether it is driving a car, or coming down the stairs with your hands full, all of which your children are witness to. They then will at some point, take their own decisions in risky situations. By encouraging your child to take responsibility for her actions and her life, it will help her to understand the potential dangers that it can hold. So when and how can you start doing this?
You could start when they are 5 or 6 years old, when you go swimming together. So long as she knows how to swim, you could let her swim a few feet away from you, without armbands. Your child will love the independence it gives her from you and start to understand that she is in control of what happens to her. You can do this even if she is a little unsure of herself. It will make her appreciate the risk she is taking. If you go for a walk, and pass a tree, maybe you can let your child climb it a little, with you underneath of course.
If you encourage your child to try lots of things, through his choices and experience he will learn that some things are more dangerous than others. Let your child take calculated risks, but always make sure he understands the dangers and consequences.
The last thing you want or need when you arrive home with your new baby, is for your older child to become jealous. This will just make it very difficult and stressful, at a time when you and your child’s mother are emotionally and in the case of your partner, physically drained. So what can you do to avoid this and make the arrival of your new family member as seamless as possible?
Before your new baby is born, you should talk to your older child and explain what is going to happen. You will already have told him why ‘mummy’s tummy is growing’, and what will happen when his new sibling arrives. This is something that you, as a father ,can really focus on, as you and your older child are not part of the ‘mummy/baby physical’ relationship.
When it is time to bring your new baby home, make sure you bring a ‘special’ present home with her, specially for her older brother. This present is from his new sister, and will be valued and appreciated hugely by her older sibling. This will serve a few purposes. Firstly it will help prevent any jealousy when she arrives. Secondly, it will be a good distraction for him at times when you need to be focused on your new baby. Finally, it will help your older child to understand that, as his new sister is smaller, sometimes she needs to be looked after before you both can focus on him.
Your older child will remember this small gesture for years into the future, and it will help start the complex sibling relationship off, in your home, on the right foot.
It doesn’t matter whether your children are Toddlers or Teenagers, they will always try to test themselves against their siblings. Finding out who is the strongest, the most dominant and the smartest, is the natural way, and is an integral part of their childhood. As they grow older, until they are adults, they will continue to test themselves against each other. But this can be very tiring on you. So what can you do to lessen the stress?
Throughout your children’s upbringing, you have been able to use distraction, and it has worked on very many occasions to get you out of awkward situations. Whether it was your Toddler sulking, throwing a tantrum or refusing to eat. It will still work, irrespective of how old they are, and is one of the best strategies you can use as a parent. So when they start fighting, this should be your primary weapon against it.
Distracting them could be you telling a silly joke, or suddenly making a really loud noise, but try to resist the urge to start screaming and shouting. What you really need to do is to catch their attention. Break their concentration on what they are doing, so they forget what they were bickering about, in this case fighting. It will soon blow over, calm will be restored and your nerves can relax again…………….until the next time. Don’t we just love our children!
One of the most moving, emotional and significant moments of you and your partner’s lives, is the birth of your child. Nothing can prepare you as a Dad, for the arrival of this new being into the world. It is so emotionally charged, that there is a real risk that reason goes out of the window.
This is where your role as a father can be vital. Although you are not actually giving birth, your role is absolutely key to it all going well. Your partner will be in extreme pain, as well as not thinking very straight while your child is being born, so it is imperative that you try to remain calm.
She will say and do things, some of which may shock you and that you have never seen before, but don’t worry, you have the key tool, to help you both manage during this very highly charged event. Of course the midwife is very important, and will guide you both, but don’t forget the Birth Plan you and your partner decided on. Remember this was formulated in the cold light of day. This should be be your guide book, unless there is a medical emergency, in which case, of course, you must follow the doctor’s advice.
When you were planning for this moment, you and your partner will have decided what pain relief she would use, and so it is very important that you stick to this, despite anything she says during the actual childbirth. She will thank you afterwards, even if in the moment she is screaming at you. At times you will be tempted to throw your carefully thought out plan out the window, because your partner will be so uncomfortable.
When you decided it together, you reassured your partner that you were in this together, and now is when you can prove this to her. She will really appreciate this when you and your new born baby get back home.
Setting yourself objectives and understanding that there are rewards when you achieve them, is an important part of growing up. The question is when should you start teaching your child about them.
Sometimes you have to achieve those objectives before someone else manages to. Life is competitive, whether it is at school, or on the football field, or even amongst siblings, so achieving is a vital skill to learn for a young child.
You should start setting your child goals, as soon as she is able to understand the concept of rewards, which is usually once she starts to walk. You can start with little objectives such as eating all her food at supper earns her a nice yoghurt as dessert. Or if she puts all her toys away at the end of each day, she will get an extra five minutes in the bath.
A lot of these initial ones are instinctive for your child, such as walking across the room to get the toy. And it is your role to explain to your child why the reward comes after the effort. This is very relevant as the objectives become more challenging.
As she grows a little older, you will need to make sure that the goals you set her and that she sets herself, are actually achievable. This is very important, as she needs to feel a good sense of achievement, which will give her the confidence in her own ability. She will learn that reaching goals produces benefits, and this will set her up for life.
As 2016 is now upon us, I would like to thank all of you for visiting my Blog over the last four months, and Following me in my quest to encourage all fathers to be more involved in their child’s upbringing.
Please spread the message that father’s are just as important as mother’s for their children, and if you can encourage other people to read and Follow my Blog, it will be really appreciated.
Happy New Year 🙂