A Father should be prepared to do anything to help his child out of an unexpected situation.

A father can be called upon to help his child out at any time of day or night. This happened unexpectedly to me once with my daughter, who was 10 years old at the time, when I had to play in a mother’s netball match. The plan had been that my wife was playing in the match with all the other children’s mothers. Unfortunately that morning, my wife was unexpectedly unable to play. My daughter was distraught, and was going to be the only girl whose parent was not going to be playing against her. I was due to go to work that day, but saw that she was so upset, I suggested that I would take a days holiday and play in her mother’s place. I had never seen a child so relieved on the one hand and yet overjoyed on the other.

I explained to my daughter that I didn’t even know the rules of netball, but if she could explain them to me in five minutes, then I would have a go. And I did! I made a complete fool out of myself, but my daughter was so proud, it was totally worth it. In fact it was really good fun and to see the joy on my daughter’s face, was simply magical.

During the match, I had to mark my daughter, and she of course, beat me most of the time, in fact all the time. But it was wonderful to experience and be part of such a special occasion. And of course, I was the first father to play in a mother’s netball match in the schools history. So my legacy was sealed! My daughter was not the only person who was proud that day, I was almost as proud as her. It was one of those really special childhood moments, when I knew that I had done something that my daughter would remember for the rest of her life.

She still reminds me today, of what it meant to her. So, as a father, whatever your child needs in an unexpected situation, be prepared to do the necessary. It will be remembered for many years to come and will strengthen still further the special bond between you.

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The Stress of a Divorce can make you become a very poor Father. But it doesn’t have to be like that………

It’s strange when we think of the options in our behaviour when we go through stressful situations, like a divorce. We can end up doing things that are plainly wrong and yet we cannot see it, because we are so engrossed in the situation. Nearly always the people who get really damaged, are the children.

Recently I learnt of a situation concerning a couple who were going through quite an acrimonious divorce. Who was at fault is irrelevant, what is important is the behaviour of the parents during the whole process of the divorce proceedings. In particular, the father, which is why I want to talk about it on this Blog.

The wife realised she was first and foremost the mother to her children, and subjugated her position and stance to not involve the children in the situation as much as possible. In other words, she did all she could to protect her children from the acrimony of the divorce proceedings. But the husband undermined this by committing the cardinal sin of using his children as pawns and trying to turn them against their mother. In the short term this succeeded, but in the long term this will cause irreparable damage to his integrity and relationship with his children. But he could not see this.

At every opportunity he ‘bad mouthed’ the mother to the children, and tried to undermine and break up the relationship between them. The mother on the other hand, always remained dignified and did not do the same. This was very selfless and perceptive of the mother, because at all times, she acted in the best interests of the children, even to the point of financial loss to herself. She realised that one day when the children were older and understood the situation fully, they would make up their own minds.

It is at that point in the future, the consequences of the father’s behaviour will really become apparent to the children and to himself. And this is the key message…..

The husband behaved as a very poor father indeed in this instance and showed his true character and colours to his children. Their mother will always be their mother and by trying to undermine her, he has damaged severely his own relationship with his children. Because he became so wrapped up in the divorce proceedings, he could not see that, and therefore he forgot his principal role. Namely to protect his children, as much as possible, from the inevitable emotional trauma that they were going through. He was still their father, and they were not just pawns in the proverbial ‘game of chess’……………………………………………

 

 

You can make Christmas even more magical for your child. A little ingenuity goes a long way, but beware very observant little eyes……

Christmas and New Year is the most magical time of year, and one for the whole family to really enjoy being together. For your children, having Daddy around helping Mummy prepare for Christmas and sharing in the excitement as it builds, will be very special. If you can, try to make sure you always spend Christmas and New Year with your children. You will see, that by always making an effort to be together at this time of year, when they are very young and as they grow older, they will want to continue to spend the Festive period with you. They will come to expect this, and it will always be like that, even when they have their own family unit. The tables might be turned though, and it will be them doing all the work.

Something you could do to make the magic of Father Christmas more realistic, is to dress up on Christmas morning, and very early, run across the lawn (or across a corridor if you live in an apartment) in your outfit. While you do that, your partner can call your child to the window or the door, so he can just manage to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas disappearing round the side of the building. While your child is still looking on in disbelief, you can quickly come inside, get rid of your outfit, join in and share in the amazement. Your child will be convinced he has seen Santa Claus.

Always keep in mind when you decide to do this that your Child is extremely observant. One year I forgot to put boots on, and wore a pair of my everyday shoes. When I got back inside the house all pleased with my little charade, my son asked very ‘matter of factly’ why Father Christmas was wearing my shoes. Fortunately he was still very young, only 2 years old, and I was able to explain it away by saying lots of people had shoes like mine. It wouldn’t have worked if he had been much older.

Have you ever wondered why your child behaves in a particular way? The answer is quite simple…………..

This is a perennial question that every parent asks himself from time to time. How many times have you heard yourself say, “why does he behave like that?”. The answer is of course not always simple and in many cases quite complex, however there is very often an underlying reason, which crops up time and time again.

Your child reflects you totally, particularly in the early years, when you and your partner are his principle sources of reference. Your child is what you make him. If he sees you behave in a specific circumstance, or react to a particular situation, he will interpret this as the appropriate way to respond. And if he sees you do this on multiple occasions, for him, this will become learned behaviour and the correct way to react because he has witnessed you do this.

So, this should make you doubly careful in what you do in front of your child. If you shout in an aggressive manner if something annoys you, he will do the same. If however you respond calmly and in a considered way, he will also do this.

You can stage your own experiment with your own child at home. Create a specific situation in view of your child, together with your partner, and then stage your reaction to it. Do this several times over a couple of days. Then do it again in front of your child and let him react to it before you say anything. You will be amazed by his reaction…………..

All of this to say, that your child will copy you completely, and you need to be his role model. Your child will reflect you and your partner’s behaviour. So you will end up answering your own rhetorical question about why your child behaves like that. Of course once he goes to school and starts mixing regularly with other children his points of reference will widen…………………but you and your partner still remain the key influencer in his life, as of course it should be.

 

Always make time to answer your child’s questions. This is one of the key foundations of your relationship through the years to come.

If your child asks a question, it is because he wants to know the answer. Of course depending on the age of your child, you respond appropriately, but never brush off their question as not being important. The fact that your child asks you a question, shows that he is curious. He has a desire to discover the world he is growing up in and has a need to interact with you and have you do it with him. The question is important to your child based upon his current points of reference, or he would not have asked it

He will value your undivided attention so much, which will become evident in later years, when you ask him a question, or need an answer. He will give it to you, because that has always been the way you have treated him. As his father, you lead by example.

It is at a very early age that you should set the ground rules for the quality of communication between you and your children. This will determine what happens throughout their whole childhood. If you get this right, at the start of their lives, it will reap immeasurable benefits for the quality of your relationship together in later years. This will be very evident during the teenage years, when the challenges are very different, and can sometimes seem insurmountable for both of you.

Think of the amount of times you have heard other fathers say to their child “ask me later”, or “go and ask your mother”. By doing this, you are sending a subliminal message to your child. ‘I do not have time for you right now’, or ‘I’m not interested in what you want to know’, or even ‘it doesn’t concern me’. Potentially this can be the start of the construction of subconscious barriers to communication with your child, which as he gets older will be very hard to overcome.

So, stop whatever you are doing, or at least as soon as it is safe to do so, and listen carefully to the question. Then answer it honestly. You both will reap the benefits of this approach right through to your child’s adulthood………………… and beyond!