How to stop reacting negatively – decide to respond

How to stop reacting negatively – decide to respond

 

Fathers are not perfect

 
perfect
 
Feeling of inadequacy, fear of losing your job, fear of not providing for family, feeling you know nothing about fixing a car, let alone changing the oil. You may feel like you know nothing about maintaining your home, a garden, how to teach your child to shoot a three pointer efficiently or teach how to dance to their favorite song. Maybe you struggle with having a short-temper sometimes with your kids and or other people Maybe you have very little patience with your kids from them learning a new skill which you have already repeatedly shown them or after asking them to clean up their room. You may feel like you do not play with your child enough or that you should have gone to their soccer game vs working on that big project for a possible promotion. Also, you may be depressed because of being unemployed despite making every effort to find a new job. Failure as a husband and the role you are setting for your children can also make you feel horrible about yourself. No father is perfect and will certainly experience feelings of being a failure for their children often as they grow up.
 

Change your mindset of Superman dad ideal

 
superman dad
You may believe society expects you to be a Superman dad, do it all, be it all dad for your kids. You may get this idea from experiences in your life, news on media outlets or personal examples by fathers in your community. You may have a belief installed in you from a young age that fathers need to be able to do it all, all the time which honestly is a nice fantasy to have. Just as little boys dream of scoring the winning goal in the championship game to win the title, being the next astronaut to touchdown on a new planet or discovering the next big cure for a horrible disease such as cancer. Let go of this belief by learning to not react to the situation in front of you.
 

Do not react

 
calm
 
The problem with having the superman mindset is that nobody is perfect, nobody can do it all, nobody can know it all and when you have this belief system you can end up beating yourself up emotionally. You know that a once in a lifetime opportunity just passed you by which each occasion should be thought of in this way. The pain of this is one if not the greatest feelings of pain a father will experience in his life.
 
The realization that you as your child’s father caused the mistake in the missed occasion is felt deeply inside. It can become a poison to you and your child if you let it. It is easy to react to negatively by allowing your feelings dictate how you respond. Choose instead to consciously respond to the situation in a calm manner and make the right choice to demonstrate to your child how to deal with adversity whether externally created or internally.
 

Choose to respond

 
speak
 
The better option is to know and freely admit you are not perfect every day but especially when these occasions arise. You can then focus on minimizing and reducing the effects of your shortcomings to help protect your children. When an occasion passes where you have made a huge mistake with your child choose to respond to it by actively deciding on the best course of action of healing. If an apology is required, provide it with and own it so both your child and yourself can move on from the pain. Done correctly you will experience personal growth as a father, person and your child will learn how to own up to mistakes they make during their life with others by your demonstration.
 
You have great power to influence the reaction of your child to the situation. An analogy is how a key inserted and turned in the ignition of a car starts the engine. The opposite is true, if the engine is running and the key removed the engine follows suit. By choosing to respond to the situation you created you can create a new situation where your child hurt has been acknowledged, asking for forgiveness has occurred and been granted. After this you both have the opportunity to grow closer together as parent and child as a result.
 

Careful of distractions

 
no distractions
 
Are promotions at work, hobbies, concerts, other personal interest and goals pulling your attention away from your children? If so this is dangerous for your relationship with your children. You will be losing time and rare opportunities to be with your children which will never coming again. Do not allow yourself to continue these moments to slip past you. Ask yourself what good will achieving your goals of achieving a dream position mean if you miss out on your child’s small milestones. When they are grown up you won’t be able to go back and be there for their major milestones. You will not be able go back and read them books. Missed will be the chance to teach them to ride a bike, or push them on the swing set. Keep aware of distractions.
 

Support group

 
support group

Just like anything in life, having a person or a group of people supporting you, sharing the weight of life events and situations with you can help keep you on course. Find someone, another more experienced father willing to share their experiences and advice with you. A person or a group you can run ideas by, get advice from, someone that is there to share in your achievements and someone you can turn to when you do fail by letting your child down.
 
In a way it’s like having a coach or group of coaches there to support you, guide you, share in your triumphs and help you see where it went wrong when you fall down. Whomever it may it will make things a little easier knowing you have back up. Please consider if you do not already have one searching and creating a support group or finding an individual you can begin turning to for help. It’s never too late to change. Be certain it is someone or a group you can trust. Do not just got in 100% until you are certain.
 

Summary

 
It’s important when facing failure to approach it with the correct attitude and mindset. If your mindset is not enabling you to deal with a failure in a productive way change your approach from reacting to responding. Also, be aware that distractions do not get in your way of being with your children or later in life you will come to regret the missed opportunities to be with them when you had the chance. In order to keep on track you may find it beneficial to form your own support group or find an individual you can trust to run ideas off and get advice from.
 

 

 

 

 

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8 thoughts on “How to stop reacting negatively – decide to respond”

  • Great post for daddy’s and very relevant for this day and age when we are all so busy that we need to actually schedule time with our kids.

    Being a parent myself, I realize that it is so easy to miss out on special moments with your children that only come around once in a lifetime as we are so busy working.

    I love the advice that we don’t have to be perfect all the time in order to be great parents as everyone makes mistakes.

    I think women would also do well to take advice from this article.

    • Thanks for leaving a comment! I really do appreciate it.

      Today as you mentioned we as parents are so busy working to provide for the needs of our children. Not to mention the commute time to and from work. It is crazy to think as you said that we need to schedule time with our kids. Makes me wonder why this is and where we are headed as a whole society/world. 

      Nobody is perfect, if we were we would be God. Why add extra stress to parenthood as a parent? I like to believe everyone is doing the best they know how. I believe it is important sometimes to allow ourselves to stop and reflect on how things are going, things we believe we are doing well as a parent, things we could improve on as a parent. 

      Parents could also involve their children in learning how to be better parents by asking what things they want their parents to change. I do not believe you have to give away your authority to do so. For example maybe how you handle certain situations is bothering your child negatively emotionally. If your child was able to express this to you maybe we as parents could find a better way to handle the situation for our child’s benefit. You still need to handle the situation by teaching/correcting behaviour your child but in a manner that leaves a positive impact on them. Not sure if I am making any sense, please let me know what you understand from this in a comment.

      I believe also mothers could benefit from this post. I started this blog because I felt mothers have a wealth of resources/support groups etc to turn to but as fathers we tend to have less of this. I have had feedback from various people sharing how the information I have written about could apply to mothers also. So I may start writing for both instead of focusing exclusively on fathers.

      Thanks for your perspective.

  • I made many mistakes when my kids were younger because the pressures and stresses of life caused me to react instead of slowing down and counting to ten and then acting instead.

    I guess I always felt that I had to be right with everything and make the perfect choices. Even now as the kids are older I still feel the same way but I don’t automatically react to a stressful situation. I guess I did learn something and being a parent is the hardest job in the world.Over the years I did things with a more positive attitude which was good and I began to feel like a better father. Life’s not easy but you do learn as you go along.

    • Thanks Rob for your comment.

      We all make mistakes, part of what makes us human.

      Being a parent is the hardest job in the world as you say. I am inspired as a father to two young children that you learned from your past and are now have a positive attitude. Life beats us down and hearing stories such as yours is needed for young fathers to keep self-improving.

      Thank you for your example of perseverance!

  • Wow, this is a great blog!   My perspective is as a mother who had to raise two children by myself when they were little because their father was so hard on himself that he was scared to spend time with his sons.     

    Children do not expect perfection.   They do not expect their Dad to be superman.   My boys just wanted to know that their Dad loved them and enjoyed spending time with them. 

    Even though he didn’t spend much time with them when they were little, he made up for it, in their eyes, by spending lots of time with them on a regular basis in their high school years.   (This is not to say that kids  forget when we royally mess up.   Mine still remind me of the one time that I got stuck in a work meeting and forgot that it was my day to pick them up from school.)  

    • Hello Sondra,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Yes it’s important that fathers be there for our children. It bothers me when I can not see mine if I have to work late for example. 

      It is good their father was there for them later. Shows me it is never too late, even if it may not completely make up for past mistakes.

      Proud papa of two,

      Jody

  • I think what overwhelms most dads is the thought that they need to always be in their best behavior at all times, in all situations. But as you said, nobody is perfect and no dad certainly is. I grew up in a family situation where my mom was the breadwinner while my dad stayed at home to take of us and the household chores.

    But that did not in anyway made me and my siblings feel that our dad wasn’t a good dad. We loved and respected our dad just the same because he took on the responsibility of a mother, that is, to care for and nurture us. Instead of feeling bad or reacting negatively about our family situation, my dad chose to respond to our needs and allow my mom to do her thing.

    Thanks for a well written article. 

    • Hello Alice,  

      Your father sounds like a great father! It is not easy to go against “societal norms” in any area of life.

      Our attitudes are what make the difference. Not easy to do but important to remind ourselves when we do fall short to get back up. 

      Thanks for your comment,

      Proud papa of two,

      Jody

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