Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Importance of an Encouraging Father

A guest post from Joseph Kelly..

It's no secret that we live in a culture where fatherhood has become downplayed, laughed
at, and even looked down upon. TV is filled with definitive examples of "dead-beat" or "bone
headed" fathers who really aren't leading their family anywhere. But truthfully, a father's
role must go beyond these exceedingly low standards if they're going to raise children who
emotionally and mentally strong and healthy.

Now, up front, none of this is to undermine the involvement of a mother. But for this brief
thought, we're going to focus on the father.

There's an amazing sweetness that rests on a child who is secure in their father. You've most
likely seen it. It's that happy child who can be corrected, encouraged and redirected with little to
no resistance. This can be created by a solid and consistent father who sets clear boundaries for
his little ones.

A father's heart can be like a giant playground for these little ones to run around in. They know
their borders and limitations; the places they're not supposed to go and the lines that they should
not cross. But within those borders, these kids can run free and grow, learn, mess up and get
back up to try again. This stability is crucial for the personal growth of a child.

How many times have you talked through a struggle that a friend was having and it occurred
to you that they may have "daddy issues?" We laugh about it, but we also know that it's a real
thing. There's a deep security that can be imparted by a father who truly believes in his children.

Go to a playground and watch the kids run around. Look for fathers sitting on the outside being
attentive. Eventually, one of the wee ones is going to take a spill. The vast majority of the time
their first response will be to look into daddy's eyes.

They're asking him a question with that tear-filled glance. "Am I okay?"

Answering this question is the number one role of a father in a child's personal development.
A dad makes and breaks his little ones with the way he responds. They're reading his eyes, his
face. The dad who says, "It's alright, get back up. Try again," sends his child on a path toward
confidence and innovation. But the child who fears spilling a drink and saving face will lead a life
of survival and trying to get by, saving face.

Every dad can probably see a bit of both in themselves. There's no need to panic. We all head in
both directions here and there. The important thing is to look at each interaction with your little
ones anew. Look for chances to strengthen them, encourage, and build them up.

Don't waste time kicking yourself, or teaching them to kick themselves for things that they
didn't know how to do in the first place. A father can instill in a little one the reality that "life is
learning" and send them on a path to greatness.

About the Author: Joseph Kelly has over 7 years experience writing and publishing articles about
childcare education and parenting. He has 2 children aged 5 and 7. He writes on a regular basis for a Dublin based childcare provider.