Sunday, 6 September 2015

Failure IS an option because your little one loves you

There have been occasions where I have written about the ever-changing world we live in, a world where single-parent homes are fast becoming the norm. These homes are more often than not headed by the mother.  One might therefore assume that there has  been a recent decline in the importance of men and their role as a father. Some of my readers have expressed concern over the the fact that they have little influence or impact on the lives of their children when their marriage has broken down. This type of concerned father is very different to the man who wilfully opts out of being there for his child, leaving the child and his/her mother high and dry.  Men like this choose minimal input because they see the responsibilities that come with fatherhood and would prefer not to be inconvenienced; despite the fact that they were quite willing to sleep with the child's mother.  You will notice that I do not call these men fathers, rather they are men with no sense of responsibility who think they are man enough to sleep around yet they lack the sense of maturity required to take responsibility for their own actions. But what of those fathers who are very much present? If you as a father are ever in doubt about the importance of your presence and the impact that you have on your little one, doubt no further, because you are a massive influence in your child's life; they need and want you just as much as they need and want their mother.

One key thing to being present is not just merely “being”.  Your child needs you to be actively present and proactive when it comes to sharing the responsibility.  Whether or not you live with your little one, it is vital to play an active, meaningful role. Engage with your child through active play, stretching their imagination through reading, playing games, building forts, sitting quietly on the mat because your “teacher” is taking the registration; even though the person to your right is a stuffed teddy or dinosaur.  

One very important thing to remember is that your little person loves you - by being actively present, your little one will grow closer to you as a father, forming a stronger, lasting bond. You will always be their father, and on that basis alone, there is, and will be, an attachment formed. By its very nature, having a biological connection to your child will create a bond between the two of you.  It is up to you to establish a strong connection and create a secure attachment.  Children naturally attach to their mothers, often through classical conditioning given that this is where they will initially gain access to food, but bear in mind that infants need both food and security. As the father you can provide security, not only for your child, but for the mother of your child too. Security and protection from harm, in the long run, is ultimately as important as the food initially given by the mother.  One real factor to bear in mind is that it is ok to fail; failure is an option - this is a very important aspect of being a good father.  One needs to know that it is ok to fail. Whether you have one, four or more children, it is always worth bearing in mind, that as a father (or a mother), it is ok to fail at times.  You won’t get everything right all of the time, and that is ok. Making mistakes makes us better parents when it comes to our children, provided we learn from those mistakes and use the experience to enhance our roles as parents. We live in an unrealistic world where failure is often said to be “not an option”. This idea that we must succeed at everything we try our hand at or we ought  to reach perfection every second of every day is both ludicrous and damaging. Failure to achieve from time to time is natural.  The notion that we cannot fail is often the root of depression and anxiety, crippling us when it comes to being the best parent we can be.

As a father, you have the power to set the tone; after all, your son is highly likely to base his behaviour on yours, and your daughter may well look for a man who holds the same values and characteristics as her father.

1 comment

  1. Spot on. We definitely should not be afraid of failure, especially if we want to encourage our children to explore and learn through thoughtful risk-taking as well. Treat every experience, no matter how seemingly small, as a valuable learning/bonding opportunity.


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