On fatherhood

A couple of years ago one of my daughters started seeing her first boyfriend. I was happy for her because she was happy about it. She liked him a lot and he reminded her of me. At that point the alarm bells started ringing. Knowing me as I know me I had to ask my self the question – Do I really want her to be with someone like me?  In short the answer was no. My past dictated that I hadn’t been such a nice person (my words and other people’s,) I saw the future of that relationship and realised that at some point she was going to get hurt and when she did, what was I going to do about it?

Dads can multitask!

Dads can multitask!

I made a decision to only do whatever I was asked to do. To only advise if my advice was asked for. I had to believe that my

Dads like to be spoilt!

Dads like to be spoilt!

daughter was old enough and intelligent enough to make the right choices and I had to respect her enough to understand and accept them. I managed, mostly, to do all of those things but I was left with that burning sensation to go and see her now ex-boyfriend and to quote Bill Cosby, ‘clean his clock!’ I resisted and she got over it.

As a father I want to be there for my children and protect them from all those evils out in the world. But the reality is that it is not always the way to go. When I think back to what I was like the words out of control and lacks common sense spring to mind. It’s easy to think that our children are not as smart as we were or are now. However, they don’t need to be as smart as we are, what they need is the chance to find things out for themselves because it’s only when we experience something that we can learn from it. It is important to get the balance right. From my children I want respect but to get this I must respect them. I want love, but I must love them. I want them to be open with me and to get that I must be open with them.

Dads come in all ages.

Dads come in all ages.

My friends now are mostly parents and when I hear how they’re raising their children and the restrictions they impose, I wonder if the children understand why. More often than not they don’t because there is something missing in these parental demands. We forget to share our own experiences and our own beliefs, not from a state of making a point or stating the law, but from a position of just sharing.

There was a time when my daughter and I were going through a hard time. We were not speaking and it was a horrible time for me. I didn’t know how to get through to her. I didn’t know how to speak to her. In the end I stopped trying to put my point across and instead told her a story about something that happened to me when I found out I was going to be a father for the very first time. It had nothing to do with why we were arguing; it was just something she didn’t know about me. The story told her more about me than I had ever told her before. It showed her how I thought and explained why I did things the way I did and why I came to the conclusions I came to. In a back door kind of way it also helped resolve the disagreement we were having.

black dadaSo I guess my request to dads out there, on this Father’s Day – which at last is becoming as important as Mother’s Day – is to openwhite dad up, be yourself and share with your kids. Tell them about you. Tell them what you want in life and what your hopes and dreams were when you were their age. We cannot expect anyone to do our PR for us, we have to do it ourselves. It’s cool for our children to love us because we are their parents and they should but how about the love being based on them knowing the true you, and liking you for the person you are.

A friend of mine asked me to consider a few questions when writing this week’s post, I’ve also answered them below:-

1. Are you the kind of man you’d be happy for your own daughters to date?

Yes because I’m a work in progress. It’s possible for my daughters to end up with someone like me, so I owe it to them and myself to be as great a person as I can be. Any issues I have I must resolve. If they only see a good me they will end up with a good version of me.

2. When you’re an absentee dad, do you love the kid(s) as much as you do/would a child in the same home?

Yes and maybe more. As an absentee dad it’s sometimes easier to mask the hurt you feel because you miss your kids and act like you don’t love them as much. It’s not easy not being there when your children wake up at night. All I can do is make the most of the times that I am with them.

3. What is the one thing women could do better when co-parenting with an ex?

Talk to your ex. Keep the lines of communication open. Where kids are involved it’s never about the parents. Bad communication is replicated by the same kids you both claim to love. I believe if you love your kids you will do anything for them so would it be so bad to get on with your ex? Understand where he is coming from on issues that you disagree about. Find a compromise and above all get rid of all the negative energy around you both by taking the time to find out what’s causing it.

4. What is the one thing men could do better when co-parenting with an ex?

See above. Also understand what your ex is going through and be there to help and support. Parenting is a joint effort so if one of you is having a hard time then your child is probably having a hard time too. These days a child with two active parents is becoming a rare thing. Guys get rid of your egos and whatever hurt you carry and do what you know you should do. Be open to criticism as you would be open to praise. Realise that you and your ex both need to be on point.

5. As a dad, what is the one thing you would tell your children about life and/or people?

That life is predictable in its unpredictability and people will either love you or hate you. You cannot control the elements or people around you. You cannot stop life from beating you down or people from beating you up! The only thing you can do is look at yourself and choose how you want to be. I want my children to experience things for themselves, be strong and never give up.

Happy Father’s Day

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2 Responses to “On fatherhood”

  1. Lauren, Manchester UK Says:

    Hey Dad… I actually read this one.. most probably because i think its about me haha.. It was really good to read & I enjoyed finding out just how you felt about the ‘ex’ haha. Have to hand it to ya daddy.. you’re a writer! 🙂 Love you and Loved reading this… Miss you xxx Loz

  2. I like it. Down to Earth and funny too!

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