Want to be a more involved father?
It often starts with a conversation.
We know that men want to be good fathers but there are moments when our children behave in ways that challenge our understanding and therefore our ability to make the right choices in responding to them.
Hereâ€™s an example:
A father presented a problem with his 9 year old son to me. He described his son as very energetic, cheerful, social and eager to be involved in activities at school and with friends. Recently, his son had been getting in trouble by bullying other boys. The father had gotten angry at his son and punished him by keeping him away from friends on the weekends. But the bullying continued, leading to more cycles of punishment. The father cared deeply about his son but was feeling ineffective and more and more resentful.
This dilemma presents questions about the best way for this father to respond to his son. You will notice that the father did not have an understanding of what was going on with his son emotionally. But it isnâ€™t possible to respond correctly to his son without a broader understanding, often gained through talking. When the father stopped to think about his son, he realized that his son had a learning disability that made it difficult for him to learn to read. Having the disability put him at a disadvantage in school and was potentially the basis of ridicule by his peers. I recommended that the father talk to his son.
The father learned, through his sonâ€™s tears, that his son felt inadequate in school, rejected and ridiculed by several boys who he wanted to include him socially and generally frustrated that he never felt strong and effective. The father told his son that he understood how he felt but that bullying was not a positive way to handle his feelings of frustration. He told his son that people had different strengths and weaknesses and although he struggled with reading, he was a good athlete and an energetic and friendly boy who enjoyed people. After talking together, they planned to have the boy become increasingly involved in the sport of his choice.
When we talked again, it was clear that this father felt good about the conversation with his son. He realized that his son needed to be involved in an activity in which he could feel effective and successful. The son felt understood and stopped his bullying. The father found a personal and intimate solution to what the sonâ€™s underlying problem was and the son responded by feeling valued and understood. The father told his son he wished he had talked with him sooner.
Fatherâ€™s talking with his son lead to deeper understanding of his sonâ€™s feelings, which enabled them to arrive at a successful solution to the presenting problem. If you would like to discuss an issue with your son or daughter or your fathering in general, contact us.