The importance of Dads

I was interviewed by Prima Baby Magazine yesterday about how Dad’s can get more involved with their children as the dreaded Credit Crunch has put a strain on Dad’s working longer hours and not getting home in time to see their children.

My suggestion was to just grab a cup of coffee and relax and to think about how you could come home just 15 minutes earlier to play a bit of football in the garden now the weather has turned so lovely and mild, or read a story to your kids before bedtime, or help with their maths homework to give your kids that little extra support, or to just think creatively perhaps getting up half an hour earlier to have breakfast with them.

If spending time with your children is of  a high enough  priority for you you can of course find it, make it or ensure you ring fence it. You always have a choice.

It’s not about taking them to Disneyworld and spending vast amounts of money, – it’s about T – I – M – E  which is far more important in a child’s life and is actually how they spell LOVE!

This week I’m thinking about the really important role that Dads play in the lives of their children, as I’ve been working with Team Wise from Utility Warehouse on setting goals and gaining clarity in their work-life balance recently.

Fathers make the world of difference but often don’t feel confident, prepared or included in the adventure of parenting. Being a dad may well be unknown and unexplored territory for you – and because kids don’t come with a handbook , or a compass, sometimes Dads feel uncertain about how best to nurture, support and guide their kids.

Some of the dads I coach don’t want to repeat the way their father fathered them but you don’t have to drive forward looking in the rear mirror – you have lots of choices if you choose to do it differently from your Dad.

So why not grab that cup of coffee and take a few moments to ponder…….
• What was your childhood like?

• What were the positive things you learned?

• What were the negatives?

• How would you like your children to describe you to their children one day?

• What was your Dad like and what was your relationship like?

• How was your Dad’s relationship with your mum?

• What are the positive things you’d like to repeat?

• What are the things you’d like to change?

• What was your Dad’s relationship like with your family as a whole?

• What sort of role model was your Dad?

• What sort of role model do you want to be?

• How can you make some small changes that will make a big difference in your parenting?

• How can you build bridges not walls between your own father?

• How can you build bridges not walls with your own children?

• What was your Dad’s relationship like with his father?

• What does that teach you?

• How can you forgive, let go, or embrace the lessons you’ve learnt from your father?

 • How can you find the time to have more fun talking, listening or just chilling out with your kids?

 • What would that give you as a family?

 • What’s stopping you?

 • How can you get over, round or through that obstacle?

 •  How would you feel if you did?

 • What can you use to help you get out of the office earlier – remembering your daughter’s huge smile, your son’s giggle or a happy memory of you all together having fun?

 I’m reading a really wonderful book exploring what it means to be a great Dad called “Fathers To Be”  by Patrick M Houser and I have enjoyed looking at his video which aims to support men’s understanding of pregnancy, birth and early fathering from a Dad’s perspective. Fathers To Be video

 “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give”

 Winston Churchill