I write about a lot of topics on this blog but the most important and special one is fatherhood.
At a very young age I knew that I wanted to be a dad. I was always the guy people turned to for advice. I had a natural instinct to stand up for and defend my friends and my mother recalls a time when I sat on the curb for hours with my best friend Stephanie and she cried to me about her parents divorce.
Being a dad was in the cards for me.
I have always second guessed my ability as a dad. As much as my love for my children is with question, the way you raise your kids is always a concern. Am I going to say one thing and destroy my child's self esteem? Am I being to strict? Too leanient? Am I a being their friend or father?
It's a daily thing it seems.
But then when I see Gillian asking her brother for help with homework and him helping without any complaint. Or when George congratulated Gillian on her A+ spelling test she brought home the other day. Or when Gillian knew that George had a bunch of homework and took out the trash for him (his job, yay fatherhood) without asking. When I see this stuff, I know my wife and I are doing something right.
I'll never forget the moment I saw my son. I instantly fell in love with him and with being a dad and with my wife all over again in that moment. And it has never changed. Sure he has upset me but nothing he can do can stop me from loving him. The exact same feelings came over me when my daughter was born.
I tell my kids that my duty as a parent is to raise them up to be good people that help make the world better by just being good people! To raise functional members of society that love their neighbors as well as themselves. This is my goal.
Once when George was testing out his limits I told him, "I would rather you hate me and not be an awful person, then you think I am 'awesome' and you turn out to be a jerk." If it takes my kids hating me right now for the rules I lay down than so be it. I am older and I know more then they do. I am both strict and open to letting them stumble and make some mistakes in life. They will never learn to watch for bumps in the road if they don't trip over one now and then right?
I still have a ways to go with raising these children but the challenges ahead are met together. All four of us, my wife and kids, we talk about all of our struggles together, about our choices, about mistakes and punishments. I always ALWAYS explain why they are punished and how they can avoid punishment in the future.
They get it.
As with all parenting styles, not one is right for everyone.
My advice? Know your kids. Love them. Let them know you. Explain your actions. Ask them how they would handle the situation if the roles were reversed AND CONSIDER THEIR IDEAS on it. They may surprise you! You may surprise them!
Heck, you may surprise yourself. A lot can be learned from each other.
My last and most important thing I can say as advice from one parent to another is remember what it was like when you were a kid. Is what you are saying anything that would have made and impact on you?
If not, dump it and find a new route. You would be surprised how well this works.