Raising kids is an extremely difficult task. No parent in the world can claim to have perfected it. The same set of parents can have kids with extremely opposing characteristics. It is a concern that parents around the world share. How can they ensure that they are doing it right?
Is there a right way at all? A lot about raising kids depends on the nature of interaction that exists between the parents and the kids. And this interaction can vary wildly between a father and a kid and a mother and a kid.
What are the things that fathers should note while bringing up their kids?
- Do not be an overbearing father.
- Do not trivialize their problems.
- Ensure that the kids feel listened to.
- Do not protect them from tough life lessons.
- Do not be afraid to show your weaknesses.
- Divide responsibilities equally and impartially with their mother.
Here are the mistakes dads make when raising kids and the required rectifications
Stop worrying about showcasing your vulnerabilities
Humans are emotionally charged creatures. There is no escaping that fact. Fathers are too. Men often face insurmountable odds in their life. They can be in the form of professional difficulties, personal struggles, or both.
But our society has trained men to face these difficulties head-on, and not show the slightest signs of weakness or need for help. This very emotional barrier that men have created for themselves might sometimes seep into their relationship with their kids.
Let your guard down: Letting your kids know that the father too goes through difficulties in life is a very healthy thing to do, both for the kids and the fathers. Setting unreasonable standards of self-reliance can warp the understanding regarding the world in the kids’ psyche. Children may misconstrue it as a show of strength not to reveal their emotions.
This is especially true for boys. They may understand the lack of emotional vulnerability as equivalent to the strength of a man giving rise to yet another generation of men suffering in silence. It is imperative for fathers to let their kids in on their emotional troubles and let them understand that it is always alright to seek help and depend on people.
Being the lenient parent
Fathers always tend to be friendly parents. Mothers are usually the parent who takes care of the child’s academics, food habits, and behavioral developments. These are characteristics in a child that can only be developed very gradually. They are an extremely painstaking process and takes years to inculcate the right values in kids.
It often involves a fair share of grounding the kids, scolding them for inappropriate behaviors, and more. This creates a feeling of animosity in the kids for the parent involved that is the mother. The kids obviously fail to see the massive effort they take, and the long-term benefits they will accrue as a result of these ingrained values.
Fathers should join: The fathers on the other hand, often come across as the fun parent. He is the one who protects the kids from thrashing from the others. He is the one who takes the kids away for ice cream when there is steaming broccoli prepared for dinner.
But what the fathers fail to see here is that they are creating a very wrong impression in their kids not just with regards to their own behavior but also that of the mothers. It is important for the kids to realize that when it comes to matters of importance like the food they eat and words they use, both the parents are on the same foot. Giving a leeway is not an option, for either parent.
Being the no-nonsense parent
Fathers can sway towards either extreme. They could be a lenient, friendly one or the strict, no-nonsense one. Both of them carry their own disadvantages but being an unapproachable father can have real detrimental effects on both the parent-child relationship and the character development of the child. Mothers are often the more approachable parent in families.
They are often more empathetic, understanding, and sensitive. It is for this reason that children often confide their worst fears and secrets with their mothers. This may seem all too common but is not a practice that should be encouraged or followed.
Open up to your children: Fathers should be equally approachable. It is a wrong belief of a bygone era that fathers need to scare the living daylights out of their children. What this leads to are kids who do not develop a strong personal relationship with their fathers. Kids should feel at as much ease to open up to their fathers as they feel opening up to their mothers.
Fathers can do so by constantly engaging in dialogues with their kids and trying to understand their fears. Efforts should be made to get an idea of the trials and tribulations that they are going through and ensuring they know that you are present for them.
Pretending to know all the ways of the world.
Pretense is a pathetic human vice to have. Being a parent, you cannot do much worse than being pretentious to your kids. Kids look up to their parents. and as such, fathers have a responsibility of raising them in such a way that they grow into decent human beings.
Pretending to know all the answers is not the way to do that. But pretending to your kids is not the only mistake fathers can make. Knowing how to raise a kid is also very difficult and pretending to know how to do that just fine, is a major mistake as well.
Seek help, when required: There is no shame in admitting that you are a novice at raising a kid and that you need help. Every single father in this world has struggled at raising his kid at one point or another. There is no shame in seeking aid when you find yourself in a lurch.
It can be quite overwhelming, to be honest. Getting a nursery ready, taking care of the child’s health, their academic performance, their character building, all of it is too much for all mere mortals. Seek help from your peers who had kids. Or your parents and most importantly your partner. It never hurts.
Protecting them from the consequences of their actions.
The biggest fear of all parents is their kids getting into trouble. Parents would go to any extent to get their kids out of harm’s way. That is the most basic parental instinct in nature. Fathers go the extra mile to protect their kids and often end up doing more damage than good.
Kids need to understand that in the real world there are consequences to all actions. But parents need to understand this even more. They need to face up to the fact that they may not be able to protect their kids throughout their life.
Some lessons have to be learned the hard way: Fathers have to let their kids realize that all situations in life do not have an escape plan. They should not be complacent about the fact that their actions would not have far-reaching effects. The best way to make them realize this is by training them from childhood.
They have to be taught the right actions from the wrong ones, and also what are the repercussions of doing something wrong. More importantly, they need to be taught that outside of their homes, they would pay dearly for their mistakes. It is way easier making them better adults at home than letting the world make them one.
Asking them to be unreasonably strong.
The major mistake parents, and especially fathers make while raising their kids is asking them to be strong against all eventualities. Although it is important to be mentally strong against the various curve balls that life might throw at you, it is never healthy to ask them not to be expressive.
In our paternal society, the world looks down upon expressive men. Men are forbidden from crying. This in turn has led to a generation of men who forbid their boys from ever showing the slightest signs of weakness.
Boys can cry: It is the responsibility of fathers to talk to their boys and let them know that there is no bravado in not crying. That helps far more to show your emotions than sit upon them.
These are valuable lessons that can change the way in which your boys will deal with society, other people, and most importantly themselves. Pretending to be unreasonably strong is not a virtue and it is time that we stopped extolling it as one.
Comparing the kids.
The most common and infuriating mistake the father around the world do is to compare their kids with other kids. This is plagued with problems and it is difficult to even decide where to start with. It hampers the self-confidence of your kids, strains your relationship with the kids, affects their personality growing up and worst of all, you yourself end up being a sorry unsatisfied parent.
Parents around the world are more concerned with how their kids perform in comparison with other kids. The individual aptitude and skills of kids are given the scantest respect or regard.
Appreciate your kid’s individuality: No comparisons can ever lead to ultimate happiness. Every single time, your kid will definitely come up short in some respect with some kid. And if you are the type of father who seeks only a competitive advantage for your kid, you would never be a happy father. Recognizing and encouraging your kid’s individual talent is extremely vital.
By making sure that he can become the best version of himself you are no just making him a better person, but you are also raising a mature adult with specific qualities. You should want your kids to stand out in a crowd, not come ahead in a crowd.
Unable to maintain a work-life balance.
It is true that fathers have a lot of pressure to provide for their families. They have worked extremely hard to ensure that the present and future of their kids are secured. Especially in today’s competitive world, professional lives are increasingly merging with personal ones and excellence in all the facets of life is progressively difficult to achieve.
Most fathers have to work long hours and lose out on spending quality time with their kids. In the quest for a better standard of living, these may appear small bargains to make, but in the long run of life, this may lead to an estranged relationship with kids.
Father figure is vital: In most societies around the world, it is considered the job of the mothers to bring up the kids. Nothing could be farther from the truth. Fathers are as much responsible for raising their kids as mothers. Even for the kids, it is as vital to have a fatherly figure at home as a motherly one.
Fathers who remain absent for long periods of time, lose out on extremely precious and unreversible time they could have spent with their kids. Kids grow up swiftly and fathers have a very small window of opportunity to connect with them and teach them important life lessons. It is always better to connect with them early than to repent on it later.
Fathers are responsible for showing the rights from the wrongs for their kids. They have to stand by their spouses to raise responsible adults.
These are some of the common missteps that fathers commit while raising their kids. It is important to understand that fathers commit mistakes as easily as anyone else. They are expected to be the perfect examples for their kids, in a world where nobody is perfect. They will commit mistakes, but the more important thing is to learn from them and put their best foot forward the next time.
And for the fathers, spending time with their kids can never be substituted with any other act. The physical presence matters a lot for the kids. Every wrong precedent that you set for the kids, impacts them in profound ways. It is your duty to ensure that your kids learn the right lessons from you.
Frequently Asked Questions:
It is always a problem if fathers are too protective. It is important for the personal growth and maturity of the kids that they learn the hard lessons of life themselves.
Cushioning them from the hardships of life will only create soft men and women who would be found totally inept at handling the trials of life.
Most definitely yes. Fathers and mothers can impart very different but complementary lessons to the kids. It is only by listening to both the parents and applying those lessons in their lives that kids can grow into successful adults.
It is alright to share your insecurities with your kids. The kids need to learn that it is only human to have doubts in life. Share your concerns and teach them how to overcome those rather than putting on a stoic front.
It is. Being uptight and unapproachable does not help develop the father kid relation. It is advised to be friendly with your kids and make them feel comfortable approaching you with problems of any kind.