I'm trying to learn how to dad. help? - Mothering Forums

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Old 09-12-2009, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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DS is 19 months old. DD will be here in October. DW and I were not on great terms the year or so of DS's life. We are on much better terms now, but I have to work a lot so I'm not really home a lot. I had a few weeks off in August during which I really got to know DS. It was great. Unfortunately, this time also showed me a great many failings on my part. I get frustrated very easily with him. I don't also fore myself to do things that are good for him (i.e. i let him watch a lot of tv.) Etc, etc. I really want to be a good father, but am finding it very difficult, which is sometimes exasperated by DW's crunchiness. I do not really get a say in any of the crunchy stuff she does - its not that I really mind much of it, but it is very out of my realm of experience and I am forced to do i.

Any advice?
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Old 09-14-2009, 04:38 PM
 
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Beautiful posting, thank you. Beautiful in that you clearly love your child and want to be a good father. Best advice I can think of is to start from that place of good intention and good heart. Rather than focus on the difficulties and shortcomings that we all face, start with the confidence of knowing that you deeply want to be this good man and good father, then let it flow naturally from there. The natural flow being a deep awareness of your child's needs and what is good for him, then a deep commitment to make that the highest priority. If you feel inside you that TV time needs to be decreased, then go back to that awareness and commitment to find the strength to make it happen. You so clearly have it in you, it's just a matter of trusting it.

As for the crunchy wife, I'm a crunchy dad myself so not the best person to empathize with you. But I suppose both you and your wife are asking the same important question - what is healthiest for our child - and hopefully can find some common ground in the answers you find.
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Old 09-14-2009, 05:20 PM
 
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I would not be happy being forced to go along with crunchiness that made me uncomfortable. DW is definitely more crunchy than I am, but we talk about stuff and make decisions together that are sometimes compromises.

Dad to DD 9/2008
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Old 09-15-2009, 03:33 PM
 
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Hi DiT! You’re obviously on the right track. The fact that you are interested speaks volumes as to your character. Good for you. Just know this from the onset; you are going to screw up. A lot. And you know what, more wisdom is gained from failing than from succeeding.

First off, read everything you can and discard all the advise that does not make sense to you. Second, pick one thing to focus on, change it, move to a second thing. Change takes time but you can do it.

I look at fathering in the following way. It works for me but YMMV.

My responsibility as a father (I call it my job but some people say that has a negative connotation. I disagree. It’s a great job.) is to have a big picture outlook. So, what is the big picture? This is how I see it; I am attempting to fill my child's tool box, the tool box they are going to go through life with, with all of the tools necessary for them to be happy, compassionate, caring, emotionally stable, social, productive members of the community.

So, first you have to decide what YOU value. After you decide what you value, live your life in accordance to those values. Always. Especially when it's the hard thing to do. Do you want your children to be patient? You must then be patient. Do you want your children to respect you? Then you must display respect to them and to others. Do you want them to be compassionate? You must display compassion. Do you want them to strive for honesty? Then you must be honest. Do you want them to have a work ethic? Then you must have a work ethic. All the time. Not when it's easy, all the time. Children learn more from watching and imitating parents than anyone else. Be the role model at all times.

Being a father has forced me to really reflect on how I live and what is important. I suggest you read up on attachment parenting, positive discipline and start to cultivate mindfulness in thought and action. You may agree with some of it, all of it or none of it but it will get you thinking. Everything that you do matters. Also listen to your own common sense.

As far as the frustration thing goes, that will take you understanding your child and yourself better. These little monkeys are just trying to figure out how it all works. You are the guide but they don’t speak the language all that well. So, you communicate by your actions and responses. Measure your actions and responses so that they are appropriate to the situation. I know for me that I become the most impatient and frustrated when I am trying to accomplish other things while watching my daughter. I just finished up a house remodel and have spent the last two weeks wanting to finish up little details here and there and got frustrated when I had to watch DD because I wanted to finish this up. I had to just let go of the idea that I was going to be productive on the detail work and focus on just being dad. Playing, eating, bath time, walks, reading books, new words, new signs, pulling grapes out of my shoes and the likes. I guess what I’m saying is that the lack of patience is a result of you grasping on to the idea that you want to be doing something else, not being present and just doing your job; being dad.

Yeah, I got the remodel done as well. I just had to sacrifice doing fun things that I wanted to do with my time in order to finish it up. No big deal. Parents sacrifice. It’s part of the job.

I liked the following article as well.
http://artofmanliness.com/2008/08/03...g-a-great-dad/

Tale care and peace,
Monkeydaddy
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Old 09-15-2009, 04:14 PM
 
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I liked that article, Monkeydaddy. I sometimes wonder if DW and I will not agree on the need for a "firm no", however.

Dad to DD 9/2008
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Old 09-16-2009, 04:26 PM
 
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Hi Plunky. I'm glad you liked it.

We've not worked out the "firm no" details either. I would be interested in hearing what you two decide on and why.

By the way, Happy Birthday (belated or soon to be) to Mara! Our DD, Lily, was a September baby as well. She just turned one on the 11th.

Peace,
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Old 10-04-2009, 08:06 PM
 
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I think it is a constant learning process. I'm also trying to work on being a better dad.

The hardest thing for me has been to really listen to what my kids are saying and not get impatient and assume I know where they're headed in a conversation.

I get really impatient with my older son sometimes because he's hitting puberty and is really mature and level-headed one day and a crying mess the next. I never know what I'm going to get at our visits and I'm trying to just learn patience, to relax, to be better at those things than my own dad was.

Good luck. It's a great journey. Try not to get too impatient with yourself. That you want to make a change says a lot about you. It's good that you've realized it early on in your child's life. I feel like I screwed up a lot with my kids and didn't make enough changes early enough.
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Old 10-05-2009, 02:10 AM
 
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I would also say not to beat yourself up on the time you're spending away if it's out of economic necessity. My own dad was in the navy when I was about 19 months and I'd like to think I turned out okay.

I am concerned about your twice-use of the word "force." She's not really forcing you to do anything. You're choosing to comply with her wishes in order to avoid whatever adverse consequences you perceive in not complying.

What consequences would those be? How bad would be they be if they actually happened?

lolar2DH: DH to lolar2; Dad to Sam, born March, 2007.
Please don't hold anything I say against lolar2!
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