As a Father and Child Wellbeing Worker, we support many families across our city. This is pure symbiosis, I give them some support, I can learn about their life, see their perspective and learn about them – this makes me think and reflect about my own life, my own choices, parenting skills. Truly inspiring.
When I am starting my work with family, we spend the first few weeks on building a relationship. We are getting to know each other and trust each other. This is very important. At the same time. I try to talk to other professionals involved to better understand the situation, their story, strengths and difficulties. We do talk a lot.
Supporting fathers in practice.
In my role I always need to be curious, ask questions, start difficult conversations and be honest, even if sometimes this means hearing something which they might not like or vice versa. I got the privilege to step into their world, their everyday lives, see them happy, sad, tired, uncut and raw. Real-life stories, with no excuses. See families strengths and challenges. They also see that in me. Why? Because we are equal, we are just human beings.
We talk, laugh and do important work. Slowly getting to the most important question: I ask them what they would like to achieve and later I’m trying to give our families tools to develop what needs to be done. I support them in their journey, offer them helping hand to overcome whatever they decided to change. They know their life, struggles and they know best, what would help them to be better dads, which will benefit their children. I can’t make these decisions, plan what to change as I’m not there to tell them what to do – but I can tell them how to do it when asked for support. We do things with the family, not for the family.
I can also ask you here, it’s not rocket science but you might find it helpful.
- Tell me, what kind of father do you want to be?
This is a simple question, but if we will dig deeper we can really get some real meaningful answers. Powerful tool. We go through conversations about their own upbringing, experiences with their own family members. Quite often we are able to open some doors and understand why some fathers facing their own challenges due to trauma or neglect.
- How would your child describe you today as a father?
We usually start from simple answers like . – fun, hardworking, being around or so. As deeper, we go we exploring what does it mean for them to be a dad and how they see themselves in the eyes of their own children. I ask to look on themselves from wee one perspective – this is a big eye-opener. Soon after I throw another meaningful question
- What do you think your child/children will say about you in 5 and in 10 years? What would you like them to say?
And this when it hits us both. It helps me to stay focus as a dad, I have this question ringing in my ears every day. I ask those questions and I do try to live by them too. We all have sometimes bad days, we do sometimes lose our shit and we have enough.
That’s ok. As long we are aware of it and we do things to get calm again. We, as parents, have to learn to apologise our children. Having a bad day doesn’t mean we are bad parents. Period.
Read more here
Fathers learn to regulate their emotions and apologise themselves, we don’t own our children, we are not above anything. We are equal. I really don’t like when parents see their children as their property who needs to listen to what they say. Children learn from us, they are watching us, they copy us. We shape them through our own actions. Don’t be a dick.
Do you know what hurts me the most, when parents in their anger say sad things to their children like – You always have to do this to me, I have to always repeat myself. Why can you be like… so and so. You’ll never learn. How many times I have to shout at you… this is breaking my heart.
I always try to explain to parents disastrous effect of that kind of talk. This will come back and bite us all so please – when you are feeling that you are losing it. Step back, don’t shout, don’t blame – breathe. Leave it, move on and calmly talk to your child from their own level. Even when they try to push your buttons. Kneal down and smile, say – I know that you struggling with things (emotions, routine, following instructions) I know you try your best. Can I help you to feel better, to cope better?
I’m also inventing you to check DadBlog.UK – great fatherhood blog.
Better bite your lips than destroy your child confidence, trust in you, hurt them verbally or put them down. These scars are not healing so easy. Children love us unconditionally. This is huge pressure, can you see it?
Can you do that for me?