By Sophie Barcant, BA (Psyc), B.ED, Trainer, Facilitator, Parenting Coach/Consultant
Fathers are requested to do this, that, and the next thing. Their children need them to be and do a host of things to develop into responsible citizens. Their wives need them to do and be another host of things. But I wonder how much thought goes into considering what fathers need? Dads have needs, too!
We humans tend to be most loving and nurturing to others when our needs are met. We just cannot give what we don’t have. If our psycho-emotional tank is topped up, then we can give.
Great fathers are nurturing. They understand that to a child, love is spelt as TIME, and love is also full acceptance of the child no matter what they achieve. Fathers are most respected when they can communicate their expectations in a controlled, respectful, rational manner. A raging, angry disposition does not beget the respect of others, but rather, disdain.
So, what do dads need to love unconditionally and be willing to mindfully spend time with their children, to listen, guide and play with them?
All humans need approval and to feel important. Dads love to be seen as heroes. They too need to feel accepted and loved unconditionally. They need to feel forgiven when they fall short, just as children do.
They are wounded deep inside just as all humans are. It’s the human condition. When their own fathers were not there for them emotionally or physically, they became wounded. However, God heals and so does love.
So, if fathers are subconsciously following the models of their disconnected fathers, the family can be mindful of this and still accept, forgive, and trust that love and prayers will heal.
Many of us have fears of failure, rejection, and inadequacy. Dads have sensitive egos and their need to feel that they are good enough is of high importance. However, I believe most of humanity has been conditioned to not feel good enough.
The more we can make fathers feel adequate, the happier they can be, and the more they are emotionally able to nurture, love, and accept their families. In times of uncertainty such as these, they need reassurance and to be believed in more than ever.
Let’s keep our expectations realistic and bear in mind what fathers must do and be. Let us be mindful of their childhood wounds from which they act out. Let us not take dads for granted.
Maybe we can try to imagine what it feels like to be the provider or co-provider, protector, and guide of the family. It’s a great responsibility which can be scary at times.
Boys were told ‘big boys don’t cry’. Our dads are not so good at admitting this, far less knowing what they are feeling. We can help by understanding all of this and make them feel understood when they are displaying behaviours that are less than desirable.
I often state that misbehaviour speaks when children act out when they have inner fear or pain. We as adults, also lash out when we have inner fear, pain, and shame that we do not know how to process.
So instead of indulging Dad with an overabundance of cologne, shirts, alcohol, food, and gadgets on this Father’s Day, let’s celebrate him with gifts of affirmation, and recognise him for his achievements, talents, and strengths. Approval for his positive endeavours, whispers of affection and admiration, back and head rubs, massages, and space to take time for himself will give him a tremendous boost.
Men apparently like to withdraw in a sort of mental cave, to think and process their thoughts and emotions. Accepting this need of theirs, might empower them to better execute their responsibilities. Today is a day to celebrate him in a special way, although most agree that we ought to celebrate each other every day of the year.
And for the dads reading this, remember to humbly accept your limitations, and rely on the divine graces of our triune God, creator of all, provider of an abundance of wisdom, peace, and all good things, who can carry you to a whole new level of fathering.
God, our Heavenly Father can support you in ways unimaginable, especially if your own earthly fathers were absent, as was mine.
That psycho-emotional tank cannot be kept topped up just by others’ actions. We must work at finding and maintaining our own peace through a reliable source, a spiritual one, not relying on material things, indulgence or pleasure but on your guardian angels for help, and the Holy Spirit, who will guide us to spiritual growth, peace, happiness and provide the words to use when wise correction, counsel and teaching are necessary.
He is there for the asking and He does respond if you are ready to listen!
Follow Sophie’s parenting approaches drawn from Love and Logic and Positive Discipline on www.sophiesparentingsupport.com, FB and Instagram. For personal coaching, contact:firstname.lastname@example.org