What type of parent do you want to be for your children?
I have just graduated from a 10-week parenting class about being a “Best Dad”.
Going into the class, I was not expecting to learn much more than what I already knew. I spent four years educating myself in psychology to get my degree. A large portion of this education involved developmental psychology. What would a 10-week class teach me that I don’t already know?
To answer that question, it taught me a lot.
Sure, I knew all of the psychological concepts such as the different styles of parenting and Eric Erikson’s psychosocial stages, but it opened my eyes to other important things when raising children.
It taught me the importance on looking back and taking the great things that my parents did for me and implementing those same things as a parent myself. It also touched on what my parents did not do and how to give my son the things that they did not give me.
This was the first step in deciding what kind of a parent I wanted to become. It made me take a hard look at what I valued as a child.
Soon after this first lesson, we wrote down the kind of father that we wanted to become. During the last day of class, we were asked to look back at what we wrote on day one and answer the question again now that we have completed the class. We were asked, what kind of father do we choose to be?
I want to stop for a moment and replace father with the word parent. I believe that the gender differences are a wall that typically has no place in parenting. The gender differences are minute. A father is just as likely to be an amazing parent as a mother and vice versa. We each have the opportunity to become great, and we are both just as important to our children.
This is the parent I choose to be.
As a parent, I choose to love my son unconditionally. To show that no matter what, I will be by his side forever and always. I believe that this unconditional love is the backbone of any parental relationship. As a parent, this is our most valuable tool. Through unconditional love, everything else will fall into place.
As a parent, I choose to take playtime seriously. I will rid myself of the worries of the world and become a kid again. By doing this, I will make more powerful connections with my son. We will be able to relate to one another on a deeper level. Thankfully, I never really grew up anyway. Even as an adult, I am still a massive child. Now it just becomes more socially acceptable to be one.
As a parent, I choose to be available. I want to show my son that he is my number one priority. I won’t be able to do this if I am constantly on my phone, the computer, or working. I choose to put my son at the forefront of my life. He is my priority and I choose to treat him as such. If I am working on something, I choose to put it down and focus on my son. That task will always be there for me to work on. Time with my son is limited and much more valuable.
As a parent, I choose to lead by example. If you read my post on observational learning, then you have an idea as to how important it is to show children the right behaviors. When I say show, I mean physically show them the correct behaviors. Children pick up on these things very quickly. If my son sees me being nice to a stranger, there is a high chance he will mimic my behavior. The same goes if I was rude to a stranger. I have always been a big believer that actions speak louder than words. I can talk all day about how I am going to be a good parent, but that does not mean much if my actions don’t align with the things I say.
As a parent, I choose to show my son that he is loved by his entire family. The boldness of the word “entire” is very important. My son’s mother and I do not get along in any way, shape, or form. I sincerely hope that this changes one day. Even if it does not, this will not stop me from promoting relationships with not only my side of the family, but with hers. We are all his family, and he deserves a relationship with each and every one of us. He deserves to know that we all love him even if we can’t get along.
As a parent, I choose to take an interest in my son’s interests. I can’t expect my son to like everything that I like. While it would be nice, it just won’t happen. Sure, we will probably share a lot of interests, but his main interest might be something completely different than mine. And that’s ok. This means that I will have to take an interest in his main interest as a means to form a stronger bond even if I don’t particular enjoy it. At the end of the day, my main interest is my son, and I’m excited to see where his curiosities lead him.
As a parent, I choose to be kind. There is no reason for me to be anything but kind to my son. Even in discipline, there are still moments where I can show kindness. It will show my son that I truly do care about how he feels and what he wants. By watching me show kindness, it is my hope that he will adopt the same policy when dealing with others.
As a parent, I choose to be cheesy. I want to be the parent that’s just throwing out dad jokes left and right. I want to be the parent getting the long groans from all the cheese I’ll be throwing out. I don’t know why I want this honestly, but I have always seen myself as becoming a cheesy parent. It looked fun to do as a parent. Who know, maybe my son will appreciate it one day.
As a parent, I choose to be Patient. I know that growing great things takes time. This is no different with children. The More patient I can be, the better parent I will be. I know that people learn things at different rates depending on what they’re good at. This is the same for children, times 10. They’re learning everything from scratch, so it’s no surprise.
As a parent, I choose to be a great co-parent. My son’s mother and I do not get along at all. However, this won’t stop me from putting just as much of an importance on their relationship as I do with my own relationship with our son. Being a co-parent really has nothing to do with how much we like or dislike each other. It has nothing to do with how well we get along. Our demeanor toward the other is irrelevant in my opinion. No, being a good co-parent means fostering the relationship between your child and your co-parent. Our son deserves a relationship with both parents. I personally know how it feels to have a parent torn from your life, and it’s not fun. I will never let my son go through that unnecessarily. It does not matter if we fight or get along, I will always push our son to be with both of us. It’s what he deserves, and I fully intend to give it to him.
I was always excited to become a parent. I feel like it was always my calling.
Before Xander was born, I was worried that I wouldn’t be good at being a parent. There was a fear that I wouldn’t be able to rise to be the father he deserves. Although I have overcome this fear, I can’t say that it is completely gone.
The fear lives on in the back of my mind. Am I doing enough? Am I teaching him the right things? Is there something that I can do better for him? I think most parents might be able to relate to this. This beautiful child is depending on me to carry him into adulthood.
However, I welcome this fear. I use it as motivation to become better. When I personally become better, I become a better parent. As a better parent, I can give Xander the guidance he needs to build the life that he wants.
If I can teach Xander how to reach every dream and desire he has, then I will have considered my life as a success.
As a parent, I choose to live for my son.