With Father’s Day around the corner it got me thinking about how fathers have to strike the balance between being both tough and tender. How dads ‘are’ with their children has a massive influence on how they will value and respect themselves down the line. When children are able to trust both their dads’ toughness and tenderness, these are just some of the benefits:
• Raised confidence levels
• A sense of security
• How to be male (in boys)
• How to allow yourself to be treated by men (in girls)
• How to express emotions in a healthy way (in boys)
The PAPPA effect
While we all use different terms of endearment for the fathers in our lives, I’ve used the term Pappa as an acronym below for effective fathering:
P………Present: This means emotional and physical presence and being really ‘in the moment’ when you are with your kids.
A………Available: Don’t be so busy that your kids think you don’t care. I always remember the heart-wrenching Chicken Soup for the Soul story of the boy who found out how much his dad’s time was worth per hour at work, and saved up enough to buy an hour of his dad’s time.
P………Proud: Teach kids to value themselves by valuing and believing in them. Show pride in both their achievements and their journey in getting there, even it if is a place in the D team! Please don’t live vicariously through your children. It is an unfair burden to expect them to perform so that you feel good about yourself. Your children are not you and may never become a clone of you. Love them for who they are, not what you expect them to be.
P……….Protective: Dads are a symbol of physical and emotional security and they are often less easy to manipulate than mums when it comes to implementing boundaries. Your role is to teach your children to become resourceful and resilient in themselves, to learn independence, little by little. These are the tools they will use to create their own happiness and success one day.
A………Attentive: Pay attention. Listen. Talk and share. Do things together – dates with your daughters and adventures with your sons. Always, and in every moment, strive to be a celebration and example of positive human connection.
I am so grateful to my own dad for the pivotal role he has played and continues to play in my life. The quote below says it all for me and I hope it sums it up for you too.
Dads, here’s wishing you a very happy Father’s Day. May you be celebrated, honoured and adored and keep aiming to strike the balance between being tough and tender.
My gift to you.
Creative Parenting Expert, inspirational speaker and co-author of
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