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How to become a super-dad? Psychologist’s advices and tips PART 2

5 October 2018

Every dad dreams that his children should be proud of him and follow his example, isn’t it true? Iryna Lisova, a rehabilitation, and psychological support specialist helped us understand how to achieve this and become a super-dad for one’s children. In the first part we talked about how to get ready for parenting and become a conscious dad. In this material, we discuss with the psychologist the importance of the father’s authority and his role at different stages of the child's life.

 

Dad, you’re my role model!

 

Even just a decade ago, most men still perceived their role in the family as one of the breadwinners only. Child care and upbringing were considered mother’s duties. Presently, 63% of Ukrainian men still think so (masculinity study of the UN Population Fund). However, this is a very narrow vision of the role of husband and father. In fact, everything is much more complicated and interesting.

 

Every parent wants to be an authority for their child. Providing livelihoods and telling how busy you are at work does not really make up to this. You can become an important figure for your children, if you spend enough time with them, show your positive example and guide them in the world. The psychologist advises taking this role seriously because it is the father who shapes the child’s nature and attitudes, as well as their interaction with the environment.

Mom nurtures the children’s emotional sphere: sensitivity, emotionality, empathy, ability to make friends and help. But it’s the father who defines how much the children will be tenacious, confident and sociable, how they will set goals and whether they will believe in themselves.

"The role of the dad is to bring the baby to the outside world, while giving them a sense of support and security, being a tower of strength for the children", explains Iryna Lisova.

Therefore, the mother fosters emotions and shapes the children’s inner world, while the father plays the crucial role in their socialization, courage, and self-reliance in the outer world. Basically, it defines the child’s nature, their ability to defend themselves and be psychologically resilient.

 

Upbringing styles

 

Any upbringing relies on the balance of love and control. The most important thing is not to overuse either, but to find the golden mean to help your child grow up a happy and strong personality. Below four of the most popular parenting styles are listed, and probably each person may identify with one of them or refresh a memory of his own parents’ behavior.

 

  • "I said you are hungry, I know better!"

You have probably heard more than once how parents decide for a child, arguing that they know what is better for them. They control every step of the children to prevent them from mistake or mischief. Such a combination of unbound love with unrelenting control can hardly do anything well. As a result, the child will grow dependent on their parents and lacking self-confidence. They simply will not be able to make decisions on their own, because the parents always prevented them from making choices, deciding for their kid “out of great love”.

  • "Do whatever you want!"

This is another extreme, unlikely to be beneficial to the child. This scenario often occurs in those families where parents either do not have time for children or show them negative emotions rather than love. This is similar to “the bad cop and the good cop” model, where the mother constantly monitors every step and punishes for everything, while the father is over-indulgent.

  • "I said you must behave this way!"

If children are raised in excessive control with only scarce flickers of love, then the upbringing progresses into authoritarianism. Such a child will become an exemplary duty-holder obeying orders, but not a confident bold person who can stand up to the world.

  • "We love you"

Prioritizing love over control means raising a healthy and happy personality. But it does not mean that the child is allowed to do what they want and is not taught to respect any rules. It is about allowing them to make their own decisions and letting learn from their mistakes, while they know that the loving parents will always back them up.

 

 

The father’s role in child crises

 

Children go through more than one crisis as they grow up. In fact, the entire development process is the transition from one crisis to another. At is will depend on the parent, especially the father, how painless and smooth this transition will be. Let's tell more about what crises the child is going through and how one can act as a super-dad during these events.

 

The crisis of the first year: at this time babies go experience the separation from the mother. They develop more autonomy and self-confidence. During the first year of a child’s life parents should engage in all processes to the most possible extent, to help partner and in every way show the baby that the dad is by their side and ready to support. However, attempts to control a toddler are futile. It might only exhaust the dad and not yield any results because the newborn baby simply does not understand what is required of them.

 

The crisis of three years: the child is making his first "I do not want it" and "I do it myself" attempts. That is the age when freedom is formed. You, as parents, assist in this process. There is a common mistake when people are stubbornly trying to explain certain prohibitions to a child and wonder why the child does not understand them and continues to insist. Parents should to come to an agreement with the child and suggest an alternative: "If you do not want this, what do you want?" Provide them with that alternative, and over time you will see that your kid is more and more seeking your permission instead of continuing to take or do things that you tried to forbid so zealously.

 

This age is the best time to introduce games, where the father is the main counterpart. "Children love games with daddy because he is usually less afraid of making something wrong and more rational", says Iryna Lisova. When the father, for example, plays a "carousel" or bounces a child up, the kid is not only experiencing strong emotions but also feeling convinced that he or she has a reliable support. They have a dad who will catch them and never let them fall.

 

The crisis of five or six years: it is a period of active socialization that can be a real challenge for the child. They leave a comfortable and predictable home and head to the school, a strange and quite unfathomable environment. At this turning point, the role of the father is also very important. Therefore, the psychologist recommends that you take part in choosing a school, get acquainted with a teacher and a class. Show the child that they are protected ‒ you are nearby and sincerely care for them.

Because the fatherly love is about "be not afraid, I'm near".

 

The crisis of adolescence: it’s too late to start engaging in education and shape the child’s nature. "You've lost your chance if you failed to do it before", the psychologist says. If you are very eager to criticize the child for something, then focus the criticism on their actions rather than personality. What is really valuable to a child of this age, is that you are can listen to them without reprimands and criticism and show that you love them as they are.