Just as you want your sons to see the complexity that is you, it's helpful for you to move beyond the one-dimensional view of your father that you probably walked out of your childhood with. Updating your view of him can help you change your view of yourself, and reduce your fear of making his mistakes. So go beyond How's work, how's the car, how's the weather talk, and ask your father about his past struggles, present fears, his life-long passions to shake up your old assumptions and discover what made him tick.
And if he has moved out of your life, or passed away, spend some time doing some reflecting. Help recover and heal your past by writing him a letter saying whatever you wished to say before he died but couldn't, and then write a letter back from him to you saying what you wish he would have said. Though emotionally challenging, this process can help heal old wounds, and allow you to move on to be a father of your own making.
Help your son understand the man cave. As Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus has pointed out to now generations of newly married couples, men and women tend approach problems differently. Women process and ultimately make sense of emotions and problems by talking them through. Men go into their cave and, well, mull, for what can seem like a long time.
They work out the problem in their heads and eventually come out an issue the punchline - I want to do this, we need to do that - often skipping the back-story, much to the frustration of their partners. If you tend to be this type of guy, be sensitive to the fact that your son may not understand what you are doing.
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He can take your mulling and withdrawal personally, misinterpret your behavior as somehow tied to him, or cause him to be worried about you. If you need to withdrawn, let him and the rest of your family know what is going on - that I'm okay and it's not about you, I just need to sort some things out and think about them by myself. Teach your son how to do. My grown son was with me at the hospital when my father was on life-support. My stepmother was understandably over-wrought about what to do next.
I was able to calm her down, and stepped up and made a clear decision based on what I felt my father would have wanted. A few weeks later my son called me to say how much he valued being there with me, and seeing how I sensitively but clearly handled the situation. He felt it was a good model for him on how to do the same.
He had an opportunity to learn a lesson perhaps about managing one of life's transitions, but these opportunities and lessons are always there. There is a Buddhist saying - How you do anything is how you do everything - and successfully navigating through life is about the how of what you do rather than the what. This is what you want to teach your son. Help him understand how you think, how you tackle problems, life's stresses and strains - how you react when someone cuts you off in traffic, when someone gives you the wrong change at a store, when you feel frustrated with a job or task and don't know what to do next.
Teach him how to stand up and be assertive about things that he feels are important, about how to recover when you've been discouraged or defeated, or how to take action and solve a problem when you feel emotionally overwhelmed. Tell him stories about times when you struggled, when you had doubts, when you did something courageous. Help him learn how to steer the boat that is his life by letting him see how you steer yours. Give time. It's really the only thing that you truly can control and give. Money can always be lost, but time is lost only if you let it. It's not the quantity that's important but the quality - it needs to be dedicated solely to him.
Stanley Greenspan, the famous child psychiatrist and pediatrician, urged parents to do what he called "Floor Time:" Dedicate a certain amount of time everyday - half hour, hour, 15 minutes - for time with your son and let him decide what you will both do together. You may play a video-game together, you might wrestle, watch TV, read a book, bake a cake. It doesn't matter. He gets your undivided attention , he gets, for a change, to be in control, and you get to discover the inner life of your son.
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Do this everyday, don't ever cancel it as punishment. It's for him, unconditionally. You'll be surprised at the difference it can make in him and you. Build up the positives. Sure, you have standards that you want your son to reach, but he'll only get there if you can encourage him with plenty of praise and positives. Let him know how proud you are of him - not for scoring the goal in the game - but for who he is. Counteract your own father, perhaps, and focus on what he did well on his report card first, then talk about problems.
Anytime he shows the seeds of being a good man - is considerate, is responsible, is proactive, is compassionate - let him know. Without your feedback his efforts are likely to sink under the radar and be lost. Teach guy stuff. In the era of Goggle and Youtube, you can learn practically anything on your own. But real important learning comes from what is passed down from father to son. Teach your son about your passions -- cars, clothes, the zone defense. Show him how to tie a tie, educate him about relationships with women, help him understand the focus and value of work.
Not everything you say will stick - he may have no interest in cars, soccer not basketball may be his thing - but that's not the point.
- 6 things dads should know about the first year of fatherhood—from a guy who's been there!
- 6 things dads should know about the first year of fatherhood—from a guy who's been there.
- 6 things dads should know about the first year of fatherhood—from a guy who's been there - Motherly?
- 1. Start talking early about the details..
- 24 Things To Know About Being A New Dad.
Towards the end of pregnancy around 27 to 40 weeks the baby can feel very heavy. The tiredness and irritability of the early weeks often returns, and your partner may start to feel worried or frightened about the birth. If she's on maternity leave from work, she might feel lonely without the company of her colleagues.
It may take a while before she opens up. Be patient. If you can learn to support each other now, your relationship will be stronger when the baby arrives. When your partner is offered blood tests in early pregnancy, you may be asked to have blood tests as well. You'll also be asked about your family history and origin, because certain inherited conditions are more common depending on family history. The more you know about labour, the more you'll be able to help.
If you prefer not to be present, talk to your partner and listen to how she feels. Fill it in together so that you know what she wants and how you can help her achieve it. Support her if she changes her mind during labour. Whether the pregnancy has been planned for months or years, or is unexpected, you'll probably feel a range of emotions. A baby means new responsibilities that you may not feel ready for, whatever your age. You and the mum-to-be may have mixed feelings about the pregnancy. It's normal for both of you to feel like this.
The first pregnancy will change your life and change can be frightening, even if it's something you've been looking forward to. Money problems may be a worry. You may face the loss of an income for a while, extra expenses for the baby and, if the mother returns to work, the cost of childcare. You may be worrying that your home isn't right or that you'll feel obliged to stay in a job you don't like. The Money Advice Service has information to help you manage your finances when you're having a baby. Find out more about sex in pregnancy.
If you're not having sex, try to find other ways of being close, but do talk about it. She may well feel uneasy about her changing body and may be hurt if she thinks that you don't like her appearance. Watching your baby coming into the world can be the most incredible experience. The midwives may hand you the baby. Hold the baby close to your body. Many new parents experience very strong emotions; some cry. It can feel difficult to go home and rest after such an intense experience, so think through what your needs might be at this time.
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But not to the point where you forfeit all respect and relevance. Flip on the TV and you'll see how disrespected dads are these days. From Modern Family to Family Guy , the "doofus dad" stereotype permeates society. Don't let it infect your household. You may be third fiddle right now but remember: you're still in the band. And so long as you're really trying, you deserve respect; not because you're a man, mind you, but because you're a well-intending soul navigating new parenthood, too. Newborns go through phases and stages with head-spinning speed. As soon as you recognize one pattern, it often gets replaced or redirected by another.
Sleeping habits, feeding tendencies, what does and doesn't soothe the baby when they cry all evolve remarkably rapidly. So if you find yourself in a particularly rough phase, relax. It will pass. And if you find yourself recognizing stages only in their twilight—before their inevitable dissipation—don't kick yourself. That happens to everyone—moms and dads alike, and especially with firstborns.
And even if, like me, you're not prone to sentimentality, do stop to soak this in. You'll only be a new dad once: the pride, the pain, the simple joys and sleeplessness are all part of it, and all beautiful in their nascent reality. This is all normal, and an unprecedented opportunity for growth.
You are fortunate, durable and altogether fine. Now go change that poopie diaper, Daddio, and make mom some breakfast while you're at it. In addition to parenting, Christopher Dale frequently writes on society and politics. Follow him on Twitter at ChrisDaleWriter. It's 5 pm. You just got home from a busy day at work, dinner is nowhere close to being started, and the afternoon shenanigans have taken ahold of your little ones. They need some time to decompress from their busy day and, let's be honest, you need a few moments to transition into the last part of yours, too.
You want to say yes, but you also have fears about technology. How much is too much? Is it bad for my children? Will it isolate my children from me? We desperately want to be connected to our children , and for our children to be connected to the world. Unfortunately, she says, the "fear and skepticism about these devices hold us back from their potential. Even more exciting, did you know that the right screen time can help your child develop empathy? Empathy is a skill, but as a society, we are losing it.
In a world fraught with inequities, divisiveness and conflict, rebuilding empathy is paramount. Motherly mamas agree. In the State of Motherhood survey , you told us that your top priority was to nurture kindness with your children. But how do we do this? Telling our child to "be a kind person" is great, but in order to truly understand, they need to see empathy in context.
By using digital content as a prompt for communication and conversation, it becomes one of the many tools we have at our disposal to help guide our children on the path to becoming empathic, kind people. Raun D. Melmed, MD, FAAP, a developmental and behavioral pediatrician, and author of the Monster Diary series told us that, "our children have unprecedented access to wonderful educational opportunities through digital media.
Interactive, nonjudgmental apps can enhance cognitive development processing and organization, visual-spatial awareness, pattern recognition and even reading , social and emotional awareness, and even moral development.
When we control technology—and not the other way around—the potential is enormous. The American Academy of Pediatrics says that "media can have educational value for children starting at around 18 months of age, but it's critically important that this be high-quality programming, such as the content offered by Sesame Workshop and PBS. Children who watched the show for 30 minutes each day for two weeks demonstrated improved empathy, the ability to recognize emotions and increased social confidence. But, here's the catch: In order to experience this growth, children needed to have recurrent conversations about what they saw with their parents.
Knowing the science behind the benefits of screen time is great. But when that afternoon struggle hits, it can be hard to remember exactly what to do, so DeWitt encourages parents to make a plan—here's how. Do you want them to have an opportunity to be creative and think outside the box? Is there something going on at home or in school that requires learning about sharing? What do I want my kids to get out of their digital media time?
How can it support our family schedule and priorities?
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It is okay to factor your needs into the equation, mama. Deriving benefit from your child's screen time is no need to feel guilty. Go ahead and start dinner, or send that email, or yes gasp , put your feet up and relax for a bit. Kids do best with clear boundaries and expectations. This will be especially important if you are implementing changes to how screen time is done in your home.
You could say, "You can play the Wild Kratts game for 30 minutes while I work on dinner, and then we are going to go outside and flap our wings as bats do! Do you think we should eat mosquitos for dinner like they do?! Before you start the show, Dreiske recommends planting the communication seed: "Today we're going to notice what we're feeling and what the characters are feeling. When screen time is over, strike up a conversation. Dreiske suggests open-ended questions that help to "[create] a special space in which your child feels safe enough emotionally to confide in you about their experiences.
Let the child's emotion or feelings 'lead' the talk rather than being obscured by your feelings. Like everything in life, screen time is best in moderation. It is important that children know that screen time is one of the many options they have for activities. Exercise, outdoor play, reading, coloring and more are also incredibly important. If there is a show or game your child particularly loves, DeWitt suggests finding the non-screen time version of it.
If your child likes Ready Jet Go! In other words, we can make digital media as a jumping off point for family fun! Sara DeWitt writes, "It helps to remember digital media is simply a tool , just like books, toys and art supplies. As parents, we have the power to decide how and when to use these tools with our kids. When used thoughtfully, and with love, high-quality screen time is an incredibly powerful way to foster empathy and kindness in the next generation.
Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas. There are so many ways that birth can happen, but growing up many of us only saw one version of it played out again and again in movies and television.
There's a woman in a hospital bed, screaming. And while many moms do certainly experience birth in a hospital bed, many don't. And many times the act of giving birth is very different from how it's been portrayed in popular media. That's why we started our This is: Birth film series —to give representation to the many varied ways women give birth. That's also why we love how former Bachelor star Bekah Martinez shared video of her water birth with her followers and with Motherly.
Unlike the versions of birth we often see on television, Bekah's wasn't quick and it didn't happen in a maternity ward. She laboured for at home for 28 hours before heading to the birthing centre to welcome baby Ruth into the world. We applaud Bekah for sharing this experience with her followers, because a recent survey published in the journal Reproductive Health journal found one out of six moms in the United States experience things like "loss of autonomy; being shouted at, scolded, or threatened; and being ignored, refused, or receiving no response to requests for help.
And it is beautiful. While we always say that birth plans can change, it is good to know what you want and don't want, and to prepare in ways that make sense to you. Bekah did a lot of prep for her birth, she basically trained for it which makes sense, giving birth is harder on the body than running a marathon! I had 'trained' so hard — hypnobirthing classes, meditating, reading TONS of Ina May's writing — that when the time came I was able to fully relax and surrender my body to do its job," Bekah tells Motherly.
I surrendered all my control and it made the experience so much more peaceful. For Bekah, this beautiful birth was the result of many hours of contemplation and. How hands-on do you want them to be?