*guest post from Daddilife
You may not have pondered the exact phrase of ‘how to be present for your child’. However, as a modern day dad, juggling so many responsibilities, you will have at least questioned whether you are doing enough for your child emotionally and psychologically.
Now it seems the children have had their own say, with a recent study from ANC showing that a third of children aged 11-13 say that their dad works too much.
You work hard for your children, try to give them the best you can, and bring them up the best way you know how. If anything, sometimes you may feel like time is the enemy getting in way of you spending quality time with them.
The thing is, time is constant, and an easy excuse to make. Time isn’t a factor, but what you do with it is.
The importance of ‘presence’
We now live in an ‘always-on’ world. The phone has become like a second child – constantly going off telling you you’ve got an email or that your distant friend has liked another distant friends status.
Have you focused enough on the status that’s right in front of you…your real children.
The Power Is In You
Be honest – how many times within a recent 30-minute session of play with your child have you checked your phone hoping to see some kind of ‘like’ of your status or checked that non-urgent email?
The key in being present for your child psychologically and emotionally is within yourself and how you view and manage certain situations that arise during parenthood. Let’s be clear, not all situations for ‘being present’ are going to be pleasant or even obvious for that matter. Take for instance a toddler tantrum, where you might feel the last thing you want to do is be in the room!
But dad, someone is paying attention – and that someone doesn’t value any physical gifts you want to get to make up for time, they want and need the ultimate gift – your presence.
Fuel The Power
Despite, what you may read, there is no one size fits all solution and every child has a unique personality that will need to be handled differently. Ultimately, it is more about being present continuously rather than focusing or honing in on a particularly explosive situation.
Here are some magic methods to becoming a more present dad:
- Slow down your mind. Taking the time (even if it is strained) just to appreciate and enjoy being a parent is so powerful. You’re building a bond based on trust and respect so turn off those devices and have a chat. Read together or share each other’s interests. It doesn’t matter if they are into Peppa Pig or Power Rangers, you knowing this as a parent will mean more to them than you can imagine and they will love to get to know your passions to.
- Don’t sacrifice, involve. Many believe that they need to forego their own passions in order support every stage of their child's development. This need not be the case as and we see a number of kids clubs run specifically by dads which are truly unique and help both fathers and kids enjoy their true passions as a hobby or a skill.
- Plan activities and passions together. Get these in the diary and make a commitment to each other. Sometimes it’s the little things that can count just as much as the bigger ones. Regular communication or even affection can help break down any barriers you may be struggling with and remembering this, and even more importantly, wanting to do it will help you both. After all, your children will in essence become a reflection of yourselves in the way they handle the world both psychologically & emotionally.
Over to you, dad.
So much has changed about fatherhood in modern times, and DaddiLife is there to help modern-day dads throughout their most important parenting journey with tips, advice, community and much more.