How To Build Your Confidence as a Dad
Fatherhood is not for cowards. Taking on the role of a dad requires strength and courage. It may not be physically challenging, but being a dad is demanding.
Studies show that your confidence, the way you see yourself as a father, and the value you place on your role as a father, has an impact on the behaviour of your children. Kids look to their dads for strength, and your confidence helps them to feel secure.
It didn’t take long for me to realise that my kids take their cues from the way I behave. If I act insecure in my role as a father, they are more likely to act fearful or anxious. I realise that I don’t have to be perfect. I just have to be confident that I am a loving and caring dad.
Here are some things I have learned in my quest to become a more confident father.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Other Dads
Parenting is not a competitive sport. Families are different and unique. You have your own parenting style. Your kids won’t grow up and remember how you were just like every other dad; they’ll remember the unique way you had of doing things.
Stop Criticising Yourself
When negative thoughts and self-doubt flood our brains, we think of the things we’ve done wrong, and don’t remember all the things we’ve done right. As dads, we do the best we can and try again tomorrow. If you need to correct a misunderstanding or apologise — then do it. But what can’t be changed, just becomes a lesson we’ve learned. Don’t be too critical of yourself.
Mindfulness helps us to respond calmly in tense situations. A mindful response means that you stop, take a couple breaths, observe what is happening, and how you’re reacting to it — with anger, frustration, panic. Then, choose how to respond. It just takes a few seconds to process the situation and calm yourself. But this pause will help you to develop a better response to what’s happening.
Your kids won’t grow up and remember how you were just like every other dad; they’ll remember the unique way you had of doing things.
Ask for Help When Needed
When your child is physically sick, you take him to a doctor. There is no shame in asking for help from experts. This also applies to a child’s psychological, emotional, or behavioral issues. These problems need to be treated by trained and experienced professionals. Teen years can be especially difficult for parents and children. If you have a struggling teen, be sure to get the help they need and understand that you are not to blame.
Relax, You’re Doing OK
Parenting can be difficult, but it can also be the most amazing job you’ve ever had. Stop worrying. Enjoy your time with your kids. Laugh at your goof-ups. Be yourself. Do your best and let the rest go. If you love your children and take care of them, then you are a good dad.
Tyler Jacobson is a dad of four, freelance journalist and parenting advocate. You can follow him on Twitter here.