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Fathers Day

The Changing Landscape of Fatherhood.

The Changing Landscape of Fatherhood.

Image by   白士     李   on Flickr

Image by 白士  on Flickr

With Father’s Day upon us, there’s always a flurry of commentary about the ever changing role of fathers and what it means to be a Dad in this day and age. If you can ignore for a brief moment the consumer emphasis of this ‘hallmark’ day, it offers the opportunity to celebrate and acknowledge the special bond that exists between a father and his children.

As part of this celebration, it’s time to start a dialog about the ever changing landscape of what it means to be a father.

The men that I work with in therapy describe a tremendous range of parenting and relationship challenges and experiences. With the increase of solo parenting, blended and extended, same-sex and non-married families, not to mention transformations in our commercial and cultural, political and immigration, technology and legal world, it’s honestly no surprise that the role that fathers play in the lives of his children has never been so diverse; or equally bewildering.

The widely oscillating story between nurturer and provider that occurs in contemporary society has the potential to create a tremendous amount of stress for fathers. While there is an increasing movement for fathers to provide greater levels of emotional support and connectivity for their children, some fathers battle to find the right balance between intimacy and fun and traditional roles of being the breadwinner or disciplinarian. This combination can cause confusion for children and tremendous discord between spouses.

Finding the right balance between traditional and contemporary fatherhood roles is a challenge for many fathers who are trying to create their own authentic parenting style. Some fathers describe that the foundation of their role has become slowly eroded or diluted. Others state the opposite, describing their roles as increasingly fulfilling and empowering. These different perspectives may be due to the way fathers are valued (or potentially devalued) in society and the accompanying cultural environment. It may also be as a result of the legacies left for them by their own fathers.

So, let’s not wait until the third week of June each year to have this crucial conversation.

Father’s are ready to openly explore unchartered territory about their relationships with their children right now. They are becoming parenting advocates, they are working closely with other fathers, they are educating themselves and they are even seeking professional help far more readily than any generation that came before them. Fathers recognize that fatherhood is a challenging job and they are willing to acknowledge and take accountability for any mistakes they may have may along the way. They are also willing to savor the love and connectivity with their children when things go well.

Let’s continue and support this conversation beyond this weekend.

So to all the dad’s, fathers, stepfathers, grandfathers, foster dads, and any other dad-like figures that play a role in the life of a child, I take my hat off to you. Fatherhood, regardless of what shape, form or flavor you can imagine, can be for some, one of the most rewarding and fulfilling roles that men can ever experience. It’s bloody tough, and fatherhood should be celebrated each and every day.

If you are preparing for fatherhood, exploring what fatherhood means to you or would like to enhance your relationship with your children but find that you sometimes struggle, then let’s talk. Call me on 512-470-6976 to book an appointment.

Arohanui, Simon

Simon Niblock is an Austin TX based, Marriage and Family Therapy Associate who is dedicated to helping men, couples and families find peace, direction and meaning within their relationships. 

Call Simon on 512-470-6976 to book an appointment.

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL

 

Come On Dad, Read Me Another Story...

Come On Dad, Read Me Another Story...

Image: Kelly Sikkema on  Flickr

Image: Kelly Sikkema on Flickr

Reading with your kids; encouraging life long learning, curiosity and socialization in your children.

As a Dad, one of my most delightful memories was reading to my boys. Naturally there were the old favorites that had to be re-told for the fifty millionth time. I’m pretty sure I can quote the ‘Hungry Caterpillar’ off by heart even after all these years. Sometimes, I used to make stories up on the fly. The lads would give me the intro and I would go from there. No two stories were the same. That was always a great way to stretch theirs and my imagination.

As the boys got older, we encouraged reading by giving them ‘book pocket money’ which allowed them buy as many books as they could within their budget once a month. Not only did they become very selective with their purchases, they also became very good at understanding the value of their allowance.

I loved that they often bought books that came in a series, so that they ended up creating a collection. Many of those books still sit on our bookshelf. Now its university text books, not ‘Zac Powers, 24 hours to save the world. Before bedtime, I would have them read to me. Just one or two pages, until it was handed back to over to me to continue the story.

What was really important to me was that they learnt to love reading and that it created a shared experience. As we read together, my kids would ask questions. In that moment, we were really connected.

According to Simon Kuiper, the good old bedtime story and self-managed reading is vital in childhood learning and social development. Evidently, that time of evening when we as parents are about to collapse, is according to neuroscientists, the peak learning moment of the day for children.

“Pretty much the best way to form your child’s brain is to talk and read to them. He/she needs to hear words and imagine stories. He/she also needs to learn the patience to sit on your lap for ten minutes [or lay quietly in bed] and just listen - the perfect preparation for school (minus the lap). Seeing you read will make them want to read, too. Your child wants to be like you.”

As the boys got older they would often carry around a book with them where ever we would go. This was great when we went out for dinner and the final morsels of their dessert had been gobbled down and we adults were still eating.

Books were their entertainment and an incredible source of conversation. As a parent, you were truly kept on your toes when your child asks you, “did you know Dad?” - when referencing ‘100 Amazing Facts about Pirates, Dinosaurs, or Ancient Egypt. I loved when they were little and we would curl up and read together. I’m blessed that I had the chance to feed their growing brains in such a wonderful, enchanting way.

Being a Dad is damn tough and the kids will eat you alive if you’re not feeling 100% equipped and ready. All Dad’s can use a little help and support on occasions. 

If you are preparing for fatherhood, exploring what fatherhood means to you or would like to enhance your relationship with your children but find that you sometimes struggle, then let’s talk. Call me on 512-470-6976 to book an appointment.

Arohanui, Simon

Simon Niblock is an Austin TX based, Marriage and Family Therapy Associate who is dedicated to helping men, couples and families find peace, direction and meaning within their relationships. 

Call Simon on 512-470-6976 to book an appointment.

CLICK HERE TO EMAIL

Simon Niblock, Couples & Family Therapy

Reference: Kuiper, S. (2015). Reading to your kids. Retrieved from: http://www.askmen.com/dating/single_fathers/reading-to-your-kids.html