At 18 years old, my development was stuck. I operated out of fear, not optimism for the future. I pretended I was in control when, in reality, I was spinning into an abyss. The intense conflict between my parents that led to divorce also led to stunted growth for me in ways that I didn’t handle well. It was my mid-20s before things settled down, and I developed in a more healthy way. But I left for college at 18 without a shred of confidence that I could succeed.
I was one of millions that enter adulthood woefully undeveloped and unprepared. As dads, we need to see the full picture of our families. Are there issues in the home that are stunting the development of our kids? Let’s look at some of the more common problems and possible solutions.
1. An Angry Household
All parents lose their temper from time to time, but when anger is a constant presence the dominant emotions in children become anxiety and fear. This will cause the child to either respond in anger themselves or retreat inside themselves and hide. Neither is healthy. Anger is one of those things that tend to move from generation to generation because nobody ends the pattern. Be the one that ends it for good.
Solution: Figure out what makes you angry and why it does. Then work on controlling those triggers. For example, you may be getting angry because of your own fears that you need to explore further. Here are some more ways to help control your anger.
When we remove all risk from childhood, we wind up with a young adult that feels entitled and is full of unrealistic expectations. In doing so, we are robbing kids today of one of life’s greatest teaching methods of success – trial and error. It’s a primary job as a parent to teach kids to stand on their own two feet.
Solution: Allow the space for your child to take reasonable risks and face the consequences of their actions. For instance, if a child isn’t good on a skateboard, he is going to learn that quickly. But we have to let them fall a few times to find out.
3. Being a Hypocrite
Your child soaks up your actions more than your words. Rid yourself of habits and behaviors that undermine the messages you are trying to instill.“Do as I say, not as I do” is the most ineffective mode of parenting that exists. Your child soaks up your actions more than your words. You need to rid yourself of habits and behaviors that undermine the messages you are trying to instill. In my life, I have needed to work on controlling my temper and cleaning up my vocabulary. No dad is perfect, but he should be continually striving to better himself. You are the authority and it comes with tremendous responsibility. Hypocrisy kills your credibility, which harms the growth of your kids who will look elsewhere for answers.
Solution: In lectures to your children, listen to the instructions you are giving and make sure you are following your own instructions. In times when you are being a hypocrite, be honest about your mistakes, admit them, and apologize for them.