Every year, we celebrate our fathers and what they mean to us. They often are the ones who work long hours to provide for children, spend time playing with them and are there when children need them for any reason. When they work too hard, they can get stressed. This could hurt children emotionally.
In my book, How to Enjoy Being a Parent, I explore how to deal with a parent’s stress and anxiety. Although a child’s antics can stress Dad, it doesn’t help when Dad tries to keep Sammy or Susan under control. Dad’s anxiety only makes it worse.
Effective parenting has several sine qua nons, including mental competency, love and a strong attachment bond. If you are not mentally competent nor feel love nor feel a strong loyalty to your child, you won’t be an effective parent. While most parents possess these traits, they are usually lacking in another area. If they acknowledge that the trait is missing, they can learn it. Fathers who don’t take a calm, understanding and confident approach to parental responsibilities will not be effective when dealing with their children. Anxiety is the death of effective parenting. When you are anxious, your children pick up on that. They become anxious too. Anxiety flows from the top down.
How to Keep Yourself Relaxed to Present Understanding and Love
Fathers can find ways to remain calm even in situations that aren’t. Here are some ways to be understanding and relaxed.
- Walk Away – If you feel that a situation with your children is causing your anxiety to increase, you could walk away from the situation. Go some place where you can be alone for a few minutes. Remember that anxiety in you will bring out anxiety in them. That could lead to things said that are hurtful.
- Take Deep Breaths – Deep breathing will slow your heart rate, which will get your anxiety under control. Counting to 10 also helps bring your heart rate down to a normal level. It gives you time to think about what you want to say and ways to approach the situation in a calm and relaxed way.
- Ask Questions – Some questions are hurtful, but others can make you and your children think of a solution to the problem. For example, if they are anxious over their homework and are taking it out on you, you could ask about the homework. What does your teacher want you to do? How can you achieve that goal? What is making you nervous? These types of questions will allow your children to think about what is really bothering them.
- But Never Argue – My book offers several one line responses to a child’s complaints and attempts to argue with you.
- Pamper Yourself – If you are constantly running and doing for the children, you will not be able to help them when they are anxious. You will be too anxious and upset yourself. You also might become ill. You need to put yourself first sometimes. Do things that make you happy and relaxed once in a while.
- Talk to a Counselor – If your anxiety is ongoing, you might want to get professional help. Talk to a counselor and discuss issues you are having with your life, your children, your job and everything else that is bothering you.