Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Quality Time

Last time round I wanted to talk about (3) quality time.

What works for me is taking one of my daughters out, without her sister (taking her out with her sister doesn't count) for lunch. Recently we've started a weekly tennis date on Saturday mornings. This one-to-one time is useful when I feel that something's not right with them.

This idea comes from The Parenting Book, which talks about understanding when your kid's 'tank' is low. In fact, they got this idea from this book: The Five Love Languages of Children. My realisation that I wasn't a brilliant dad led me to do something about it. Someone once said to me: awareness gives the opportunity for choice.

Something we did this week brought home the importance of one-to-ones. If you're a crap dad like me, more interested in a TV series or your hobbies more than your kids, I want you to try something.

Get out some of your kid's old pictures out. You know, the ones you took 8, 4 or even 2 years ago. With even a short period of time you'll see they've really changed. Time passes. Time passes really quickly.

My neighbour tells me loads of stuff all the time. One thing I picked out of all the stuff he says is that, with his daughter, time passed really quickly. One minute at primary, next out of secondary, the next leaving home.

It's great looking at old pictures, but it often leaves me with a feeling of regret. I didn't make the most of that time did I?

I've tried to figure out how to stop time. It's not really possible, is it?  Maybe those 1-2-1 moments are about the closest you can get.

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Oh, it’s you again.

Picking up my daughter from a party last week, she wasn't in any way pleased to see me. I was expecting some sort of response as if to say, ‘it’s good to see you again’. 

Kids don’t like leaving parties, but just so you can understand me, she wasn't engaged in partying - she was watching Pinocchio on TV by herself. It was as if I wasn't there.

It’s the same when I collect her from school. Wouldn't it be nice if they were actually pleased to see you? Other kids are, aren't they? 

But that’s the craziness of this: it’s probably the case that other kids are the same and my case is no worse than others’. So maybe I'm negatively comparing myself to others. But somehow it feels like it should be better.

Connection is the key I reckon. 

I've read some of ‘How to Really Love Your Child’ by Ross Campbell' (another point for me perhaps, because I may be bad but at least I give a crap)! At the outset he gives 3 principles:

  1. Physical contact
  2. Eye contact
  3. Focused time

Give those a go and tell me if it made a difference.
Next time I will take a look into (3) - focused time.


Saturday, 30 January 2016

Am I a Crap Dad?

Welcome to Crap Dads!

What’s the point of this blog? Is it to beat myself up? Yeah, there might be some of that. But I think overall the aim is to be practical, get better and maybe in the end to realise that we’re not so bad after all!

Am I a bad dad? I don’t know. Sometimes it definitely feels like it. I surely can do better. Ask any mother whether they think they’re a good mum. You’ll find that most mums think they’re not, so it’s a common feeling amongst mums. I reckon lots of dads probably feel it too.

There’s the first positive. Actually there are two. First, that feeling means we actually do give a crap. Second, realisation and acknowledgement is the first step to improvement. If I didn’t know I could be better or I thought I was pretty good, then there would be little drive for change. Two bonus points (+2pt) for you dads reading this blog!

Linked to this, I was reading Alfred Adler’s theory of personality yesterday (he was once an associate of Sigmund Freud). He says disguising our shortcomings takes a lot of energy, so let’s come right out and admit it. In fact I’ve taken this approach to life in general recently and it feels a lot better!

My questioning of my parenting skills led to me voluntarily going to a parenting course some years ago. One of the greatest insights I got from it was that bits of my dad’s parenting style are reproduced in me. What about you? Recently I explained this to my daughter. From this came 2 positives. First I’ve been open and honest with her and maybe she can see why I behave the way I do at times.

Secondly I can say that I’m leaps ahead of my father in terms of parenting. For example, he was a fast walker and we never walked side by side. We never spoke about feelings and he didn’t really know much about me. I’m definitely an improvement on that, so one more point for me (+1pt)!

In coming blogs I’ll talk about how it feels to be a dad like me and then what we’re gonna do about it!

If you’re interested in what the parenting course was:

It has an associated book that I recommend:

My Amazon book:
Murder Your Mortgage in 7 Years