We know that our kids want to feel good, feel safe, feel loved. We know they want to feel that someone is proud of them, that they’re talented, that they’re worth something. We also know that they’ll want to have fun, take risks, mess up, be crazy, and feel the pleasures of the world.
As the person in charge, as the person who wants them to be successful in life, it may come to pass that you are at odds with those feelings more often than you’d like. Because you see their potential, you are critical of their choices. Because you are worried about them, you’re strict. Because you know how hard and competitive the world is, you push them…and then maybe you push them some more. And because you have so much on your plate, you don’t always say the nice thing, the obvious, supportive, reassuring thing.
The problem is: If our kids aren’t feeling safe or loved or supported by us, where will they get it from? Because they will go out and try to find it. If Dad is blocked off because Dad is busy, Daughter will go find love in the wrong places. If Dad is a hard ass, because Dad regrets his choices in his own youth, and he pushes too hard, Son might rebel or learn to value the wrong things. The gender of the child doesn’t matter. Neither does their natural personality. If Dad doesn’t give his kids what they need, they’ll get it somewhere else and it will almost certainly not be from the right or best place.
It might be from drugs or a gang or bad influences or reckless behavior or from a false belief that you can earn acceptance and appreciation. All of that is wrong. Your kids deserved those things at birth. And they deserve them from you.
P.S. This was originally sent on March 24, 2020. Sign up today for the Daily Dad’s email and get our popular 11 page eBook, “20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday.”