You Have To See What’s Really Going On

Yes, they hit their sister. Yes, they just got their first ‘F’ on their report card. Yes, they lied about going over to their friend’s house. Yes, they just screamed, “I HATE YOU AND THIS WHOLE FAMILY SUCKS.”

All that did happen. It shouldn’t have. It’s not ok that it did. But before you do anything, can you try this? Can you say to yourself, as Dr. Becky writes in Good Inside (a great book!), “Ok, one second. Let me take a breath. Let me see if I understand what’s happening here…”

In a sense, can you be a Stoic about it? Can you put your first impressions to the test, as Epictetus tells us, not be overwhelmed by the moment, as Marcus Aurelius said, and see what’s really happening? Because what’s really happening is that they are frustrated after being prodded and provoked by their siblings for days on end. What happened is that they’re overwhelmed by school, and they need help. What happened is that they’re desperate for connection. What happened is that they’re having bigger feelings than they’re equipped to deal with.

Your job is to take a second, to take that breath. Your job is to hear not just what their words are saying but also what their behavior is telling you. Your job is to look at root causes, not just symptoms. Your job is to help them translate and also treat these issues, not just criticize or punish.

Talk to them, talk it through. Don’t be distracted by what’s on the surface, what is frustrating or inappropriate, but go to what’s really happening and help them there.

Sign Up to get our FREE email.
One piece of timeless parenting advice, delivered daily.

Sign Up to get our eBook

“20 Things Great Dads Do Everyday”



Recent Posts



We’re going to tackle all the big themes of our time and of all time: Grit. Resilience. Curiosity. Compassion. Character. Unconditional love. Finding purpose. Dealing with stress. Masculinity. Female empowerment. Loss. Stillness. Truthfulness. Initiative. Creativity. Passion. Family. Fun.

Join Daily Dad now and tap into a community of dads all over the world dedicated to becoming the very best dad they can be. you’ll get a daily meditation on the above themes and more.