The popular series, “A Dad’s Perspective” is back! Mommy Masters welcomes Dad, Ericson Roberts, who shares his perspective on all things fatherhood and what he has learned on his journey so far.
Being a dad is a lifelong job. You can’t just quit when you’re tired from all the crying or late night tantrums. In this article, I share with you 5 great lessons that helped me work on becoming a better dad.
Being a father is the best job I have in life. It feels like it was just yesterday when my wife broke the news I was going to be a dad. I was extremely excited and eager to teach my little angel everything my parents have taught me too.
And before our nine months were up, my wife and I have discussed everything about how we were going to raise our baby boy—from our discipline style to the possible reward/motivation system. But, just when we thought we had tackled everything, down to the very last detail, apparently, we were wrong.
There isn’t any cookie cutter strategy in becoming a good parent, much less a dad. During the first few months, being a father felt like a challenge I couldn’t win.
Tantrums here and there. Screaming, yelling, and running around, unable to listen to my “commands.” I had a lot of questions running through my head. Was I doing it right?
It wasn’t until I learned these five great lessons did my son start to listen to me.
- It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it
It’s easy to let your temper win in the heat of the moment. Even though, I knew his cries had silenced my anger.
I thought, using a loud voice would instill a kind of fear that could sway him into doing things the way I wanted. But looking back, I realized talking to them calmly fostered a better relationship that’s grounded in mutual respect.
I didn’t need them to fear me; I needed them to respect me. My son learned to listen, not out of fear, but because he trusted and respected my authority.
- Relate before responding
Parenting books tell us to do this, not that, or don’t do that but this… so forth and so on. There are so many “rules” and expectations on how kids are supposed to behave these days.
When they experience a meltdown in public, my initial instinct was to do everything I can in my power to stop him from crying, even if it meant shouting.
Then, I realized, it was better to understand the “why” of his meltdown than to fight it. By seeking to understand what it is he was feeling, I was able to respond logically and empathetically.
It was a conscious effort for my wife and me to make our son feel that talking to us was his “safe zone.” He doesn’t need to throw a tantrum to get our attention. It was all his.
- Let them be curious
As a dad, I felt like being the protector of the family was a responsibility that falls on my shoulders. Keeping my son cooped up at home made my job easier.
But, I learned that they wouldn’t learn about life if they’re not out there exploring it. Spending time outdoors can help them see the world in a different perspective. Not to mention, good for their health too.
This doesn’t mean we have no rules or that we let him do anything and everything he wants. We still had some in place, but we needed to create an atmosphere where he is adaptable and capable of making the right decisions on his own.
- Form bonds
Being a dad is a 24/7 job. No breaks, no leaves, and even when I’m sick, I had to tend to my little one. Because of this, I made sure I had a strong bond with my son.
I did my best to do things together. From watching sports, learning new skills, chores, and just about anything under the sun. This enabled him to be more sensitive to my needs and his mother’s. He understands the kind of support or assistance we need from him. Whether it’s helping wash the dishes or taking out the garbage, having a bond helped him be more sensitive towards the people around him.
- Enjoy the journey
No one’s perfect. For a while, I focused on being an excellent father because I worried about what people would say if my son were behaving poorly.
I didn’t want people to think I was failing at being a dad. But, in retrospect, accepting the fact that no one’s perfect and even parents make mistakes help me turn around my parenting style.
My wife and I would inevitably make mistakes here and there, but what matters is that we are doing our utmost best to raise an amazing boy. We’re having fun getting to know him and for him to get to know us.
We prepare him to take on life’s challenges with grace, joy, and a lot of laughter. At the end of the day, there are so many things I can teach my son. I can teach him carpentry or how to fix broken pipes, repair a vehicle, and how to become the man of the house. But, the effort would be futile if I wasn’t the kind of man I wanted him to become.
Being a father isn’t a role you play, it’s a lifestyle you live.
Ericson Roberts is a staff writer for FeelGoodContacts. He enjoys taking his sons out for a game of catch, and transform ordinary parenting techniques into a fun-filled learning experience. They say a way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, while for Ericson, the way to a child’s heart is having fun.
*Images provided and owned by Ericson Roberts