Before I break this down, I want to point out that you don’t even need to be a Dad to appreciate this list, this could apply to anyone of you.
1. Fear of failure
How many of you can say that you’ve experienced this in some aspect of your life?
I know I can.
Whether it’s: business, marriage, an exam, a sporting event or being a father, fear of failure is always there.
Some cope with these negative thoughts better than others.
Some even use the fear of failure to fuel them.
But when it comes to fatherhood, these fears are huge because you’re responsible for another life.
Think about that again for a second.
You’re responsible for another human life. More than likely, they’re your own flesh and blood. A mini version of you that you have to take care of, until they’re old enough to take care of themselves.
It can be overwhelming at times.
Not wanting to make the wrong decision in fear that’ll mess up your kid, forever.
Being too afraid to do things because of fear of any future damage.
Hoping that you’re shaping them correctly.
With so much content and resources at your disposal nowadays, it can leave your head spinning and if you’re not careful, it can leave you a little daunted & susceptible to isolation.
It can leave you thinking that if you double down you’ll be able to overcome these fears on your own.
This can leave you in a lonely place, which I’ll talk about later, but this is another reason I’m such a big proponent of finding your tribe.
A good way to combat this fear of failure is to be prepared.
Prepared for where you want to be headed, the direction & path you want to take.
Prepared for as many eventualities as possible.
Prepared with research, data and studies but also being prepared for a lot of trial & error which you need to come to terms with.
Don’t let your fears effect your kids.
2. Lack of creativity
Kids will make you learn to be creative, quickly.
Unless you’re not interested in spending quality time with them. In which case, just switch the TV on, stick them in front of it and go do whatever it is you do.
But I’m sure the reason you’re here is because you want to be more present for your child.
So, how should you avoid your lack of creativity from holding you back?
Here are a few answers, and the first one is simple, yet dismissed because it’s not viewed upon kindly as a developmental tool; act like a kid again.
More specifically, remember what you used to enjoy doing when you were a child.
Think of the games you played, the things you got up to.
Climbing trees, building forts, running laps, creating giant artwork, reading books in funny voices, playing with Lego.
There are so many things you can do if you stop to think.
Another way to look at it is, and also quite simple, do the opposite to what the “easy life” version of you is wanting to do.
I tweet about this so often because it’s an easy trap to fall into:
- You want to pick up your phone – pick up a paintbrush instead
- You want to stick them in front of the TV – stick on your boots and go for a walk
- You want to watch the football game – watch them play football with their friends
- You want to grab your beers – grab a book instead
You need to reprogram your mindset, this applies to everyone, but for those with kids this is especially important.
You don’t want to neglect your kids when they are in your direct presence. Sure, it’s ok for them to be bored, and sometimes this is when their imagination kicks in, or to play by themselves but what you don’t want to do is ignore them with external distractions when it’s unnecessary or easier to just engage.
This will lead to problems in the future.
3. Too hard on yourself
Stop beating yourself up.
It’s unbelievable the amount of Dads I speak to that say how bad they are at it.
You need to stop with that mentality.
It’s a big change and something that will take a while to get used to but you don’t have to do it alone
- Join a Men’s only group
- Join a Dad’s only group
There you’ll be able to discuss your progress, compare stories, get tips & advice and you’ll see that you’re no doubt in the same boat as the rest of them.
I’m sure you’re doing an amazing job and you need to tell yourself that.
Positive affirmations regarding your parenting is a good place to start.
Keep it in your mind that you’re doing a good job, the best you can do, and you’ll eventually stop that negative thinking.
4. Not enough patience
How many times do you lose it when your kids don’t do what you say?
How many times do you lose your temper far too quickly?
If they don’t do it instantly, at the first time of asking, do you lose your cool?
I’ve said it before, kids are great for finding out where your mindset is truly at. Or where your mindset weaknesses are.
Sometimes you just need to remember that you were a child once and that testing boundaries, being rebellious, trying to make Dad angry is all part of the process.
I’ve talked about this in my newsletter before but the power of pausing in moments of impatience is a real life saver.
This is something that will become more natural to you over time but try and practice it early on in your journey.
And, look after yourself. Practice self care. This is very important.
If you are not at your best then you are more likely to snap at your kids or your wife or your boss.
The point is, if you’re not looking after yourself then how can you expect to look after anyone else?
5. Easily distracted by other things
How many times do you pick up your phone during the day?
I touched on this in the creative section but as a society now, we are far too easily distracted. There is so much more going on.
Constant social media notifications.
Work phone calls and emails.
It just means that we’re less likely to be giving our full attention to our kids.
Whilst your kids are looking for you to play, read, draw with them, you’re too busy looking at what some Instagrammer had for breakfast or reading what that guy from school did on his latest holiday.
- Having your phone in a different room from you & your kids
- Having it on silent
- Not allowing phones at the dinner table
- No TV on whilst the kids are awake
- Emails to be written before they wake or after they go to bed
You could also try setting some time aside each day or every couple of days or whatever works for you, that your kids know you’ll be unavailable to them so that you can use your phone or do your emails / work.
This way at least they have a good understanding as to what you’re doing.
Obviously don’t block out a 4 hour window or something stupid like that!
6. No confidence in your own abilities
Self doubt is something that I used to suffer with badly, and although I’ve gotten better, it’s something that creeps in now & again.
What I have to keep telling myself is, I’m doing a better job than I give myself credit for.
Men tend to suffer from the “shoulda’s”
- I shoulda done this
- I shoulda done that
- I shoulda done better here
- I shoulda stop them doing this
Whatever it is, we appear to have no confidence in our own abilities.
Just like in the business world, your kids will sense your lack of confidence and they’ll exploit it.
Now I say that in jest, but also with a slight hint of realism as if you’re not confident in your approach, in your execution and in your ideals then you’ll either end up giving your kids some mixed messages, allow them to take advantage of you or they will have no confidence in your abilities as well.
- Make decisions and stick to them
- Set boundaries and stick to them
- Be consistent
- You know what is best
- You have life experience
- You are there to guide them
Don’t forget that.
7. Forgetting your need for camaraderie
As I mentioned earlier, as Men you need to surround yourself with other Men. As do Dads.
It’s easy to isolate when the pressures of parenting take over your every thought and actions but you still need to talk to people.
You need some male camaraderie.
Something to keep you sane.
When you forget to do this you become that guy who your friends never see. We all have one of those friends.
But whereas you haven’t seen Jimmy for ages because he’s obsessed with Fortnite, at least you have a good reason!
The point is, you still need to have an outlet, a proper outlet away from your kids, your wife, your house.
Trust me, it’s important.
Parenting can be frustrating sometimes but imagine if you had no one to share those frustrations with… you would probably end up venting them straight back at your kids and taking it all out on them.
Why should they suffer?
8. Negative media agendas against fathers
Fathers don’t get the respect they deserve from the mainstream media. This is pretty much fact at this point.
It’s sad to see.
Yes, some Dads give the rest of us a bad rep but it’s so easy nowadays to just say any old thing and it suddenly be presented as fact. Then the louder & bigger the voice, the more people buy it & believe it as truth.
The role of the Mum is so important, some would argue more, I’m honestly on the fence about that one, but what I’m not arguing about is that the media have allowed this portrayal of Dads as these unnecessary, bumbling idiots that have no place raising kids.
It’s so wrong.
In recent times, there was a crusade against Dads from the media suggesting that “Dad Bods” were sexy and women would suddenly be all over you if you had one.
Do not believe this.
This is the media trying to mold you into being an out of shape loser.
Then when we all have Dad Bods we’ll suddenly be told that “modern day Dads are useless, out of shape losers… women, you need to ditch them”
It’ll come back to bite you if you buy into these agendas.
Ultimately, you & only you, are holding yourself back.
Your mindset is dictating your trajectory in life.
Negative & positive.
With a negative mindset you will be stuck in fear, lacking all creativity because you’ve taken the easy route of TV & computer games. You’ll have no confidence in your parenting skills and will have isolated yourself from your friendship groups.
With a positive mindset you will have a rough plan for how you want to parent and be prepared for different outcomes and scenarios. You will be able to think of creative games & exercises that’ll stimulate your kids & yourself and you will have a solid group of Men / fellow Dads to lean on if you’re struggling or in need of some advice.
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