As society and the traditional family change, parents have had to adapt to different parenting methods from those of previous generations. Fathers are finding that their roles are evolving too and now they have to wear different hats in the family.
As a father, you know you are so much more than just “dad”. You double up as your kids’ playmate, sometimes their friend and companion and other times you’re their teacher and life coach. This is in addition to being a disciplinarian as well as a provider and protector.
It’s a lot for anyone to handle and just like moms, plenty of fathers nowadays struggle to have it all. It’s definitely challenging having to juggle the different fatherhood roles while still being a loving and supportive spouse.
So what’s a father to do?
Here’s how you can balance and manage your different roles:
Put things in perspective.
When it comes to parenting, things don’t always go as planned. Maybe your kids fail to cooperate or you forget to finish those chores you’d set out to do. Perhaps things aren’t going great at work, putting your plans of securing your family’s financial future in jeopardy. When life gets messy, it’s good to take a break, remind yourself that things will work out eventually, recharge and dive back in.
Ask for help when you need it.
Gone are the days when men were expected to be tough and stoic, bearing their burdens with no complaints. These days, it’s ok for men to admit to needing help. If you find yourself overwhelmed –either at work or at home- admit it and ask for assistance.
A little patience goes a long way.
When stress levels shoot up, it becomes easy to lose your temper and patience and not just with your kids. However, reacting in anger or frustration will only make things worse. So whether you’re frustrated by your own shortcomings or annoyed by something your wife or kids did, remind yourself to be kind and patient.
Cultivate a sense of humor.
Fatherhood is an epic ride. You never know what you’ll be dealing with next and while this might be a source of anxiety, you can choose to see things differently. Spotting the humor in different situations will certainly help to keep you sane and emotionally healthy.
Model good behavior.
Teens these days face plenty of risk factors and could benefit from having good role models to emulate. Your kids look up to you so you have to lead by example, modeling things like responsibility, healthy conflict and anger management, healthy eating etc. and basically showing your kids what responsible adulthood is all about.
Learn to let go sometimes.
Thanks to social media, the world has become a much noisier place and amidst all the advice about “parenting the right way”, it’s easy to feel like you’re failing. One of the most effective ways of silencing those inner and outer critics is realizing what you, as a father and parent, are and aren’t responsible for. For instance, you’re not responsible for making sure your kid is always happy. It’s also not up to you to live up to others expectations.
Realize that you have to let some smaller things go each day- your child’s homework doesn’t need to be perfectly done every day and your kids’ lives aren’t ruined if you don’t sign them up to every extracurricular activity available. Pick your battles and let the rest go