Good or bad, how people speak to you or act around you often does have an influence on how we think about ourselves. The greater the importance of that person to you, the greater the influence.
In the delicate dance of parenting, our words and actions with one another have a greater power than we think to build up or tear down. A sideways glance or condescending tone can be detrimental to our confidence as a person and especially as a parent. Often I don’t think it’s our intention to tear one another down, but because men and women can be so inherently different in their parenting styles (and life in general!), we tend to attack those differences rather then learn from them and appreciate them.
My little boy was three years old when I met my husband. Based on watching other relationships and reading several books, I knew I had an opportunity to either encourage and nurture their new relationship or become an obstacle to their bonding based on my actions. Despite the instinct I was fighting to want him to do things the way I did them (the only way I knew!), I really wanted our duo to become a trio, so I decided to take my hands off the wheel and trust the strong character that made me fall in love with him in the first place.
This was not easy…for either of us! I remember him telling me that he wanted to help me more, but because I had such a detailed and specific way of doing things, he was apprehensive. This was a good eye-opener for me and I decided if we were going to do this together, I had to let go a little bit and let him do things his way. Funny thing is, sometimes his way was better! I realized my son not only needed his influence, but he was thriving with it. His way was much different at times, but our son leaned into it to such a degree that I really began to appreciate those differences.
I decided to take my hands off the wheel and trust the strong character of the man I fell in love with.
Last night I went directly to the source and sat down with my husband. I asked him what women could do or stop doing in order to make their men feel like great fathers, and he had some great things to say:
Because moms are often with their children more than dads are, it can be easy for us to feel like we can’t do anything right. Or, if we disagree with something, it can be hard to speak up. Being able to have open discussions about parenting issues is really important. If your communication as a couple is good, then parenting well together is only a step away. If it’s not good, you need to go back to the beginning and fix your relationship with each other.
2. Let us try.
As men, sometimes when we try to do something good (or what we think is good!) you can involuntarily get in the way and we are forced to step aside. Don’t take over and we might surprise you! Make it a “mingling” of the minds instead of a battling of the minds. This gives us the freedom to rise up as dads and then the kids will get the best of both parents.
Encourage us when we do something right. You have no idea how much it means to us and how much more confidence it gives. And if we’re doing something wrong, choosing the right time and tone you tell us goes a long way.
There you go! Straight from the horse’s mouth.
So, give your man the gift of encouragement and help empower him to be a great dad. Raising kids can be the most amazing experience when done in harmony together. Remember: you work best as a team.
You’ll love this podcast episode from This Grit and Grace Life: How to Have Healthy Relationships with All the Men in Your Life – 036!