What Kind of Father Are You?
There is a ton of information to help men learn about being a father.
Books, workshops, magazine articles, websites and movies depicting qualities of fatherhood are in abundance.
As parents we want to help our kids grow to be healthy and resilient. However, where do we get our influences from?
Take a look back
Your own parents’ style of parenting, especially your dad, may have influenced your experience of fatherhood today.
This history will have both helped and hindered the development of your role as a father.
Your fatherhood values
Here’s a base line definition in which to start looking at your fatherhood values.
From a broad perspective values can be described as:
- The philosophies that you believe are important in the way you live and work
- A significant influence on your choices and priorities
- A measure you use at a deeper level, to determine if your life is turning out the way you want it to.
You thoughts, feelings, behaviours and actions make up your values and determine the unique dad you are.
How did you get here?
To some extent your upbringing determined your values.
Many bloke’s dads fall into a few typical categories. Such as a father who was/is:
- PHYSICALLY ACTIVE – Lots of hands on activities, including sport, recreation, school events, building projects, handy skills, fishing etc
- UNEMOTIONAL AND UNAVAILABLE – working long hours, regular interstate or overseas trips, shift work, maybe the disciplinarian role.
- EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY PRESENT – present in every sense of the word. Physically and emotionally engaged, nurturing, playful and supportive.
The wisdom handed down to you
Your father will have handed down some his knowledge, insights, behaviours, skills and attitudes you hold today. You may also carry some of those traits you prefer to ignore!
What were the HELPFUL qualities from your own father?
– Make a mental or physical note of these helpful aspects.
What were the UNHELPFUL qualities from your dad?
– Make a mental or physical note of these unhelpful aspects.
Here are some examples from me who have reflected on their father.
BEST QUALITIES OF A FATHER
- Outdoor activities, trips to the forest at Easter, pockets full of Easter eggs
- The hobbies, e.g. Sailing
- Being the material provider for the family
- Teaching a sense of right and wrong
- Accepting difference
- Taught about finance and work ethic
- Relating to others
- Values of sportsmanship
- Sense of family and responsibility
- Respect for parental relationship
- A team leader with a balance of power
- His sense of intrigue with kids
- Kind and loving
- Understanding difference
- A life expert
- Early family holidays and treasured expeditions
- Always there
- Good relationship with mum
- Demonstrated affection
- Encouraged generosity
- Provider of stability
- Emotionally open
UNHELPFUL QUALITIES OF A FATHER
- Heavily career minded with increased work demands
- Just the provider of educational and material thing
- No physical affection
- Not relaxed, very grumpy
- Highly strung, anger issues
- Could be intimidating
- Bottled things up
- Cold and unable to communicate feelings
- Hard to see softness, closed off
- Distant, not sporty, very few friends
- Very shy
- verbally abusive
It can be confronting to recognise the unhelpful qualities passed down from previous generations. We often don’t find out about these traits until we have kids.
Being a father is a great opportunity to do things the same or differently from our own parents.
Adopting the values we hold dearly is always going to be a work in progress.
What helpful qualities do you have being a dad?