A healthy father knows he's always being watched by his children. Therefore, he chooses his words carefully, chooses how he reacts to situations, and tries to make as many moments as he can "teaching moments".
Father’s Day is coming up this Sunday! Last month we wrote about characteristics of a healthy mother, so now it is time to do the same for fathers.
I know this day can be exciting for some as they celebrate fatherhood, while for others it can be painful due to loss of a father, having a difficult relationship with a father, or having difficulty because you haven’t become a dad.
In honor of Father's Day, this week Imagine Hope is talking about some characteristics of a healthy father. Do any of the characteristics from this week remind you of your Dad? A healthy father provides protection for his family.
When we think of protection, we usually think physical protection. A healthy father makes sure that his family is safe from danger.
He is physically present. He sets limits with how many things he does outside of the family and makes sure his is physically there and involved in the family.
He makes sure his family has a roof over their heads and food on the table (the best that he can, especially during difficult times). He doesn't use finances in a way that takes away from his family's physical safety and protection.
While this is one way of providing protection, there are more that are just as important.
A healthy father protects his family emotionally. He keeps his emotions in check-- and though he has a full range of feelings, he doesn't allow those feelings to take over (e.g., he isn't reactive or raging, his isn't moody and he doesn't take his feelings out on those around him).
A healthy father also nurtures the feelings, thoughts and needs of his children (and wife). He is able to respect their feelings and make sure his children and wife feel respected and heard. This makes him an emotionally safe and protective person.
A healthy father is mentally protective. He sets boundaries with things outside of the family that interfere with the family system running smoothly. He listens to what the family unit needs and makes sure that he follows through with saying no to things that interfere with this. He is a leader.
Do you recognize any of these characteristics in your own father?
I hope you are able to celebrate father's day with your Dad this year-- Father's are such an important part of the family! Happy Father's Day to all of the Dads out there!
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.
This week of Father’s Day, Teri has written about engagement and Tamara has written about teaching and modeling. Another essential skill for healthy fathers is communication. Communication with children can be challenging, but it is so important. Now, it is okay if it does not come easily. You may have not been modeled good fatherly communication, or you may not know how or what to say to children. There are no scripts or recipes for communication in a family. Each parent is unique and what may work for some fathers may not work for you. Characteristic # 3 Healthy Communication
Many people remember their fathers yelling, or not having much to say at all. Healthy fathers make sure that their communication is not only discipline. Communication grows from engagement and getting to know your children. You have to be present to learn their language. Children communicate in many ways, not just words. It is the healthy father that learns to listen to how the kids communicate. Make sure you use kind words, when expressing your feelings. Tell the kids how you feel about them. Tell them what you love about them, what you miss about them while you are away, and what you look forward to doing with them in the future. Let them know what your values are as a family and what your expectations are of them.
Men are not famous for communicating well with words. Good thing we communicate in many other ways, so if words are not your thing, that is okay! Healthy fathers can let someone know how important they are just by how they look at them, pay attention to them, and move toward them. Our bodies are just as expressive as our words. You can deliver a message with just a glance or a loving touch of comfort.
Most importantly healthy fathers know that consistency in communication is key. Children need to know what to expect from you every day. You may not communicate like the children’s mother, but children can learn that parents are different and that is okay. What is important is that you communicate in a loving caring way that is natural for you.
Remember, your children are listening, even when you don’t think they are. They are expert repeaters and will learn to communicate from you. Model and teach the kind of communication you want from your children.
Happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there. Thanks for stopping by!
Written by Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT
Alexa Griffith, LMHC, LCAC, NCC, RPT is a licensed therapist and Registered Play Therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Alexa enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Alexa also does play therapy, family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield
Father's Day is coming up this Sunday! Last month we wrote about characteristics of a healthy mother, so now it is time to do the same for fathers. I know this day can be exciting for some as they celebrate fatherhood, while for others it can be painful due to loss of a father, having a difficult relationship with a father, or having difficulty because you haven't become a dad.
Regardless of your feelings on Father's Day, we thought it would be helpful to write about traits to help you understand what a healthy dad looks like. We know this can bring up mixed feelings of gratitude or heartache depending on your relationship with your own father, and/ or how you have parented your own kids. We hope this will offer direction and hope in all of your relationships!
Characteristic #1: A Healthy Father Is Engaged and Present
Our society gives too much opportunity for distraction and pressure for men to be torn away from family. High demanding jobs that require extra work from home, technology that sucks you in, and difficulty balancing time in all areas of life can make it hard to be an engaging dad.
A healthy father, even if he is busy, sets aside time to be engaged with his family. When he is there, he is present. His attention is on his family by playing, talking, making eye contact, and asking questions. He makes the most of the little time he might get at home to be fully there when he is.
Healthy fathers get involved. They take initiative to be at events or part of them. They know what is going on and aren't always left in the dark with what is happening in their children's lives.
He embraces the tiny slices of time he gets with his kids because he knows that he could miss an opportunity as time flies by. Steven Curtis Chapman sings about this in his song "Cinderella" (which makes me cry every time I hear it!). In the song he gives examples throughout the life of his daughter's life when she has asked him to dance, and he's stopped to do it. Here's the first verse and chorus:
"She spins and she sways to whatever song plays without a care in the world And I'm sitting here wearing the weight of the world on my shoulders
It's been a long day and there's still work to do She's pulling at me saying "Dad, I need you there's a ball at the castle And I've been invited and I need to practice my dancing Oh, please, Daddy, please?"
So I will dance with Cinderella while she is here in my arms 'Cause I know something the prince never knew Oh, I will dance with Cinderella I don't want to miss even one song 'Cause all too soon the clock will strike midnight And she'll be gone..."
No matter what the distractions in life, a healthy father takes a moment to put it all aside and connect with his children. He makes his family a priority and shows it by being engaged and present at any chance he gets.
Check in all week for more great examples of healthy fathers and Happy Father's Day to all of you dad's out there!
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.