Saturday, 14 July 2012

More than just a stage

One of the most valuable lessons I've learnt as a Dad is that it's not my fault - and I don't have to fix it!

Kids go through stages, everyone knows that. We've had four - and with each one there's come a time when my wife and I have just looked at each other and reminded ourselves of their older sibling's behaviour at about the same age. Sure, some of the circumstances were different and the length of the stage has varied, but they all went through it - and they all came out the other side.

It's just a stage!

Some of the stuff kids go through is because they're learning to grow up or they're dealing with hormones. And sometimes it's just a part of life, in the same way adults have times and seasons. So the pressure's off, you don't have to fix them, but it is your job to help them through it.

I've learnt that a Dad's role is kinda like that of an athletics coach. You keep an eye on their mental and physical and even their spiritual condition. You check on their diet and training and technique, so they start strong and there's no looking back as they approach the finish line.

But you can't control the environment - and on the day of the big race, it's their choice whether or not they even get out of bed. They have to want the prize for themselves! With apologies to the bard, All the world's a stage, but it's up to me what I do with it...

In contrast, some of the worst advice I've been given was when I was proudly showing off my new baby, or even modestly extolling the attitude of an older child, and some doomsayer joy-killer says, "Mate, wait until they're (some age in the future)..."

My instant answer is still the same now as it was back then: "Yeah, I've heard they get better with age..." And as it turns out, I was right. Terrible twos? Bah, humbug! they're just testing their boundaries. Revolting teens? just adults in the making!

Going through a stage? Let me encourage you to hang in there and help them through it - if my kids are anything to go by, the prize will be worth the effort!

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