It’s Father’s Day!
At this time of the year, I think about my performance as a dad, and, rather than writing about prostate problems, or more recently, COVID-19, or other health matters, I write about my thoughts on fathering.
I believe that my job as a father is the most important job I have.
Writing this post is similar to journaling for me and, I like to share it with you all.
Also, in no way am I shaming anyone on parenting. This is the hardest job in the world and it comes with no manual. These are my thoughts and my rules on raising kids.
I hope it helps.
Revisiting The 12 Rules on Raising Kids
For the past few years, I’ve written numerous “rules” on raising kids, especially teenage daughters, now 15 and 16 years old.
I have to say, the tragic stories I hear people talking about in raising teenage girls have not been part of my experience.
It might have been luck or an elegant combination of nature and nurture. Who knows.
I am proud of my girls and the women they are becoming.
Two years ago, I wrote these 12 rules for raising kids:
- Spend time with them.
- Kids have to play sports.
- Say “No” often.
- Play with your children.
- Have family dinner at least once a week
- See your kids every day.
- Saying “It’s not fair” is not allowed.
- No participation trophies or over worshipping.
- Acknowledge the effort, not the outcome.
- Let your kids fail.
- Know their friends.
- Be the man you want your daughter to marry.
I still stand by these 12 rules.
The Rules of Three on the Big Three
A year ago, I wrote on raising teenage daughters and discussed the rule of three, with regards to “the big three,” menstrual cycle (PMS), Hunger, or Tiredness:
- If you are one out of three, Talk less.
- If you are two out of three, don’t talk at all.
- If you are three out of three, leave the room.
The “Rule of Three” on “the big three” to raising teenage girls is a game-changer.
It is brutal being a teenage girl in this day in age, so what this does is have them develop self-awareness, so they are not overly reactive to external stimuli when they are “off” from any one or all of the big three.
Young girls are bombarded with all sorts of messages, all day, every day, on how they should look, feel, think, etc., and it’s just making them more insecure than ever.
So, what has changed since a year ago? What are the added rules this year?
Within the last year, my wife and I have focused on our teenage daughters even more. Why?
Because, as mentioned, teenage girls have it hard, and, as parents, we have only one shot at getting it right. Our window in having an impactful influence on our kids begins to close after the age of sixteen or so.
Don’t Try to Be a Perfect Father when having Three or More Kids
What about our young son? Yeah… at this point he’s just coming along for the ride.
I think it’s impossible to be perfect parents to all kids when you have three or more. One can argue being a perfect father is hard with one kid, imagine when parents are outnumbered? Yikes!
It’s an unrealistic and frustrating expectation for parents to try to do so.
But don’t worry, we make sure our son bathes and is fed, most days. :))
Back to thoughts on raising teenage girls…
Fix your Teenage Daughters Story
Along with them having self-awareness with “the big three,” the most important thing a father can do is figure out and fix their story every day.
Teenage girls tell themselves a story, every day, about who they are, how they look, how smart they are, etc., all influenced by social media and other digital platforms.
From that story, they are developing their beliefs about who they are – an identity. Once it becomes their beliefs become their identity, that is hard to change.
Also, the mental state they are in as they are interpreting all the inputs coming their way (which is influenced by the big three) will also have an impact on the beliefs they develop and how they see themselves.
Simple, daily questions like – how was your day today? How did it go with your friends? Anything new you learned today? How do you feel about yourself?– is helpful in starting the conversation.
If you don’t fix your teenage daughter’s story, they will absorb some else’s ideas and values and create a story based on that.
Teenage girls like to talk, but some patience is required before they do so. Be patient. And just go for it.
And that’s it!
The Father’s day takeaway this year is, figure out and fix your teenage daughter’s unhelpful story before they become a belief.