Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare(), called in /home3/jboone99/public_html/wp-content/themes/canvas/functions/admin-functions.php on line 772 and defined in /home3/jboone99/public_html/wp-includes/wp-db.php on line 1291
Tips and Ideas for Dads and Families - Part 3

Dads, are we Teaching Our Kids to be Stressed?

Stressed Out? Can you trace back to your childhood how you developed your coping mechanism for stressful situations? According to a new study, if that mechanism has something to do with your dad, you are in good company.

This particular study, presented at the annual convention of the American Psychological Association, examined relationships between fathers and their children and how those relationships affected how those children dealt with stress as adults.

For men, especially, there seems to be a strong connection. Those who had positive relationships with their dads became better equipped to deal with the stress of everyday life than those who did not remember their dads in a positive way – either through a negative relationship or no relationship at all.

The study also revealed that it is not enough that the father simply be present in the child’s life, but that he needs to be actively involved. In other words, if dad is taking time to play games with and have heart-to-heart talks with the kids, the comfort level that results seems to carry over to a more stable approach for the kids later in life.

The study did not see the same connection with girls and their dads. With girls having specifically female issues growing up, they naturally seek out other females and learn more of their coping skills from them and their mother than from dad.

Men, however, learn almost all of their coping skills from their father. When dad is not around, the child is at a severe disadvantage.

For those dads who grew up without a dad, there’s a chance to reverse the trend. For those with a situation like mine, it’s also an opportunity for positive change.

I grew up with a great dad. He really loved and cared about me and was proud I was his son. He loved showing me off, even though we really didn’t share a lot of the same interests. He also wanted the very best for me, or certainly better than he had it. Those are all good things. But in the process, I felt a constant pressure that I wasn’t good enough. He’d point out my mistakes for the purpose of having me learn, but I felt that if I wasn’t perfect at anything and everything I’d get yelled at, or, worse yet, would be letting him down.

I still feel that pressure decades later, and although I think it’s good to have drive and a competitive spirit, I think the stress caused by the impossible quest to be perfect has also taken its toll on me. I don’t enjoy life as much as I should. And while I am trying to correct that approach within myself, I also have to check myself often when I begin to put that same old pressure on my sons.

The study added that the majority had a better relationship with mom than with dad growing up, and definitively more men than women fit into that category. That makes sense, too. I had far more heart-to-heart talks with mom than with dad simply because I was afraid I would say something wrong to my dad.

And, of course, those of the nearly one thousand surveyed who had a good relationship with both parents tended to have fewer stressful incidents in life. The presence of positive male influences or mentors where fathers were absent made a difference as well.

We dads are very lucky to own that title. No matter what has happened in our past, we need to raise up our sons to be leaders of their generation, and, if we have the opportunity, we need to seek out the fatherless and grant them the opportunity to thrive as well.

A mentor of mine once told me I’d be a lot less stressed and more fulfilled if instead of pursuing perfection I would simply pursue excellence.

SOURCES: Melanie Mallers, assistant professor, Ph.D., California State University at Fullerton; Louise Silverstein, Ph.D., psychology professor, Yeshiva University, Bronx, N.Y.; American Psychological Association, annual convention, San Diego, Aug. 12, 2010

Read full storyComments { 2 }

Weekly Roundup: Surprises, Stars, Savings

A quick follow-up on some previous posts:

*On the Teachable Moment – the kids came through even better than I thought they would. Not only did they sell things at the yard sale to earn money, but they also decided to save the money, not attend Star Wars Celebration V, and spend time with their friends at home instead. I was impressed. When kids choose saving over spending and friends over their own personal indulgence, that’s pretty cool!

*On the Perseids – I have plenty of friends who got to see plenty of shooting stars the other night. As for myself and my family, we saw a few but had to get out of town to see them, regretted not bringing the insect repellant, and spent two days recovering from Perseid-lag from being up til 4:30. The cool thing? It was fun being together and it provided fodder for another memorable family story to be retold for years to come.

*On Back to School Sales and Tax-Free Holidays – I hope you have gotten some bargains. Our tax free weekend is happening right now. Since our two boys are being homeschooled this year, we didn’t have to pick up much, but did get plenty of materials we are using in the home office for a marketing campaign. Happy shopping!

*And, finally, a feature I’d like to add every Saturday when we kind of wrap up the week – a freebie designed especially for dads. This particular freebie just passed on Thursday, but it is a yearly event, so plan ahead for next year if you like baseball and live in the Quad Cities area. According to the team’s web site fans had the chance to show their loyalty to the River Bandits by having a free tattoo of a River Bandits logo permanently inked to a visible part of their body, drawn free of charge by Bill’s Garage Tattoo Emporium. All fans receiving their permanent Bandit tattoos will be able to show their tattoo at the box office anytime during the remainder of the 2010 season and all of the 2011 season for a free berm ticket at any home game. This promotion has previously garnered national attention from ESPN: The Magazine and over 70 fans participated in the first two seasons the promotion was presented. Now that’s loyalty!

Read full storyComments Off on Weekly Roundup: Surprises, Stars, Savings