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Tuesday, 23 July 2013 19:17

Will and Kate, 5 Things I wish My Father Had Told Me….. You’re Welcome!

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Now that Will and Kate’s bundle of joy has arrived, I’d like to share with them five things I wish my father had told me about parenthood. Incidentally, if you’re not destined for the throne, worry not; this advice applies to royals and commoners alike.


1. The Investment that Keeps on Giving. This is your chance to be the Mum and the Dad, not just the Mother and Father. We all know parents who in their early parenting years were hands off, disengaged, or expected someone else to do the heavy lifting, and when their children became adults they complained about “the lack of a connection” with them. Invest in your child now, be there physically whenever possible and always be emotionally present, loving and engaged. Children have elephant-like memories and clearly remember what, when, and how you invested your time in them and will repay you handsomely by having you active in their adult lives because they want you there, not because they need you.

2. Embrace the "Whys." One of the qualities you want to encourage early on in his development is curiosity. While curiosity in the toddler years can be trying on your patience, that does not mean you should suppress it. I learned this during that wonderful stage known as the “terrible twos.” Increased toddler self-awareness often comes across as defiance, but you’ll realize that much of the mischievousness is actually driven by curiosity. As he grows and begins to find his voice, you’ll be delighted by how engaged he’ll become with the world around him. He’ll be asking you, “Why?” about nearly everything. Now, this can be quite annoying to a busy parent, but remember how important these questions were to you when you were a child. Take the time to answer his questions in ways that will be meaningful to his unique perspective. Value his curiosity and know that if properly cultivated, it will serve him well throughout his life.

3. Children are Master Negotiators at birth and they improve their technique with age. I will caveat by saying this doesn’t mean that they are skilled negotiators – perhaps the more accurate description is schemers. I say this without any malicious intent but think about it. You've seen the baby that starts with a frown, which turns to a would-be smile, which turns to a quivering chin before it turns to a cry. As they get older, their scheming ways become creative and clever so alert parents get to enjoy them, while others fall for them. As teenagers they lose all reason and it is all about you not understating, not knowing anything, not being cool and the such. But do not fret because if you held your ground firmly, reasoned with them, and yielded into their tactics as little as possible, when they become adults you will become smarter, more understanding, more knowing and certainly, more cool.

4. Lead Your Child by Your Example and Mentor Him. Realize that your job isn't to know everything, but simply to teach your son what he needs to know. You are not his all-knowing messiah. You are his father and in a practical, but very real sense, his mentor. Effective mentorship requires confidence and humility. Yet so many parents today are hesitant to advise their children on what is right and wrong and how to make wise decisions. Don’t be that parent. Remember, a confident mentor is also humble enough to admit that he makes mistakes too, and believe me, you will make mistakes.

5. Have a Sense of Humor. God has a sense of humor, that’s why he blessed you with this child. You will soon understand the meaning of this when you find yourself scratching your head frequently, wondering why your child is doing what he is doing. The good news is that God gave you the same sense of humor as well. Use it. Don’t take yourself or parenthood too seriously. See it as the adventure that it is, and not as a blueprint according to which you have to execute. Laugh at yourself. Miraculously, laughter and lightheartedness will get you closer to your child.

This is my friendly advice. It worked for me and it will work for you. You just have to try it!

 

Chris Efessiou

About Chris Efessiou:  Chris Efessiou is an entrepreneur, business leader, educator, mentor, international speaker, radio show host, and best-selling author of CDO Chief Daddy Officer: The Business of Fatherhood  based on his own experience from raising his daughter as a single dad by applying his business knowledge to the business of parenting.  Listen to Chris’s weekly Radio Show Straight Up With Chris:  Real Talk on Business and Parenthood on Voice America Radio.  You may connect with Chris on Facebook, follow on Twitter and visit www.ChrisEfessiou.com

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