One of the greatest gifts life has to offer is being a parent, and the pride and joy we feel as fathers are insurmountable. As our children grow, so does our love and concern for their well-being and—perhaps the most crucial goal of parenthood—our desire to see them truly happy.
We all have friends and co-workers on Facebook, who post amazing photos traveling to exotic places, eating fantastic foods, and meeting amazing people—they look so happy and carefree that it’s hard not to feel like you’re missing out! Although parenting often seems less glamorous, nothing creates a more profound sense of purpose or puts life into perspective than raising a child.
We, fathers, are lucky to have this gift of awareness—who has time for “selfies,” when you have to help with homework and get dinner on the table?
Fathers know that keeping track of daily activities—work, play, relationships, parenting, household chores—requires solid routines. At Gululu, we are firm believers in the power of healthy habits, and we strive to instill them in children from an early age.
Today, Father’s Day, our Gululu family wants to remind fathers to not slip into “autopilot” mode with these five essential tips to becoming a better listener:
1) Pay attention: Our kids are often teeming with excitement and want to talk about everything. It may not seem important, but to them it is essential. As busy as life gets, this is the time to let them know you are listening and they have your full attention.
2) Don’t be too quick to fix: It’s so easy to offer solutions to your child’s problem, but teaching them problem-solving skills will help them as they grow up. When your child shares something with you, try not to share your opinion immediately. Give them positive feedback, convey genuine interest in their ideas, and try to validate their feelings by just being present and listening.
3) It’s okay to be sad or angry sometimes: Wanting to make someone you love feel better is natural. Although our intentions are good, redirecting focus to happier thoughts can teach them not to confront unpleasant emotions. It’s important to help your child open up and deal with both positive and negative feelings. Sometimes all they need is for you to listen and offer them a hug. It may be helpful to give them some time and space to calm down and gather their thoughts before you try and get all the details.
4) Be aware of nonverbal cues: Many messages children send are communicated through other means than just their words— their tone of voice, facial expressions, energy level, posture, changes in behavior patterns—it’s important to “listen” to all of these.
5) Keep the secret: If your child feels comfortable sharing a “secret” with you, even if it seems trivial, try to keep it to yourself. Having emotional stories that are held just between the two of you can reinforce your child’s confidence in your bond and make her or him more likely to be open with you in the future.
Raising children is tough, but it’s an experience that dwarfs any other; as parents, we get to understand love on an entirely new level. And, yes, this journey may not always offer breathtaking views to share on social media, but it’s one that guides us to true fulfillment and happiness.
From all of us at Gululu,
Happy Fathers’ Day!
P.S. Don't forget to share your favorite Father's Day activities with us on our Facebook!