Recently, John Cowan was invited by Focus on the Family Singapore to share a few thoughts on fatherhood. This is what he had to say.
What would you say are the greater challenges parenting your kids? How did you or are you now handling them?
A challenge for me was staying involved. It was too easy to step back and just let me wife deal with everything to do with the kids – she was better at it and I suspected the kids liked her more too! To overcome it required –
- A belief that my role could be valuable.
- Negotiating with Naomi what I could be doing with the kids.
- Getting regular events with my kids into my diary and making them a priority.
Another challenge I know I had, and many dads wrestle with, is that many things in family life stir strong emotions, and all strong emotions seem to turn into anger. The thing that helped me handle my anger better was pausing. If I slowed down, I could often think of better responses than being grumpy and cross.
What would you say are the rewards of fatherhood for you?
My children are all young adults now, and the friendship I have with them and the pride I have in their progress is wonderful. When they were younger, there were many things I really enjoyed – cuddles, games, the fun. I loved it when they thought I knew things (that was before they were teenagers, obviously!). I loved how they got me into adventures with them – camping, fishing, swimming, holidays.
I really enjoyed being a kid again with them – going to kids movies (they are usually more enjoyable than adults’ movies), reading children’s books with them and going to playgrounds. And I enjoyed that these little people thought I was the best man in the world!
If you were to give one advice or word of encouragement to other dads, what would it be?
Love their mum! I know better men than I am whose marriages and relationships have gone sour and failed, and some of them are still being awesome dads too, but it is so much easier if you can do it as a team. Being able to observe love between parents gives kids a source of security, it’s the best socio-sexual education a child can get, and it recharges both of you to have the love and energy to give parenting your best.
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