By Vaibhav Datar
As Father’s Day approaches, let us dive into embracing the moment of happiness, the challenges that we face daily and embrace the joy of being a proud father. From our child’s first cry, to their first date, a father’s kinship with his children is magnificent and thus unbreakable.
“Dad”…when yourself being called, you realise how much this means to you. You are the best role model and guide to your child, for their cognitive and social development, making them better people as you lead them into an optimistic future.
A great father is one who makes his and the family’s health a priority, works on sustaining a marriage and is financially responsible, while proving he’s the real deal during a crisis. It is a functional and level-headed approach in raising kids that provides security, both physically and emotionally.
Here are some aspects that can trigger a midlife crisis:
· The loss of job and the loss of pride
· Mental health issues
· Dealing with divorce
· Extra-marital affair
· Emotional crisis
· Boredom between you and your spouse
· Having to sell your flat or car due to financial loss
· Lack of good fund in child’s education
How a midlife crisis can affect parenting
Midlife issues can often spill over into family life, for men anywhere between 30s and 50s. Remember, despite experiencing the blues, you are still a father. Desist from hitting the panic button due to fear of failure and learn to ride the storm as best as you can, or get some expert help, if needed. A midlife crisis can often herald huge changes in behaviour and affect the relationship with your child.
Advice for fathers undergoing midlife crisis
· When parents are negatively absorbed in their own issues and conflicts, they are not spending quality time with their children, harbouring resentment in the little ones.
· Seeing their father mentally disturbed due to financial losses or loss of a job, some children may act sullen, become uncommunicative and withdrawn. Their grades may drop and physical appearances and personal hygiene may decline.
· Seeing their parents separating is tough for children and they may opt for self-medications (or indulge in drinking and smoking at an early age).
· If you have an extra-marital affair and if a child is aware of it, this will cause them to be distrustful of the opposite sex.
Five pillars of parenting
Father’s Day is a great opportunity to bridge any communication gap. Create an environment where you can mend the bond and build an emotional quotient which makes them feel happiness and abundance of love.
Plan a family trip
Planning a stress-free trip with your child is all you need. A vacation can have a positive impact on the relationship between you and your child. Conceptualise a long, unforgettable and adventurous destination which you can map out together. This will help both in developing a unique relationship and help in learning skills like how to work as a team, fabricating trust and understanding between each other.
Watch inspiring movies
There are several movies that have portrayed the father-son/father-daughter relationship in an exceptional manner where fathers get a chance to explain their current life situation, how much they love their children and always want the best for them. Indulge in a conversation with some delicious food to keep the environment positive and happy.
Introduce your child to the world of mindfulness
You can enroll together in activity-based meditation sessions or in a sport like tennis or gymnastics. A perfect meditation can help your child and you to start the day right. Teach them to focus and deal with difficult emotions through some mindfulness activities. The child will develop a positive nature towards you, knowing he or she is taken care of by you.
A parent plays many roles. A father can be a best-friend, counsellor, teacher and the best “therapist” a child can ever have. Get yourself busy with your child in some intellectual activities like reading books for two hours together daily or help your child in academics. Therapy sessions can focus on working toward an optimistic future, personality development and confidence building.
Be a role model for your child
A child looks up to the father for inspiration. Despite financial pressure and stress, he still makes time for family, inspiring them to grow. So fathers undergoing a midlife crisis, make time to be part of major family decisions. Even when you are preoccupied, attempt to stay calm and talk rationally. Your child will learning by watching you and feel protected by your actions and decision-making skills.
(The writer is a midlife coach author of Simplify Your Life.)