Dads - What Family Legacy Are You Passing On to Your Children?

Do you want to create a deeper, more loving relationship with your child?

To begin, you can learn from your own father:

Whether you consider him to have been a good father or not, you can use your experience to become a better parent to YOUR children.

Patterns of behavior are often passed on unconsciously from one generation to the next. By becoming aware of those patterns in your family, you can make a conscious decision about which ones to pass on to YOUR children.

Ask yourself: what did your father do that strengthened your feeling of connection with him and made you feel loved and safe and appreciated?

Take a few minutes and think about those things. (Even if there weren't many, at least acknowledge what he did right.)

Write them down, and add to the list as you think of more.

Now here is the value of this exercise:

By doing those things yourself, you will strengthen the connection with your own child.

Did your dad have a way of greeting you that made you feel special?

Did he spend time with you? What did you do together?

Did he let you help him? Did he teach you how to do the things he did?

Think about how you can use those memories to nurture your relationship with your own child?

Now here is the tough part - (but your relationship with your child is worth looking at this):

What did your father do that pushed you away or made you feel shut out or inadequate or unloved.

I am not trying to open old wounds or cause you discomfort. I am hoping to help you avoid passing on those mistakes.

Make a list of those things as well.

Was it the way he spoke to you?

Was it that he was sometimes in a bad mood and that mood filled the whole house?

Did he discipline in a cruel way that made you feel fear or resentment?

No matter what your father did, you have the choice to follow the same pattern or to raise your children in a better way.

Look at your list.

Now think about what you can do to avoid making the same mistakes.

How can you speak to your child that will invite her rather than shut her out?

How can you create an atmosphere in your home that is welcoming and safe?

How can you discipline your child in a way that assures him that he is okay and you still love him?

You can learn from your own experience and give your child the things that you needed and did not get from your father.

Use your memories - not to be bitter and angry, but to become the best father you can be .

You now have the opportunity to create GOOD memories for YOUR child.

So how can you be the best father possible?

The answer is really simple: Just give your child the best of yourself.

Ask yourself - what do I have to share with my child?

Well here's a hint:

?your love and your time and your ideas and your unique, funny way of looking at the world and your love - oh did I say that already?

?and your wisdom - yes - you have a lot of wisdom - and your child will help you to tap into it more than you anything else in your life.

Oh, and did I say your love?

Use your love in everything you do.

Every time you talk with your child, do it in a way that is gentle and affirming - in a way that says, "I treasure you."

I am not suggesting that you let your child manipulate you or that you give into his every demand.

In fact, you do have a responsibility to set limits and provide guidance.

But today we are talking about your RELATIONSHIP - how you feel about each other and interact with each other.

You can create a relationship that is loving and safe and peaceful.

Isn't that the kind of family legacy you would like to pass on to your children and grandchildren?

Pat and Larry Downing have many years of experience counseling teenagers and their parents, conducting family mediations and leading workshops and support groups. They are co-authors of the e-Book, Feel Good Parenting: How to Use the Power of Your Heart to Create an Extraordinary Relationship with Your Child."

For a free e-book, "How to Get the Best from Your Children," and for more information on how to create harmonious relationships with your children, you may go to: http://www.feelgoodparenting.com

© 2005 Patricia Downing

PERMISSION TO REPUBLISH: This article may be republished in newsletters and on websites, provided you include ALL the above information about the authors, as it appears, including copyright information and live website link.

In The News:

Allens puts parenting above profit in leave policy  The Australian Financial Review
How Children Evolved to Whine  The New York Times
Parenting on the spectrum  KFDX - Texomashomepage.com
Co-parenting help needed  The Daily Herald
Open-access parenting programme shows promise  University of Cape Town News

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