Raising children will be the hardest job you will ever do and often fathers do not have a guide as to how this is done. The expectations on fathers have also greatly increased in modern times, so that simply looking at the model of your own father is often judged as not good enough. Fathers are expected to be as loving and nurturing as mothers, as well as being the bread winner and the coach. It can feel really overwhelming.
Fathers often use “distractions” to deal with inner pain. The “distractions” exist like never before: social media, news, round-the-clock business emails, pornography, sexting, sports on TV, alcohol and prescription drugs, are all methods used to blunt inner pain and distract oneself from stress and anxiety of being a father in the modern world. The best way to know what your child needs is to be present and aware. When a father is using distractions, he cannot know what his child is communicating or what his child requires. Not developing the connection and attachment with his child leads to not having much influence as that child gets older. An early investment in creating a healthy attachment with your child will pay off in dividends when the child is a teenager and still cares about what you think and what your perspective is.
Any insecurity you possess will be brought out when you have children of your own. Many fathers are living with unhealed childhood traumas. When a trauma occurs and you don’t receive the proper support to get through it, you get stuck. You get stuck and the emotional part of you stops growing. To prevent further hurt a hard shell begins to develop around your heart. The shell is there to protect you, but it also stops you from living your life to the fullest and being the father you know you were meant to be. Instead, you become a wounded child living inside of a shell, only pretending that you are an adult who knows what to do. When you are not emotionally mature you are not in touch with your inner guidance system. Your inner guidance system is indispensable in being an effective father.
Your family is an interconnected “ecosystem,” a biosphere where everything and everyone is connected to everyone else. I have a very strong connection with my son and I notice the interconnectedness intensely. When I am distracted and don’t pay attention to him, he acts out. When I am calm, he is calm. When my husband and I are having an argument, he creates some kind of distraction to dissipate the tension. It is very clear and easy to see that what is energetically occurring inside of me or his dad has an intense impact on him. When I am tired and just want to rest, that is precisely when he needs more of me and wants to play.
Knowing and understanding these dynamics I can create more of the parenting situation that I want. I can prepare myself. For example, I know that “transition times” are often the most difficult and vulnerable times. These are the times meltdowns happen. So I prepare by taking the time to calm myself before my son comes home, by taking a moment to relax, breathe, and get centered.
For many fathers there is a disconnect between what is going on emotionally with them and what is going on with their child. There is a lack of understanding that the two are in a symbiotic interconnected dance, much like the child was in the womb with the mother. This is exacerbated when a father did not receive correct parenting himself. The father may be a little child inside who never emotionally matured, sitting scared inside of his shell, hoping that if he hides out long enough or lashes out in anger the danger will pass.
When the father is stuck in his emotional development due to an adverse childhood event or trauma, it can be extremely difficult to know what to do with his child. He often will resort to either what his father did or the exact opposite, without having much of a clue of what the child actually needs.
The child, when in a state of fear, will often trigger in his father an immature response that comes from his unhealed childhood wounds. For some fathers this may be their teenager challenging their authority by speaking up in a way that he never would have dared to, for another it may be feeling displaced by the attention his infant son is receiving from his wife.
Preparing to be an Effective Father
One of the best things you can do to prepare for having children is to make sure your inner child is emotionally grown up and mature. If you already have children, then you should embark upon a process of healing and “growing up” your inner self. Growing up your inner self involves becoming the “Good Parent” that you have always wanted for your Inner Self, and giving yourself the nurturing and love you had always wanted to receive.
When you are tuned into your child’s true nature, you use your Inner Guidance to know how to respond to situations, with the result being that you often receive much more cooperation from your child. For example, when your child starts to show signs of agitation, get down to the child’s eye level and look at her and ask, “What is causing you so much stress?” Your child will feel immediately validated and you can change the pattern from struggling to cooperation. Children naturally want to please you and when you are more tuned into what is going on with them because you have taken the time to take care of your Inner Self, you will see that cooperation flow.
Fathers who have not healed their own childhood traumas often have their self-esteem tied to their child and how their child behaves or what their child achieves. If their child is “good,” they feel good. If their child is acting out, they feel like they are a bad parent. Once you have connected to the voice of your own “Good Parent,” inside you can take care of your own needs yourself, so that you are no longer seeking validation from your child. Here is a link to my blog on “self-talk,” which describes this process in more detail: http://www.amateinstituteboulder.com/self-talk-simple-use-tool-end-depression/
Children can become stuck in emotional growth not through any kind of purposeful harm or trauma on the parent’s part, but due to a misunderstanding of a child’s innate energetic blueprint. It is much easier to tune into your child’s energy when you are not fighting your own internal demons and you can be present and aware in “the now” instead of distractedly trying to deal with your own pain.
When you tune into your child’s true nature and understand it on an energetic level you will honor and support your child and eliminate much of the tantrums and need for discipline you may have experienced in the past. When you have cleared yourself from your own emotional issue, you will be able to tune into your child much more effectively and understand the unique needs he or she is communicating to you. Once the needs are communicated and understood and your own stuff is not in the way, you will be able to give your child what she need to continue to grow.
Change the world one child at a time
As an adult who has grown himself up, you will be able to truly raise children that become emotionally mature adults. This will change the world one child, one person at a time. Imagine a world where people are not trying to use each other to get their needs met through manipulation and coercion. Visualize a world where each person thinks about how he can contribute, instead of what he can get or what he is not getting from others to fill the emptiness inside.
Healing through Amate Growth Work
Many of you will think, well, I did not receive the love and support I needed to grow as a child. I still feel like a child myself and here I am, a father. Is it too late? No, it is never too late to grow yourself up. Through Amate Growth Work, it is possible to heal that Inner Child and grow him up into a healthy Inner Self. This Inner Self who is loved and nurtured by you! An Inner Self who is able to get his needs met in a healthy way and who knows how to nurture and love himself. When you love yourself, then there is an overabundance of love and nurturance for your child. Then you are able to be present with your child and you don’t need distractions to feel good. This healthy Inner Self is guided by an inner compass called Inner Guidance. Your Inner Guidance will be what you rely on to make decisions about how to raise your child.
Amate Growth Work is a comprehensive personal growth program where you learn to heal those traumas and adverse events in your childhood where you got stuck growing emotionally. Getting stuck happens when you did not feel enough love and security to continue to take the emotional risks necessary for future growth. Going through the program and healing your own Inner Child is one of the best ways to prepare to be a father. In the process called “Inner Work,” you literally learn to re-parent yourself. And what you find is that your Inner Guidance is there all along and you know exactly what your Inner Child needed in order to be able to grow up into a healthy adult who is capable of taking care of himself and others, a creative being who is able to lead a life of fulfillment and true peace, and be the effective father he always imagined himself capable of being.
Once this ability to care for yourself is established, it is much less threatening to take on the role of father. For example when a child triggers some frustration in you by refusing to do what you have said, you recognize that what is actually triggered in you is the time when you were little and you had no voice in your family – what you said did not matter. After undergoing Amate Growth Work, one can recognize the childhood trauma being stirred up in yourself and you are able to tend to the Inner Self and give him the love and validation that he is seeking. You can then turn to your child and see the little being who so much needs to be understood and validated by you. The little being in front of you is no longer a threat to your authority and thus to the very core of your identity. You see the child for who she is, and recognize that she has needs that need to be met and validated. You are on your way to being an engaged and effective father!
To learn more about the Amate Growth Work personal growth program and how it can help you become the effective father you had always hoped to be contact Dr. Eva A. Malanowski, Psy.D. at 303-242-7824 for a free consultation.