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Welcome to DAY ONE of the 30-Day Challenge: How To Be a Better Father. I am extremely excited to continue the trend of completing different monthly challenges, as I did with the most recent 30-day weight loss challenge. Each month I focus on a distinct area of my life in which I would like to improve.
This month I am working on how to be a better father, and more importantly, how to be a better single father. I intend to do so by decreasing my stress, working on my parenting skills, improving my relationship with my kids, and being more appreciative, thankful, and happier. Each day I will implement one new idea, concept, or strategy that will allow me to accomplish this monthly goal.
Today, I will examine the power of saying YES to your kids and discuss in detail how it will make me a better dad.
The Power of Saying YES to Your Kids
As a single dad to three school-aged children, it is easy for me to get caught up in the multiple stresses of parenting and life. It is a daily occurrence in my house to see any one or more of the following things happening with my kids; bickering, fighting, yelling, running, interrupting, throwing shit, not listening, and demanding my attention by yelling “dad” seven or eight times in a row! Don’t get me wrong, generally, my kids are great kids. They are kind, loving, and thankful. They are amazing. However, they are kids. Situations can get stressful, and sometimes I don’t react the way that I believe I should.
I find myself saying “NO” far too many times in any given day, and I realize that this is having a negative impact on my relationship with my kids. I don’t want them to think of me as a negative person, and if I continually respond negatively, then this is exactly what will happen.
Positive thinking is more than just a tagline. It changes the way we behave. And I firmly believe that when I am positive, it not only makes me better, but it also makes those around me better.”Harvey Mackay – 5 Steps to Develop a Positive Mindset
So, this month, I will respond YES, much more frequently. I will ALWAYS respond YES when asked the following:
- Can you play with me?
- Can I wear this?
- Can I stay up late?
- Can I play outside?
- Can I help you with that?
I will be restrictive on my YES answers when it comes to the safety and well being of my children. I believe allowing them to endanger themselves or their siblings would be irresponsible on my part. I will also continue to be diligent with the three areas of their life that I am passionate about instilling good values.
- Teaching them about making good food choices.
- Moderating their screen time.
- Ensuring they complete their daily routines, chores, and homework.
Overall, the goal with “Yes Parenting” is for parents to do everything they can to ensure that their kids learn that they are capable human beings. They don’t want their kids to be afraid of trying new things—that making mistakes is normal and healthy. They want them to explore the world around them in an unrestricted way.Very Well Family
I began this initiative today and the immediate impact has been rather surprising.
The atmosphere in the household was much more positive today, and I felt better about myself in general. Here are a few of the benefits that I realized on DAY ONE of this monthly challenge concerning saying YES more often and avoiding the negativity of always saying NO.
We Spent More Quality Time Together
Instead of getting frustrated that I was being taken away from my current task at hand each time one of the kids called out, “DAD,” I embraced it. I engaged myself in the request and generally was able to turn it into more quality time. We played more games than usual and spent more time together. If you want to know how to be a better dad, start by just saying YES!
I Had More Fun Today
The first instance of stress today occurred early, around 10am, when the kids were running back and forth from one side of the living room to the other. Usually, I would yell out, “no running in the house!” But, I avoided the temptation and decided to take a different direction. I immediately stopped doing what I was doing, stormed over to the running children, and yelled out… “WHO WANTS A PIGGYBACK RIDE?” This started about 30 minutes of fun and games. I no longer was frustrated about the running in the house because I just decided to sidetrack the chaos and include myself in the fun.
I Realized How Much I Usually To Tell Them NO
I had the urge frequently throughout the day to tell them NO, and to stop doing certain things, but each time I refrained. At the end of the day, I came to the stark realization that I had that urge way too many times.
The Kids Felt More Empowered
Many times throughout the day the kids were visibly surprised that I said yes so liberally. This gave them the confidence that could make great decisions and empowered them to navigate through their day without my constant approval (or disapproval). I was no longer constantly asking myself how to be a great dad, and I noticed that the kids seemed happier today as well.
I Discovered Alternative Ways To Say YES (when I really wanted to say NO)
There were other times during the day that some of the kids’ behavior bothered me. Instead of jumping right to saying no, I was able to be creative in my response to still get my point across. When my son was jumping wildly on the couch (a behavior that is forbidden for safety reasons, as well as, I don’t want my couch broken reasons), I handled it differently. Here is how the situation would have normally gone.
Me: “Stop! How many times do I have to tell you not to jump on the couch?”
Him: “But I like jumping. It’s fun.”
Me: ” I said NO. Please stop!! You are going to get hurt.”
Him: (still jumping) “I am not going to get hurt.”
Me: “Go to your room!”
Here is how I handled it yesterday…
Me: “Dude, you have a ton of energy, that’s awesome, let’s find something else active for you to do. Do you want to go outside and ride your scooter with me?”
Crisis averted. The best part is that I am not left asking myself how to be a better dad when my son storms off to his room screaming that he hates me. This strategy can work with all sorts of scenarios. If your kids are doing something that normally frustrates you, or if they ask you for something that is hardly reasonable, refrain from immediately responding “no.” Instead, always respond yes, with a qualifier or a caveat attached. Here are some examples.
Q. Can I eat cake for dinner?
A. Yes, as long as you eat some healthy foods with it. Would you like broccoli or carrots with your meatloaf and cake?
Q. Can I have a huge party for my birthday?
A. Yes. That sounds like a lot of work, so I will need your help to plan it, decorate, and send out the invitations. How does that sound?
Q. Can I stay up late tonight?
A. Yes, as long as your chores are done and your room is clean. How about an extra half hour of playtime before bed?
Today I also realized that striving for perfection as a father or constantly wondering how to be a great dad isn’t feasible. I am already a great dad. However, I strive to be a better dad for my kids and to appreciate the process more. The journey of fatherhood is a continuous learning process, and I aspire to enjoy each and every moment of it.
I intend to continue this strategy throughout the month, as my first leap into the 30-Day Become a Better Father Challenge. A new article on my quest to become a better father will post live here on the blog each day, with a new idea or strategy that will hopefully help me become the best dad that I can be.
I will also be writing a weekly check-in article with updates on my progress on ALL previously implemented ideas because it is not possible to judge the successes of any newly implemented idea or strategy after just one day. Please join me in the process by leaving me a comment below, or on any of my social media pages. Thanks for reading, and I will see you guys tomorrow.