I get frustrated and angry at my kids a lot.
Sometimes it’s even the tiniest and most insignificant thing that can set me off. Like one of them stepping on the back of my shoe while we’re walking through the shops or down the street.
And it’s during these moments of frustration and anger that the thought of how “better” and “easier” it would be without kids sometimes crosses my mind.
It’s a selfish thought. A thought that I never vocalise.
Why do I get so worked up so easily? I don’t even think I know the answer to that question. But it’s something that I have come to realise that I need to work on.
I am starting to learn that a father, to his partner and children, is a powerful presence. And that can be powerful for good or bad.
It is very easy to forget that from a child’s perspective, a father is a physical threat if he is not committedly gentle, respectful of personal space and avoids completely the use of loudness or an overbearing manner.
Because of my tendency to get frustrated and angry easily, avoiding the use of loudness or an overbearing manner is something that I feel I have failed at throughout my journey through fatherhood.
It is an almost impossible task to try and completely avoid the use of loudness. Every single parent out there will know that shouting is something we all do on impulse, and occasionally, it’s needed to get a child to take notice.
But what I’m beginning to understand, is the impact that shouting from a father has on a child. I’ve seen the eyes of my own children sometimes widen with a twinkle of fear when I have reverted to shouting or loudness as a parenting technique. And in those moments, it’s not satisfaction I feel, it’s sadness.
Sadness that for a moment it was almost as though my own child was scared of me because of how loud and booming my voice was.
A world-renowned family therapist and author mentions that if you must shout at your child, do so with your eyes open. See the child. As soon as your child shows, by a widening of the eyes the slightest flicker that they are getting the message, then ease off. Make your voice quieter. Ask if they understand what you are telling them. If they will change. And then let it go.
That is of course, if you must shout at all.
I know that I get easily frustrated. And I know that I revert to shouting and loudness a little to quickly to get my message across.
What I also know, is that I don’t want to live in a home where my children feel like daddy is always angry and is always shouting at them.
This is something I’ve been getting wrong. This is something I need to change.
So I am going to work damn hard on changing myself. Changing me. Because through all the frustrating times and thoughts of how much “better” I think things would be without kids in those moments, I also know that I wouldn’t change having kids for the sun, the moon or the earth.
Things are perfect. And I need to remember that.