I am a broken Dad, but that does not mean I can’t be fixed.
I would feel better if I were fun to be around all the time, instead I generally feel like a grumpy old man.
Sometimes the kids’ behavior scares me to the point of shutting down and leaving a fine mess for someone else to clean up.
Sometimes I yell even when I know that it won’t do any good, ’cause for a second it seems to relieve the stress–but mainly because I don’t know what else to do.
My wife has tried to help me, but I refused to believe that I was the one broken.
We have some friends with kids from hard places that try to help too, but they are busy with their own challenges.
[An online group] helps, but the sheer number of posts can be overwhelming to sort through.
In a lot of ways I am as emotionally stunted as my kids. So I work on glad, sad, mad and scared only.
Parenting is always a work in progress, because what works today might not work tomorrow.
Being a Dad takes work and I’m not afraid of work. And being a Dad takes a lot of practice.
Sometimes being a Dad means you’re lost; especially when it comes to dealing with sad and mad and scared.
And it is just because I am a Dad that means it is my job to fix things, but kids/people aren’t things and neither are emotions.
I can stay broken or decide to change.
In many ways staying broken is easier, but it doesn’t help my kids in any way.
Staying broken means my wife has to shoulder the entire burden of parenting and that isn’t fair to her or the kids.
So yesterday I tried something new–I asked for help.
I told [OneFlawedDad] I was a broken Dad.
I told him about the death of my father when I was only 4.
I told him on the night he died my grandfather told me 2 things: boys don’t cry and that I was the man of the house.
I told him 2 years later I was present when my grandfather died and heard him crying in pain in the very next room.
I told him that a stepdad had been physically and emotionally abusive to me, but that was crap I had little direct knowledge of.
To sum it up my role models made me believe that–
Men fix things without help, never cry or show emotions.
Yep I am a broken Dad, but I won’t let that stop me from being better than my role models.
Yep I am a broken Dad that accepts my past.
I am a broken Dad that will help my kids from the hard places.
I know what the hard places look like and I want them to have more joy, more smiles and a better Dad than I have been.
I have noticed that not very many Dads post here, perhaps they are like me-broken, grumpy and scared.
Or maybe they have shut down because they are unable to find solutions.
If you’re a Dad reading this I don’t have many answers for you–mainly more questions.
Would you like to see your kids smile more?
Could you use less tantrums in your life?
Should you be more patient?
Do you love your kids enough to get help for yourself?
Then start asking for more help. Read some books on parenting. Watch some videos that will help you with your responses to your kids.
I would like to give a Big Shout Out to [OneFlawedDad] for his help and support and another Big Shout Out to Sandy* who has been right so very often.
From a broken Dad on the mend. Peace.
*name changed to protect anonymity