Fathers’ Day is upon us this weekend and all over the country and from all around the world, Dads will be receiving messages alongside the visits that will be taking place.
The media too have been full of stories about fathers and parenting. Some of these like the one about three-year-old Ethan who was required by a judge, very unusually, to live with his father rather than his mother was very personal. Others like the survey reported in last Sunday’s Observer showed that fathers whose couple relationships have broken down, spend more time with their sons than with their daughters. There is now also plenty of evidence around that parents in this generation, and fathers in particular, are giving greater priority to spending time with their children which is a marked change from where we were even 30 years ago.
All of which creates its own pressures and challenges. How do you, as a father, respond positively to this hope that your relationships with your children will have a greater depth to them than yours did as a child? How can you learn to be a good father when you may never have had a male in your life who provided much of a role model?
Perhaps it’s no surprise that more and more organisations – schools, health visitors, churches – are running parenting courses. Such groups are simply responding to the demand and the need that is out there.
Here at Coupleworks we are very used to working with these issues. We do not provide parenting courses but we do help couples and individuals, either in couple therapy or individual counselling, to explore the sort of parents they want to be and the struggles they face in doing that. Often this starts with thinking through their own experience of being parented – what they liked or didn’t and how they might want to do the same or differently.
With regard to being a father, we regularly provide counselling for those who have had challenging relationships with their own fathers. Quite often this presents itself from having one who was emotionally distant or perhaps domineering. Talking and working through their own experience of being parented, can then help men to become the sort of fathers they want to be.
None of us will ever be perfect parents – but most of us can make good enough ones – and here at Coupleworks we can help with that process. A willingness to work at being a ‘good enough Dad’ is a great place to start.