Next Tuesday we have Nigel Dixon here talking about the ever-changing challenge of fatherhood and motherhood. We thought you might like to hear from him this week as a sneak preview to what sort of message he will be sharing. So here is Nigel's korero ... Flexible!

"I want to confess to a fact well known to my family and circle of friends. I have no real skills at all! Building, electrical, mechanical - you name it - I can't do it. The interesting thing with incompetence (or a lack of confidence if you prefer) is that when you have to do a job you either try too hard (and wreck something inadvertently) or give up too easily.

"This is particularly true of plumbing. We had a tub that leaked for years because I sadly avoided it. It seemed impossible. That finally sorted, our kitchen sink has started leaking - my last attempt a profound failure. We are rural and replacing filters is one of my required tasks - I have lost my rag doing it a few times. It is amazing how our feelings of inability can cause huge reactions.

"Being a dad involves the same risks. We can try too hard or weakly surrender. I don't think any of us feel confident or competent all the time. In fact to be a dad is to accept being out of your depth most of the time.

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"So how do we approach this fatherhood thing? Part of the skill of being a dad is the principle of growing up with your kids. As they age, you must adapt and treat them differently. Fatherhood is fluid (you will never feel you have it nailed).

"Every stage of our kids' lives they need to feel like they make it with us, that they are loved. This is essential and sometimes hard - as there will be plenty to react to. Until they turn 10 we are guiding them into good/bad and right/wrong. If we fail to establish 'the rules around here', clear, consistent boundaries, we fail to give our kids a way of life.

"It is a tiring stage. A toddler can slowly but surely get to rule the roost. Some people handle this 'obedience' stage well. They are happy to call the shots and lead. Some are less comfortable in this directive role (we want to be mates - big mistake!)

"When they're 11 to 13 we have to start transitioning to a more equal relationship. If we have established boundaries the transition is easier as we loosen the reins and help them into adulthood. By the time they reach their teens we can no longer expect obedience without conversation - it is a relationship of negotiation (they get more say as they earn trust).

"While the mother is the main player in the early stages, the teenage years involve dads stepping up. It is hardwired into children to need a greater relationship with their fathers in this life stage - so don't miss your moment! It is our job to model adulthood and to develop a friendship that advises them, and occasionally confronts them, as they navigate life.

"If we fail to make this adjustment to 'coach', our teens will cut us out of their lives. They just stop talking with us. If that has happened - grow, adjust, adapt."

We warmly invite you to join us for this free parenting seminar on Tuesday, August 12, 7pm, at the Central Baptist Community Centre, 285 Wicksteed St.

To register contact Liza and Lynette via email at at skipwanganui@xtra.co.nz or text/ph 027 626 1404

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