What kind of parent do you want to be? – by Fraser Mackay

I was facilitating a parenting forum with a group of men the other day in Ballarat—who perhaps like many of us, sometimes struggle with being a good parent—during the course of the session I put out a few questions:

What kind of parent do you want to be?

What kind of parent would your child/ children want?

Can you be that person?

Are you that person?  

And when are you not that person?

We fleshed out the questions in a lively discussion, we made notes on the white-board and we did a couple of role-plays. It was a dynamic session by many accounts. (Some men even took snaps with their phones of the white-board notes)

But how do we, sitting at home without the help of a group or counsellor, commit these questions to ongoing reflection—and incorporate small changes into our daily lives. Maybe the main obstacle is our default position—as with so many good intentions or endeavours we defer to:                 

doing it the way I have always done it

because change takes effort

and can be a little uncomfortable

But there are process we can employ: keeping a change journal—a notebook where you jot down reflections, concerns and possible actions you can take—where you can also make note of all the good qualities you have as a parent and list all the good stuff you’ve done with the children in your care. Bringing others into the conversation is always powerful, your partner, a trusted friend and of course your children.

What kind of parent do you want to be?

The group consensus on that day was:

we need to be the question—be patient

and allow our actions to be the answer.