If it is true that confession is good for the soul let me confess to you: I am a meddling parent. I am a helicopter. I involve myself where I don’t belong. I hover around where I am not needed. Forgive me.
I mean well. But my best intentions do not always turn out with in the best way. Sometimes I embarrass my children in ways that they wish I wouldn’t. They forgive me and accept that this is “just the way Dad is.” On worse occasions, however, I have completely crossed the line. I have hurt and angered my children. This is not the way to be a Good Dad.
For our children to succeed in school and life they need us close by. They need us invested and involved. But they do not need us meddling in their lives or hovering about. For our children to succeed they need us to be there for them, but they do not need us to be in the way.
There is a very important and fine line between “being there” for our children and “being in the way.” We must be willing to admit when we are wrong; say “I’m sorry;” and ask for help and advice.
Without going into gory detail, I am learning – slowly. You can learn, too:
- Do not talk to your children’s coaches about their playing time or position on the team.
- Do not pout or shout in the stands. Suffer Silently. Be a team player.
- Do not talk bad about your children’s teachers, school, church, or friends. It will divide your children’s heart.
- Don’t talk bad about your children to anyone. Any circumstance. Even in fun. It’s not funny.
- Support your children’s dating and romance but no meddling or hovering.
Trust your children. When we truly care for our children we will value what is important to them. We are not looking for our children’s success to affirm us as parents. We are looking to help our children succeed, to grow in confidence, independence, and feelings of self-worth. They will survive disappointments. They will be o.k.
Our children do not need us fighting every battle for them or paving every path. Our children need our love and support. But they also need us to let them fail on their own and try new things. With increasing age and maturity children can make increasing decisions for themselves. They might make mistakes. Who doesn’t?
It isn’t easy being a parent. It isn’t easy being a Good Dad. We are going to make mistakes. But we can do better when we do it together. For our children to succeed in school and in life they need us to be there for them; they need us to be close by; but they do not need us to be in the way.
Good luck. You are a Good Dad.
Jeff Sippy, a Dad-In-Training, is the father of three young men and the husband of Cindy. He enjoys sailing every chance that he gets. He is the senior pastor at Redeemer Lutheran in Springfield, MO and can be reached for question or comment at email@example.com