I remember back when my wife was pregnant with our first child, and how for the most part, I envisioned things being so positive, fun, and how I would love him so deeply. I didn’t think much of the challenges it might be as a father. But, I also didn’t even know what to expect or how to think about that.
The first couple years were actually pretty good. Up until a child’s second year, there isn’t much for disobedience, talking back, disrespect, etc. We didn’t really have to do any discipline, teaching, or encouraging. For the most part, he was just funny and fun to play with. At this point, I felt good about being a father.
Fast-forward to now. My oldest son is nearly six years old, and we have identical twin boys who just turned two a month ago. Things are very, very different now. It is especially different for me because we have three children, and I grew up as an only child.
Being a father is a far more difficult task than I ever expected. I want to confess a number of things that I have done, ways I am with my kids, and things about me that I really do not like about myself in light of parenting. I plan to revisit this list often as I work on these things, and pray through the list seeking God’s help.
- I don’t spend a lot of time with them. I am involved with other things (classes, reading, disc golf, things to do around the house, etc.) and often in the moment they seem more important than putting together a Lincoln Logs castle, or listening to my son tell me about “Skylanders” which I know nothing about and care nothing about.
- I often don’t take discipline seriously. I want to punish and be done with it instead of actually trying to help them learn and focus on their heart instead of only the behavior.
- I sometimes give my oldest son the “I’m seriously disappointed in you” look without saying anything, wanting him to see that I’m upset rather than helping him and showing him that I love him.
- I sometimes feel that I do not even like my oldest son. The consistency and frequency of his disobedience, disrespect, hyperactivity, etc. drives me to the point where I’d just rather not be anywhere near him. I’d rather just send him to his room because I’m so tired of it all. I don’t want to talk to him or be around him.
- When my kids get sick, they want to be comforted. I instead want to avoid them like the black plague because I myself do not want to get sick.
- When we do spend time together, I sometimes would much rather do what I want to do, not what they want to do.
- I often fail to recognize that they are kids, not adults. The expectations that I put on them are often above their current level.
- I am impatient with them and very quick to get frustrated.
- I sometimes feel like kids are just a burden rather than joy and gifts, and that life would be much more enjoyable without them. There are so many things that you are limited on or can’t do with having kids.
- I work at home, and the twins seem to do more crying, screaming, and whining than anything else these days. It drives me crazy.
The list could go on. It was saddening to write. Rare is the father who would not tell you to take advantage of the time now as they are kids, because before you know it, they will be out of the house and you’ll wish you could do it over again. I want to be a good father. I want my children to know that I love them, and love spending time with me. I want us to be close. I don’t want them to resent me in any way. I don’t want to have a huge list of regrets when they are older.
I often feel hopeless, and I really don’t know how to handle my oldest. He seems out of control, and untrainable. I have to tell him to not do the same things over and over and over and over and over again. I’ve easily told him not to do some of the same things at least one hundred plus times. It is like he doesn’t care and doesn’t listen whatsoever. He has been extremely rude to his mom lately, and we have even been told by other people how our son has been rude to them. It is been so disheartening lately.
But, regardless, he is my son. I must love them and help them and be patient with them. I know that is true, but it is difficult. I need help. I need to be open and honest about it with others to be able to get help, and I need to be on my knees praying for God to help me. I will fail (and am failing so far) if I try to do this all on my own.