One of the never-ending battles that parents have to face is making sure that their children fundamentally know that they are loved, unconditionally.
This necessarily requires that we build inroads and avenues for conversation and dialogue and that those onramps change as the child changes, grows, adapts, and matures.
What I’ve come to understand is that, first, these tactics must change as the child change; what once worked to create assurance and confidence in the relationship no longer has the positive return as it once did.
For instance, reading a specific book used to elicit squeals of delight and hugs and kisses galore. Now, as they are older, this is the very last book that they want to read with me.
Now this example may sound obvious and trivial but it’s not as it’s a model of what we try to do in more “complex” systems as well. The point is that we must continue to iterate and grow as our child grows and change our angle of engagement as best we can.
Secondly, every child is uniquely different and one method of engagement does not guarantee the same reaction for one as it does the other. My two children are very different (as many siblings are) and what works with one does not work with another.
One of the benefits of blogging so consistently is that I’m able to not just document how I feel about certain things as a signpost and reminder for myself but also as another signal source of information for my children.
I hadn’t really thought of this as succinctly until I started getting notifications in my inbox that my oldest was “liking” blog posts that I had written about her.
As you can see above, she literally found one post, read it, liked it, and then jumped into another one and continued to digest and read my candid thoughts on herself as told by her father.
At first I was anxious but after talking with her about it I realized that I was providing another avenue, another inroad to conversations with her that may prove valuable short and long-term.
I was, in essence, creating more context around my feelings and emotions about our relationship and how I feel (and struggle) with being a father.
You would think that I would have had this in mind when I started writing about my children but I submit to you that I am not that clever nor do I have nearly as much foresight as I’d like.
Blogging publicly my thoughts about my children is going to be an obvious net-positive for our relationship. I want our dialogues to be open, honest, and candid and I want her to see that I’m comfortable talking about her (and with her) on all matters of content.
This does not mean that she has to follow in my footsteps and begin broadcasting her own thoughts about her dad publicly, although she may choose to do that. I’m excited about that, though, even though I am equally anxious.
But, again, I think this is all a very healthy thing to do and it’s one that has already created some very positive outcomes.