Building a father-friendly world

Let Your Child Have You For A Day.

In the midst of a recent conversation at a parenting event I was attending I heard the phrase, "Sometimes I feel like I am just a taxi for my children!" It was said with a humourous grumpyness. How many of us have thought and felt the same, especially when you get the feeling that you are living your whole week at the local Leisure Centre and your children's times for their various classes are all higgledy piggledy and a logistical nightmare.

There is an upside and maybe I am saying this because our schedule is fairly reasonable this term. Who knows what will happen after Easter! But, the opportunities our children have at their disposal to be involved in a wide variety of groups is amazing. In my childhood days such choice was absent, partly because of geography (we lived in a relative backwater) but there has also been an explosion of availability, coupled with greater access through families being more mobile..............lots more family cars around.

The other upside is that you might find yourself having time alone with one of your children, once a week in the car. You have them and they have you. And those times can be very valuable. Sometimes a child will tell you all sorts of things when you have them on their own. Like, what is or is not happening at school, friendship issues, things about music and more.

You may of course have all 5 children at the same time and that's a different matter! It's called a nightmare - you know, at the Leisure Centre from 4 - 6.30 because there is no other way to organise it!

Whether it is 'forced' on you by their activity programme or something you deliberately plan for, it is worth nurturing one-to-one times with each of your children. Particularly if things have not been going well with a child, it can remind you as a parent that you still love them, they are great away from whatever it is that stresses them and it gives the child the blessing of a parent all to themselves without sibling rivalry. A child, the quieter one, the youngest one, can 'get lost' in a larger family because parental time is taken up with all else that is happening.

Let your child have you for a day or an afternoon. Let your teenager have you for an evening. Manage the former and the latter may be possible.