Dads, it’s time to reassess how we’re raising our kids especially our boys.

Parents and carers, listen up 😛 TAGEND

The development of emotional literacy and intelligence is not a task we can outsource to a school system, youth group, or sports club.

This training is our task, its own responsibilities. It’s true home-work. An inside job.

I’m the parent of two sons under 10, and someone who works professionally in the space of emotional intelligence. And even I have to admit it’s a challenge to give the gift of emotional intelligence . But it’s worth it.

Here are a few things I’m learning( and yes — I am still learning !). These are my ABCs.

Three basic things to remember 😛 TAGEND

A. Always model well .

My sons watch me, model me, and follow me. Whether it’s good, bad, or ugly, children learn their emotional cues from their parents. My boys learn especially from me, as I’m the primary male in their life.

They watch how I treat their mum and how I welcome their friends when they come to visit. They watch how I discipline their siblings and how I manage stress. They pay attention to how I talk to others, treat others, and love others. They ensure me weep when I require.< strong> I’m a walk-to emotional classroom .

Parents, there’s no get around this: your sons are watching.

So …

Be self-aware. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Walk in love. Apologize quickly and sincerely. Sort your own crap out. Maintain doing the heart journey. Be willing to back-track and explain your actions and reactions — right or wrong.

B. Believe your sons .

“I’m bored! ” “I too tired! ” “I can’t do it.” “I dislike her! ” “That hurts! ” “It savours yuck! ” “I’m scared.”

Sound familiar?( Like, every day !).

If we respond with: “That doesn’t hurt.” “You’re not tired.” “You don’t dislike her.” “Don’t be scared.” or “How can you be bored? ” — how on earth can the son learn to trust and label his own emotions ?

It’s no wonder we have so many shut down adult men who can’t put terms to what they feel. Many were shamed for sharing impressions, and when they did share, they were told they were wrong.

So …

Parents, we have to validate what our sons are sharing . Believe them when they share their feelings and impressions. It’s vital. Dads, we have to stop holding our sons to an impossible and destructive standard of masculinity( one that even we can’t measure up to !). It’s not helping.

Respond by believing your boys. Use simple reflective listening abilities by validating them in phrases like: “I can see you’re tired”, “You hate her, huh? Tell me why”, “That can be scary.”, ”I’m sorry you’re feeling bored.”( Btw, it doesn’t mean you have to fix the problems. Just believe them first and see what happens ).

C. Call out the gold in your sons .

I’ve spent years analyzing and teaching on the power of blessing across cultures. I can’t tell you the number of people I’ve cried with, prayed for, and devoted counseling to whose fathers entirely sucked at the boon of simple encouragement!

In fact, many parents did the opposite of calling out the gold by calling out the problems, faults, and failings of their children. It’s unbelievably traumatizing and irresponsible . It genuinely pisses me off.

Boys whose daddies are in “peoples lives” need their dads’ unconditional love, acceptance, and acceptance. Think for a minute: how many movies contain a topic of a boy( or adult boy) looking for his father’s acceptance? So many! It’s hardwired into us and essential for emotional health and literacy.

So …

Remember, blessing is not a reward for good behavior. Blessing is our right, as humans.

Like nurture, security, and community, we Require the good things in us called out by others. Fell the nitpicking and criticism, instead find some things that your son likes, has a knack for, or is interested in and promote him with words.

It could sound as simple as, “Man, you love soccer? That’s great! ” or “You’re a kind young man, kinder than me. I’m proud of you, son, ” or “I know it’s not the mark you wanted, but I don’t care, I can see you’ve tried. I’ll cheer you on no matter the outcome.”

Finally, let me add something that may help in your journey to teach emotional literacy.

This isn’t about being an amazing, perfect, or super-fun, always-happy daddy.

In my 14 years of parenting, I’ve learned that being a “good-enough” dad is the kindest and fairest standard to hold against myself and others.

If I’m a “good enough” dad, and I at least remember my ABCs, then I’m well on my route to gifting my children with the emotional literacy they need to move forward into the world of adolescence and adulthood.

This tale originally appeared on and is reprinted here with permission .

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