In my first post here almost one year ago, I talked about how important it is to me to be a good Daddy, a good parent. It's a question I come back to often.
I made three promises to myself when I became a parent.
1. I will love my children unconditionally.
2. I will never say, "Because I said so."
3. I will tell my children when I am wrong, correct my mistake and ask for their forgiveness.
The first promise is, or at least should be an obvious thing for every parent to do - at least I hope so. Parents who cannot do this should not be parents
The second promise... well it is, as they say a lot easier said than done. Still, I've found that more often than not I've been able to be creative, think outside the box and give at least viable reasons for doing things, and making or justifying decisions about my daughters.
The third promise is very important to me. I tell my girls all the time that I am learning this as I go along and it's not like they came with a book or a manual telling us "how to." (Various descriptions of said literature perhaps arriving / flying out of Netter after the girls were born have sometimes caused fits of laughter.)
I try to make sure they know that I remember what it was like to be a child, and then a teenager and that while I will always make decisions regarding them from my adult perspective I will also try to take into consideration how they might be affected, and perhaps more importantly - sometimes anyway - how they will feel.
I'll admit I try to be the fun Daddy. I give when I'm sometimes not sure that I should, and I abstain from decision making when I know that my "Daddyness" is kicking in "just because." Thankfully Netter is an awesome Mommy who does very well, probably better without me being involved.
I've told my girls that I know I can sometimes be an idiot for no particularly good reason, given to bouts of yelling and arm flailing that have no earthly explanation, but I will steer clear of them when these things take hold, and I will never harm them, ever.
Secretly I think both girls enjoy my fits as D does a fairly good imitation of my arm flailing and I have seen K's smile from my periphery as she smirks and surely thinks; "Ah, what a fool."
Or maybe not - I think the yell is more effective than that.
I know both girls take it to heart when I yell at them, and I can likely count on one, maybe two hands the number of times I have had to punish them beyond my yell. I was never a big believer in spanking, and I don't do grounding except in extreme circumstances.
I think I'm very lucky to be able to simply raise my voice to be effective, or at least effective in my own mind anyway eh?
We've made our way fairly well so far. At least I'd like to hope so. I still don't have a manual and we certainly don't get a grade card, at least not for a few years anyway.
In a little over two months both D and K will be teenagers, and we are quickly finding out that there are new challenges, new obstacles in our collective paths.
Being a teenager is no easy task, and it doesn't get easier as you go.
I love you girls, and I'll keep trying to do my best.