"Not how I act but how I'm treated" - a matter of perception

IN the previous partin this "Fathers as coach" series of articles, we addressed the first foundation of being a good coach to our late tweens morphing into teens “that we are the best parents for them”. The next foundation of good (late tweens) or teen coaching is to view them in a way that will nurture their growth.


It is amazing how our different our feelings and reactions to a person can be depending on how we perceive them. There is much truth in the statement by Eliza Doolittle from the movie, "My Fair Lady" (based on the book Pgymalion by that great student of human nature, George Bernard Shaw) - that the difference between a flower girl and a princess is not how she acts but how she is treated.


Negativity, a downward spiral

If you harbour negative feelings towards a person from the beginning, that person usually can never be right no matter what he does or says. If you were to remember every wrong that your teen has committed, you will have a burden so heavy that you will not be able to see any good in him/her.


Affirm strengths to build

On the other hand, if we learn to see a person such that his/her wonderful qualities outshine the imperfections, we exert a powerful influence in nurturing him/her. Focusing on our tween's or teen’s weaknesses and imperfections is likely to worsen a situation.


New possibilities a matter of perception

Focusing on the strengths of our teens not only affirms them but also creates new possibilities for resolving difficult situations. Sometimes it is not that things have changed for you and your teens, just that you are now seeing them differently! Our tweens (turning into teens) make mistakes. But surely they have made great decisions too! They may not be talented in some areas but they are gifted in others. They have great resources to draw from in times of need. They have the potential to do far more than we can ever imagine. They are human and alive, therefore, they are worth all your love! So start the year right with your teens. Tell them that they are special, no matter what happens!


Reflection pointers for fathers

  • Remember some of the major decisions you made when you were a teenager. How did your parents react to you when you let them know about your decisions? Was their reaction helpful?
  • How do you react when your teenage children share with you their thoughts or decisions? Is your reaction one that is consultative or one that is corrective from the start? What is your wife's view on your response?
  • Do you find yourself looking forward to the wonderful things that your child could do? Or are you just weary, thinking of the next time he/she messes up?


Note:  This article is part of a series first broadcast on 'Parenting Today' 93.8FM. Writer Edwin Choy, co-founder and director of the Centre for Fathering would like to hear your personal experiences in coaching your teens to help him improve his training workshop for fathers on coaching. Please email him at edwin@fathers.com.sg


What's happening at CFF

Centre for Fathering (CFF) is celebrating its 10th Anniversary this year. The CFF is grateful for your support in its movement and it is looking to expand its reach to meet more people that believe in getting fathers more involved in their children’s life. As the CFF evolved over the years, it has found the obvious truth that the majority of fathers are at their workplaces. The CFF is calling its readers to highlight its services, target its website to their contacts or forward this weblink to them. CFF staff are more than willing to make a trip to your company to present CFF services if needed.

Father-Child Bonding Camp

Our June Camp is open for registration now. Encounter the bonding experience of a lifetime to build a strong connection and relationship with your child.



Other articles in the "Fathering Matters" series



Fathers turn coach as tweens move into teens

New Year fathering resolutions

Haiti earthquake:  Disaster, compassion and our children

Home government: What type is yours...most of the time?

A secret to better your child's educational performance

Letter from Anastasia

The Tays' "little starfishes" with "great potential"

Foster dad, Raymond Loh: 4 kids and counting...

Fathers with big hearts!

Family rules - Part I and Part II

A challenge to motivate?

"That's NOT what I meant!"

"So few marks?" or "You made some progress..."

Grow your relationship with your child by volunteering

Marathon dad

Parent-child styles for learning and connecting

Connect using positive presuppositions