Am I Doing Enough?
May 11, 2015
Filed In: Fatherhood
It's been a year since I started caring for Benedict full time. It's almost hard to believe not just that a year has passed, but how quickly his development has progressed. He's awake more, walking around, and talking to me. I share one of the looming questions that I'm confident every dad asks himself on a daily basis, "Am I doing enough?" Am I doing enough to support and promote his development? Am I doing enough to help him have confidence and trust in himself? Am I doing enough to make sure that he knows that he's safe with me? Am I doing enough to help him know that he's loved? Your kids need love, attention, affection and time from you. If you're giving them those things, then you're doing enough.
There's a real temptation to lean too much on the use electronic aids in parenting. I'll readily admit that Sesame Street, Arthur, and any other number of children's programming can do more in 30 minutes than I can on my own. These programs are backed by very educated people and present concepts across a broad range of topics. Yet, while these types of shows should aid in your parenting, they shouldn't be the primary education source for your kids. Play with your kids and read to them.
As the "Am I doing enough?" question lingers, it can drive us to other types of potentially unhelpful parenting practices, like being a helicopter parent. While your children do need interaction and to play with you, they also need the space to entertain themselves if that's what they choose. Your kids have to learn everything, so helping them learn to constructively entertain themselves or to sit quietly and look at a book is an important skill.
The key in all of this is to both remain available and able respond to their needs. You don't need to hover over them all at times, but by all means prevent them from hurting themselves. You don't need to be in their face leading playtime all of the time, but don't devote so much attention to whatever else you're doing that you can't break your attention the moment your child needs you. Be flexible, be dynamic, and be agile.
Parenting fills the mind with plenty of worry and doubt. At the end of the day, if you've done your best and given your child all that you have, then yes, you're doing enough.