COLUMN: 100 Dads – don’t be afraid to be afraid

Online First Opinions

By Doreen Coady

Jeff is the proud Dad to two sweet babies who are moving full speed through the early years. He and Georgina, (Mom #21), are enjoying their new world and all the love it brings.

Jeff holds many aspirations for his children; however, it’s most important to him that they live their lives how they want, not how others dictate. Having worked with children and teens throughout his career, Jeff has a solid understanding of childhood development and upcoming pitfalls.

With the love and support of his parents he also has an unshakable awareness as to the value of parental influence. With this Mom and Dad duo there is no question the parental influence will be positive, progressive and love filled.

Jeff, “Don’t be afraid to be afraid. It is scary thinking that you are responsible for another human beings needs. Embrace the anxiety, the nervousness and the “Am I doing this right,” feelings you will have. Talk about your feelings with your spouse and other parents if you can.” Tip 1

Upon reading Jeff’s first tip, “Don’t be afraid to be afraid,” I knew I would be expanding further. As far as the fear of parenting, it’s about the only thing I had going for me. I wasn’t afraid to be afraid. I was terrified and I talked about it. As Jeff states, “It is scary.”

I’ve recently identified my five biggest fears, being a parent was #2 (preceded by talking about abuse, also scary). Luckily, I didn’t know how much I needed to learn or how much their really was to fear.

In my case, I had no prior success – nothing I can think of. I did graduate – a gift from some generous teachers.

I had no critical thinking skills, no understanding of child development (or my own). I made bad choice and trusted all the wrong people.

I had no job, no education, no home, no supports and generally no clue. Although I was terrified, what I didn’t know was even scarier.

As Jeff advised, “talk.” I did talk and I talked a lot. I talked to other parents, my Mom and a therapist. I accessed supports and all available resources. I returned to school, cut ties with the darkness and grabbed up any piece of training I could find.

My anchoring thought during this time, a word of advice from my Mom, and I think the best tip of all time: “As long a you make decisions with Michael’s best interest in mind you won’t go wrong.” I lived by that!

I appreciate Jeff and Georgina sharing a piece of their journey. I look forward to watching their little family blossom. I’m completely confident the days have grown less scary, and will continue to do so as they move united through the stages and phases of parenting.

Thanks Jeff!