I am also a father that provides structure; at times a disciplinarian or the “heavy.” Having grown up in an abusive household I make the conscious and continuous decision to observe my children’s and my own behavior when disciplining them. As a kid, I decided I would break the cycle of abuse in my family when I had my own. Latinos may often be nostalgic about “the chancletazo” or of other forms of corporal punishment, but very often these incidents were also patterns of abuse that many of us as adults still struggle with.
I want to be a father to my two daughters that models how men should treat them. A girl’s relationship to her father is crucial to her development, her self-esteem and her ultimate view of life and relationships. It’s up to me to, as Chris Rock once put it “keep her off the pole.” It’s a funny way to think about it, but the reality is that my girls’ success hinges upon how their mother and I raise them.
I draw my strength from the women in my life. My mother, my grandmother and my wife.
I’m also surrounded by great friends and other responsible dads who support me. I started a father’s group online amongst my fraternity brothers and it is a great source of information and advice. I’ve spoken to young and older dads, single dads, divorcees and we support each other in everything we do. It helps knowing that there are others like you who are trying to be the best fathers they can be. This kind of support and collaboration helps to keep men engaged and feeling like they are part of a community.
My new generation has committed themselves to making sure our kid’s experiences are better. Sometimes it is hard and can be overwhelming. After all, how do you know you are doing a good job and not giving them a complex in other ways? Perhaps only time will tell. So when my daughter walks down those stairs and rolls her eyes about not getting her way for breakfast, I smile because I know it’s not a question of her being mad at me. I am happy to be looking after such delicate treasures that are my two beautiful daughters and I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world.
Image credit- istockphoto.com/Kali9