He feels like an inadequate father.

March 11, 2014

Dear Wayne,

I have a beautiful, healthy four year-old son. And although I should be beside myself with joy, what I’m feeling is a lot of pain. I just don’t know what I’m doing sometimes. I struggle to find the right way to react to him, to teach him, and even to have fun with him. I feel like an awful father, which shouldn’t be a big surprise because my own father was not great and left me and my mom when I was just four myself. How can I get through this and be the dad I want to be?


Dad in Pain


Dear Dad,

When you don’t know how to run a software program, you take a class or read a book and you learn. When you’re assembling a piece of furniture, you don’t just start hammering and nailing. You read the instructions and you take it step by step. So what does a guy do to learn how to be a confident, loving, and strong father? It’s not so easy to figure out, as you’ve experienced.

Without a good role model, it may be more difficult for us to trust our paternal instincts. But let me assure you, that father that you want to be, it’s inside of you. You just don’t know it yet.

There are some books available that may help you to connect your head with your instincts. Go to the library or bookstore and start reading. But perhaps the most effective way to learn how to father, is to get the fathering you never had. It’s not too late.

At BetterMen Coaching, we teach men to father each other so that these dads can go home and be the fathers they want and need to be for their kids.

You’re not the only guy around who had a lousy father and you’re certainly not the only young dad who’s frustrated and feeling ill-equipped and overwhelmed.

Reach out to other men. Join a men’s group. Ask for help and, I assure you, you’ll get it. As you bring the wisdom you receive from the men home to your son, you’ll slowly but assuredly become that better dad. Be patient and don’t quit. Your son is counting on you.