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7 Deadly Sins of a Disappointed Father: #1 Negative Body Language

June 22, 2012

I have been a lot about the term “disappointed father” and its effects on our children.  All of us can be disappointed fathers from time to time and the effects can be quite devastating for our kids.  For the next seven posts, I will break down 7 different things we do as fathers to convey disappointment to our kids.

#1 Negative Body Language

When my kids were in elementary school, they used to say to me, “Daddy, you have to work on not giving such mean looks.”  Now I am thinking, “Hey kids, daddy got a lot more than mean looks when he was growing up!!!  Be thankful that is all I am doing.”  However, slowly over time I came to understand how my subtle scowling was putting up a wall between myself and my kids.  Frankly, I did not even realize I was doing it until it was pointed out to me.  When I became aware of it, it became much easier for me to modify my behavior.

Here are some of the most common negative body language moves that we do as fathers:

*Pursing our lips (impatience, frustration), lip curling up (contempt), furrowed brow (exasperation, frustration) scowl (anger)

*Arm crossed (not open to input)

*Slumped shoulders (disappointed)

*Glare (anger)

*Feet pointed away from our children (disinterest)

*Fingers or ankles interlocked (anxiety)

*Jaw tightening ( tension)

*Pointing hands or fingers (dominance)

If you want to read a fascinating book on body language, I would highly recommend What Every Body is Saying by Joe Navarro. Navarro is a retired FBI agent who is an expert on nonverbal communication.  I learned a ton reading this quick little book that will definitely help me as a father.

So, what is your is negative body language trap?  I’d love to hear your comments.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach.  Contact him at

4 Comments leave one →
  1. June 22, 2012 7:52 pm

    Thanks for this Patrick. My kids started picking this up in me a couple years ago when things were just in a bit of turmoil. And disappointment is a perfect description. Downfallen. Disheartened. But I’ve been catching myself. No need for it. I’ve found that regular and intentional thanksgiving helps keep perspective.

    • June 23, 2012 12:08 pm

      Doug, thanks for sharing your story. I have found that when I am showing disappointment it is usually more about me and my stuff than what is going on with my kids. Totally agree that thanksgiving is absolutely critical. Tell me about MenReloaded. -Pat

  2. coach mike permalink
    June 22, 2012 9:55 pm

    He also writes great books on poker tells.

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