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7 Sins of A Disappointed Father: #6 Backing away after a loss or defeat

July 19, 2012

Picture this: your son comes home with a less than steller report card or your daughter makes a mistake in the game that costs her team or your son gets reprimanded by his boss/teacher or your daughter misses an important deadline for an application.  How do you respond?  The disappointed father tends to express his disapproval and then withdraw from the child.  The withdrawal might be conscious or unconscious, it doesn’t really matter.  The message to the child is the same: REJECTION.

In life there are moments that matter more than other moments.  When our children have screwed up or are hurting, they need their fathers to hug them and tell them that “everything is going to be OK”.  If we withdraw, we communicate mistrust and disappointment to our children, which creates anxiety and fear.

The other day my daughter called me at work (which is unusual), because she was upset up an issue at her job.  I let her vent, listened to her concerns and then pointed out a couple of possibilities that she had not thought about before.  She calmed down, smiled and said thanks for listening.  Big deal to her.  It took 5 minutes of my time.

Great fathers have a sixth sense about when to aggressively pursue their children.  When our children shrivel up a little, it time for us to go on the offensive.  Stand in the gap with your kids and really be there in those defining moments.  When we do that, it is amazing how much easier all the regular moments become.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach for Men. Contact him at

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