Having just returned from speaking at the Australian Summit on Bribery and Corruption, I was overwhelmed by the huge amounts of money large corporations commit to preventing bribery and corruption in their organisations and the huge amounts of time, money and resources government officials put into prosecuting offenders. It made me think about parallels between organisations and families. These large organisations, and indeed Governments, really want their employees and citizens to be honest and to be decently rewarded for good work. I think that is exactly what many parents want for their families, too – to raise children who are honest and decent people.
So how do we raise children to become honest citizens of the world?
Meltdowns – We’ve all had them. Some of us have had them more recently than others. Some might live with someone (grown up or little) who frequently melts down.
In psychology, we understand that melt downs are the letting out of built up emotions – frustration, excitement, disappointment, anger, despair, grief….
When we are helping little ones (or grown-ups) to learn to regulate their emotions, we are teaching them to label and safely express how they feel. We aim to help them to match their behaviour to certain situations, to turn their energy levels up and down – a little like we might adjust the volume of a stereo or the temperature of an oven.
Sometimes we need to build our energy up – like when we need to get going for the day or when we are about to play sport. Sometimes we need to turn it down, like when we are getting ready for bed or ready to concentrate and learn at school or at work.
With Fathers’ Day upon us this weekend, perhaps it’s time to think about what fathers need – not in the underwear, socks, and new fishing gear department, but more in terms of what really makes them happy. What do fathers need to be happy, mentally healthy and to be well?
Proudly, a lot of recent useful research into the mental health of our Dads has been completed here in Australia. When we go searching through the research on psychology and Dads there are a few themes that emerge: