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If You Were Raised By A Playful Dad, You’re Really Lucky

If You Were Raised By A Playful Dad, You’re Really Lucky

Fathers tend to fit in one of two categories: the incompetent goofball or the detached work-a-holic.

The incompetent goofball is one of those tropes that really needs to go away. Playful dads are not inept parents, joking their way through adulthood. Instead, they’re positively shaping their children’s lives in a meaningful way.

Here are eight reasons why you were really lucky to have a playful dad:

1. He Was Your Friend

When you’re a kid, you need friends. But having friends is never harder than when you’re young and as you grow up, it gets harder.

Yet, if you had a playful dad, making friends was less confusing. Your dad taught you what it means to be a friend, in good times and bad. He taught you that good friends are the ones that are there in good times and in bad, even when one of you makes a mistake.

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He was always there when you felt alone. More importantly, he still is.

2. He Was Friends with Your Friends

Most of your friend’s fathers went to work, came home, watched TV and went to bed. They had a hard day at work and they wanted peace when they finally made it to the sofa. You had to be quiet when visiting other friend’s houses because you didn’t want to disturb their dads.

Your dad made a point to be friends with your friends. He learned their names, knew what kind of juice they liked and always made it a point to play a prank. Everybody liked coming to your house because your dad was not just another grown up. He was everybody’s friend.

3. He Supported Your Half Baked Schemes

Kids have the weirdest ideas. If you think back, you can probably recall one or two elaborate schemes involving some string, a tin can and possibly the neighbor’s cat.

Rather than squashing your dreams, your dad got it and was willing to give you loans for whatever endeavors you dream of pursuing.  He saw your strange ideas as a form of expression and ingenuity. He was always on hand to help you build a new contraption or set up a prank.

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His validation gave you the self-confidence and freedom to be yourself.

4. He Taught You Short Cuts

Playful dads have the best short cuts. They know how to travel through time and cut the length of any operation in half. In your mind, your dad’s pancake canon was a work of sheer genius, even if it was a little messy sometimes.

Your dad taught you that it’s okay to take a shortcut sometimes. But more importantly, he taught you that sometimes it’s less messy to put in the work yourself.

5. He Made the Weirdest and Best Snacks

Other dads would either follow your mom’s nutritional rules or half-heartedly throw whatever they could find on a plate. Your dad, however, made snack time an adventure. He tried out weird combinations. He threw the laws of nutrition (and sometimes gravity) out the window and always managed to encourage you to try new things.

You might not realize it but those pickle and Oreo sandwiches are part of the reason you’re so adventurous in adulthood. Your dad created a safe space for you to experiment with new foods so that you would never be afraid of something that was so good for you.

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6. He Kept Your Secrets

Kids have secrets and most adults don’t take them seriously. As you grow up, these secrets don’t seem like a big deal. But at the time, hearing an adult talk about your dreams and concerns was embarrassing and heartbreaking.

Your playful dad understood the importance of your privacy. He taught you that your private thoughts were valuable. He gave you an example of someone who was wholly and completely trustworthy.

7. He Taught You About Parenting

Now that you’re older, you realize you wouldn’t be the person you are without your dad. He had such a huge impact on your childhood and your adult life that you realize that parenting is about more than feeding, clothing and loving your child.

You learned that parents can encourage their children to be amazing people. He taught you that you can be a role model, a friend and a parent all in one.

8. He Encouraged You to Trust Yourself

You had a childhood role model who did not spend their time telling you “no.” Instead, he encouraged you to explore and learn and ultimately, to he taught you how to trust yourself. You learned how to say “I can” when other people are telling you can’t.

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Even when everyone is saying you can’t and you’re starting to believe them, you know that your dad is on the sidelines telling you that you can.

Your playful dad was not just having fun. He wasn’t just a prankster gliding through life. He was teaching you valuable lessons about friendship, life and how to be the best version of yourself.

Featured photo credit: David via flickr.com

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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