I think my last post started with a lament about how long it has been since I posted, and this one (over a year later) can only begin in the same manner.
The problem I have found recently is how easy it is to let life just carry you through as a passenger without any sense of steering. The loss of my father nearly four years ago has played heavily on my mind in this intervening time and I realised around six months ago that it had begun to affect my relationship with Henry. You could use the label depression; a GP has with me and I am now seeing a counsellor. I am not particularly interested in labels, more trying to understand why certain choices are made and how these seem relevant or appropriate.
I hold a firm belief that children are the product of their parents, and while nature plays a role nurture is considerably more powerful. If a child is causing problems, I would argue, you need to check for whom the behaviour is a problem, why the behaviour is occurring and what in their environment is causing it. As a result, when Henry started to behave in a way that was a problem for me I realised I could not blame him; I had to look closely at myself.
This coincided for me, fortunately, with a course on mindfulness. I would heartily recommend this approach. It has not changed me dramatically, but it has made enough change to help me correct my course and get back to parenting Henry in a manner that I believe is more positive and healthy.
It is so easy to place blame elsewhere, to talk about how others affect you and the reason for bad outcomes is not within your control. I am currently on a journey that is teaching me that I am responsible for what happens in those around me, and this includes Henry. My parenting problems are not 'solved' (will they ever be?) by any stretch of the imagination. A recent camping trip and a reluctant sleeper tested my resolve greatly! But I am certainly feeling more in control. And when things go badly, or well, I know again where to look.
This has been a bit of an introspective post, one that focuses more on me than Henry, but I will not apologise for that. A significant part of me and fatherhood is, indeed, me. And I believe it is important to remember that both in a critically reflective way, how am I affecting the situation around me, and with mindfulness and kindness, forgiving myself when I get it wrong.