So you are a dad. You have embraced the joy and challenge of becoming a real live hero. Awesome. However, what happens when your family continues to grow? Are 2 kids harder to manage? Are 3 kids harder still? How do you divide your time? Will the second and 3rd child be like the first experience. (ha-ha mad scientist laugh).
I’m not taunting you but remembering my own experience. Having your first child is a huge learning experience. Sadly, most people make the most errors in dealing with their first child. I know that I did. Sorry son, if you are reading this. Actually, my son turned out amazing despite my inexperience and youth.
Most of the errors in dealing with a first child are quite common…at least for men. As awkward as you were when learning to ride a bike, drive a car, or tie your shoes, there are some basic similarities. You are not used to doing it. How do you get better at it?…repetition and time. The more you do any task, the better you can become. Eventually, it becomes manageable. Parenting is like this in many ways. It takes some getting used to. At first, you are or should be a bit nervous about the tasks that will become second nature after a while. Does it get easier? It appears that way, but actually no. You are just getting better at it.
I know it sounds horrible to say that your first child is like training. Probably the better term would be a growing process. If you have only one child, your attention can remain undivided and you can work for that child to perfection. If you have 2 or more, I have to say that in this writer’s opinion it is not 2 or 3 times as difficult. There are exceptions to the rule. However, most of the provisions for them will be similar.
The differences are in personalities, sex of the child, and any special needs. I don’t think I am alone on this. Perhaps the parents of several children can collaborate. However, when I look at my 3 kids, it is hard to believe that they have all come from the same parents. Obviously, there can be similarities in appearance, but in personality…holy cow.
My first son was the only child of my first marriage. Yes, I married twice. That will be discussed in another post. He lived with his mother and me until he was 5, spent 5 years with her, then requested to come back to living with me at the age of 10. Personality wise he was artistic. Although he was good at wrestling, he was a musician at heart. He was/is more of a loaner. I know that may sound weird, but he just never “needed” a crowd. He was very obedient and aimed to please. Personality wise, he was a piece of cake.
Second, we have my middle child…a boy. Her was the party. He was/is SUPER social and an amazing athlete. Music skills…not so much. Okay, it was awful. He was also the most combative of the three. Tell him that the sky was blue and you would get an argument. He had/has a temper, although MUCH better as an adult. He was a daredevil, doing crazy stunts…no fear.
My last child is my only daughter. She was a sweet little princess, with one major exception. She HATED to lose. As a matter of fact, if I got called from the school concerning a fight, my question was usually what did she do? If you merge a soccer star, lawyer, and Ronda Rousey together, that would be her. Once, when she was in the 2nd grade, a little boy tried to lift her dress in the classroom. She hit him with a chair…no joke.
When it comes to the sex of the child, there is usually a different way in which dads deal with their daughters. Despite all the different beliefs, moments, and campaigns concerning sex and gender, I believe that the relationship is different. Not to sound too caveman on the issue, my boys were a beat on myself source of pride. My daughter had/has my heart in her hands.
When it comes to special needs, there is definitely another level of concern and concentration that takes place. I will not be so arrogant as to assume what these parents endure or the challenges that they face. I just believe that God equips them with special strength and gifts to be able to face those challenges.
I hope and pray that through this blog, that I may grow to know more dads with special needs children. Your love and strength are so inspiring. I never want to just walk up to these men and start asking questions. I hope that some of you will reach out to me and share your story, so that I may learn and become better equipped to serve those in this situation.
So there is learning, training, errors, and differences that must be faced by the multiple child dad. Regardless of how many children you have or will have. Give them all the love and strength you can. Please reach out to me with any questions and or comments. Let’s continue to be the best dad that we can be.