Right now, there are a lot of unknowns and insecurities in the world. As a dad, whatever amount you have access to your kids, let your relationship be a place of stability. Be their rock.
How can you show that? Build trust. When you give a promise, you keep it. When you are supposed to be there for that phone call or Facetime, you are there. When your kids are pouring out how they are feeling, you are that listening ear and voice of reassurance. When they have questions, you help them find an answer. (This part will involve being properly informed from good sources so that you can accurately address kids’ fears and worries, but also setting parameters on your news consumption that you will not overwhelm yourself with your own fears and worries.)
They need to see that you are stable but that you are also real. Show how you are feeling about what is going on and what you are thinking. Do not burden your kids with everything, that will be overwhelming, but acknowledge that what is happening is very big and very different. Tell them that you don’t have all the answers but are trying to figure it out. They need to see you are human too.
Right now, kids need their dads. Be there for them. Be that authentic, stable presence they need in their life. With that being said, if you are feeling overwhelmed in the midst of this crisis please reach out. This is not a time to feel alone.
Dave Drabiuk is head of the Men's Program at the Belleville Pregnancy and Family Care Centre. All men are welcome to meet with Dave on Wednesdays. Men's Program runs 4pm-5:30pm every Wednesday. Feel free to contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.