Ways to Stay Positive Through Discouragement

A lot of dads out there feel like they are “drowning.” They’re stressed out, feeling alone, overloaded in many ways, and struggling as a dad. Here’s a word for anyone who may feel discouraged in his fathering.

In any pursuit of life, there were stages of growth and development. In sports, for example, we went from pee wee leagues through high school, and then if we’re good enough, we played in college. At various points in that process, coaches challenged us to learn a new skill or step up our game. And at various stages along the way, sometimes we really got discouraged. Nothing seemed to work right or pay off with success. Sometimes we may have asked ourselves, “Is this really even worth it?”

But if we kept with it and put in the reps during practice, things gradually turned around. Eventually those new skills became second nature, and soon we were coming out of the funk and performing much better, and that translated into success come game time.

Dad-toddler-son-donut-shop-1There’s a parallel here to fatherhood. If you’re like many men, you love being a dad. It speaks to something deep within you. But sometimes it gets hard, and you get discouraged. Nothing seems to work with your kids, and the payoffs are few and far between.

Maybe in your worst moments you’ve asked those same questions: “What’s the point?” “Is it worth the trouble?”

Now, the challenges the challenges faced by some dads aren’t much compared to what others are going through. Every day we need to remember that we’re blessed, and being a father is a great privilege.

But the frustrations are real. Maybe some of you are crippled by past mistakes, or by your father’s faults. Maybe you’re fighting an addiction that slows you down as a father. Maybe you’re in that stage where it seems like all you do is work to provide for your family. Maybe you’re in a complex family situation and there’s no road map for how to manage everything. Or maybe you don’t get to see your children much at all. There’s a growing list of tough issues that today’s dads face.

Fathering is just plain hard. And none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and sometimes struggle in major ways.

Sometimes the best advice comes from the sports analogy above: Hang in there. Put in the reps. Dive in and be a dad—in whatever ways you can right now. Stay devoted to your kids. Think about the good you’re doing them instead of how it feels day-to-day on your end.

As we stay faithful, being a dad will become more rewarding, even if it takes months or years. And more importantly, our kids will benefit from our steadfast commitment and love.

What thought or frame of mind has helped you overcome challenging issues? Please help other dads by leaving a comment either below or at our Facebook page.

Action Points

  • Check your attitude about struggles in your fathering. All dads go through them to some degree; they’re really just part of the journey. And with the right approach, hard things can actually become opportunities to grow closer with your family members.
  • Gather with other dads regularly to support each other in your fathering. Maybe start by contacting a few dads you know to give them some words of encouragement. Or get together and just be a listening ear.

NCF is a nonprofit organization seeking to improve the lives of children and establish a positive fathering and family legacy that will impact future generations by inspiring and equipping fathers and father figures to be actively engaged in the life of every child. You can also sign up for NCF’s Today’s Father Weekly email here.

Watch the replay of the Fathering Breakthrough Event

Join Dr. Ken Canfield and a handful of friends and partners as we give an update about our efforts to inspire and equip fathers all over the world.

There may be no more important work than turning the hearts of fathers to their children, and that’s what this is all about. We’re seeking to repair, rebuild and restore effective fathering for the benefit of children and families everywhere.