The Curse of Autopilot Parenting – Part 2


The Curse of Autopilot Parenting – Part 2


This is part 2 of the curse of autopilot parenting. Now that we understand the disastrous effects of being the dad on autopilot, it’s time to discuss what we can do about it. Discover the power of acknowledgement and how directly addressing this issue with your kids can ignite and renew your connection with one another.

Last time we discussed the curse of Autopilot Parenting and the destructive effects it has on our relationship with our kids. It creeps in. Takes hold. And destroys relationships. It’s not something you think about until its too late which is precisely why you should thank us for making you think about now. 

Today we will talk about step one in the cure to the curse of Autopilot Parenting: Acknowledgment.

The first thing you need to do if you want to cure your Autopilot Parenting is simply admit it and face it head on. Listen up! Being the dad on purpose, as opposed to being the dad on autopilot, is how we take back the controls and change course. So, are you ready to acknowledge where you’ve slipped and say you are sorry to your children? Yes – you read that correctly. You are going to need to tell your kids –  sorry – and you are going to be so glad you did. I promise. Here’s why.

Ask forgiveness

There is something special that happens in the heart of a child when a parent shows the humility to admit fault and ask for forgiveness. First of all, taking account of your own weakness is a deep expression of your strength and self-awareness. You show you are a trustworthy leader when you are willing to take ownership of your own choices. This makes your kids feel more free and secure around you. But it gets better than that!

When you take ownership for being on autopilot, not only are you leading by example and showing them how to handle mistakes, you inspire connection and respect from the very kid(s) that may have been disconnected and lacking respect for you. Autopilot Parents don’t realize they’ve been communicating to their kids that everything else in the world is more important than your relationship with them – even while you are actively managing the kid’ schedules and necessities. That’s why saying you are sorry, face to face, eye to eye, is one of the surest ways of expressing just how much you truly do value and care about them. This apology opens the way for them to feel how truly important they are to you. And this not only helps you reconnect, it empowers and builds confidence in your child at a deep, formative level. They are reminded of just how much they do matter to you and this means they are worthy of love and respect. This has a profound impact on the character of your little people who will one day be big people facing this crazy world.

Way to go dad! Isn’t it ironic how much positive can come from something that was originally seen as negative? Now, at first, some kids will be rather shocked and not know how to take you being so human and honest. I remember when I first apologized to my kids (aged 4 and 6ish). The reaction from my oldest, Malachi, was sort of like – “You aren’t perfect and your willing to admit it… and that’s okay? Huh!?” The momentary confusion was soon overtaken by tears. I asked Malachi, “What is it son? Why are you crying?”. He responded with the best three words I could have ever heard. “I’m so happy.” My son is a particularly emotional person but there is no doubt that taking this step is a huge deal for your kids, whoever they are, and will likely result in visible changes in their attitude and behavior towards you in very positive ways. Here’s how its done.

No distractions

Tell the kid(s) you need to talk to them. Have them sit in front of you. Turn off all distractions. TV, Computer, Music… everything is off, no distractions.

“Jeremiah/Lily/kids – [address each one by name]… I owe you an apology. I’ve been thinking about how I want to be the best dad I can be for you and I realized that I’ve been so busy and distracted with everything. I’m sorry for not taking more time to be with just you. It’s really important to me that we have that time together. I want you to know how much I love you. Will you forgive me? (Wait for an answer) Thank you! [big hugs] I’m looking forward to us having more time together. How’s that sound to you?” And make sure you follow through!!

Now that you understand the first part of the cure for the curse of Autopilot Parenting, next week we’ll reveal the simple, most important thing you can do to transform the heart of your child and build an authentic connection that will last a lifetime. Stay tuned, and as always, if this content means something to you, share it.

Abiding Fathers is a Biblical fatherhood discipleship ministry committed to helping men be the dad…God wants them to be. It’s a movement of God that is “International-Relational-Generational”. Join with us. We need you!

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