Robert says that these experiences where a child comes face-to-face with fears and learns how to overcome them are pivotal moments that parents need to handle with empathy.
Most parents know that their role is not an easy one. In addition to years of changing diapers and sleepless nights, you have to be on the ball to come up with answers to the most bizarre questions and problem solve all kinds of things you might never have thought possible. Then, as your kids explore their world, many start facing fears, especially while learning something new. While parents are generally learning as they go, it is not always possible to know how to best help your children in overcoming these fears. But a father of two has truly mastered the art of helping his kids learn how to face their fears and is being hailed as the "father of the year."
This is how you become Father of the Year 🙂👍 pic.twitter.com/qDLqRfZNWQ— Madeyousmile (@Thund3rB0lt) August 20, 2022
Robert describes himself as an "instigator of adventure" and is the father of 5-year-old Aubrin and 2-year-old Torin. In a video that's going viral on social media, Robert is shown teaching his daughter Aubrin how to skateboard when she falls down really badly. Robert immediately hugs her and asks, "Did it scare you or did it hurt you?" He then goes on to encourage her saying that "the drop-in was amazing," and that sometimes on the ramp, people slip out and fall. He states in the post, "Seeing her slam sucks the air out of my lungs and my heart drops but I just try to stay calm and redirect with some questions or comments while surveying the situation."
"you promise you'll catch me?" https://t.co/7kp1Kgqih3— tracy j hutchings (@poetnaglass) August 21, 2022
Post the fall, Aubrin was in two minds as to whether she wanted to continue to skate. She was scared of falling and asked, “What if I fall again?” She then announces, “Well, I am kind of scared, and I really want to do it.” Robert knew what she was going through and in his post he says that he "had to re-gain her trust and she needed to re-establish her confidence after this slam and it was a tough but beautiful rollercoaster experience." He added that as a child is often influenced by a parent's reaction, he has a "goal to remove my influence and allow her to just be, to feel, to hurt at her pace and it allows me to get a better reading of how she’s truly feeling in these pivotal moments."
“Sometimes it’s scary doing hard things,” Robert told his daughter and left it to her if she wanted to give it another chance. The dad-daughter duo then can be seen trying the rollercoaster again when Aubrin again expresses that she is scared, the dad tells her "We can skip this. You don't have to do this," to which she responds, "I WANT to." She can then be seen saying, "Catch me," before doing a countdown and goes for it again letting out a huge sigh of relief.
Robert is seen holding her to ensure she feels safe and says, "That was a great job doing that after falling. That was really brave!" Before the next round, Aubrin asks if her foot-positioning is OK, and her dad responds with more directions on how she can better the jump, following it up with reassurance, "I'll be here in case you fall." When she cutely asks to reconfirm, "You promise you'll be here?" Robert says playfully that he will be everywhere on the ramp in case she falls.
Aubrin then gives it a few tries with Robert's help, before she starts to skate independently and the proud dad says, "Wow! You're cruising that ramp." Robert wrote on the post, "I know from intense personal experience that a bad fall can have long lasting psychological effects and truly believe, that when possible, it’s best to get back up and try it again with the goal being to end the session with a positive experience; to not have that negative memory ruminating in your head until the next time you return to try." He ends the post by saying that he responds from the heart and adds, "If you calmly lead with empathy and support without applying pressure you’ll do just fine."
An Instagram user commented, "This literally made me cry. When you were telling her how good she did in the face of fear. These are things she will remember for the rest of her life and be able to implement in all areas of her existence. Great job being her rock!"
As someone who had the joy of an indoor skate park close to home as a teen, let me tell you how incredibly scary it is to drop in. 😬 And the higher the halfpipe, the more empty air is directly below the coping. I’ve broken bones. So she’s doing phenomenal. Mighty lil thing! 💪🏼— Heather 🌿 (@CedarAndHoney) August 21, 2022