I doubt I’m the only one to have experience with this issue…When the other kids need discipline. Ya know, the kids that don’t technically carry your DNA, you love like they’re your own, and they call you ‘Dad’ with no hesitation. It’s not easy and the situation can include many different angles, variables, and perspectives. I suffer from intense insecurity dealing with these situations. I worry about my wife and what she’ll think about me and my decision. I worry about what my kids will think (am I a pushover? Am I too harsh? Would I have given the same punishment to kid A, B, or D in the same situation?). Then I deal with my own inner self. Do I really believe in the punishment I just handed down? Was I just trying to reach a quick conclusion so I didn’t have to deal with this shit anymore at that moment because I’m tired? Would I handle the situation the same 5 hours from now? Tomorrow? Five years from now?
With my younger kids, I don’t have that insecurity. I worry more about their safety than anything. I have fairly frequent nightmares where one or both of them are harmed. Other than that I have strong security in my fatherhood skills with them. It’s natural. Even though I have no question my two older kids love me, and I have no doubt about my love for them. I don’t have that natural instinct to pull the trigger on making that quick decision that needs to be made. Whether it’s a crisis or any normal day-to-day situation, I tend to overthink it and just ask my wife. This cuts into my manhood. I’ve been told that the kids will never know of my self-doubt and any wavering on decision making or insecurity etc.
I’m learning far more is lost from indecision than wrong decision. Problem is that it’s easy to say, and even easier to believe. Tougher to execute.