Ask Dr. Buckingham – Can God Change the Heart of an Abusive Husband?

Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I’ve just read your article about restoring trust. I am currently separated from my husband for the second time we’ve been married for 3 years and in January of 2014 he almost killed me by strangulation. In July of 2014 we attempted to reconcile. However, truthfully there are no boundaries set prior to him coming back home. The weekend leading up to our 2nd anniversary I actually felt really intimidated by something that he did. He raised his voice at me in front of others at my church and telling me to find a way home after he was apparently frustrated that I wasn’t moving fast enough to leave church. That in return brought back memories or feelings that left me feeling really uneasy. I asked him to leave again (the initial separation had to be done by law enforcement and through an order of protection). We are still separated, but just recently begin communicating more. I have never stopped praying, but it concerns me that my feelings, trust, and respect for him are still very minimal.

He speaks of us getting back together often. I am NOT totally against it however I don’t have peace about it. My faith has me holding on with the understanding that God can restore. So I’m pretty much just praying and waiting it out. Any advice or suggestions would be very helpful. In all honesty I don’t see how it can be restored after everything that I’ve experienced with him. There is so much more other then the physical violence: there is dishonesty, sneakiness and a host of other things that I have experienced with him. I don’t want to disclose all of them here because I still possess great concern and my life is involved in this.

Can God Change the Heart of an Abusive Husband?

I certainly look forward to your reply. Thank you and God bless

Mrs. Faithful

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Dear Mrs. Faithful,

There are a lot of people who would praise you for sticking with your husband and trying to work things out because of your marriage vows. On the other hand, there are a lot of people who would tell you to leave immediately and never look back.
Before I provide insight about your marriage and husband, I am going to start off by encouraging you to seek professional counseling immediately. James 2:14-26 reminds us that Faith Without Works is Dead. There are many ways of interpreting the scripture and my thoughts are this: your faith in God is noteworthy, but unfortunately a damaged mind, heart and soul cannot be healed through prayer alone. I believe that we are justified by our work, not by our faith alone. God created Psychotherapists like myself to help people work through their psychological troubles.

I hear a lot of Christians talk about praying and waiting on signs from God. The problem with this thinking is that most do not know how to discern the right kinds of signs from the wrong kinds of signs. Which signs should you pay attention to: the signs that indicates that your marriage can be saved because your husband wants to get back together or the signs that indicates a troubled heart because you still have minimal trust and respect for your husband.

I believe that we focus on the signs that our family and friends encourage to focus on. Your church family is probably encouraging you to pray for your marriage and your husband and God will work things out.  However, they may not be equipped or trained to help you understand or cope with the long-term psychological implications of the abuse that you have already experienced and will probably continue to experience at the hands of your husband. This is why you need to do more than pray. Please seek professional help for safety guidance and psychological support.

Now to answer your question! God gave every man the gift of free will. Given this, I believe that God provides us with what we need, but allows us to make our own decisions. Your husband’s heart can be changed only if decides that he wants to do the work. This work involves getting professional counseling, establishing a “serious and genuine” relationship with God and learning how to love himself. He cannot love you until he learns how to love himself. I believe that people who abuse others are projecting internalized hate and trouble outwardly. Do not believe or convince yourself that you can change your husband. His heart has to be transformed from within. He has to want it and work for it. Change is a personal journey.

Best regards,
Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – What Marriage Qualities Should I Look for in my Prince Charming?

Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I am a single woman who was ready to give up on dating and marriage. With all the game-playing going on these days, I was going to through in the towel. I could not tell who was real and serious from who was not. Recently I met this nice professional guy and we have been dating for 7 months. Things are getting kind of serious and I think that he might be the one, but I am getting scared because I do not know what to look for in a future husband. I was raised by mother and was told to look for basic qualities in a man such as being a great provider, charming, fun, great lover and of course handsome. My man has all of the qualities that I was told to look for and is very charming, but I am wondering if I should look for more.

What Marriage Qualities Should I Look for in my Prince Charming?

Ms. Marriage-Minded,

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Dear Ms. Marriage Minded,

I am glad to hear that you are not totally mesmerized with the mannerisms of your prince charming. Here’s why: I have worked with thousands of men who are great providers, but are cold, insensitive and detached. I have worked with thousands of men who are great charmers, but are also emotionally and physically abusive. I have worked with thousands of men who like to have fun and are great in bed, but are not emotionally resilient. I have worked with thousands of men who are handsome, but are ineffective communicators and womanizers.

The qualities that you mentioned are good, but I view them as superficial qualities. Superficial qualities are mannerisms that exist on the surface. You do not have to look hard or long to see them. These qualities are attractive in nature and when we see them our minds and hearts are mesmerized. While these qualities are important, they are at best just starters. You should start your assessment of you man by exploring them, but you should end your assessment by going deeper.

Here are four marriage qualities that you should look for in your Prince Charming.

1) Secure in His Identity. Being secure in one’s identity is not all about a man’s ability to put a roof over your head, pay the bills and buy you nice things. A man who is secure in his identity is a great provider and protector, but he does not limit his ability to express the God-given emotions he was blessed with. He acknowledges and expresses sensitive emotions because he realizes that he gets what he gives. He shows affection toward you because he understands that he needs a good balance of emotional expression to have a healthy relationship. Expression and recognition of emotions is a marriage quality. A man who is not afraid to show emotions is secure in his identity. Emotional bonding sustains marriage, not money and material things.

2) Trust in Women. Never marry a man who has trust issues related to women. If your man has been violated by a woman and has not recover, be cautious. Assessing your man’s ability to trust is extremely important because men who are trusting behave differently from men who are untrusting. Men, who have trust in women are typically free of suspicion and are more prone to cope in a positive manner when faced with adversity in their relationships. A trusting man will show faith in you because he knows that you will do right by him. If you were to leave your phone or email open, a trusting man will not feel a need to look through them. In comparison, men who lack trust in women are more prone to cope in a negative manner when faced with adversity in their relationships. They will not be open and will play mind games with you. Men who lack trust in women are often suspicious and will question your whereabouts. If your man is not trusting of women he will probably surf through your belongings and start World War III if he finds some names or information with which he is not familiar. Trust is an essential part of having a healthy marriage and every woman deserves to be with a man who trusts her.

3) Emotionally Resilient. Emotionally resilient men have the mental ability to return to a previous state of functioning after experiencing emotional trauma. Bouncing back and functioning in a healthy manner after experiencing disappointment can be difficult, but make sure that your man has mental capacity to do so. This is important because every marriage is filled with good times and bad times. Pay attention to how your man copes with and recovers from stressors, especially stressors that are very emotional in nature. When times get tough some men get going. Emotionally resilient men see difficulties as temporary and are capable of bouncing back. This skill is needed in order to make a marriage last forever.

4) Effective Communicator. Life and love often comes with challenges. Some people cope with challenges by ignoring them and some people cope with challenges by withdrawing and/or fighting. While challenges are unavoidable, withdrawing and fighting is. This is why it is extremely important to assess your man’s communication style. Of all the qualities that I mentioned, being an effective communicator is probably the most important. An effective communicator expresses himself in a manner, which ensures that he is heard because he demonstrates respect and consideration for others. He also demonstrates empathy and practices assertiveness in order to maintain open lines of communication. I often remind individuals that if they feel like no one is listening when they talk, maybe they are not saying the right thing. Given this, make sure that your man listens to you. Listening and speaking assertively builds respect and trust. Without effective communication is it difficult to build and maintain respect and trust. Without respect and trust is it difficult to have a healthy relationship. Effective communication is the tool and mechanism for healthy relationship bonding and marital bliss.

It is my hope is that you will take time to explore the qualities outlined above. When selecting a partner be mindful that “All that glitters is not gold”. If you would like to learn more about what qualities to look for in a man, click here to secure a FREE copy of my film Qualified, yet Single: Why Good Men Remain Single.

Best regards,
Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – Am I Wrong for Physically Assaulting my Husband?

Hi Dr. Buckingham,

My husband and I have been together for ten years and married for five. We have three children together. My husband recently had an altercation with his boss and quit. I chose to start working and let him stay home with the kids. Well a week later I see he searched for a girl on Facebook, and asked him about it. He got really mad and said it was a photography page. I let it go but my intuition told me otherwise. Two months later while getting ready for work and see a message from the same girl asking where he at. I was livid he apologized and cried. He said they were just in boxing back and forth never divulging the exact conversations. He created a new page and identity and she was all through his activity log. My children and I went out of town and I’m convinced he messaged her and deleted them. I was so angry I began calling him a pedophile because she is 18. I punched him in his mouth and threw his Xbox One at him and broke it. I feel better now, but wonder if he can forgive me for putting my hands on him.

Am I Wrong for Physically Assaulting my Husband?

Violated wife,

 

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Dear Violated Wife,

It is unfortunate that your husband disrespected you, but I am not an advocate of abuse in any form (emotional, verbal or physical). With this in mind, yes, you are wrong for hitting your husband. There is a saying that two wrongs do not make a right. By verbally abusing and attacking your husband, you gave him a pass to not focus on his inappropriate behavior. He will now view himself as the victim and probably use your violence against him as an excuse to engage in future inappropriate behavior.

I understand your feeling of anger and betrayal, especially after you have and continue to sacrifice for him and your children. However, instead of physically attacking your husband you should be trying to find out why he has a need to communicate with another woman. His need for attention may be personal or it may be related to something within the marriage.

I often remind people that cheating is a by-product of an emotional void. Men are believed to be physical cheaters. This is partially true. Behind every behavior there is an emotion. Frustration is an emotion, neglect is an emotion, anger is an emotion, betrayal is an emotion, disappointment is an emotion, etc. Remember that emotions influence behavior.

You felt violated and expressed your feeling inappropriately. Seek to understand the source of your problem before trying to address or solve it. You mentioned that your husband got really mad when you asked him about the communication and you got angry because of his behavior. Deal with the emotions and the behavior will likely rectify itself. Violence does not correct inappropriate behavior. In fact, violence typically causes individuals to become defensive and/or withdraw. Violence creates fear and fear creates distrust and emotional distance. No one wins with violence.

I strongly recommend that you seek marital therapy to address your husband’s deception, lying and dishonesty and to deal with your anger. When you put your hands on someone, you increase the risk of being physically assaulted. Please be mindful that you should never ditch out what you cannot accept in return. Domestic violence is never acceptable. See a professional.

Best regards,
Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – How Do You Fight for Love When Nothing is Left?

Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I am a very concerned wife who is fearful that my family and marriage is going straight down the drain! I feel my husband has no respect for me anymore. He is constantly making decisions without communicating with me and does not make time for me at all. He plays this game on his phone all day long and talks to other people online. I don’t know what to do anymore. It is so much more, but I cannot write it all down. Overall I feel unloved, neglected, unappreciated and hurt. He tells me he doesn’t care if I leave. But once things blow over he tells me that he does care. I’m seeking counseling at my church because I love my husband and we have two beautiful daughters together. I just don’t have much fight left.

How Do You Fight for Love When Nothing is Left?

Sincerely,

A very Stressed Wife

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Dear Very Stressed Wife,

You are fighting the wrong kind of fight. Fighting for love is different than fighting for sanity. Based on your description of your husband’s behavior, you are dealing with foolishness. Love does not conquer foolishness. A husband’s job is to love, comfort, respect and honor his wife. Given that you feel unloved, neglected, unappreciated and hurt, you should be fighting for your sanity.

I highly recommend that you continue to seek counseling at church. Pastoral counseling is a good starting point to work through pain, especially spiritual pain related to your marital discord. Also, I highly recommend that you seek secular counseling to work through your psychological distress. You describe yourself as a very stressed wife, but I am concerned that you might be suffering from burnout.

Burnout and stress are not the same. Stress can provide a burst of energy and inspire us to take action. Burnout on the other hand, is a state of emotional and physical exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. People experiencing burnout often don’t see any hope of positive change in their situation.

Burnout can cause you to engage in behavior that is not consistent with your values or standard mode of behavior. Symptoms of burnout include decreased interest, motivation, sensitivity, productivity and energy; increased hopelessness, powerlessness, cynicism and resentfulness. Burnout might also cause you to feel dull and mistrustful. Burnout can also cause demoralization: feelings of gloom and inadequacy due to engaging in activities that undermine your morals.

When you feel like you have nothing left, focus on and fight for yourself. Love motives us to fight, but it rarely saves troubled marriages. Love is an emotion that does not enhance marriage without action. Talk to your husband about attending counseling with you. In order to have a healthy marriage, you must have to have a healthy relationship. Be mindful that it is impossible to have a healthy relationship if your significant other cannot relate to you.

While you fight for love make sure that you do not burnout and demoralize yourself. Fighting for your marriage in noteworthy, but losing you mind in the process does not benefit anyone including you or your children. Please seek professional help.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – How Can I Get My Fiancé of 3 Years to Marry Me?

Hello Dr. Buckingham,

I am getting frustrated with my fiancé. We dated for 5 years and have been engaged for 3 years, but he will not commit to me. He is constantly complaining about my lack of commitment to him. He complains that I do not spend enough quality time with him. I cook, clean and meet his physical needs when I have time and he is still not satisfied. He wants me to be more affectionate and spend quality time with him. I am a professional woman and work a lot of hours. Also, I am very active in my church and community. He knew these things when he met me. I need help because I want to get married sometime in the near future.

How Can I Get My Fiancé of 3 Years to Marry Me?

Ms. Engaged

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Dear Ms. Engaged,

Have you ever asked yourself why do men go out of their way to be noticed by women? The answer is simple: men require and need attention.

The need for belonging, love and affection are human needs, not just female needs. We might act tough and distant at times, but be mindful that behind every behavior there is an emotion. Also be mindful that men are more likely to marry women who make time for them, strive to understand them and express that they have their best interest at hand.

Cooking, cleaning and making love are great qualities, but unfortunately you will never get lifetime commitment if you do not offer him quality time. Quality time involves being attentive to your fiancé’s emotional, spiritual and psychological health so that he can lead you in a healthy manner in marriage. Proverbs 31:12 states, “For she employs all her living for her husband’s good.” Undeniably, men are not complete in and of ourselves. This is why God created you.

Offering quality time is one of the most precious gifts that you can offer your fiancé. Over the course of my career as a marital therapist, I have heard thousands of married men complain and become extremely frustrated because their wives do not spend time with them or listen to them. As I processed what they were saying, I learned that most men want to be heard and want attention. It is without question that we all feel better when we are heard and attended to. Therefore, I believe quality time has to do with a woman’s willingness and ability to devote time to listen to her partner and to address his need for affection and attention.

If you fail to make time to nurture your fiancé’s emotional, sexual and spiritual needs, some other woman will. You can give your body and labor, but remember that emotional intimacy develops as a result of quality interactions. Being a stable and self-sufficient woman is great, but if you do not spend time with your fiancé, he will continue to put off marriage.

In order to get lifetime commitment you have to nurture your man. If you would like to learn more about how to get lifetime commitment from your fiancé, please secure a copy of my latest book, You Deserve More: A Single Woman’s Guide to Marriage and click here to register for my Free webinar: You Deserve More: A Single Woman’s Guide to Marriage.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

Ask Dr. Buckingham – Should I Marry a God-fearing Man Who Is Financially Unstable?

Dear Dr. Buckingham,

I have been saved and walking with the Lord for about three years now. Last year, I was blessed with the opportunity to begin my career in another state. There was a man at my church home who I was attracted to; however he never approached me or expressed interest in me. Because I was leaving, I decided to pursue a casual sexual relationship with him. I knew this was outside of God’s will and I struggled with it for sometime. I prayed and asked God to cover me, then I sent him my number on Facebook.

He contacted me later that evening and expressed that he had been admiring me for quite some time. He said he had been praying, asking God for a relationship with me and that he was only interested in pursuing a Godly relationship with me. I was amazed, God had answered my prayer! The only problem…he did not have a job; in fact, he was homeless. Given the amazing circumstances, I overlooked that and was open to a friendship with him.

Almost a year later, he is my best friend, even though we are miles apart. For the most part, he is everything I want in a husband and we are discussing marriage. The only hang-up for me is his financial/living situation has not changed. He is pursuing a career in ministry but when I try to get an understanding of his goals and plans he gets defensive. He says his goal is to work in ministry and God will provide a job when the time is right. He says a job is not important to him, but serving God is. I can see his dedication in studying and learning the Word but I still wonder, am I wasting my time? How can I get a better understanding of his goals/plans without him getting defensive? Or has he already told me what I need to know?

Should I Marry a God-fearing Man Who Is Financially Unstable?

Thanks,

Lost in Love

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Dear Lost in Love,

Your dilemma is one that millions of successful women are facing on a regular basis these days. As we navigate through the 21st Century, discussions about money and men continue to remain on the forefront. The belief that the man should be the financial provider is deeply rooted in the psyche of most Christians. I Timothy 5:8 states that the husband is required to provide for his household financially. Given this, many people believe that men are responsible for working and building a prosperous household based on financially stability. I agree with this partially.

I agree that a man is responsible for leading his household. However, I do not agree that his worth should be measured in terms of his economic or financial value. A man who leads his household with wisdom from a Godly perspective, assists with childrearing and nurtures his wife’s needs and passions, should be viewed as a great provider and good husband. In response to your question, here are three suggestions.

1) Examine your belief system and decide what kind of work is important to you. This is critical. I am a believer in miracles and have faith in God, but I am also a believer in working. James 2:14-26 states that “Faith without Works is Dead”. Most Christians believe that this scripture is referring to working to earn money in order to survive and thrive. You will hear individuals say that you have to work in order to get want you need and want. You will also hear them say that praying is no good if action is not taken. In actuality this scripture is referring to living a lifestyle that reflects your faith in God and the ability to live a lifestyle that reflects God’s teachings.

In order to live a certain lifestyle, especially a Godly lifestyle, you have to transform which requires work. Some people believe that if they work diligently serving God, they will get what they need and want. It appears that your friend believes that working for God is more important than working for money and material things. It also appears that he believes that a man’s obedience to God is the best work that he can do.

Like me, you have probably heard of stories of men who are rich from a financial perspective, but are poor spiritually. With this in mind, you must decide what kind of work is important to you.

Secular Work. Do you want to have a great relationship with a man who is financially stable? This involves being with a man who will work long hours and do whatever is needed to provide for his family. Making money drives him. He is faithful to his craftsmanship and might be consumed by his work from a secular perspective. Is this the kind of work that is important to you?

Spiritual Work. Do you want to have a great relationship with a man who is spiritually stable? This involves being with a man who will work diligently to serve God. Being obedient to God drives him. He is faithful to God and might be consumed by his work from a spiritual perspective. Is this the kind of work that is important to you?

I know that the ideal situation would be to have a great relationship with a man who is balanced and embraces both kinds of work. Unfortunately, this does not appear to be your situation. This leads me to my second suggestion.

2. Determine if you can remain patient and accept your friend’s work. You have probably heard success stories of individuals who were homeless or down on their luck and great things happened for them because they did God’s work and allowed Him to lead them. Being patient can be rewarding. Set a timeframe and closely monitor his growth and earning potential. Support his dream, but make sure that he is considerate of your aspirations and values them as well. Before you continue with the relationship, take some time to determine if you have the patience and faith to invest in your friend’s work.

3. Do not get blind-sided by his spiritual ambition and ignore his worldly behavior. There has to be balance. From a psychological perspective, I am a strong believer that actions speak louder than words. Here are a few questions to help you better assess his likeliness to succeed in ministry and to become a provider. Is he taking appropriate steps to progress in ministry? Does he have realistic goals and expectations? Is his action in line with what he desires? In what way is he trying to improve his financial or living situation? Is his idea of the future compatible with yours? Is he a good steward over the things he has? Is he willing to talk through and learn from his defensiveness?

It is important for all of us to serve and worship God, but we must be mindful that we are in the flesh. God wants us to reach heaven, but He also wants us to thrive on earth. Make sure that your friend understands the importance of balance. His love for God is noteworthy and so is your love for him. However, as you explore the possibility of marriage, remember that love does not pay the bills. Financial conflict is the second leading cause of divorce besides ineffective communication. If you can accept being with a man who is not currently focused on monetary prosperity, then practice patience and continue to seek guidance. Do not rush into marriage without seeking secular and spiritual counsel. A professional counselor like myself can help you better understand your friend’s psychological mindset and behavior. Sometimes mental health issues are minimized or overlooked when spirituality is glorified.

Best regards,

Dr. Buckingham

If you have questions for Dr. Dwayne Buckingham regarding relationships (married, single, etc), parenting, or personal growth and development, please click here and receive a response within 72 hours.

Disclaimer: The ideas, opinions and recommendations contained in this post are not intended as a substitute for seeking professional counseling or guidance. Any concerns or questions that you have about relationships or any other source of potential distress should be discussed with a professional, in person. The author is not liable or responsible for any personal or relational distress, loss or damage allegedly arising from any information or recommendations in this post.

A Heartfelt Tribute to my God-sent Father

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The world is filled with men who plant seeds and men who take care of their seeds.  Given this, I believe that Father’s Day should be about honoring men who take care of their seeds.

My biological father donated his sperm, but not his time, love and affection. It saddens me to think that my biological father contributed to my creation out of lust, not love.

Unfortunately, like many African American males, I grew up without my biological father and did not learn some critical lessons about fatherhood.

As I traveled my fatherless path, I prayed and waited for God to send me a father who could show and teach me how to navigate through life and successfully transition into manhood.

Today, I am proud to say that God answered my prayer. To know Dr. Dwayne L. Buckingham, you would have to know Dr. Richard P. Chiles, my God-sent father.

While on my quest to understand human behavior and myself, I enrolled in Father Chiles’ Abnormal Psychology course. From day one, he took me under his wings and taught me lessons about manhood. More importantly, through his actions he taught me what fatherhood is all about.

It is a father’s responsibility to demonstrate personal integrity, foster love and affection, provide guidance and lead by example. A father should steer his children in the right direction and demonstrate his love through selflessness. A father provides constructive criticism so his children can understand their shortcomings without feeling attacked or belittled. A father understands the power of reaping what you sow. He knows that his harvest depends on the kind of seeds he sows. A father teaches his children compassionate, forgiveness and respect.

As a result of God sending me Father Chiles, I learned that the title of “Father” comes with a great deal of responsibility. My wife and I are expecting our first child, Dwayne, Jr. in September and I excited about sharing and demonstrating my knowledge of fatherhood.

Father Chiles taught and showed me what a father could and should be to his child. For this, I am forever grateful.

Happy Father’s Day,

Father Chiles

P.S. If you would like to learn more about my story and what it means to be a father click here.

What Makes A Man A Father?

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As a young boy I never knew what it was like to have a father present. Like any other child, I longed for a man to be in my life. However, at the age of 10 my world was shattered when the man that I knew to be my father denied me because he was angry.

Growing up in a single-parent female household was challenging at times. My mother did her best to educate me about the challenges that I would face as a man, but she could not educate me about the role of a father.

As I ventured through childhood I found it difficult to respect and connect with men. I had a father, but did not know anything about him. He would come around on the weekends and drop off a few dollars. By giving me a few bucks he felt that he earned the right to be called my father.

Whenever someone would ask me if I had a father, I would tell them that I was conceived by a man who donated sperm to my mother. This was hard for many to hear, especially my “father”. My brothers and uncles served as role models, but they could not give me the attention that I needed as a young boy because they had sons of their own.

For many years I searched high and low to find the answer to one fundamental question: What Makes a Man a Father?

Here are 6 observations I have learned about What Makes a Man a Father:

1. A man becomes a Father when he takes responsibility for raising his children.

Any man can create a child, but a Father will not forsake his child. A man becomes a Father when he not only clams his child, but also takes care of his child. Any man can donate sperm, but fathers nurture and raise their seed.

2. A man becomes a Father when he connects with his children.

Children, especially young boys need male role models with whom they can share their feelings with and learn from. Feeling connected is a basic human need. It is difficult to show affection when one does not feel connected. Fathers enjoy the time they spend with their children. They eat together, play together, and pray together.

3. A man becomes a Father when he learns to feed his children before he eats.

This fundamental lesson is critical to help young boys and girls understand the importance of engaging in selfless behavior. Young boys will also come to understand that they will be expected to provide as they journey into manhood. Young girls will come to understand the importance of giving their hearts to men who are family oriented.

4. A man becomes a Father when he leads by word and example.

A father understands that he must command wisely in order to be obeyed cheerfully. He realizes that he sets the tempo for his children. He strives to be optimistic, empathic, resilient and inspirational. A man will demand respect, but a Father will demonstrate respect. A man will tell you how to live, but a Father will show you.  A man will tell you what to do, but a Father will guide you.

5. A man becomes a Father when he demonstrates affection toward his children.

A father looks for the good in his children and openly acknowledges it when it is found. He celebrates their successes and communicates in a positive and nurturing manner. Hugs and kisses are given in addition to words of encouragement.

6. A man becomes a Father when he respects the mother of his children.   

A father is committed to helping the mother of his children succeed and there is an attitude of “one for all, and all for one.” In short there is allegiance to the children and family life is a priority.

When asked, “What makes a Man a Father?” I often remind people that a father is a man who raises a child. He acknowledges responsibility for his seed. With this in mind, I would like to say “Happy Father’s Day” to all the men who step up to the plate on a daily basis and give all that you have to your children.

Celebrate Fatherhood by purchasing a copy of “A Black Man’s Worth: Conqueror and Head of HouseholdPurchase Now!  

Happy Father’s Day!

Dr. Buckingham

8 Tips for Successful Parenting

The ability to succeed in the parental role does not occur without some form of training or education. Even the most nurturing, self-driven and well-intended parents require guidance and seek advice from time to time. Based on the fact that parenting is an essential part of parenthood, it is important to learn how to become an effective parent.

Over the course of my professional career as a psychotherapist, I have had the privilege of providing therapy to thousands of good-hearted, dedicated and loving parents. After listening to so many parental “nightmares” over the years, I have come to realize that parenting is not a natural or common sense skill. Those who succeed in parenting do not solely rely on their upbringing as the gold template, but equip themselves with tools as they endeavor to assist their children in becoming healthy and productive citizens.

Successful parenting is one of the most important interpersonal components of building a healthy home environment. It is important to note that successful parenting is a process and skill set that is learned through a combination of personal experience and education. As you strive to become a successful parent you should consider and apply the following tips:

Discuss and establish expectations early

Successful parents are good communicators and planners. They understand the importance of establishing expectations in the early phase of the parent/child relationship. It is important to make sure that the parent and child are on the same page in regards to what is required of each other. Minimizing confusion and clarifying expectations is critical to establishing a healthy parent/child relationship.

Lead by example

Always be willing to demonstrate respect for your child. Respect is vital in parent/child relationships and is often earned by leading and guiding. The old adage “Do as I say, not as I do” is definitely outdated. Leading by example builds respect and trust in the parent/child relationship.

Be flexible in your thinking

Flexibility is the key to growth for all humans. Remember that the parent/child relationship is an interactive process and that information should flow in both directions. Successful parents lead and instruct, but also listen. Look for opportunities to learn from your child and encourage him or her to respectfully ask questions if he or she does not understand something. Successful parents take pride in learning and welcome opportunities to grow.

Take care of yourself

The parent/child relationship is primarily lead by the parent. Therefore, it is imperative that parents take care of themselves. Successful parents acknowledge and recognize that they can’t give what they do not have. Teaching children the importance of engaging in healthy behavior and self-care is an important element of the parent/child relationship. Successful parents understand that personal development and happiness can come to a standstill if emotional, physical or spiritual health is comprised on a regular basis.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Any relationship is only as good as the people involved in it. Successful parents understand that they have the ability to set the tempo and standard for their less experienced child. In some parent/child relationships there will be some level of tension, conflict or disagreement. However, successful parents realize that their attitude will influence how the conflict is resolved. Successful parents strive to maintain a positive attitude when faced with adversity.

Take pride in being a parent and demonstrate compassion

Successful parents are proud parents and strive to demonstrate compassion when interacting with their children. Developing a genuine interest in your child’s life (good and bad). Demonstrating compassion can lead to honest and sincere interactions. Successful parents strive to bond with their children out of genuine concern for their personal growth and not out of obligation. Children are more likely to gravitate toward and connect with parents who are genuine and compassionate.

Be knowledgeable about developmental, societal and peer challenges

A key responsibility of any parent is to assist children in their personal and social development. This requires parents to be familiar with developmental, societal and peer challenges that are relevant to their children. Successful parents do not attempt to lead by being in the dark. They equip themselves with proper knowledge in order to provide helpful and accurate information to steer their children in the right direction.

Stay focused on God’s mission

God’s mission for all parents according to Proverbs 22:6 is to “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it“. With this in mind, successful parents provide a firm spiritual foundation for their children because they understand the importance of planting healthy seeds. They do not get distracted by “temporary” chaos. Successful parents keep their eyes on the prize during chaos and assist their children in doing the same.

Raising children can be very challenging, but also rewarding. Do you remember a time when you longed for support, encouragement and guidance? As you move forward in your parental goal to develop and maintain healthy parent/child relationships, please consider the tips outlined above –our future is in your hands.

How to Achieve S.U.C.C.E.S.S.

Scholarly Achievement

Scholarly achievement involves the discovery of new knowledge and mastery in one or more disciplines by study. Individuals who equip themselves with knowledge through academic study or vocational training, position themselves to succeed in life.

Urgency

Act with a sense of urgency. Life will pass you by if you do not take advantage of the many blessings that God affords you on a daily basis. Successful people seek out opportunities and capitalize on them. Some people wait on others and some people have others wait on them. Don’t be a waiter – dreams do not come true without action.

Consistency

Be consistent. Successful people do not give up when faced with adversity. Whatever you do, remember that repetition and regular follow-through is important. Civil Rights leaders were successful because they consistently fought against injustice.

Commitment

Obligate yourself intellectually and emotionally to a course of action.

Exposure

Surround yourself by successful people. Remember that you will be influenced by the kind of people you hang around.

Superb Performance

Do your best and perform brilliantly. Be surprisingly good and always strive for excellence.

Sustainability

Take care of yourself emotionally, spiritually and physically in order to sustain. The capacity to endure during rough times in essential to achieving success. Successful people position themselves to run and win the marathon, not the sprint.

I developed the S.U.C.C.E.S.S. acronym in order to motivate and inspire individuals to achieve success. I have personally applied it in my life and thank God for the level of success that I have achieved. I recently finished by dissertation and will be Dr. Buckingham next month. I will be the first and only doctor in my family–God is good. As you strive to achieve success, please consider the tips outlined above – you can achieve whatever your heart desire.