Be a Good Father
You already know that it takes a lot to be a good parent, but there are many ways in which you can be a good father in particular.
- Have fun. Fatherhood is a big responsibility but it is also a lot of fun. Show your kids that you enjoy being their father.
- Spend time with and take responsibility for your children. Some fathers miss opportunities to spend time with their kids because they have competing responsibilities or interests. However, once the opportunity has passed, it's gone and you can't get it back. If you don't establish an intimacy with your children when they're young, it'll be difficult to catch up when they're older and still need your help and support.
- Be a teacher by both word and example. Children need to be taught right from wrong and will need to see it demonstrated by their father. Make decisions in front of them and explain to them why you came to that resolution. Talk to them about choices you made in the past and why they did (or didn't) work out. Evaluate all of your own decisions by thinking: "What would I want my child to do in this situation?" Teach your children that it is okay to make mistakes. Everyone makes them. You do and they will too. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and try to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
- Show affection. Some men may be uncomfortable with offering their children affection and communicating their love. Being affectionate with your child shows them that you love them. It also teaches them to show affection to others.
- Respect your children's mother. Mutual respect between a child's parents is important whether or not the parents are married to one another. Children will mimic their parents' behavior. How you treat your child's mother will influence the way in which the child will view his or her own role when they become parents. Do not be afraid to stand up for your own views as a parent. They are equally as important and valuable as those of the child's mother who may or may not spend more time with the child. Make parenting a partnership, be on the same page about how to discipline and reward your child and be consistent.
- Don't Place Unreasonable Expectations on Your Children. A child's life can be filled with pressures, from siblings to kids at school to teachers to coaches. Help your child understand their desires and assess their capabilities and limitations. Help them set achievable goals. Encourage them to meet their full potential but avoid living vicariously through them by expecting them to achieve what you had achieved or hoped to have achieved.
- Don't Place Unreasonable Expectations on Yourself. You are an important person in your child's development but many other people and things will influence their development and growth. Just as you can't take credit for all of your child's strengths you also shouldn't shoulder the blame for their weaknesses.
- Realize that a father's job is never done. Do not assume that once your children turn 21, or they have a college degree, that your work raising them is done. Although it is important to encourage your children to become financially and emotionally independent, it is also important to let them know that you care and are always there for them and that they are valued.
- The goal in disciplining your child is to show them that their behavior is inappropriate and unacceptable. The use of force is seldom, if ever, necessary to achieve that goal, regardless of the child's age. Often, other approaches, such as depriving the child of something they value, can prove more effective over time, while preserving the child's self esteem and the child's respect for you as a parent. Teaching a child right from wrong is a process. Methods of discipline that appear to achieve short-term results may have unintended negative consequences over the long run.
- There are only two things worse than spanking: yelling and not disciplining
- The most common request from daughters about fathers: that fathers would listen to them and understand as best they can before making decisions