Another Father's Day has come and gone but I can't let it go by without sharing a few ideas on how to be a good dad. Every year I try to do an article for dads; many times they get over looked when it comes to all the parenting advice so I wanted to share some of the information I have found just for dads. I feel so blessed to still have my dad; he will be 84 in November and still does remarkably well. He has always been there for me and I know he always will. He wasn't much for hugs but when I was very young I did sit on his lap every night when he would come in from farming. He has ALWAYS been there when we needed anything; and he was there also when we made mistakes. Many parents today seem to be juggling so much, jobs, social activities, kid's activities, housework, etc., that there is little time left to spend with their children. So, here are some tips for those who want to be a good dad.
1. Always be encouraging to your children. Give them love. Give them respect. And give them as much freedom and real responsibility as they can handle.
So often we are quick to let children know when they do something we think is wrong. But remember to acknowledge and appreciate a child when all is going well and the child is playing quietly in the house or doing some chores.
2. Let them follow their own life paths just be there to support them in whatever they choose, rather than pushing them into following your footsteps. They have their own desires and interests.
Not all children will succeed at, say, academics. As a father, your job is to help them discover their gifts, challenge and encourage with compassion, but, at the same time, without promoting mediocrity.
3. Be there for them always. Spend some quality time with them in the evening after work. Share at least one meal a day together. This is what brings and keeps families together.
Place a high value on spending one-on-one time with your child. More than what money can ever buy, your child really wants their father's time and undivided attention.
4. Truly listen to them. Ask them for their opinion and let them know that what they think and want counts. Part of listening and responding is to be able to say "no" when appropriate. There is so much stuff out there for children these days and sometimes you have to decide just what is appropriate for them.
5. Walk the talk. Set a noble example, By this, I mean make sure your thoughts, words, feelings and actions are all in agreement.
Be very honest with your children because they will know when you are not telling the truth. You will both feel better, trust more and learn to be honest.
Also, as a father, always be sure to treat the mother of your child well. This is where your children will get very important information about relationships between men and women.
Never fight in front of the kids, and remember to try to be kind much more often than trying to be right. This goes for separated or divorced couples also.
"The greatest gift a father can give his children is to love and respect their mother" (source unknown).
6. Laugh often with your children be childlike.
Apparently, children under the age of 7 laugh 700 times a day, whereas adults on average laugh only four times a day. So you have a lot of catching up to do. Therefore look for humor and share joyous moments with your children and the rest of the family.
7. Teach your children about your values and what is important to you and your family. One of the greatest things you can instill in your children is a sense of what is right and what is not. Teach them a sense of duty, responsibility and good morals.
8. Finally, truly love your children. You may say you love them, but if they don't feel loved, then they aren't loved.
Don't show favoritism amongst your children but appreciate their individual uniqueness. Not all children are created alike. Create opportunities to find out how each child is unique and wonderful. Each child has so many gifts to offer you you just have to look for them.
At the end of the day every child needs love more than anything else and as a father you have a wonderful opportunity to bestow this gift on your child in the same way that at one time your own father did to you.
"Not every successful man is a good father, but every good father is a successful man" (R. Duvall).
Information from the Arvind Devalia article.
Sue Junge is an early childhood support specialist for the Iowa River Valley Early Childhood Area and is a Thursday columnist for the Times-Republican. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don't necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. For more information, please visit www.iowarivervalleyeca.com.