Lets answer these questions before we begin:
- Fathers, do you know your role in parenting?
- Fathers, do you think you spend enough time with your family?
- Fathers, do your children and your wife look to you as the head of your family?
- Fathers, do you love your family enough to make them first in your life?
- Fathers, when is the last time you read with your child?
- Fathers, at the end of every day, what have you taught your children?
So, how did all of you fathers answer these questions?
Families are so busy and stressed today that each person ends up going their own way. Parents are busy running their children from one activity to another. Making sure a child has activities they enjoy is necessary. However, when does the family spend time together?
Fathers, you are the head of your families, and you may need to set boundaries for your family. This does not mean that you have the right to boss everyone around. Being the head of a family is about being a leader not a dictator.
Children instinctively look to their fathers for direction and instructions, which sometimes means discipline. If a father is a good and a just person and treats everyone with respect, then his children will learn more when he says you must show respect to each person you meet.
Remember, a father’s words, without the deeds to back them up, are empty words. It is a fact that when families spend time together the children will grow into better parents themselves. I have a few suggestions:
1. Respect and Love Your Children’s Mother
The best things a father can do for his children is to love & respect their mother. Keep your marriage strong and vital.
It is very important to respect and support the mother of your children. A father and a mother who respect each other, and let their children know it, provide a secure environment for them.
When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected. Also, children who observe their parents sharing mutual respect for each other, grow up doing the same with their life partners.
2. Spend Time With Your Children
Prioritize your time to ensure that you spend bonding time with your children. If you always seem to busy for your children, they will feel neglected no matter what you say or no matter what you buy them. Kids grow up so quickly. Missed opportunities are forever lost.
3. Give 100% of your attention while communicating
Don’t let your children feel that their father speaks to them only when they have done something wrong.
Don’t let your children cringe when their mother says, “Your father wants to talk with you.” Begin talking with your kids when they are very young so that difficult subjects will be easier to handle as they get older.
Take time and listen to their ideas and problems and while listening, be all there – 100%.
4. Discipline, but With Love
All children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment, but to set reasonable limits. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and provide meaningful rewards for desirable behavior.
Fathers who discipline in a calm and fair manner show love for their children.
5. Be A Role Model
Fathers are role models to their kids, whether they realize it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect by boys, and what to look for in a husband.
Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility. “All the world’s a stage…” and a father plays one of the most vital roles.
6. Be A Teacher, not a Preacher
Too many fathers think teaching is something others do and reminisce their childhood, which turns them into preachers. In today’s changing times, children don’t take very gladly to this.
But a father who teaches his children about right and wrong, and encourages them to do their best, will see his children make good choices. Involved fathers use everyday examples to help their children learn the basic lessons of life.
7. A Family that Eats Together Stays Together
Sharing a meal together (breakfast, lunch or dinner) can be an important part of healthy family life. In addition to providing some structure in a busy day, it gives the kids a chance to talk about what they are doing and want to do.
It is also a good time for fathers to listen and give advice. Most importantly, it is a time for families to be together each day. Also, while having a meal, the parents may also share their details and problems and involve children in the solution-finding exercises.
One would be amazed to see the level of perceptiveness children possess.
8. Read To Your Children
In a world where television, computers and other gadgets often dominate the lives of children, it is important that fathers make the effort to read to their children.
Children learn best by doing and reading, as well as seeing and hearing. Begin reading to your children when they are very young. When they are older encourage them to read on their own.
Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth. Your children must realize that “Books are forgotten friends but are the most precious one…”
9. Display Affection
A hug, a pat, a word of appreciation can go a long way in enhancing a child’s emotional wellbeing. Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted, accepted and loved by their family.
Parents, especially fathers, need to feel both comfortable and willing to hug their children. Display of affection everyday is the best way to let your children know that you love them.
10. An Unending yet Fulfilling Job
Even after children are grown up, they will still look to their fathers for wisdom and advice. Whether it’s continued schooling, a new job or a wedding, fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they grow and, perhaps, marry and build their own families.
I may, at the end, narrate below the general conclusions reached pursuant various surveys, researches & studies on the subject:
- Generosity in preschool boys was more likely when they viewed their fathers as affectionate and comforting.
- Altruism in children in grades 3 to 6 was more likely when their fathers participated in caring for them during infancy.
- Loving fathers who provide reasonable, firm guidance without arbitrarily imposing their will promote competence in their children. Unloving, punitive, authoritarian fathers tend to produce dependent, withdrawn, anxious, and dejected children.
- Warm, accepting fathers tend to have children with high self-esteem. Alienated adolescents view their parents as hostile and non-accepting.
- Warm, affectionate fathers influence the development of their children’s sex-role behavior; they also have a positive influence on achievement and peer popularity in boys and personal adjustment in girls.
- Adolescent daughters recalled less affection and support from their fathers than the fathers recalled expressing. Daughters wished they had received, and fathers wished they had given, more affection and support.
- Adolescent boys who thought they were similar to their fathers were likely to be popular with their peers.
- Adolescent boys were more likely to be similar to their fathers when the fathers were perceived as rewarding, gratifying, and understanding. These same boys usually scored high on the masculinity scale of the questionnaire.
- Mothers are more interested in the nursing and care of newborns when fathers are emotionally supportive.
Bharati Trivedi is a mother of two teenage boys, and is a consultant and child & adult psychologist, career counselor; practicing graphologist (handwriting expert); signature & logo analyst; personal counsellor & psychotherapist (REBT & CBT practitioner) and a consultant for sexuality awareness and other similar programs for pre-teens and teens & for sensitizing programs for prevention of child abuse.