10 Ways to Be a Better Dad

By Family First
Love Your Children’s Mother: Absolutely the best thing you can do … A husband and wife who let their kids know they’re in love provide a secure environment for their children. “If Dad and Mom accept each other, then they must accept me, too” is the hidden message … and that’s a powerful declaration of security for any child. The best family education? Having parents who love and cherish each other.

Spend Time With Your Children: How you spend your time reflects what’s important to you. It’s a simple truth kids know long before Dads do. No matter what you might say to make up for lost time, if your children feel you are not as concerned about them as you are with work, or some other interest, they’ll perceive that they’re not valuable. To kids, perception IS reality. Which is why there is no greater love a father can give than giving of himself for his children.

Earn The Right To Be Heard: Want your child’s first thought when they’re facing adversity to be “I wonder if Dad’s available?” Then build the road that will lead them home now. That means taking an interest in their views and their issues. It means being honest, and vulnerable. It also means talking about anything … and often. Children want to be led, but the successful father earns the right to lead.

Discipline With A Gentle Spirit: True discipline is a function of a father’s love for his children, which is why it should never be hard-nosed or harsh. Discipline’ role is not to intimidate or tear down but to mold and to correct. So, discipline with a teacher’s heart and your children will learn just how much you love them.

Be A Role Model: Fathers are role models to their children. A father can best teach his children the values of self-restraint and hard work. A father can also champion the virtues of honesty and humility by admitting when he is wrong. Modeling–being a living example–is worth more to your children than anything you could ever tell them.

Teach The Lessons Of Life: For far too many fathers, teaching is something somebody else does. However, the responsibility for teaching children rests primarily with parents. A father who teaches his children right from wrong imparts his faith in God to his kids and encourages them to strive for excellence. He’ll be rewarded as his children grow up to making good choices. A father should always be alert for everyday examples in which to teach his kids the lessons of life.

Eat Together As A Family: Most children today don’t know the meaning of a family dinner time. Yet the communication and unity built during this time is integral to a healthy family life. Sharing a meal together breakfast, lunch or dinner provides structure to an often-hectic schedule. It also gives kids the opportunity to talk about their lives. This is a time for fathers to listen, as well as give advice and encouragement. But most importantly, it is a time to be together on a daily basis.

Read To Your Children: In a world wired for sound, it’s important that fathers make the effort to read to their children. Childhood is a time for learning first by seeing, then by hearing and reading. When a father reads to his children, he draws out their creativity and helps inspire their dreams. Reading to your children also encourages literacy, a crucial step in a lifelong process of self-improvement. A father’s desire to see his children soar above the clouds unfolds the moment he opens a book and begins to read.

Show Affection: Children long for a secure place in this fast-paced world. They find it most often in the warm embrace of a parent. As children grow, so does their need for acceptance and sense of belonging. Such a need is met when a father offers a hug, or a kind word, and expresses his appreciation and love for his children. But showing affection doesn’t stop there. Letting your children know that you love them requires a daily effort.

Realize A Father’s Job Is Never Done: Some day every father must let go of the youthful activities that bond him with his children. But a good father realizes that as he allows his children their freedom to direct their own lives, he doesn’t abandon them at a dorm room, a wedding altar, or the door of their first job. His encouragement and discernment will leave a legacy to his children, and their children after that.