There are some ways to show a father’s love that are easy to do, and then there are the hard ways that often leave te most impact.
I remember a time when I was a kid. I’d done something wrong and for the life of me I can’t remember what it was (that’s not true, I got a “D” in reading, which seems funny now), what I do remember, however, is how my dad responded. First he scolded me, then he grounded me. All of this was deserving as the reason I got the “D” was out of pure laziness.
My dad is a bit of a softy these days, and he was then too, but I never questioned his presence as a father. As my oldest son gets older and I realize more every day that I haven’t figured out how my father managed that balance. He was able to show how much he loved me even in the moments that he had to correct me.
As I have put a lot of thought into this including reading books and articles I’ve found that there’s no formula for being a good parent. Each child is infinitely different than the next and each parent changes as their children get older. What I did find, though, was that regardless of what actions you’re taking with your children whether it be playing or disciplining, you can show your children that you love them. And I think that’s what really matters.
Here are five ways I have found to be an effective way of doing that.
I put this lesson first because it’s the hardest for me and I don’t feel like I’m alone in this. Being consistent from day to day with your children is incredibly difficult. There are times when stress will have you on edge and you’re level of compassion will deviate from normalcy. In those moments, it’s going to be hard to maintain that level of consistency in your parenting. But you have to, if you don’t then it’s really easy to see a downward spiral in how you interact with your children.
I wasn’t sure what this meant when I first began thinking about it, but the more I think of how it applies the more I realize that we need to be prepared to take care of our children. This starts the moment you wake up. We owe it to them to be mentally prepared for their day and their actions just as we do for ours. If you mentally prepare yourself for how they might act then you are much more able to display love in your actions toward them.
Children only understand the present (at least practically) and so all that really matters to them on a day to day basis is the now. What’s happening right now! This is hard for parents to really understand because we have to plan and prepare all these things and we’re always looking forward. I think it’s really important for kids to have the freedom to act in the now, but because we love them we have to set parameters for both their safety and our sanity. Make them broad, but be firm.
This is how everyone is wired, I get that. I’m a very physically affectionate person and so my main way of showing my children I love them is by hugging and kissing them as often as I possibly can. If you’re not a physically affectionate person then you have to find some other way to openly show your love to your children. Especially younger children. I will always remember the way my dad talked to me after I’d gotten in trouble. He talked to me like a grown up, like I understood everything he was saying. I didn’t always understand it, but he always did it. I think this built into the consistency and the affection I now understand he had with me and for me.
Be the parent they deserve
This one is not something you can quantify. Your children didn’t volunteer to come into this world. They didn’t raise their hand and sign a contract to be born. You, as the parent, are solely responsible for their existence. It’s a beautiful thing. It’s also a great responsibility. Your children are your responsibility to care for and love. They deserve the best YOU they can possibly get every single day.
Photo credit: Flickr/mik salac