Olga Gonzalez shares her observations on things a father can do help his children grow in a positive way.
Being a good father is about setting an example that your children will want to emulate, and which will set them on a path towards becoming healthy and communicative adults. According to the US Census Bureau, one in three children live without their biological father, a staggering number that could have future implications. In order to be sure your children grow to become mature, happy adults, it is essential to set a good example. Children learn by emulating those around them, starting with their parents.
One of the most important things a father needs to set aside time for is his child. By scheduling one-on-one time with each child separately, as well as family time together, children will feel like a priority, and will therefore feel more open to speaking about their day-to-day. Quality time is important to kids, not whether their father has work he is catching up on, so show that time with them is important. Every once in a while, be sure to step away with them and teach them something new, turning off phones and distractions.
Helping out around the house is also something a child will follow a father’s lead on. If a child sees dad helping out with cleaning, he/she will be more likely to pitch in with household chores as well. Developing a sense of empathy and a desire to positively contribute to the household is important, and it also shows children a respect towards their mother in wanting to contribute to sharing chores.
Contrary to what many were told growing up, it can be good to fight in front of the children if the conflict is promptly resolved. Problem solving is a skill that is learned, and kids can be impacted in a positive way when they see their parents can fight, resolve and still continue to actively love each other. It teaches them the values of compromise and dedication, both of which are key to success. That said, respecting their mother and never yelling is essential and they need to see that no matter what the conflict, in a loving relationship it is safe to express different feelings and work through them.
Another good example can be set by praising your child, their mother and others around you. By showing praise, your child is less likely to succumb to self-esteem issues or bullying because they will recognize their self-worth at an early age. Pay attention to their interest in sports, arts, computers, or reading and make a point to acknowledge when they reach a goal or accomplish a project. Similarly, celebrate their mother’s success as well as those of friends and other family members.
One of the most important lessons you can teach your children is how to prioritize quality moments and creating memories together over material possessions. Support your child’s education or a hobby, such as dance or guitar lessons, show them that cleaning house can be fun, especially share activities that strengthen their skills, or help you bond together. Surprise your children with a trip to the beach or a local amusement park to build the memories and show them they come first before material things.
One of the often-neglected areas that fathers don’t cover enough with their children is teaching life skills, such as cooking or managing finances. These are some of the most important day-to-day tasks they will need to manage as adults, and are often not taught in school, contrary to what parents assume. Make sure your kids are prepared and spend time going over essentials that will help them become self-sufficient, responsible adults.
Ultimately, the key to being a good father is to live by example and realize that your children will always look towards your lead at all ages. By being involved in their lives and actively participating and helping out those around you, they will grow up to become exceptional men and women. Be emotionally and physically available as their role model and father.
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