When you think about achieving success, your career probably comes to mind. While climbing the pay scale, receiving a promotion, and gaining the admiration of your colleagues are all laudable goals, there are other areas in life that deserve the same concentrated effort. Many men make the mistake of assuming that paternal instincts will come naturally; however, caring for your children and providing them with a positive role model can prove even more challenging than your day job. The following tips provide some insight on how fathers can be better role models.
1. Be present
In the fast pace of life, it can be easy to forget the simplest things. Fathers in Southern California and other hotbeds of commerce and industry probably know this better than anyone. But despite the burdens of the rat race bearing down on you day by day, the best thing you can do for your child is to be present. Listen to all the little stories from his day, answer his endless questions, get down on the floor and play with him, or read him a bedtime story. Spending quality time with your child helps him to see you as someone he can trust and depend on. Additionally, it sets a good example for him of how to care for others.
It’s important to know that being present isn’t the same as being physically there; it means having a frame of mind which, for that block of time, is focused on your child. For instance, if it’s your habit to drink several beers immediately after work to the point where helping your daughter with her math homework is a problem, it’s a problem that needs to be dealt with immediately. Something like substance abuse getting in the way of being a good dad requires professional help like the center for men’s treatment in Costa Mesa, whereas relatively less destructive bad habits can be fixed at home. For instance, it can be tempting to crash on the couch after a long day at work and watch television, but spending time with your child will reap positive benefits for both you and him.
2. Be inspiring
Take some time and ask yourself what kind of person you want to be. Who is someone who has inspired you? What kind of things did you dream of doing when you were a child or even a young man? The next step is to make one change, small or large, and commit to it. This might mean taking a lower paying job so that you can spend more time with your family. For some men, getting involved in the community or volunteering is an activity that is important to them, but they just never get around to doing it. Take the first step today.
After you get your feet wet in this new part of your life, whatever it may be, invite your child along. Seeing their father live his life to the fullest is a priceless example. Raking an elderly neighbor’s leaves, going camping, or having your dad available to help with your homework are the kinds of things that leave a deep impression on children.
3. Be real
Some people believe that to be a role model, you need to hide your imperfections. However, children notice everything. Instead of letting this discourage you, let it be another way to provide a positive example to your child. If you’ve made a mistake with your child or someone else in your life, apologize and make up for it. The act of admitting mistakes as a father can be difficult, but no one is perfect. Sooner or later, we all have to deal with personal failings, and it’s better to give your child a framework on how to handle mistakes than pretending they never happened.
Fathers have an immense influence in their children’s lives, and a little bit of effort can go a long way in providing a positive example for them. You don’t have to be Superman to be a good role model, but you do have to do more than talk about it. Take just one simple step today toward becoming the father you always wanted to be.