Being a father is one of the most rewarding experiences in life, but it can also be challenging. If you don’t have a strong male role model in your life, you may be wondering how to be a good dad.
Even though it may be difficult to find an example of a strong and capable dad in your family – and our culture nowadays doesn’t exactly offer the best examples either – it doesn’t mean you have to figure it all out on your own.
So whether you are expecting your first baby, or already have one or more children, here are seven ways you can be a better dad.
1. Spend time with your children.
One of the best things you can do for your children is to simply spend time with them. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect or have all the answers. Just be present and engaged in their lives. Play with them, read to them, and talk to them about their day.
When you are with your kids, be present. This means removing distractions like phones, television and other devices so you can focus on being with your children and meeting their immediate needs of love and attention.
2. Respect your child’s mother.
If you are married, be intentional about keeping your marriage healthy and strong, always growing closer to your wife. Even if you are no longer together, it is important to respect your child’s mother. This means treating her with courtesy and kindness, and avoiding putting her down in front of your child. Children who see their parents respecting each other learn to respect themselves and others and feel more safe with their parents.
3. Be a positive role model.
Children learn by watching the adults in their lives. Be the kind of person you want your child to be. Show them how to be honest, kind, respectful, and responsible. The truth is, you are a role model whether or not you realize it. So be a positive role model for your kids, especially in how you speak and what you do. They are always watching.
4. Discipline with love.
All children need discipline. But discipline should be done with love and respect. Avoid yelling, name-calling, and physical punishment. Instead, focus on teaching your child what is right and wrong, and helping them to make better choices, providing reasonable consequences based on the severity of their behavior. But discipline is not only teaching your children what is wrong, it’s praising them for what they do right. Encourage positive behavior by celebrating them when they make good choices like putting others first.
5. Embrace the heart of a teacher.
Throughout their childhood, your son or daughter will have several teachers in the classroom and in their other endeavors (like sports, music, church, etc). However, there is no more important teacher than you. Be involved by using everyday examples to teach them important concepts about right and wrong. Encourage them to do their best and make wise choices.
6. Communicate openly.
Communication is key in any relationship, but it is especially important in the father-child relationship. Talk to your children about everything, from their day at school to their hopes and dreams for the future. Be a good listener and let them know that you are always there for them when they need to talk.
7. Show your love with affection.
Tell your children that you love them and show them with your actions. Hug them, kiss them, and tell them how much they mean to you. Make them feel loved and cherished. A father who shows affection toward his children helps them to feel safe and secure. This is one of the best ways to be a better dad.
Don’t Go It Alone
Becoming a great dad takes a lot of work and intentionality. You were not made to do it alone. We need each other. Here are some additional resources for fathers who would like to take that next step in becoming a better dad.
- Find a mentor. If you don’t have a father figure in your life, find another man who you admire and respect. This could be a friend, family member, colleague or coach. Ask him for advice and support as you navigate fatherhood.
- Read books and articles about parenting. There are many resources available to help fathers learn about parenting. Reading books and articles can give you insights and tips from other fathers.
- Join a parenting group. Parenting groups can provide you with support and advice from other parents. You can also learn from other parents’ experiences.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you are struggling with fatherhood, don’t be afraid to ask for help from your family, friends, pastor, or a therapist. There is no shame in asking for help.
- Attend a parenting class. If you are in the Las Vegas area, attend one of our parenting workshops here at WRMCSN. To find out more, contact us now.