Tips on Being a Good Father

  1. Have fun. Fatherhood is a big responsibility but it is also a lot of fun. Show your kids that you enjoy being their father.
  2. Consider your role as a father. What do you believe should be a father's role in raising children? How did you grow up perceiving fatherhood? The notions you were brought up with will influence your approach to being a father. Some common perceptions of a father's role are:
    • The father provides, financially and emotionally, for his children, and should care for them too.
    • The father's role is to discipline along with the mother. Make parenting a partnership, be on the same page about how to discipline your child and be consistent.
    • A father should give his children affection and warmth - Don't be afraid to tell your child "I love you, I'm proud of you."
    • A father shows support and love through actions as well as words.
  3. Build on tradition. Consider your roles and responsibilites as a father. Ask yourself which are most meaningful and pursue them to the best of your ability.
  4. Respect your children's mother. Mutual respect between a child's parents is important whether or not the parents are married to one another. Children will mimic their parents' behavior. How you treat your child's mother will influence the way in which the child will view his or her own role when they become parents. Do not be afraid to stand up for your own views as a parent. They are equally as important and valuable as those of the child's mother who may or may not spend more time with the child.
  5. Spend time with and take responsibility for your children. Some fathers miss opportunities to spend time with their kids because they have competing responsibilities or interests that may or may not benefit them. However, once the opportunity has passed, it's gone and you can't get it back. It goes so fast, so make the time the best that it can be. If you don't establish an intimacy with your children when they're young, it'll be difficult to catch up when they're older and still need your help and support.
  6. Be a teacher by both word and example. Children will not grow up and miraculously already know right from wrong. Children need to be taught right from wrong and will need to see it demonstrated by their father. Make decisions in front of them and explain to them why you came to that resolution. Talk to them about choices you made in the past and why they did (or didn't) work out. Evaluate all of your own decisions by thinking: "What would I want my child to do in this situation?" Teach your children that it is okay to make mistakes. Everyone makes them. You do and they will too. The important thing is to learn from your mistakes and try to avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
  7. Show affection. Some men may be uncomfortable with offering their children affection and communicating their love. Being affectionate with your child shows them that you love them. It also teaches them to show affection to others.
  8. Realize that a father's job is never done. Do not assume that once your children turn 21, or they have a college degree, that your work raising them is done. Although it is important to encourage your children to become financially and emotionally independent, it is also important to let them know that you care and are always there for them and that they are valued.
  9. Don't Place Unreasonable Expectations on Them. A child's life can be filled with pressures, from siblings to kids at school to teachers or coaches. Help your child understand their desires and assess their capabilities and set achievable goals. Encourage them to meet their full potential but avoid living vicariously through them by expecting them to achieve what you had achieved or hoped to have achieved.

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