- 3 mins
How To Be a Good Dad
Despite having been a father for over thirteen years, as I contemplated what to write in this article I could not get past the fact that as a father, I do not feel I have earned the right to tell others how to be a good dad. However, I remembered that before being a father, we were all children.
Here’s some advice from the perspective of a child on how to be a good dad:
Time is fascinating, and it tends to speed up as we get older. But a half-hour still feels like a long time to a child. Make an effort to engage with your children, talk to them, and ask them about their day, feelings, and thoughts. This suggestion may seem obvious, but it’s easy to get caught up with a text or tweet. When you are focusing on your children, that can wait.
What annoys us the most about our children is often something we don’t like about ourselves. Remember that nobody is perfect, and mistakes tend to be the best teachers. There’s no need to be lenient, as long as you’re fair: your reaction will affect how your kids react to their mistakes.
Show your children that you are comfortable speaking about your feelings. Make an effort to vocalize how you deal with difficult situations and how they make you feel. Share your life experience. You may not know it, but you have picked up some precious life lessons in your years.
You and your children are different people. If they don’t like the sports you do, it’s okay. If they enjoy other music—and this is highly likely to be or become the case—it is absolutely okay. The sooner you let your kids be themselves, the sooner they become acquainted with themselves.
A 2010 study found that the quantity and quality of father involvement affect children’s development and that higher levels of the father’s involvement are associated with significant desirable outcomes for both the children and the family (Wilson & Prior, 2011).
For more advice, there are plenty of great parenting books out there. I strongly recommend reading as many as you have time for!
Wilson, K. R., & Prior, M. R. Father involvement and child well-being. (2011). Journal of Paediatric and Child Health, 47(7), 405-407. Doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1754.2010.01770.x.