When at home – be present
The first step in being a good father is simply showing up. – Unknown.
Children like to feel that you are there, not just in body. Engage in conversation, have some fun, share in their highs and lows of the day. If it feels awkward, ask their mother what they are interested in or what they enjoy doing and begin there.
If you have a special television programme you would like to watch or need to catch up on computer time, then fill their love tanks and give them quality time before you start. One man related this story;
When my dad was watching his favourite sport on television I would walk up to him and gently touch his shoulder. My dad would not only turn and look at me, he would first grab for the remote and put the television off. I would always get his complete, undivided attention. It made me feel really special.
If you are one of those people that first need to chill for 10 minutes before you can take on the task of being a father, then read this story:
When my dad came home in the evenings, he always needed a few minutes alone after a hard day. Mom made sure that we respected that. We would hide around the corner, peeping. Dad would sit on the same chair and read his newspaper while we silently waited. Then, when he “rustled“ his paper it was our queue to run and dive onto his lap and we would be tickled till the tears ran down our cheeks. Then we had his full attention.
Never make a promise you cannot keep. Be a man of your word so your children can learn to trust you and so that they can grow up to be adults with integrity. Rather say something like, “I will think about it,” or “maybe” before you answer, but if you commit to something, make it a priority to stick to it. Children do not even necessarily remember the event, but the disappointment is engraved in their heart.
Don’t make a promise when you are in Joy. Don’t reply when you are Sad. Don’t take decisions when you are Angry. Think Twice, Act Wise. – Unknown.
Keep your expectations reasonable. When they feel they can never live up to your standards, or ever feel good enough, they will constantly be looking for approval around every corner as adults. Their character is more important than their achievements.
Think before you speak. Let the words that come out of your mouth be that of a mentor combined with encouragement and praise. Children crave approval from their daddies, no matter how old they are. Think for a moment about your relationship with your father. What do you wish could have been different? What would you like to emulate?
Dad’s relationships with their children are so important. Dad, if you want your daughter to choose a husband like you, you need to set an example of what she must look out for. The way you treat her is the standard she will be setting for the way her boyfriends should treat her. When a child does not feel loved by their daddy, they go out looking for it elsewhere.
If your daughter is around 11 years old, it is a good time to take her on a proper date night. Have her mom buy her a special outfit for the evening and pick up some flowers on the way home. Take her to a special restaurant, open her door for her and pull out her chair. Teach her good etiquette with utensils and napkins. Show her how she deserves to be treated. Maybe buy a little bracelet or ornament to remember the evening by. Talk about it periodically, reminding her of what a great evening it was. Valentines day could maybe be a standard yearly date with dad and his daughter?
With your young teenage son, have a guy’s cook out or camp out with other dads and their sons. Sit around the campfire and discuss the importance of how girls should be treated and their responsibilities as the male. Have each dad say what he appreciates about each boy present.
Keep in mind that the way you treat your children is the standard they measure others by. The chances are your daughter might choose to marry someone very much like you. How would you feel about that?