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Like many moms out there who strive to be better mothers, I know there are dads out there who want to be better fathers.
Dads are so very needed and can really fill a special place in our children’s hearts -or- if the relationships are not attended to, this can create a very deep void in our children’s hearts. Being a good parent takes effort and the cool thing is, you can do it!
Here are three great suggestions to help you, and I can promise you that if you sincerely implement them, you will make great improvements in your relationships with your kids.
1) Be present/connect
Dad, I know you’re busy. Wow. I get it. But even if you’ve only got 5 minutes to spend with your child, or even 2 or 3, give them your attention for those few minutes. Look them in the eyes, smile, and really listen to them.
What this will do for your child:
It lets them know you care about them = “I am valuable.”
It shows you feel they are important = “I am important. I am worthwhile.”
What it tells your child when you don’t do this:
You are too busy for them = “I must not be very important.”
You’re not interested in them = “I’m not worth much.”
2) See the good in them/Believe in them
When you look at your child (see #1), search to see the true strengths inside of them, and choose to believe in their inherent goodness.
Even when they mess up or misbehave, or when you see a weakness shine through, be diligent to focus on the good that is in them and lovingly encourage that.
Here’s an example: If you see your child has been behaving a little selfishly, rather than telling them that they are being selfish, catch them when they are being considerate, and praise/compliment them for being so kind and selfless.
THIS. This will move mountains in their life, where the negative approach will build walls inside of them.
What this will do for your child:
Praise/compliment them on their kindness/thinking of others = “I am good. It must be true, my daddy says so.”
What the negative approach will do:
Tell them they’re being selfish = “My dad doesn’t think I’m very good. He doesn’t see any good in me.”
Related Post: How to Truly Empower Girls
3) Spend time with your child(ren)
This is somewhat easy for some dads, and not so easy for others. Hear me out on this one and you’ll see how easily you can do this.
I recently read a Facebook thread that was started by my friend Mary Ann Johnson who asked the question, “Did your dad do anything special with you regularly? What was it? How did it make you feel?”
The responses were super enlightening.
Several people mentioned simple things their dad did with them and how it made them feel:
“I was crazy about my dad. He loved cars and taught me, hands-on, how to take care of mine; even bought me my first one. I could talk to him about anything.”
“He dried the dishes while we washed, and we sang songs together, learned poetry (including Shakespeare monologues), and discussed our day. Best one-on-one time ever!”
“My dad and I often took fishing trips, and we would take metal detectors to the old ghost towns around the state and spend hours together. I miss this. I was a very loved and happy child.”
“My dad was my best friend. He was always there for me in my sad and happy times. He was the best.”
And a few people responded that their dad didn’t do things with them, and how that made them feel:
“No, my dad didn’t do things with me, that felt like he didn’t like me.”
“I felt like my father didn’t love me most of the time and it contributed heavily to adult problems I’m still working through.”
“My real dad died when I was young, and my stepdad didn’t do anything with me. I felt lost growing up and struggled a lot.”
“My perception was not that he was busy, but that he didn’t care.”
You see, these dads who did things with their kids didn’t really have to go out of their way to spend time with their kids. Oftentimes it was simply including them in things the dads were already doing.
And mostly they were just implementing the first suggestion of being present.
How easy it would be to wash dishes with them and have your mind focused on work-related stuff.
But how much power is inherent in doing something simple with your child and focusing on them while you do it. Trust me, dads, This is powerful!
More help for improving your parenting skills:
My friend, Mary Ann Johnson, says that “one of [her] goals in life is to help dad’s see how to connect in special ways every day. It isn’t hard and can be done but dads just need to see how.”
She’s written a book that is just wonderful. I’ve read much of what she’s written and listened to her teach in conferences and she is the real deal. Down to earth and super in tune with not only the realities of life but also the great potentials in life.
She is masterful at clearing away all the pretenses and all of the “shoulda’s”, and getting down to the simple things that matter, and shares them in super understandable and actionable ways.
Her book is “Becoming a Present Parent: Connecting with Your Children in 5 Minutes or Less”. I highly recommend it (for moms and dads!)
Dads, you can do this!
Oh, how we love and appreciate the men who are the fathers of our children! Thank you for who you are and for all the good that you strive to do!
Any effort you make at being more present, seeing the good in your kids, and spending time with them will make a world of difference in their lives, as well as yours.
When you do these small and simple things with a genuine heart, they truly will bring about great things. You can count on it.