Top Ten Ways to be a Better Father

By: Mark Brandenburg Ma, Cpcc

The expectations for fathers are increasing both
at work and at home. Here are ten ways for fathers
to be more effective in the most important job
they’ll ever have:

1.See your kids as capable

The achilles heel of many fathers is to see their
kids as “not good enough." Your kids will feel this,
and they’ll live up to these expectations. The more
you approve of them, the greater they’ll be!

2.Make time for your kids

There will always be more work, but you won’t always
have the chance to be with your kids. Are there ways
to include them in chores around the house? Your kids
will know if they matter to you by the effort you make
to include them in your day.

3.Use positive forms of discipline

Punishment is not very effective. It tends to create
more of the very behavior that fathers are seeking
to eliminate. Use natural and logical consequences
instead—if you don’t pick up your toys, they get put
in a bag and taken away for awhile. Give them
choices. Positive discipline methods help kids learn
responsibility, punishment helps them learn to
dislike you.

4.Have a great relationship with you wife

You are the main role model for your kids, and this
is the main source of information for them about how
to have a close relationship.

They’re watching very
closely to learn how to do it.

5.Be aware of your kids lives

How much do you really know about your kids? Are you
aware of their hopes and dreams? Do you know what
inspires them? Do you know their friends names? What
they like and dislike about you? If there are things
you don’t know about your kids, you can always ask!

6.Be nurturing with your kids

Hug and kiss your kids, and let them hear plenty of
“I love you’s." And also don’t forget to wrestle with
them. Both boys and girls benefit from wrestling with
their dads. Kids need to see your “soft" side, so show
it to them frequently.

7.“Really" listen to your kids

Put down the newspaper and look your kids in the eye
when they talk to you. Be aware of your own tendency
to “filter" what your kids say. Reflect back what you
heard from them. If you want them to listen to you,
you’ve got to show them the way.

8.Examine your relationship with your own father

A poor relationship with your own father will affect
your ability to be an effective father. Are there
things you want to say to your father? Ultimately,
forgiving your father will go a long way towards
allowing you to father to the best of your ability.

9.Take care of yourself

It’s difficult to be kind and nurturing to your family
if you’re not kind to yourself. Find ways to take the
time to relax, exercise, and keep your stress levels
lower. And use friends and family to support you—don’t
become an “island" in your family. Your family will
appreciate it.

10.Have a plan for your anger

Men can have a difficult time with the overwhelming
emotional intensity that families can experience. The
result is often anger, which breeds anger in your kids
and creates a vicious cycle. Make a plan with a
specific relaxation technique that helps to defuse
your anger. Remember that one bad episode can impact
your kids for a long time.


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