Is there a Good Dad formula?
The short answer to the question is no there isn’t a golden set of rules to being a good dad. Every man is different, every child is different, every family is different so how could there be a formula that works for everyone. That said I do think if you try and stick to some ideals and guidelines you’ll be in a much better place. I’m going to give you my 10 top tips and from there hopefully you’ll be able to muddle through like the rest of us. Whether you are a dad to be, a new dad, a dad of a teenager, or a dad to an adult, these tips apply to everyone, and it is never too late to adopt them. Who knows, you may even be praised for it.
Before you read any further I would like to make one thing clear. You WILL get things wrong and you WILL make mistakes. This doesn’t mean you aren’t a good dad. It means you are human, just like the rest of us. There is no such thing as a perfect dad, but there are dads who try their best for their children and that’s all anyone can ask.
Finally, don’t judge how simple some of the things on this list are. Some of them come naturally to some and are alien to others. If it seems easy to you, count yourself lucky and work on one of the other tips. Nobody takes to all of them straight away.
10 Good Dad Tips
1. Spend time getting to know them.
Our children have their own personalities, interests, abilities, likes and dislikes. Spend time getting to know your children at the various stages of their lives. Don’t ever think that you know all there is to know about them, they are constantly changing. You aren’t the same person you were five, ten, fifteen or twenty years ago. You have learnt things, changed your mind, tried different things and so will they. If you don’t know your children, how do you expect to connect with them.
2. Play with them.
This may sound silly but it is so important. When you have fun with someone it forms a bond. If I ask you to think of someone important in your life and then think of a good time you had with them, 9 times out of 10 you will remember a time when you were playing and joking around. That’s because these fun times have formed a bond between those involved. The more fun times you have with your children the stronger your bond with them will be. This leads to better communication which bring me to my next tip.
3. Communicate with them.
This tip is not just good for being a good dad, it’s a life tip that can be applied to all areas. Communication is the best way to avoid conflict and keep a relationship moving forward. If you cannot communicate, talk to each other, express your feelings with each other, it’s hard to get anything done. Think of all the cliches about dads not being around or knowing about their children’s lives, or achievements. Then think of the affects on the children because of these cliches. Lots of these can be avoided by good communication.
4. Listen to them.
This is not the same as point 3. As a parent it’s easy to disregard what your child might be saying and assume you know best. The thing is, sometimes we jump in too fast and miss the point they are trying to make, or we miss an opportunity to provide another way of looking at things. Listening first without saying anything can open up a whole new area of conversation, or opportunity for learning.
5. Teach them Good Manners and how to treat others.
This is an important one and you would think it’s a given, but it’s on the list to reinforce something we can all become better at. How can we expect others to treat us well if we don’t treat them well. It starts with educating our children and if we all do our part it will make for a better world with better people in it. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and acknowledge desirable behaviour positively. Remember, great fathers are firm but fair.
6. Show them you love them.
Often the older generation of men find it harder to openly show love and affection for their children. Being a dad doesn’t mean you have to hide your emotions related to love and caring. The more love you show them the more your children will feel they can turn to you when they need you. We all need others at some point in our lives but who do we turn to? Those we love and trust the most. If you follow the first 5 steps hopefully that could be you.
7. Protect them but don’t mollycoddle them.
No matter what age our children are they will all need to learn to do things by themselves. Whether it’s learning to walk, learning how to wash their clothes, or learning how to apply for a mortgage. Have the courage to let them do things on their own. This doesn’t mean you can’t be there for support or to catch them if they fall. It’s just a reminder that if your children don’t learn to do some things themselves they will always rely on you. And unfortunately you can’t always be there.
8. Be a Role Model for them.
Children constantly look to their parents to see the way they should behave. Even when you think they are not paying attention, they are. And they latch on to emotional responses more than others. For that reason you must try to behave in a way you would like them to behave. As parents, many of us have a one rule for us and another for them attitude, but remember one day they will become adults. When this happens they will more than likely adopt the rules you applied to yourself. If you weren’t being the best role model as an adult you can’t expect your child to be better than you.
9. Have Patience.
Being a parent is difficult. Watching your child grow up and go through life can be a frustrating, annoying, disappointing and tiresome time. The most important thing to remember at times like these is to have patience. Parenting is a long road and some days will be stormy but tomorrow is another day. Another opportunity to give something another go and get it right or do it better.
10. Learn from them.
This one is often overlooked. So much of being a parent is about teaching our kids what we have learnt but we often forget they can teach us things too. The world is an ever changing place that we all have to adapt to as it changes. Our children will learn some things before we do. Think of how many of us have had to teach our parents how to use a mobile phone, tablet or computer or Facebook. We don’t know everything so be open to learning something new. Only the other day through conversations with my kids I learn’t that I have a slight Trypophobia. Who knew!!
Are you a New Dad? Do you know a Good Dad? Write your thoughts, experiences, and questions.
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