While this is a more mom-centric blog and I take great pride in providing all of you mamas out there with my advice and experiences to learn from, today I want to talk about the other parent in the relationship: the Dad.
Or, more specifically, the responsibilities of a father in the family.
I’ve talked about how being a mother is hard many a time prior to this article, but fatherhood can be just as difficult and crucial part of family life, especially your children’s lives in influencing the way they grow up.
Sure, the modern stereotype is that dads are either clumsy or outright inadequate at being part of a child’s life, but the media never really portrayed that well.
Shockingly enough, some fathers tend to be better parents than the mothers (even though it’s not a competition, but we all pretend that it is to make it a bit more fun!)
Remember, while fathers are sometimes portrayed in a less favorable light, it doesn’t mean that they don’t know how to approach the raising of a child, otherwise there would be no point for a man to be a part of a relationship after the child was born whatsoever.
Fathers still play a rather important role – a disciplinary and emotional one.
While both parents are there to provide equal amounts of support, a father’s responsibility is to not only be a good father and a husband but to be a disciplinarian – helping teach children about responsibility and discerning right from wrong, as well as helping build important aspects of your child’s character.
9 Ways Of Being A Good Dad
1. Balancing discipline and fun
While yes, disciplining has its merits, there also needs to be some sort of balance between discipline and fun.
You need to realize that your kids aren’t robots and they won’t respond well to constantly being told that what they’re doing is wrong or bad.
You have to know when to let up and relax a bit. Nothing good ever came from being a full on authoritarian parent.
Being stern, but fair is the right way to go about it since it’s up to you to help build your child’s character up.
Moms cannot be there for everything, being a mom is hard enough, and you have to be as equal a part of your child’s life as your wife.
Having fun with your little ones, making your kids smile and laugh, these are all the joys that parenthood brings!
2. Being a good role model
Children, despite sometimes saying they don’t like you or getting into a fight with you, often tend to imitate their parents.
So what you do in your everyday life and interactions with them is a very important facet of your child’s growth that you have to take good care of.
Your responsibility as a father is to show them to have a cool head in stressful situations, how to stand up for themselves, and how to treat others with respect, among other things.
Your daughters will look for those traits in the people they choose for their future relationships, while your sons will look for it as a guide on how to best present themselves when they’re older.
3. Providing for the family
While we’re well past traditional gender roles of the 20th century and households are becoming a lot more varied with the role of the provider sometimes going to the mother, or even both parents because the economy isn’t really forgiving, the fact remains that you should still contribute.
A financially responsible father is a good father, because raising children is not exactly cheap.
Having kids tends to rack up expenses by quite a bit. I should know, I do the shopping for mine and they outgrow their clothes really dang fast.
And that’s not the only thing you need to worry about.
There’s also food, toys, books, school supplies, extracurricular activities, tuitions, etc.
As it stands, it’s very important to provide an income to the family to cover all of these expenses, and being the provider is a great deal of responsibility and stress – something you men tend to deal with better than us women in some cases.
Again, the goal isn’t to provide for every little thing – the goal isn’t to be an indulgent parent and spoil your kids – but the essentials are essentials.
Your kids will appreciate knowing they have a financially responsible father in the house who shows them attention, shows that they matter and that they are valued, that their father is trying his best to give them a better life and will, in turn, have a better relationship with you and the mother.
4. Maintaining a healthy marriage (and other family bonds)
Maintaining healthy relationships is the foundation of a good life overall, not just in happy families. And yours should be no different.
The relationship you keep with every other member of your household is crucial and equally as important.
Arguably, the most relevant is the relationship with your partner and making sure to always find common ground, especially during any potential arguments.
The worst thing you could possibly do to a child is have them suffer through a divorce.
You don’t need to be an expert to know how traumatic an experience that can be for a child and how potentially devastating an effect it can have on their growth.
A friend of mine suffered through one when we were in high school and it impacted her grades, her social life, her self-esteem, everything.
She became a lot more withdrawn, a lot quieter.
Thankfully, she managed to bounce back, but it was a long period of misery for her, being forced to choose between the two parents, thinking she was the reason for the divorce, that it was her fault somehow, which is why she didn’t want to socialize anymore in case some other friendships ceased because of her, despite it being for completely different reasons.
Don’t get me wrong. It’s not your sole responsibility to maintain a happy marriage and raising happy children.
Modern parenting is a joint effort. It takes two to tango and all that jazz.
Both you and your partner need to maintain and promote mutual respect and understanding between yourselves.
Learn how to be flexible and how to compromise if an issue does arise.
It will reflect greatly on your kids.
5. Be an involved father, be there for your kids
You are a father, you probably work 8 hours a day if not more, your job is mentally taxing, and you do your best to provide for your family.
Coupled with maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and work around the house, you have little time for yourself, let alone the rest of your family.
With all that said, the same usually applies to your partner as well, but your children also need your attention and for you to be there for them should any issues arise.
Sure, your spouse might get to spend more time with them if they stay at home, but kids need their father as much as their mother.
Not to mention, she shouldn’t handle all of this alone. Both parents should take turns when it comes to nighttime diaper changes, showering baby, bottle-feeding, etc.
Even though your free time is short as is, make an effort to organize yourself so you can be around your kids.
Include them in any chores that you might have, like painting a fence, cleaning the garage up, and similar.
Start early, even even three and four-year-olds can do simple chores. Heck, even a trip to the grocery store counts.
Or organize a weekend trip to the country, take your toddler to the beach, or something of the sort.
It doesn’t always have to be bonding over chores; it can be something relaxing and enjoyable.
It’ll give you two a chance to catch up on what’s been happening in their lives and give you a chance to provide your own insight and advice in any situation/dilemma they may find themselves in.
6. Keep your relationships separate
By this I don’t mean for you to have an affair or something, God no.
What I mean is that you should maintain separate relationships with your kids and your partner, so if you ever end up in an argument with your significant other, the kids wouldn’t have to suffer.
They are what’s important, after all.
This especially goes for the case of a divorce (God forbid), but it does happen more often than not in the US.
Such a thing can be devastating for a child if one parent suddenly stops becoming part of their life.
Try your best not to let that happen and make sure they know that you still care for them and they aren’t forgotten.
Don’t make them feel guilty for whatever reason.
7. Accepting the responsibilities of a father
In the end, it’s all about you accepting the role that you are given. I can’t really say that you should suck it up and be a good parent.
No, you should accept that you might make mistakes from time to time, but that’s only human – as well as the fact that no two dads are the same and that each one has a different way of raising their own kids.
There is no such thing as a perfect anything – a perfect father is no exception but it is a father’s role to be the best dad that he can possibly be.
8. Reflect on your own childhood
One thing that I keep saying is that your own life can be your greatest teacher. And the same goes for future dads as well as moms.
Look back at how your father treated you and learn from it.
Find out what was good and what was bad, so that you can weed out what you don’t want your own child to experience and what you consider a good guideline in raising them.
9. Communicate with your kids
By communication, I don’t just mean coming up with funny nicknames for your daughter or son and always joking around with them. I also mean talking about the “serious” stuff with your kids, even if it feels uncomfortable.
While this does tie into being there for your children, it’s important for them to at least hear you, if nothing more than via a phone call – letting them know that sometimes you just aren’t able to do something because of obligations or health issues.
It’s much better for them to know there is a reason behind some of your decisions rather than you just saying it because ”You’re right” and you’re an adult.
It’ll make them feel better about themselves and let them know that you respect them enough to explain things to them.
Responsibilities are nice, but…
While responsible fatherhood knows no limits, your body does. Keeping up with all of this can be challenging.
Make sure to think of your health when considering these steps; not every household is the same.
Your work hours might be longer, your life may be busy because of other obligations, you might get sick, or you may simply feel swamped with everything and just need a break.
Dads are human beings too and you’re no exception to that rule.
If you’re not healthy both mentally and physically, you simply won’t be able to perform the responsibilities of a father at your best, so make sure you always have time to unwind and take a load off.
My husband’s first time
I am a mother, not a father, but my husband definitely is one. And, boy does he put the effort in.
If it weren’t for him, I would have gone insane in the first year.
He made sure to always be around when my daughter was first born, assisting in any way that he could, while providing for the family during my maternity leave.
He helped me cope with all of the stress that welled up during my first experience at pregnancy and motherhood. He made sure both me and our unborn baby had everything we needed, and when our little one arrived, he was my biggest source of support.
The same thing happened when I had my son, though by that time I was a bit more experienced in the matter, so he didn’t need to run around all that much.
I don’t know how he does it, but he always stays so calm and collected.
He is my rock – my pillar that’s kept this whole thing from crashing down over me – and I can never thank him enough for everything he has done.
I’m truly blessed to have him enter my life and have such a good dad for my kids.
The responsibilities of a father are just as impactful as a mother’s and are not to be neglected.
But while it is good to maintain them, don’t take on more than you can handle too many times or you will break.
Know that even if you aren’t able to do everything someone else might, you are appreciated in all of your efforts, and that your kids and your partner will support you if you make it apparent enough.
Normally I address all the mamas, but this one is all for you dads: the dads who have been dreaming about carrying their baby in their arms for a long time, the dads who play dress up for hours at a time, the dads who’ll do anything to make their kids smile. We see you!
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