Parenting is one of the most demanding jobs in the world. And, like many fathers, we want to be the best dad we can be to our children. But, although the headaches may be many, the joy our kids can bring will outweigh all challenges. So, as we ponder “How to be a better father,” we wonder what we can do differently or better.
I call my first child “My Soldier.” Admittedly, I was strict as a first-time parent and would even admit I was a helicopter parent. I had high expectations and put a lot of time and energy into raising him. He’s a fantastic kid, and I’m very proud of who he has become.
I get it! I’m not questioning your love for kids. If anything, you’re probably here because you want to be a better father to your young children.
I’m not a professional, such as a child psychologist. Instead, I’m just one father speaking to another father. So here are my 12 valuable ways on how to be a better father.
Who Are My Kids?
With my second child (a girl), I tried to loosen my grips and not be too strict. I call her “My Free Spirit.” However, even if I wanted to raise them similarly, they entered the world differently: My oldest grew up as an only child for a few years, while my second kid automatically had a sibling.
This dynamic can play a factor in why sometimes our kids don’t get along. Their constant “bumping of heads” can test your patience and even force you to lose your cool.
12 Valuable Ways On How To Be a Better Father
1. Spend Time With Your Kids
If there is one thing you get out of this article, then the best way you can do to be a better father is to spend more time with your kids. It sounds so easy. However, this tip can be easily overlooked or neglect.
We’re human. And, it’s understandable that we’re tired after a long day and all we want to do is procrastinate. It’s almost automatic for us to pull out our mobile phones and look for anything to scroll through.
But, our children need us.
So, put down that phone and cut out screen-time. Make a promise to your little boy or girl and dedicate at least 10 minutes of “one on one” time with your kiddo. This tip also means that your spouse can’t help or be there with the other sibling.
Kids appreciate undivided attention. It makes them feel special (because they are). And, if necessary, make it a kid’s day out by getting some ice cream, for example, and show your love through quality time together.
2. Discipline With Care
When you have a strong-willed child, it’s easy just to raise your voice yelling or put them in timeout when they begin to throw a tantrum. But, what does that buy other than a couple of minutes of silence? Unconsciously, children may learn to suppress their feelings instead.
Thus, let’s be more aware when we discipline our children. Let us empathize with our children and understand from their point of view their “Why.”
Additionally, another way to implement positive parenting is to talk to them at their eye level when you discipline your child. It can be intimidating to a child to see a parent towering above them, highlighting their mistakes. And, when you discipline them, be sure to set reasonable limits.
3. Be Affectionate
Remember those times when you held your baby and even rocked them to sleep? Although they’re grown up now, that shouldn’t stop you from showing your affection.
These physical touches can be in the form of a hug or a kiss on the cheek. Don’t let a day go by where you don’t show affection to your kids. A loving father grows closer toward their child bonding and building a strong relationship.
When I get to tuck my son into bed, he’ll sit up just to kiss me on the cheek. I imagine he misses me loving him like a baby.
4. Talk Less, But Listen More
A quote once read, “Courage is not only the ability to stand up and speak. But, it’s also the ability to sit down and listen.” This quote also holds true when listening to our children.
Although we may know the solution or have the experience, sometimes kids just want to be heard.
Listen intently to them and engage when they ask for your feedback. Once again, this method goes back to giving your children the time they desire, your undivided attention.
5. Respect Your Spouse
If you’re wondering how to be a better father, another way is to strive to be a better husband. Treat your spouse with your respect, most especially in front of your children. After all, their mother will always be the center of their universe.
Children learn by absorbing the people and environment around them. They are like sponges.
So, as you should love and care towards your significant other, your children will indirectly inherit those good behaviors. When you’re demonstrating honesty, humility, and kindness toward their mother, they follow suit.
6. Read to Your Kids
Honestly, I was never a big reader growing up, but I wish I had. Reading at an early age gives them a leg up when they enter elementary school and pays dividends in the future.
When my son was only a newborn, I would read to him every night. Now, my son has a love for books and enjoys visiting the library. I have to convince my son to stop reading before bedtime. Also, it has helped him immensely with his writing homework.
7. Don’t Take Work Home
We all have tough days at work. But, that doesn’t mean we need to take that negative energy home with us. It’s easy to complain about the world. But, is this the kind of outlook we want for our children?
With a growth mindset, children embrace challenges and look for a way to overcome them. So, once again, it’s understandable to have a bad day. But, don’t let it consume you that it will affect how you are towards your family.
Additionally, if you work from home, strive harder to separate your work life to maintain a healthy family life. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was forced to work from one while my children stayed with me. Sadly, because of that, my children think I work all the time. In short, don’t let your kids feel bad if they disturb you while you’re working.
8. Don’t Be Serious All the Time
This tip may sound odd, and that’s perfect. Allow yourself to be silly and not be serious all the time.
For instance, you can dance to Kidz Bop with your kids or make funny animal sounds when reading a book. You’ll create silly memories that you can always look back on together.
I’m sure you have the best dad jokes on the planet!
9. Get To Know Their Friends
A Bible verse states, “Bad company corrupts good morals (I Corinthians 15:33).” So, although we strive to teach our kids good behavior skills, that doesn’t stop them from being influenced by their peers. This way, if you see a behavior change, you can know what might be causing it.
Now, I’m not talking about stalking your kids on social media or hiding in the bushes when they go to the mall. Instead, be upfront with them.
Tell your kids you want to get to know their friends, which can quickly be done by inviting friends and an excellent time to meet their friends’ parents to an outing or a meal together.
10. Never Give Up
This final tip applies to any parent, especially new moms and dads: Never give up because your job is never done.
It can seem to defeat you when you try everything to connect with your kids, and it doesn’t feel like it’s working. But, trust me. The fact that you’re trying already shows that you care.
Your job as a good father never ends. To be a better dad and a good man, continue being a role model to your children.
Furthermore, involved fathers use everyday examples to teach their children to make good choices. So, when you feel like pulling your hair out, just remember who you’re doing this all for.
11. Eat Together
Eating together can build family relationships. Although it sounds simple, it’s a habit you want to be nurturing in them while they’re young. Otherwise, the siblings can grow up to be satisfied with not spending time with their family.
12. Find a Dad Tribe
Raising a child isn’t easy, especially for a dad to be or new fathers. For this reason, you need more parenting support with other fathers going-through or who have been there before.
Surround yourself with a variety of dads, young father, single-dads, dads of teenagers, etc., to build encouragement and your self-esteem. Many men becoming a dad experience the same thing.
Thus, it helps to share your frustrations and struggles with the role as a father and vent. In addition, each of you can share different parenting techniques, parenting advice, or parenting skills to help your fathering journey.
However, if you’re still looking for your tribe, you can search for parenting books or read parenting books about parenting young children or being a good and great father.
It may sound nice to others on what medical school your kids get accepted into or what career path they choose. But, as fathers, all we want is to provide a secure environment and raise healthy, good human beings. Those are the kind of Father’s Day gifts dads genuinely want.
Don’t be hard on yourself, but don’t give up either. You don’t need unique strengths to be a great dad. You just need to be mindful of your actions, your language, and your behavior.
Are you still wondering how to be a better father? Just start and become a good dad!