I think deep down, every dad wants to be the best dad possible. When I found out I was going to be a dad for the first time, I went looking for resources but couldn’t find many so I created my own. I kept asking myself: “How can I be a better dad?” Instead of reading books about the subject, I interviewed over 100 dads on what it takes to be a strong father.
Consequently, there were over a hundred unique perspectives on fatherhood. However, I found some recurring themes and topics that many of the dads I interviewed, kept emphasizing. I boiled down their collective wisdom into the Three Tips for Being a Better Dad.
1) Support Your Wife
Traditionally and historically, men have been the leaders and women have been the supporters. However, when it comes to parenting, moms definitely lead the way and dads are alongside for support. I know in our family, parenting comes much more natural to my wife than it does to me – it’s almost as if my wife has an innate “Motherly Instinct” (there’s no such thing as a “Fatherly Instinct”).
My wife Anne taught me all the basic of parenting like changing diapers; setting up a stroller; installing a car seat; feeding a baby, and more.Our job as dads is to support our wives from conception; throughout pregnancy; during delivery and post-delivery. This support continues through the critical first few formative years of a child’s life and even up to the point when the children move out and build their own lives.
Support can mean helping out with the simple things like washing the dishes; bringing your wife breakfast in bed; cooking dinners; doing the laundry and taking out the garbage. Other ways to show support is by taking your wife out; giving your wife a break by taking care of the children, and like treating her to a nice massage which can do wonders to your relationship.
2) Spend Quality Time with Your Children
I hear so many stories of children growing up into adults and saying, “I had a great dad, but he was so busy that he was never there for me.” As a dad, I want to always be there for my children.
I don’t want to be so busy with a job or business, that it takes priority over my marriage or fatherhood. I have learnt that time provision is even more important than financial provision. The real formative memories happen in the regular, consistent, quality engagements between father and child.
Quality times means turning off your laptop, tablet, smart phone, TV, and any other distractions and focusing completely on your children. It’s giving them 100% undivided attention. Quality time also means literally scheduling in Family Time, Couple Time, and Time with your Kids into your calendar. For us, Sundays is Family Time, Friday evenings are Date Nights (sometimes challenging since we have two children under two years of age). I regularly schedule Daily Quality Time with my children, Rianne and Ryan.
3) Speak Words of Affirmation to Your Children
It’s incredibly important to speak positive words and affirmations to your children. As men, we tend to be more of the doers instead of the “be-ers”. We tend to think to ourselves, “My kids know that I love them, why do I need to say it regularly?” How will your children know you love them, unless you express it to them directly? Whether it’s disciplining with love or encouraging with love, remember to always speak positive words “to and in front of” your children.
Speaking words of affirmation can have a profound impact on the future well-being and stability of children entering primary school, high school, university, and beyond.If your kids don’t get a strong foundation of love at home, they will seek affirmation and approval elsewhere from their peers, classmates, and friends. However, as dads we need to set the precedence and speak lovingly to our children no matter how uncomfortable it may seem (for you and them) at the beginning. They will definitely thank you when they are older!
Ricky Shetty runs the popular website, DaddyBlogger.com, which focused on a father’s perspective. Ricky is also the Amazon-best selling author of the book “Wisdom from Daddies: What I learned from Interviewing over 100 Dads about Fatherhood.”