Fatherly Love: Staying Emotionally Connected To Your Child
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By Mia Bolaris-Forget
With all the hype about single parent households, and its impact on children, many modern couples are beginning to (once again) embrace traditional rules and roles in the household, especially with regards to having and raising a family.
Many more moms are choosing to stay home (at least for the first few years) with their children, or shift to stay-at-home careers. But that doesn’t exonerate dads from their duties and responsibilities. Unlike years gone by where even dual parent households were in essence “single-parent” abodes, with moms doing all the rearing and nurturing and dads taking the role of provider and occasional discipliner; today’s dad’s want a more active and interactive participation in the upbringing of their children.
Being a dad means more than simply being present during conception, working to support the family, and simply using your free time for enjoying yourself and maybe a beer or two. Dad’s often experience may of the physical and emotional changes their expectant wives go through during pregnancy and crave to experience a friendship and bond that many moms have been have known and boasted about for years.
And, there’s good news for dads. This new approach and new attitude is as simple as applying and relying on some good ole’ common sense.
Some Tools To Go By and Rules to Live By:
· Raise The Bar: From how you speak, eat, dress, work, relate to others, start by expecting more of yourself and then imparting that principle on your child. Become someone you and your child (family) can be proud of and encourage your child (children) to live up to and surpass your standards. Let you child know that you expect his/her very best. From proper etiquette, such as saying please and thank you, to gracefully embracing challenges (academic, athletic, etc.) you should let your child know that you expect more from him/her because you have faith and confidence in him/her. When approached in a loving, caring manner that shows how much you think of them, they will willingly respond.
· Refrain From Playing The Blame Game: Whenever you point the finger at someone, remember that there’s three more pointing back at you. Take your responsibility (as the role model) and realize that by attacking your child’s action or character you may only be making matters worse. Exhibit instead, understanding, acceptance and compassion, and draw your child closer to you.
· Get To Know Your Child “Intimately”: It’s imperative to take an active interest in your child’s life on every level. From you they like (superheroes to girls), subjects they excel at, favorite color, who their friends are (even if it means hanging out with their friends parents on occasion or inviting friends regularly over for dinner), to what games they are playing, programs they are watching, music they are listening to and clothes they are wearing, you NEED to show concern and interest. Not poking your nose into their business only proves (to them) that you really don’t care.
· Learn To Say NO! Providing for your child is one thing, giving in to all his/her desires and demands is another. There needs to be a healthy balance, and the ONLY way that is achieved is via boundaries and limitations. Saying NO, doesn’t make you a bad parent, (well, maybe for the moment in their eyes), but in the long run, you are teaching them about important values about discipline, self-control and delayed gratification. By the way, keep in mind, that children, who usually get everything they want, typically aren’t very happy and just want “stuff” to replace major missing components in their life.
· Don’t Rule With An Iron Fist: Your objective should be to get your child to act out of love and respect and not necessarily out of fear. In fact, some studies imply that children who are spanked (constantly) have lower self-esteem. Furthermore, it’s noted that children exposed to “violent” behaviors are more likely to exhibit them.
· Love And Respect Your Wife: And this means more than handing over the paycheck. Be prepared to do things you may not like or don’t want to (just to make HER happy). Give her the respect you want to be given and remember that your behavior dictates how your children will view relationships and what to expect from them, as well as, how they feel about you (both) as their parents and the union you exemplify. Try not to disagree or fight in front of the kids and always be kind, courteous, and affectionate.
· Stand And Deliver: Stand firm on your rules, regulations and principles. Once you’ve given your child an ultimatum and impending consequences, be prepared to follow trough (on your “threat”). Remember, actions speak louder than words, and as the father, you must be able to act on your words, or be prepared to eat them. If you truly want to be respected and make a difference you have to let them know you mean business.
· Talk With, Not At Your Children: And, that means learning to listen. Have frequent conversations (about EVERYTHING) and don’t only give YOUR opinion, but as for his/hers as well. Try to seek out the real meaning behind what they are saying, which will only serve to help you better understand your child and what he/she is all about. Furthermore, if you listen to them, they’ll be more inclined to listen to you.
· Show Confidence By Delegating Authority: You can’t just expect your kids to wake up one day and know how to handle responsibility and be responsible (young) adults. First they must witness how responsible you are, and then they must learn via delegation of responsibility. Make sure that you assign specific tasks and have certain expectations….and remember NOT to reward your child for things that are expected. You may want your child to enjoy his/her childhood, but don’t make the mistake of compromising his/her success as an adult.
· Give Compliments Freely: While it may be difficult for some men to show their true feelings and emotions, it’s imperative that you allow that side of you to be easily visible to your children. Give them frequent compliments and show constant affection. Be specific about the qualities you like and love about them (not just the ones you don’t), do things with them to show you aren’t ashamed of them and stay in constant contact and connection.
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