This Father’s Day I am celebrating that I am seeing more and more fathers in my audiences who want to be involved in their children’s lives beyond providing financial support. Here’s to all you dads! You play an essential role in your children’s lives whether you live with your children in the home, or not.
I have written before about fathers needing to find the balance between being tough and tender. In an insightful article published on PyschCentral.com entitled: What’s a Dad Supposed to Do? by Marie Hartwell-Walker, Ed.D, she talks about about ‘letting your children see the man behind the rules’.
Think about it. Dad is often portrayed as the disciplinarian in the home and yet, like most other roles, moms and dads are actually sharing most of them today.
Don’t let your kids grow up afraid of you
Dads, make sure kids don’t grow up afraid of you and, by the same token, make sure you don’t leave their mother with all the discipline duties either. Says Marie, “Balance discipline with fun, setting reasonable but firm limits and being able to play and relax with your children in between. Give yourself and the kids the stability that comes with clear limits and the good memories that come with play.”
She adds that there is little agreement about how an “ideal father” should behave. “It doesn’t seem to matter (in terms of the mental health of children) whether fathers work out of the home or stay home with the kids. It doesn’t seem to matter what job a dad has or how much money a dad makes, as long as he is doing his best. It doesn’t seem to matter what his interests and skills are, as long as he shares them with his children. It doesn’t seem to matter whether a father is very physically affectionate or loves more quietly as long as the kids know that he most certainly cares about them. What matters is for fathers to be committed to their children and involved with them over time. When fathers take that responsibility seriously, their children are more likely to do well and the fathers have few regrets.”
Kids want to know their dads. Let’s encourage and support more men in becoming nurturing and involved fathers.
Happy Father’s Day!
Nikki Bush is a parenting expert in South Africa. Read more parenting advice here.
Small hinges swing big doors
Striking the balance between being tough and tender