Dad, did you take the time to do a little self-assessment as the old year rolled over into the new year? Most of us do. You make have asked yourself:
- Am I closer to my child now than I was at the beginning of the year?
- Do I have a positive impact on my children’s lives?
- Did I make a conscious effort to improve those relationships?
If your answer is ‘no’ to any of these questions, don’t be too hard on yourself . . . as parents we all have room for improvement. The good news is, you can make small changes anytime that can have a big impact. They’ll help you be a better dad and foster a closer relationship with your child. And as parents, isn’t that what we all want? Here are our 5 favorite New Year tips for dad.
#1 New Year Tip for Dad: Respect their Mom-Even if it’s Hard
For most kids, Mom is the center of their universe, even when Dad is also in the home. The strong bond between a child and their mother is amazing. Psychologist Charles Smith says ‘While parents’ roles can be reversed, mom is the primary source for comfort and care’ (Tammen). Children are fiercely loyal to their moms and will defend her against those who treat her badly. If you don’t live with your child’s mother and have a strained relationship, resist the urge to badmouth her. Just don’t do it. Showing respect for the mother elevates you in your child’s eyes and helps build trust. When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel they are also accepted and loved (Sanders).
#2 New Year Tip for Dad: Be First by Putting Yourself Second
Although this may seem like a contradiction, it really isn’t. You will be #1 in your child’s eyes if you consistently put your own needs and wants second. How does this concept look in real life? It means simply making time for them, even if you want (could, should, wish) to be doing something else. Loving your children means sacrificing for them. It may mean fewer poker games, fewer hours at work, or going to their pee-wee football game when you’d rather be watching college games on TV. Children spell ‘love’: T-I-M-E (Sanders).
#3 New Year Tip for Dad: Walk the Walk and Talk the Talk
It is often said that children will do as you do and not as you say. Hypocrisy is particularly offensive to kids, and they can smell it a mile away. So take a good, hard look at the spoken and unspoken messages you’re sending to your child. If you want them to grow up to be honest and hardworking, are you giving them an example to follow? Kids are constantly hearing unhealthy messages from rappers, celebrities, and pop culture in general. But your voice is the one that should be in their ears the most. Dad, you can have way more influence over how your kids turn out than you give yourself credit for.
#4 New Year Tip for Dad: Say ‘No’ More Often
One of the hardest words a dad can ever tell a child is ‘no,’ especially if you aren’t a primary custodial parent. The temptation is to spoil them and give them everything they want or that you never had when you were a kid. You can’t buy your way into your child’s heartÃ¢â‚¬Â¦what they want from you is their time and your full attention-both of which are absolutely free!
#5 New Year Tip for Dad: Be Good to Yourself too
To be an influence for good in your child’s life, it’s important to take care of your own health. It’s hard to romp around with young children when you’re extremely overweight or chronically sick from stress, poor nutrition, lack of exercise, or drug use. Even grown-up children need sound advice from their father and don’t forget-you want to be around to enjoy the fun of having grandkids to play with! Taking good care of yourself is a signal to your kids that you love them.
The Bottom Line
Every day can be Fathers Day! As a home paternity test company, we respect and value dads who work hard each and every day to do right by their families and be the best parents they can. If you have a paternity question about one or more of your children, one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself in the New Year is peace of mind through DNA testing. It can strengthen your family and help you build relationships to last a lifetime.
Do you have more tips for dads? Share in the comments!
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Sanders, Ryan. “10 Ways To Be a Better Dad.” 10 Ways To Be a Better Dad. National Fatherhood Initiative, 2 July 2014. Web. 07 Jan. 2016. <http://www.fatherhood.org/fatherhood/10-ways-to-be-a-better-dad>.
Tammen, Greg. “Kansas State University.” A Powerful Connection: Mother-child Bond Plays Role in Child’s Growth, Development. Kansas State University, 6 May 2011. Web. 07 Jan. 2016. <http://www.k-state.edu/media/newsreleases/may11/motherchild50611.html>.
Taylor, Jim, PhD. “Parenting: 8 Tips for Dads.” Psychology Today. Sussex Publishers, LLC., 16 Dec. 2010. Web. 07 Jan. 2016. <http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-power-prime/201012/parenting-8-tips-dads>.