Being a good dad has always been a tough job. Add to that a busy schedule and its not hard to see why being a father can sometimes feel a lot like work. But fatherhood doesn’t necessarily mean having all of the right answers. Some days, being a good dad is as simple as sparing a little time to talk with your kids.
Tip #1: Make Time
The idea of a stay-at-home dad was all but non existent a few decades ago. Today however, more and more men are making the decision to stay home and those fathers who do work, are making more of a conscious effort to balance their work and home life. That decision isn’t always respected.
New York Mets third baseman Daniel Murphy missed opening day earlier this season to be present at his son’s birth. Response from others suggested that his absence was unacceptable. Murphy didn’t agree.
“When Noah asks me one day, what was it like when he was born I think it will go so much farther that I cut his umbilical cord,” Murphy told Time magazine in April. “Long after I won’t be a baseball player any more, I will still be a father and a husband.”
More and more men are starting to feel the same. The amount of housework men do doubled from 4.4 hours a week in 1965 to 8.8 hours a week in 2012, according to Labor Department statistics retrieved by Time. The number of hours men spend on childcare also rose from 2.5 hours a week to 7.1 hours. More home time means more positive impact, if you also follow the next two tips.
Tip #2: Talk to Your Children
Fathers in the past have struggled discipling their children without interfering in the father-child bond. This is because in the past, fathers have spent less time in general talking with their kids. Most frequently, when talks did occur, the conversation focused on behavioral issues. Limiting interaction to discipline causes children to associate father time with negative feelings. That doesn’t mean that fathers should stop discipling their children though, according to an article from Bright Horizons family resources. Instead, the article encourages fathers to spend more time engaging their children in conversation so when the hard talks do arise, problems aren’t the only thing you ever talk about. When topics of discipline do arise, the tone of the conversation should be calm, fair, and set limits while still acknowledging positive behavior.
There is also a second benefit of father’s talking to their children. A recent study, conducted by Lynne Vernon-Feagans of the University of North Carolina and her colleague Nadya Pancsofar at the College of New Jersey, has revealed that fathers make “unique contributions to children’s expressive language development.” Previous studies have already concluded that fathers who are more involved tend to have children with higher IQs. This particular study points out that children, who father’s engage in more frequent conversation, also have more advanced vocabulary skills.
Tip #3: Be Emotional and Caring
Expressing emotions enables children to have a more balanced and overall healthy life, according to Psychology Today, even if those emotions are sometimes negative.
“A healthy emotional life is a lifelong gift you can give your children. And, contrary to what our culture says, it actually takes strength to be emotionally expressive because it goes against the typical definition of manliness,” write Dr. Jim Taylor.
Showing positive and caring emotions in the relationship with your wife is also important according to an article written by Jeffrey Rosenburg for the U.S. Children’s Bureau.
“One of the most important influences a father can have on his child is indirect—fathers influence their children in large part through the quality of their relationship with the mother of their children,” says Rosenburg.
Stronger spousal relationships allow for more family time, create stronger bonds of love between father and child, and build confidence in both mom and child. As a result, moms become better mothers and children become better at adapting to life and are less inclined to exhibit anti-social behaviors.