How a 21st Century Dad Can Have a Positive Impact on His Children

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In the 50's, the stereotypical values of parental roles were more rigidly defined. The man made the money, and the mother took care of the children. Now in the 21st century, researchers have found that a father's love for his children is just as important as a mother's love (Rohner and Veneziano, 2001). A parent's love, from either parent is found to have a positive effect on their children's happiness, well-being, and social and academic success. Below are some ideas on how a 21st century Dad can make a positive impact on his children.

1. Listen to your children.

Be interested in what your children have to say. Turn off the TV at dinnertime. Your children are more important! Encourage your children to share about their day at school at the dinner table. The open communication that you establish with your children will greatly help in keeping the channels of communication open when they are a teen or an adult.

2. Participate in your children's favorite recreational activity.

The old saying "a family that plays together stays together" appears to have great validity. Create as many of these precious shared happy memories with your children as you can. They are priceless!

3. Be consistent and fair in disciplining your children.

Have a clear set of rules and expectations for your children. Let them know what the consequences are for violating these rules. The more you can fairly and consistently enforce these rules the less likely your children are going to have problems with authority figures and the law when they grow up.

4. Have a unified front with your spouse on decisions affecting your children.

Even if you are divorced, set your differences aside to provide that consistency in decision-making regarding your children. Having a unified front, teaches your children to obey the rules rather than playing one parent against the other. Learning to obey rules will help to create upstanding law-abiding citizens when they grow up.

5. Resist the urge to use money as a cure-all for all your parenting woes.

Resist the urge to buy your children expensive gifts to compensate for feeling inadequate as a parent. Your children will love the gifts, but learn to resent you. Give them an allowance, and let them learn how to save for the things that they want. This will teach them how to be good money managers as an adult.

6. Create a stable peaceful home life by loving your wife.

Children need the stability of a loving two parent home. The way you interact with your wife is teaching your son how to treat his wife, and your daughter what to look for in a mate.

7. Teach your children important life skills.

Children often have fond memories of their parents teaching them important life skills whether it be playing baseball, waxing the car, learning math, or gardening. These are necessary skills for children to learn and a great way to bond with them.

8. Be a good role model.

If you don't want your children to lie, cheat, steal, smoke, swear, or drink in excess, beware that they are watching your every move. Your actions will speak louder than your words.

9. Tell your children you love them - OFTEN!!!

I don't care how old your children are: always tell them you love them. While you're at it, give them a BIG HUG too. You'll be glad you did!

10. Encourage and praise your children.

Be sure that your acknowledge your children's accomplishments and encourage them in whatever endeavor they pursue. A parent's praise and encouragement works wonders in creating confident children with a positive self-esteem.

Rohner, R., Veneziano, R. (2002). The importance of father love: History and contemporary evidence. Review of General Psychology, 5 (4), 382-405

May you always experience love and joy,

Linda Lovejoy, MA, LMHC
Life and Relationship Coach

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