As a Dad, your duty would be to bring up children to be strong, yet beautiful human beings who would firmly believe in their capabilities to make the world a better place. To-do lists would certainly help, but as every child would be different, becoming a better dad would also involve a long learning process — involving numerous ups and downs, and will require immense patience from your side. But then, who said becoming a great dad was easy? So here are the 13 ways that will surely help us to be a good dad this year 2022.
1. Make a clear distinction between kids and their behavior
Remember that you always need communicate with your words and actions that you love them no matter what (even if you don’t like their behavior).
When they misbehave, say to them "I don't like that behavior" or "That behavior is not okay because..." instead of "What's wrong with you?" or "You're making me crazy!" These last two phrases use shame and guilt to create change, rather than an authoritative and matter-of-fact approach based on reasons and empathy.
Also pay attention to your non-verbal communication (body language, tone, etc.). These non-verbal cues are powerful and can shift the meaning of your words.
2. If possible do not discipline your kids when they are hungry or tired
When kids are tired or hungry, they won’t be focused on what you are trying to teach them. Since the goal of discipline is learning, make sure that your kids are in a physical and mental state that will enable them to learn from their mistakes and make better choices next time.
Put a placeholder on the issue and address any problematic behavior after they are rested/fed and everyone is calmer.
3. Teach them the power of 3 P’s
There’s a better approach than just telling your kids “You can do it!” Instead, teach them the 3 P's: practice, patience, and perseverance it is already proven effective and these habits are the cornerstones of success.
4. Help them choose their actions and learn to feel their feelings
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Coach kids in how to respond (instead of react). It’s always okay for them to feel whatever they’re feeling, but it may not be okay to follow their feelings into action like for example hitting or yelling. This may be one of the most important skills we can teach our children.
5. Harness the power of natural consequences
Let kids experience the natural consequences of their actions or choices (unless health or safety is at risk). This is essential to learning.
Allowing children to experience the natural consequences of their choices can also minimize power struggles, since you won't have to intervene. So if, for example, your child wants to wear her summer sandals on a rainy winter day, consider letting her (unless you live in a place where she might get frostbite).
6. Keep your word
Don’t make rules you can’t, or won’t, enforce consistently and keep your commitments. It’s important for kids to know that you mean what you say; this builds trust and respect.
7. Tell them what specifically do you like
Kids really do want to please their parents, and they thrive on constructive, positive feedback. We parents often focus a lot of time and energy on pointing out things our kids can improve. It's important to balance those messages with acknowledgements of things kids are already doing well. Like adults, kids want to be appreciated. When we praise our kids, it's important to be specific. So, instead of just saying "Good job!" think about what exactly you are appreciating and tell them about it. For example: "I really liked how calm and patient you just were with your little sister when she was doing something that bothered you."
8. Beware of over-functioning for your kids
Making mistakes and experiencing “failure” and disappointment are essential life experiences that provide the opportunity for kids to learn and practice good coping skills.
9. Practice positive touch
Research consistently shows that positive touch (hugs, loving pats, cuddles) is absolutely critical to children’s development and ongoing well-being.
10. Never ever let the curiosity in them die
When a child begins to pester you with endless questions, do not ever brush them off for being an annoyance. Instead, a “Hey, even I do not know the answer. Come let us search for the answer together” would do a great deal of good. This helps them develop an open-mind towards life’s mysteries and encourage them to make better use of all the information they will have at their disposal. If you are passionate about science, doing science experiments in the weekends with them would be a fun exercise!
11. Be a loving husband
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As a Dad, the greatest gift you can give your children is to love their mother whole-heartedly. They will then have the luxury of growing up as self-assured,
well-adjusted people, and great partners themselves, when they find a spouse of their own.
12. Teach them how to balance their life
Share your experiences as an adult regarding how important it is for one to be good at school, but also about how you learnt that there were other things that mattered too. This could teach them to be balanced individuals, who would be better at prioritizing multiple activities, and experience a better work-life balance when they start working as young adults.
13. Never ever put your kid down when he or she makes mistakes.
Everyone makes mistakes. You perhaps have had your own share of mistakes and embarrassments when you had been a child yourself. It is your responsibility as a dad to calmly let them know what is right, and what is not. You need to treat them with respect, because a rude and ill-timed comment could affect them in the future in ways you may never know. Also, sharing with them the mistakes you had made in your childhood the disciplinary actions you had got back then from your parents would also be a great chance to strengthen your bond.