Fathers are important in children’s lives. They bring different values and perspectives to the parenting partnership. In my experience with counseling families, the value of fathers is sometimes overlooked or dismissed—even by fathers themselves.
Our society seems to be moving beyond thinking of mothers as the presumptive ‘go to’ parent. There are an estimated 70.1 million fathers across the nation, and 2.6 million households were led by a single father in 2011, an increase from 300,000 in 1960.
So, when men become the ‘go to’ parent—full time or during co-parenting time, what do they need to know about being good fathers? Will dads benefit from re-framing their definition of what a relevant father is and does? As a mother of two adult daughters, and family coach, I encourage dads to consider these three ideas while raising children:
1. Self-Care, and Self-Work Spend focused time getting to know who you are as a person, and, as a parent. Become actively aware of your own strengths and challenges. Uncover: (a) your sorrows or past traumas and work on healing them; (b) your anger levels then learn how to manage them so they don’t build up and explode; and (c) your fears to see how they control your actions and reactions around your children. Knowing yourself well will give you confidence as a parent. Your children will be attracted to you as the strong and positive presence in their lives.
2. Love Your Child Without Conditions
The result of loving your child without conditions is that your child has no fear in their connection with you. Love that is unconditional ensures they will grow up free of resentment, guilt, anxiety, or insecurity in their relationship with you. Unconditional love nurtures your child’s emotional, mental, physical and spiritual needs. To love unconditionally means you accept your child completely for who they are.
3. Your Words Matter
A friend of mine likes to say, “Your words are your wand!” It means what you say will come true, like magic. The words you speak to your children have a profound impact on their self-esteem. The way you talk to yourself is the way you love yourself. And the way you talk to and about your children will become the way they think and talk about themselves.
Recent generations of children become exposed at earlier ages to a world filled with temptations, dangers, but it is also filled with wonderful, positive opportunities. Women have a wealth of support and resources for the job they do as mothers. As parenting roles evolve, men deserve the same abundance of resources, recognition, and encouragement.
More support groups for fathers are forming throughout the nation. And as a result, the sheer number of men taking on the full time job of parenting creates great opportunity for them to be wayshowers for new dads to take on this role with love and awareness. After all, parenting is the most important job a father can do.
To your parenting success and your child’s happiness! ShaRon Rea Champion for Outstanding Family Relationships
Founder of the Global Movement No Judgment. Just Love.®