Fatherhood is the greatest role you can ever have in life.
All other things you’ve wanted – a career, wealth… whatever, these are all insignificant to the first day you hold that tiny person in your arms who is now your responsibility.
A natural concern any responsible father has is:
“How do I get this right?”
Although there is no definitive answer, when raising my child, these are the values I uphold:
This isn’t necessary and luckily as a father, we only have to sacrifice an attribute given to everyone equally – time.
As the saying goes presence not presents.
But presence is more than being in the same room as your child, it means being mentally present so you focus on giving your child the care and attention they deserve, not mindlessly scrolling Facebook!
This post from the Child Development institute gives inspiration on activities to be present and make your child feel loved.
Be hands on / involved
Your presence means being hands on and involved.
I use two terms deliberately as both play an important role – what do they mean?
getting your hands dirty, such as changing nappies and being at the thick of any playing.
making important decisions for your child’s progression and leading as an example in their development.
By exemplifying these you can assist in your child’s growth – simple activities such as reading to them daily and encouraging them to brush their teeth build habits to last.
If you want the best for your child, being hands on and involved will give them the opportunity to thrive.
Give them advantages
There is nothing wrong with giving your child the best start in life!
My parents helped me in every way they could to give me a step up, I’m simply continuing to build on the foundations they set, for my child to have an even bigger advantage!
A key concern is many parents have is getting the balance between giving their children the best start and avoid them becoming entitled little shits.
Focus should be on teaching humility, discouraging entitlement, having manners and understanding the value of money so any advantage you can give is received with gratitude rather than expectation.
The greatest lesson on entitlement came from my mum, when one Christmas I was writing my list to Santa she made me rewrite the thing because I wrote “I want…”
I remember to this day:
I want… doesn’t get!
This post from Very Well Family gives some useful tips ensuring your child isn’t spoilt.
Work as a team
Not only is it important to work as a team so you and your partner coordinate as one cohesive unit, you also need to support each others health and wellbeing – as you know raising a child can get pretty stressful!
So if you see your partner getting stressed, jump in so she can have some time alone!
Ensure you communicate with your partner so you are in agreement how you are raising your child and understand how they are feeling – you are a team. It will create tension if you undermine each others authority.
Finally remember your partner is not just a mother, but started as a relationship between the two of you.
Therefore make time to talk, grow and gasp maybe even have a night out without the children!
Be a good role model
I’ve already touched on the fathers importance for raising a young girl, but whether you have a girl or boy (or both), the best way to show children what a good man is, is how you carry yourself in the values you possess, how you treat their mother and how you treat others.
If your idea of being a dad is coming home from work to then go out drinking beer all night, a son will think this is how men act and a daughter will grow thinking this is acceptable behaviour in future relationships.
How you act on a day to day basis will influence your child’s understanding of what is ‘normal’.
What is a good role model? I think the values in this post are a good start, but this is not a definitive list – just always keep in mind, whatever you portray you encourage.
Making fatherhood work
The greatest thing about being a father is I don’t have all the answers yet, but by being present, involved, giving them advantages, working as a team and striving everyday to be a good role model I have an ethos to follow to be a better parent and loving father.