Dads are scrutinised so much more for their parenting efforts because it’s sometimes a rarity to see a father who is fully invested in his child’s life – and that’s just me being honest. A lot has changed over the years but not much. That’s why there’s still uproar when we see a father pushing a pushchair or taking his child to the park as opposed to mum doing it, because seeing mum doing it is a normal thing. Needless to say there are plenty great fathers out there who are fully committed to their children.
So, my question is, ‘what makes him a good dad?’ I don’t personally feel that anyone can truly give a straight answer to this type of question, the role of being a parent demands so much and every age requires you to take on a different role. However, I do believe that the answer may reside with the child of that father. They can only truly evoke or illustrate whether their father was good enough or not. Maybe not so much at a young age because as smart as kids can be, they’re still kids - give them a candy bar and suddenly your the best person in the world. But I do think kids can give you a relatively good indication as to whether that father has made a good impression in their life or not.
Investing quality time is one way of improving your relationship with your child. There are those types of men out there who still want to be praised for taking on basic responsibilities. Like if we see a dad doing the school run, or providing clothes and food, or giving them a bath, or helping out with homework......these are all basic responsibilities that shouldn’t have to be awarded with a round of applause. These are the things that come with the role and are duties that need to be fulfilled anyway. Those are your child’s necessities; these should be instinctive qualities that you provide alongside love and care.
There is more to the role than just providing for their basic needs, for instance, getting to really know your child, sitting down to actually listen to them and engaging with them, being there throughout the entire parental process, being there for them emotionally, spiritually, physically and mentally- basically making them your number one priority.
Being their pillar of strength, that heroic figure they want to be like. A lot of men make it harder than it is and that’s not to say it’s not challenging, but simply being there, not just physically but emotionally, is enough to satisfy your child.
Some men struggle with showing affection, they spew very little emotion even when it comes to their child, believe it or not. You have a lot of men that want too but don’t sit down with their kids and do messy stuff, or spend hours in the park chasing them, or reading them a bedtime story, or teaching them to cook. Some of these things that are looked upon as being 'little things' or time-wasters are actually memories that your child will cherish and could have a huge impact on them growing up. A child can so easily forget the material things you provide but will always remember the feelings and emotions you instilled in them. They will always rely on the trust, love, care and time you provided for them, this will ultimately determine their feelings towards you.
A couple of weeks ago I watched an episode on Steve Haverys talk show and the topic of discussion was ‘How To Be A Father.’ They mentioned how most fatherless fathers who never had a male figure to set an example in their life, didn’t know how to be a good role model in their own kids lives. He stated that most men have a ‘real fear’ when it comes to raising their kids and ‘don’t know how and don’t know where to get the proper help to learn how.’ He also touched on the fact that as women we need to encourage and help men rather than knock them down, which I agree with. Like I mentioned before some men are emotionally disconnected and so it sometimes takes a woman’s touch, encouraging words and knowledge to help make them better understand how to be a good influence in their child’s life.
Children are a lot smarter than we give them credit for. Their feelings are real, their only barrier is being able to articulate it. I do believe that children sit in deep thought and often in confusion when for example they watch a cartoon that depicts a loving devoting father that is absent in their life. I do believe they hurt when they see their best friend’s dad giving them a piggy back ride to school and they have no fathers back to hop on or shoulder to cry on. Our kid’s feelings are relevant and we as parents have the power to alter it.
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