Dads play a huge role in helping to raise children who are emotionally happy and healthy. Traditional gender roles have seen dads confined to distant, authoritarian roles. The need to spend many hours out of the home at work and the assumption that the home and family are the domain of the mother have meant that men may view their role in connecting with and guiding the emotional development of their kids as secondary to providing financial and physical security.
However, with more people joining the workforce and more men feeling the need to participate more actively in their children’s development, dads have started to realise that there are many ways in which they can play a part in raising emotionally healthy kids. Here are some of the ways in which dads teach and guide their kids.
Let Your Kids Know They are Important
Fathers are often distracted by work or tired and may not always pay attention to their kids. However, when you let your kids know that they are important to you, you re-inforce their sense of self-esteem and self-worth. This makes them more resilient and able to deal with difficulties and challenges which they may need to face on their own.
Make time for your children. Try to get home early enough to spend time with them before they go to bed, save time on weekends to do things together. Be present for them. When your children come to you with ideas or want to spend time with you, take a moment to really listen to them and pay attention to what they are telling you.
Respect Them as Individuals
Think before speaking. Be sensitive to what your children are trying to convey to you. When they ask you a question or ask for your opinion, try to understand the real reasons behind the question. Sometimes, it is a way for your kids to reach out to you, to seek your approval. So, even if you think that their efforts are not perfect, or if you are not sure if their suggestions will work, react with sensitivity and respect for their feelings. Don’t always focus on being brutally honest in the interests of providing the best solutions, try to look a little deeper into the interactions which you have with your kids.
Accept Them for Who They Are
Learn to love them for who they are and accept that they are children. You don’t always have to be serious and in control with your kids. Play and interact at their level. Explain things to them when they ask; horse around and play silly games with them. They help your children to bond with you, trust and love you. They know of course that “Mr Silly” is not who you are at work, but that you are making a special effort to play with them and interact with them even when they are being crazy and childish.
Make Them Feel Secure
Let your children know that you are there to keep them safe. When they come to you to tell you that they felt threatened by someone or uncomfortable because someone touched them in an inappropriate way, listen to them. Reassure them and tell them that they are not wrong to come to you and then, once you have the facts, act on them to protect your children. Your kids should always know that they can come to you for help, support and security.
Dads can play an active and important role in nurturing their children emotionally.
Support your children by providing an environment in which they are valued, respected, accepted and protected.