Here's the secret behind what makes a champion dad!

Here's the secret behind what makes a champion dad!

Are you up for the job?

A few years ago, a local research study on fatherhood made quite a stir when it highlighted that fathers here needed to be more actively involved in parenting. The role of fathers has certainly evolved over the years, and dads now play a critical role in raising confident, resilient kids.

However, being a Champion Dad is a challenging role. For some fathers, personal shortcomings may make you feel quite the opposite from a champion. For others, the lack of a positive father figure in your own childhood may mean that you struggle to be involved with your own kids.

Don’t give up.

If you have a child, the question isn’t whether you’re a father. It’s how you’ll do the job you can’t turn down – and whether you’ll allow yourself to enjoy it.

The secret to being a champion dad

Being a Champion Dad is mostly about time and  thebasics. You start doing the fundamentals and keep doing them. And the three fundamentals are:

  • Loving
  • Coaching
  • Modelling

These are so basic to fathering that we will always be learning and practising them. The thing to note is that none of these parts are optional. We can’t just love our kids and skip the coaching or modelling. Neither can you coach without loving them.

These three basics have something in common. They all require involvement. When it comes to involvement, nobody can take your place. And involvement starts with being present.

Here’s the other secret…

Do you remember countless parenting discussions over quality time versus quantity time? I wonder if anyone has asked a child, “Do you know the difference between quantity time and quality time with your dad?” I’m sure the answer would have been, “HUH?”

Children can’t distinguish between quality time and quantity time. Most adults can’t, either. What we do know is that when there’s little quantity time, there’s not likely to be much quality time.

We have to keep our schedules flexible enough that we can enjoy unstructured or unplanned time with our kids. Perhaps we have to learn how to simply ‘waste time’ with them. That doesn’t mean just being in the same room, by the way. Surfing the Internet on separate laptops two metres apart isn’t quantity or quality time.

Learn about some practical and immediate ways in which you can connect with your child at every stage of their growing up years... on to the next page!

Preschool years
  • Create habits that help you connect with your wife and kids, such as phone calls from work or special "daddy" time when you walk through the doorway at the end of the day.
  • Place pictures of your children where you'll see them on the way home from work (on your car dashboard, for example). As you look at the pictures, tell yourself, "The next few hours are the most important in my entire day."
  • Get on your child's level — squatting, kneeling or lying on the floor — when talking to or playing with him or her.
Primary school years
  • Set aside time this weekend, and ask your child, "What would you like to do together?"
  • Ask what skill your child would like to learn in the next year, and then commit yourself to help him or her in that area.
  • Be involved in your child's education — including helping with homework, practising for sports or other activities, and attending school meetings and events.
Teen years
  • Commit to a vigorous outdoor activity over the weekend with your kids. Push the limits, and be creative.
  • Figure out how to have fun with your teen by immersing yourself in his world for an afternoon. Hang out together, read a book she likes, play his games, listen to her stories.
  • Connect with other adults who play an important role in your child's life — coaches, teachers, youth leaders — and compare notes on how your child is progressing.

 

Spending time means being together, whether you’re planning your next family outing or having a midnight snack in the kitchen. These steady, smaller investments of quantity time will yield the best results over the years. While balancing work and family can get challenging, keep on trying. The effort may be great, but it is without a doubt that the rewards will be greater.

 

Copyright © 2016. Focus on the Family Singapore Ltd.

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