6 parenting tips all fathers should know
Fathers offer children an avenue for positive growth which is different from what mothers provide. Here are some parenting tips for fathers.
The following events are a fictionalised account of a father's interaction with his son over one week.
Much has been said and written about the role of mothers’ in the lives of children and the impact they have on shaping their personalities. However, there is increasing research findings on the critical role of fathers in the lives of their children.
We fathers can offer our children another avenue for positive growth. Here are six parenting tips for fathers.
Monday's father: Be the role model
“Time to get up,” I say as I gently shake my son’s shoulder. It's 6am on Monday and my son, Thomas slowly stirs awake.
“Is it Sunday?” Thomas asks in hope. “No it’s Monday morning and you’ve got to go to school,” I say. “I don’t want to go…” he tries.
I agree, quietly thinking to myself “I really don’t want to go to work either…” But instead I say to him “Well, daddy’s responsibility is to go to work and yours is to go to school. Let’s do this together, ok?”
My son pushes himself up from bed and starts his day.
Tuesday's father: Teach him to learn from his mistakes
“Why do I always end up bringing work home? Got to learn to do better!” In frustration I toss my stack of notes onto the table.
I see that my wife had just finished a lengthy tuition session with Thomas and he was looking, not too happily, at the exercises laid out before him. “What’s the matter?” I asked. “This math question is too difficult. I keep making mistakes.”
I say, “Hey, everyone makes mistakes. What we need to do is to learn from them so we don’t do them again. So can you tell me what you have learnt from your mistake?” He paused briefly and then shares his mistake with me. “Good. Let’s try and do better next time. Me included,” I say, picking up my stack of notes and tidying it up.
Wednesday's father: Tell him that perseverance pays
I’m so tired and it’s only mid-week! I slump onto the sofa when I get home.
Thomas is having his dinner that my wife has prepared. “Hey, how was your day in school today?” I ask him. He mumbles “OK” or something to that effect. I get up from the sofa and sit down next to him at the table. “Tired, huh?” I ask. “Yes” comes his reply. “Yeah, me too. Let’s take one step at a time and we’ll get there, ok?” I try to sound convincing. But I let him know that we need to carry for just that moment longer rather than giving up. If we stay with the problem, we will solve it.
He nods and continues eating. I give him a pat on the back and start to dine with him.
What are the other parenting tips for fathers? Click on the next page to find out.
Thursday's father: Don't have false hopes
My wife brings Thomas home from his music class and he immediately comes to me “Daddy, I want to go to the park this weekend. Mummy says to ask you.”
Again? We have been to the park again and again and I have other things to get done this weekend. But I don't want to say no. Perhaps we can make it happen. But the weather does not look great for the weekend. Do I just say no?
I give a look in my wife’s direction and say to Thomas, “Ok, but only if it doesn’t rain. Remember the last time it rained while we were there?” His eye brightened “Yes!”
I repeat my message “Only if it doesn’t rain. What can we do if it rains?” He thinks about it and offers alternative ideas. He knows the park may or may not happen.
Friday's father: Some sacrifices are easily made
My colleagues are talking about their Friday evening plans. “Join us”, they ask me. “Sounds really fun, but I’ll be hanging out with the family” They try, “Come on, we miss you. It’s your loss…” No loss. Really.
An evening with my son, and what do I give up: a night at a bar. Really, no loss.
Weekend father: Value yourself
Thomas is running and screaming with other kids in the park while my wife and I park ourselves on a bench.
“I’m not sure if I’m doing enough as a father.” I express my doubt. “What do you mean?” my wife asks. “I don’t think I’m doing enough. Well, compared to you that is. He’s growing up so fast and I fear I’ve not done any positive things for Thomas. There are so many things I want to do with him, for him and say to him. But I’ve not done so... just too tied up with stuff, you know.”
My wife turns to me “Trust me, I’m sure you have. You are just not around to notice that’s all. And some things you want to achieve do not need lots of time and effort.”
(A few hours later)
“Goodnight Thomas” I said as I turned off the lights. My wife had just finished bedtime reading with him.
“Daddy, it’s Monday tomorrow right?” Thomas asks. “Yup it is” I half sighed. Thomas then says “You go to work and I go to school because that is our responsibility right?”
“Yup, it sure is. And you know what? Daddy’s really proud of you!”
I smile broadly at my son.
This article has been contributed by Donus Loh, Principal Psychologist of W3ave Pte. Ltd., Singapore.