Top Ten Common-Sense Rules for Fathers
Rule #1 Expect A Great Deal From Your Kids
If your kids know that you expect a lot from them, theyll rise to the occasion. Everything from saying please and thank-you, to efforts in school or on the athletic field, if expectations are made clear in a loving atmosphere your kids will know that you think a lot of them. When they know this, theyll respond.
Rule #2 Always Be Willing To Be the Problem
When youre convinced that someone in your family is causing the problem and youre blaming them for it, realize that this problem wont get better until you accept that youre making it worse by blaming them. It may briefly feel good to blame, but it never improves anything. Loving and accepting that person will make a positive difference.
Rule #3 Know Your Childs Life Intimately
Get to know all that you can about your kids. Know what their favorite toys and colors are, who their best friends are, who their heroes are, etc. By showing interest, youre showing you love them. By not asking, you show that theyre not that important to you.
Rule #4 Say No To Your Kids
Theres an awful lot of stuff out there for kids these days...and of course they want to have it all. Kids who get almost everything they want typically dont turn out to be very happy kids. Kids learn discipline, self-control, and how to delay gratification when they are told no by their parents. It may be a difficult struggle, but saying no and meaning it will help you to have happy, healthy, and cooperative kids.
Rule #5 Hitting or Spanking Your Kids Doesnt Work
There are plenty of studies showing that kids who are spanked have lower self-esteem. Spanking your kids will also be likely to increase the very kinds of behaviors that you are spanking them for. As a father, do you really want your child to be afraid of you?
Rule #6 Treat Your Wife Extremely Well
This is where your kids get their most important information about relationships between men and women. Make a great effort not to fight in front of the kids. Remember to be kind more often than trying to be right.
Law #7 Actions Speak Louder Than Words
Many parents spend time threatening their children when their kids arent cooperating. But if you dont follow through on the consequences, you can threaten till the cows come home. Your children will learn to ignore the threats. Theyll understand action. If certain privileges are taken away because of their lack of cooperation, theyll learn very quickly that you mean business.
Try your best to align the consequences with the action. ( If you dont clean your room in time, you wont have time for stories before bed.)
Rule #8 Really Listen to Your Kids
Dont just hear their words, but learn to understand the meaning behind what they say as well. Im picking my own clothes! might mean that your child wants more responsibility or independence. Be able to reflect back what your child says to you. If you want your child to listen to you, you absolutely must listen to her/him.
Rule #9 Give Your Kids Responsibility as They Grow Older
When your kids are very young, maybe they just help make their beds in the morning and keep their rooms clean. As they get older, add things to their list. Tell them that this is how a family works
everybody has certain things that they do. If you do it when theyre young its more likely theyll do it when theyre older. Dont reward them for things that should be expected of them.
Rule #10 Tell Your Kids Theyre Great
All the Time
It is especially important to tell them this when theyre not at their best. Its easy to tell them when things are going well. Make it a point to tell them specifically what you think is great about them. This will be more meaningful than generalized praise.
Mark Brandenburg MA, CPCC, is a certified personal coach, father, speaker, and workshop leader who helps men to create balance in their lives and to immediately improve their family relationships, guaranteed! He is the author of 25 Secrets of Emotionally Intelligent Fathers and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at www.markbrandenburg.com.