5 Tips for Fathers – How to Deal with the Everyday Grind of Being a Parent
Until you have a son of your own… you will never know the joy, the love beyond feeling that resonates in the heart of a father as he looks upon his son – Kent Nerburn
FATHERS ARE IMPORTANT in their children’s lives in ways that are irreplaceable. According to research, a child’s primary relationship with his father impacts all the areas of their life: physical, emotional, social, behavioral, cognitive and psychological. Children who have an involved father are likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to engage with their surroundings, and as they mature, have better social connections.
Consider the following facts from Dad’s make a Big Difference demographic. Children who grow up with involved fathers are:
- 39% more likely to score mostly A’s in school
- 45% less likely to repeat a grade.
- 60% less likely to be suspended or expelled from school
- 75% less likely to have a teen birth
- 80% less likely to spend time in jail
- Two times less likely to go to college and find stable employment after high school
I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection – Sigmund Freud
Fathering is a profoundly fulfilling experience. Fathers live more purposed lives as compared to men without children.
Challenges of Fatherhood
But being a father can be a struggle. Men who want to be involved fathers will face many obstacles: From psychological to economic, legal and interpersonal. Being actively involved in a child’s life means that you are several things at once: father, breadwinner, and caregiver.
The challenges of fatherhood are compounded by the fact that many fathers do not have role models that they can emulate on how to have meaningful relationships with their children. Many modern fathers grew up with fathers who were emotionally distant, stressed from work and unsure of how to connect with their children.
Constraints of time is another challenge facing fathers. Fathers are seen as the primary providers. This means that they must put in long hours at work at the expense of meaningful time spent with their children.
That said, you can still surmount these challenges and become an excellent dad for your child. If you want to be an effective, active father, here are some coping strategies to carry you through.
1. Plan Ahead
Fatherhood is a huge responsibility, and like any other valuable task, planning makes a huge difference. Men are very good at planning for their careers, their businesses, and even their social life. But many fathers rarely do this when it comes to their children. As a result, they become overwhelmed. Plan for all the aspects of your child’s life: Which activities are they involved in and when and what is your involvement?
Many situations that are potentially stressful can easily be taken on if one has carefully planned for them. Failure to plan leads to feelings of being overwhelmed on the father and abandonment on the child.
One father is more than a hundred schoolmasters – George Herbert
2. Take Your Proper Place as a Father
Many dads go through life feeling like outsiders in their children’s lives. For the longest time, the influence of fathers was seen as minor, even negligible. It is only recently that the full value of fatherhood has been appreciated.
You just need to look at how differently father’s day is celebrated from mother’s day!
Mothers are wired to step in and attend to the children quickly. This makes it hard for fathers to be engaged and it leaves them feeling disempowered. No wonder fathers often back away from family and head off to sports, work or some other place where they feel competent and valued.
Your partner needs to know that you want to be an equal parent. Do not settle for second-class parenting in the life of your child.
Every son’s first superhero is his father, and it was the same for me. For me, he was Superman and Batman combined – Tiger Shroff
3. Include Your Children Whenever Possible
Fathers are much more involved in childcare than they were 50 years ago. In 2015, research revealed that fathers were spending an average seven hours a week on childcare almost three times three decades ago. 39% of the fathers felt that they were not spending enough time with their children.
Many fathers carry a lot of guilt for not spending adequate time with their children. Fathers find it hard to split time between fathering and other activities. You do not have to exit the world you once lived in once you become a father. Indeed, you do not have to change your life entirely as a person the moment you become a father. Once you get over the early years, life starts to go back to normal if you allow it. You will be surprised how many events you can actually attend with your child. Give it a try!
It doesn’t matter who my father was: it matters who I remember he was. Anne Sexton
4. Take Time for Yourself
Having some time alone gives you the opportunity to focus on yourself, something that is difficult to do for a dad. You cannot help anyone else with their needs while yours are not being met. A stressed father will not be present even when he is with his children. Stress and fatigue are lousy partners. Getting some time alone will make you a better father. A few minutes engaging in some fun activity will rejuvenate and energize you.
It was my father who taught me to value myself. He told me that I was uncommonly beautiful and that I was the most precious thing in his life – Dawn French
5. Cultivate a Good Relationship with the Other Parent of Your Child
You may have disagreements with your wife/mother to your children but how you manage those disagreements will affect your fatherhood efforts. You may be the best father in the world, but if you are fighting with your partner, this will erode all the beautiful gains of your incredible fatherhood. Kids are sensitive to signs of anger, and any indication of conflict undermines your child’s sense of emotional security.
Avoid destructive fighting. You can certainly disagree; but humiliation, stonewalling, aggression; these are not healthy for your child’s welfare. Research shows that babies as young as six months show higher symptoms of distress when they are exposed to overt exchanges between their parents.
Respecting the other parent of your child provides a secure environment for them. When children witness their parents respecting each other, they also feel respected and accepted within the father-child relationship.
Few events will change your life as much as becoming a father. Being entrusted with the responsibility of another person is a monumental responsibility. On the same stroke, there is nothing in this world that is more rewarding than gradually nurturing your child into adulthood, with your affection returned in good measure and your child’s self-worth intact.
We hope these fatherhood tips will provide some guidance to help you become an engaged, supportive and loving dad.