6 Things Kids Need to See Dad Doing
When you become a dad, you become a larger-than-life super-man who is the expert on everything from fixing bicycles to Jedi mind control. Dads are pretty high up on the totem pole. And because of that, kids see everything you do and try to mimic it. I didn’t realize how closely my little boy watched his daddy until I found him alone in the bathroom, shaving cream smeared all over his cheeks, with a butter knife poised in his hand. Dads have the power to really impact and shape little beings. Here are six things that all kids, whether young or old, should see their dads doing.
- Helping around the house
When dad pitches in to help share the burden of household duties, it sets a powerful example. Stereotypical “mom chores” and “dad chores” are no longer, due to shifting gender roles. Kids who see dad doing the dishes or cooking dinner get a valuable vision of their dad that will influence the person they become. Children who witness dad helping around the house are more likely to follow suit and be more helpful now, and when they are older. Future spouses will thank you for this one, promise.
- Showing affection for mom
Amy McCready, founder of Positive Parenting Solutions, says that showing affection for your spouse in front of the kids helps teach them what a healthy relationship looks like.
When kids see mom and dad hugging, holding hands, and kissing, they feel security and love at home. Dads can be a huge part of that by openly showing appropriate and respectful affection for their spouses. In turn, children who witness appropriate affection from their parents will know how to treat and be treated in future relationships.
- Getting down on their level
When daddy gets home around our house, that’s when things get fun. It’s what they crave, and one of the most common phrases I hear from my little ones’ mouths: ” Daddy, will you play with me?”
One of the most important things a dad can do…ever…is take time to get down on his child’s level. Even if you’re exhausted, taking even 15 minutes to play pirates with crudely fashioned swords and yes, walking the plank, or sipping watered down Kool-aid at a tea party, equipped with fairy wings and a halo–for your child, that’s completely priceless.
- Solving a problem
My four-year-old son would follow his daddy to the ends of the earth. Whatever dad is doing, he copies–mowing the lawn, setting up a basketball hoop, solving some sort of problem. When kids see dad solving a problem, whether it be fixing the garbage disposal, or talking through a work problem, they see the problem-solving process step-by-step. They see their idol taking time to work through something difficult and coming to a solution. That’s a lesson they can’t learn from an iPad.
- Saying “No” and being firm about it
The term “Disneyland dad” gets thrown around a lot, mostly concerning parents who are separated. But it can actually be applied to nuclear families as well. A Disneyland dad indulges his children with gifts and good times and leaves the tough disciplining up to mom. Although dads should most definitely play with their children and be the bearer of fun, parenting is also a two-way street. A firm “no” coming from dad when the situation warrants it, yields respect and can get results quick. Mom will thank you graciously for that.
- Disciplining with love and respect
When it comes to disciplining our children, there is a very broad spectrum of beliefs. No matter what your strategy for dealing with defiance, disobedience, and disrespect, you are the adult in the matter and therefore have the ability to control the situation. As children experience dad disciplining them with love and respect, they get the dual message that although dad does mean business, he still loves me.
Finally, a shout-out to all the great dads out there who are shaping little beings for the better and doing an amazing job at it! The world will forever be a better place because of you.
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Health and Wellness Associates