Dads and stepdads play a big part in kids’ lives. But what does it mean to be a good dad today?
The role of a father has changed a lot over the years, with dads playing a more active role in parenting than ever before.
Whether you’re about to become a new father or you’re looking to improve your relationship with your children, we hope our advice for dads helps you be a supportive and nurturing father.
We recognise that there are many types of parents and father figures, as well as different styles of parenting. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ approach to raising children, but we hope these tips help if relevant to you.
Prioritise Quality Time
One of the best fathering tips is to simply spend time with your kids. It’s true what they say – they grow up before you know it! So make the most of their younger years by making as many memories as you can.
Make an effort to talk to them and get to know them. Ask them questions about their interests and ideas. Being a hands-on dad means more than just showing up – you need to be present and engaged.
Discipline with Love
As tempting as it is to just be the ‘fun dad’ and act like their friend, this approach can lead to issues down the road. That’s not to say you can’t play with your kids, have fun and joke around, but you also need to provide positive guidance and fair discipline to help establish boundaries and responsibility.
When it comes to discipline, remember to set clear and consistent rules and explain them to your kids in an age-appropriate manner.
Be a Good Role Model
Parents are children’s main teachers in life. Not only do you have to teach them basic skills, but it’s your job to show them right from wrong and encourage them to make good choices. You can do this by modelling positive behaviour yourself.
Remember that whatever you say and do is on display for your children to see, and what they grow up seeing becomes their idea of ‘normal’.
Eat Together as a Family
Research shows fewer families are sitting down to eat dinner together these days, despite 78% of Australians agreeing dinnertime is the greatest family connector.
Eating dinner together at the table is a great way to make sure you’re getting a chunk of quality time every day. Turn off the TV, put your phone on silent, and give them your full attention.
Respect the Other Parent
Whether you’re still together or not, it’s important to show respect for your child’s other parent/caretaker. Communicate with them in a respectful manner, and avoid speaking negatively about them in front of your kids.
Kids learn a lot from their parents’ relationship, and this can influence how they treat people and how they’re willing to be treated in their own relationships when they’re older. Try to set a good example of what a healthy and respectful relationship looks like.
Co-parenting with an ex? Check out our tips to make joint custody work.
RAQ offers a range of Men and Family Relationship services to help men build and maintain strong relationships with their children, partner, family and friends.
These services include counselling, family dispute resolution, assistance on relationship and parenting matters, and education courses on relationship issues and personal growth. You can learn more or make an appointment by calling 1300 364 277.