Tips for Being a Father in 2022

16 Apr
  1. Teach discipline at a young age. Don’t just “discipline” them; teach them discipline. They need to learn self-discipline. Good results come from patience and perseverance. If they give in to every urge at a young age – candy, treats, toys, games – without learning the responsibility that comes first what will happen when more adult-like urges develop? It takes self-control to concentrate their attention on what needs to get done, then time for video games. Every behaviour corrected at a young is a major problem avoided when they’re older.
  2. Put the phone down and talk to your kids. I know it’s hard to put down the podcast or let that email go unanswered for a few minutes while you’re in the house with your family. I know the kids are nose down into TikTok videos, but they need to communicate with real people too. Find out what they’re watching and what language they’re speaking – because the slang changes weekly and it doesn’t sound like English. You need to meet them where they are. You can’t stop them from picking it up, but you can make sure they can communicate properly when needed. Every moment together is an opportunity to gauge where they’re at – even the 2 minutes when they’re getting their shoes on to go out. Don’t miss it because you’re reading some stranger’s blog post.
  3. Schedule dinnertime and eat together with no phones or TV. Some old traditions make sense. Start this as soon as they’re sitting up. Pull the highchair up to the table and eat together. Even when they’re eating the baby food, show them what you’re eating. They will get curious and soon, they’ll be pointing at your plate and asking to try it. When they’re older, they’ll be used to the idea of eating together, when you can share discussion about everything and enjoy each other.
  4. Prepare meals in the home. As they’re growing, they need to see how a household runs. If all their food is delivered pre-made or comes pre-cooked from the freezer, they won’t develop a true understanding of the nature of food, how to pick and prepare it. It’s healthier too.
  5. Involve them in the running of the household. Don’t worry so much about delineating mom’s jobs from dad’s jobs; most of us don’t live on homesteads anymore where that was essential. Involve them in everything – groceries, cooking, cleaning, gardening, organizing, laundry, etc. To be independent people, they need to learn how to manage a home and all of the basic skills that come with it.
  6. Play with your family. Everything from basic sports to wrestling to hide and seek to board games and video games. Playing is how kids learn to socialize and interact with rules. It’s also fun and builds fond memories together. Whether they will move on to organized sports or not, it starts with Dad rolling and tossing them a ball and letting them roll or toss it back. You might feel it’s boring and repetitive when they want to play the same game over and over again, but believe me, their attention span will wane before yours and they’ll move on. You’ll miss each stage of play when it’s gone. Entertain them while you can.
  7. Challenge their teachers. Find out what they’re learning in school and mock it relentlessly if/when mockery is deserved. Bertrand Russel once said to “respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison.” The same is true of the school curriculum. Your children need good grades to succeed, but an actual education is even more important. They need to pay attention to the teacher to get a good mark but they need to learn to formulate their own opinions based on wisdom passed down from you.
  8. Challenge culture. Don’t let them watch every movie that’s out there just because kids at school do. If they’re watching TV and another goofy, inept father character makes a father look like a fool, you can speak up and remind them these messages are wrong. When the statues of historical figures are pulled down, explain what they really represented. School doesn’t teach them the great stories anymore. You need to step in and read them the classic tales, including the biblical tales with the moral lessons. Show your culture for what it really is – all it’s good and bad.
  9. Exercise and eat right. The most important lesson in life is how to make the most with what you’re given. Your body and their bodies are probably very similar. No one is in a better position to teach them how their bodies work than you but you need to find the best way to look after your own body first. The best way for a parent to motivate is with demonstration and gentle encouragement. When they’re young, they will want to be like you. If you’re stuffing your face with cheezies and beer while watching other men play sports, you’re modeling behaviour
  10. Never Surrender. Divorce is surrender. They’re better off with 2 parents living together. If you’re living elsewhere, you will miss those brief moments when you have an opportunity to have a positive influence like the peaceful moments at bedtime. To stay together you need respect from your wife and the only way you can earn that respect is to be respectable and to show respect to her. Challenge yourself to be better so you can be the man worthy of her loyalty and affection. The world is trying to knock down your door and get inside but you have to defend and maintain the tranquility of your peaceful home where your kids will grow strong.

The best way to motivate your children with by demonstration, involvement and gentle encouragement. Be the best person you can be at work and at home. Be playful and have fun with them and they will want to follow you. Then a few gentle words of encouragement when needed is all that is required to keep them on the right path.

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