15 December 2017

Ten Top Tips for being a great dad!

Care for the Family believes every father has the potential to be a brilliant dad.

1. Stay calm!

Try to take something positive out of every new experience your kids introduce you to, even if it is a frog in the laundry basket! At least it wasn’t two frogs . . . and for punishment you can make them write an essay on frogs and their proper habitats.

2. Be silly once a day

If it’s not in your job description to have fun with your children, then it’s time to rewrite it! Laugh at their jokes, even if you’ve heard them before. Be a kid again, sometimes. Dirt washes off, clothes dry out, hair dye fades, but memories stay for a long, long time.

3. Don’t take yourself too seriously

Character matters more than reputation. You might lose face occasionally, but modelling character means being willing to apologise, being honest about mistakes, forgiving other people for their mistakes, and moving on.

4. Honour their mother

Honouring their mother teaches your children an important lesson in life about respect. Presenting a united front on boundaries, discipline and priorities will make your children feel more secure and you will model a positive relationship for them to emulate.

5. Celebrate their differences

Each of your children is different and will want to do their own thing. Try to spend time with them individually, whether that’s racing them on the Playstation or taking them to Claire’s Accessories. And don’t compare your children with each other – they each have faults, and they each have their own good points, too. Every child is unique.

6. Praise your child

If ‘you catch them doing something right’, praise them. But remember, after a certain age there’s nothing more embarrassing for a child than to be praised in front of their friends. It’s just not cool!

7. Choose your battles – and stick to them

Always ask yourself, “Is it really worth arguing about this?” If it is, then stick to your guns (unless they give you a very good reason to give in).

8. Let them decide what to do with a day

It might not be an expensive trip out. It might just be going to McDonald’s instead of KFC, but give them the choice.

9. Assume the best

Don’t over-react; listen to their version of events. Don’t pry into their lives unless you really have to. Show them that you trust them and you have a much better chance of them trusting you in return.

10. Help them have a relationship with God

Affirming that God loves and cares for your children can begin the day they are born. As they grow they can make the connection between your love and that of their Heavenly Father. Pray for and with your children, thanking God for making them so special and for giving them to you and your family.

In his recent book, Getting Your kids Through Church Without Them Ending up Hating God Rob Parsons says, “Good parents sometimes have children who break their hearts and although none of us can change the past, we can all pray. God is a God of change and redemption and when we cry out to him for help as a parent, He has a power so great it can negate all our mistakes and foolishness. You and I can, with God’s help, try to live lives at home and in church that will make our children’s hearts more likely to be soft towards him. “

Jean Gibson is National Representative of Care for the Family, a national Christian charity whose aim is to promote strong family relationships and to help those who face family difficulties.