How can a father avoid making his children feel bitter? It is vital that he recognize the importance of his role as a father.
“Fatherhood turns out to be a complex and unique phenomenon with huge consequences for the emotional and intellectual growth of children,” according to a journal on mental health.
What is the role of a father? In many families, the father is seen primarily as the one who dispenses discipline. Many a mother has told a misbehaving child, “Just wait till your father gets home!”
To be sure, children need balanced discipline and a measure of firmness if they are to become well-adjusted adults. More, though, is involved in being a good father.
Sadly, not every father had a good example to help him. Some men were raised without a father in the home. But in other cases, men who were brought up by a rigid, austere father may tend to treat their children the same way. How can such a father break that mold and improve his parenting skills?
Being a good father is important not only for the physical and emotional welfare of your children but also for their spiritual well-being. Let us now consider five things that children need from their father. In each case, I will examine how applying these principles can help a father to fill those needs.
1. Children Need Their Father’s Love
Never be reluctant to tell your children that you love them. Austin, a father of five, says: “I have always tried to express my love for my children not only by telling them that I love them but also by showing a personal interest in each one of them. I shared in changing their diapers and in bathing them.” In addition, your children need to know that they have your approval. So do not be overly critical, constantly correcting them. Rather, be generous with praise. Rick, who has two teenage girls, recommends, “A father should make a point of looking for opportunities to commend his children.” Knowing that they have your approval can help your children to have a healthy sense of self-worth.
2. Children Need a Positive Example
For example, if the father treats his wife with respect and dignity, his son may well grow up to treat women with dignity and respect. Not only are boys’ attitudes affected by their father’s example but girls’ views of men may be influenced by their father’s example.
Do your children find it difficult to apologize? Here again, example is important. Austin remembers an occasion when two of his boys broke an expensive camera. He got so angry that he pounded a wooden table and it split in two. Austin felt very bad afterward and apologized to all, including his wife, for having lost his temper. He feels that his apology had a positive effect on his children; they do not have any difficulty in saying that they are sorry.
3. Children Need a Happy Environment
Your children need a happy environment. Taking the time to play with your children can help to create such an environment. Playing together helps parent and child to bond. Chris agrees with that. He has a teenage son and says: “Setting aside time for recreation with my son has been very important to our relationship. We play games together, associate with friends, and visit enjoyable places. This has strengthened our sense of family togetherness.”
4. Children Need Discipline
Children need discipline so that they can grow up to be productive and responsible adults. Some parents seem to think that disciplining their children involves severe treatment, including harsh threats or belittling insults. I do not endorse severe beatings, which may even injure a child. However, occasionally, punishment may be necessary. A child, though, should understand why he is being punished. Parental discipline should never leave a child feeling rejected. Austin comments, “When I needed to correct my children about serious matters, I always tried to make it clear that my motive for correcting them was my love for them.”
5. Children Need to Be Protected
Children need to be protected from unwholesome influences and potentially harmful associates. Sadly, there are dangerous people in this world who are bent on exploiting innocent children. How can you protect your children? To shield your children from calamity, you must be alert to dangers. Anticipate situations that could lead to problems, and take due precautions. For example, if you allow your children access to the Internet, be sure that they know how to use it safely. It may be best to keep the computer in an open area where you can easily monitor its use.
A father needs to prepare and train his children for the dangers they may face in this abusive world. Do your children know what to do in case someone tries to take advantage of them when you are not present? Your children need to know the proper and improper use of their private body parts. Austin comments: “I never left this training to others, not even their teachers. I felt that it was my personal responsibility to teach my children about sex and the danger of child molesters.” All his children safely reached adulthood and are now happily married. A father’s example is of utmost importance.