The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Fathers

Thursday, October 25, 2007
A great father makes all the difference in a kid’s life. He’s a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is never-ending and, oftentimes, thankless. But in the end, it shows in the sound, well-grounded children he raises.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that parenthood comes with no instructions. It can be difficult to balance everything in life, especially since every father-child relationship has its own individual challenges. Although there are no clear-cut methods to successful parenthood, there are some habits you can develop as a father to ensure that you are prioritizing the right things, and to guarantee that your family sees you as a real hero.

1. Keeping stress to yourself.

Children shouldn’t have to be burdened with adult problems. They have enough to deal with just being kids; growing, learning, exploring, and evolving. Instead of sharing your difficulties with them, keep your time with them about them. Try to keep your stress to yourself and don’t let it affect your attitude when you’re around your kids.

In order to do this, find a different outlet for your stress that you can use before you see them. Go to the local gym on the way home and let it out on a punching bag or stop at your favorite coffee shop and spend a few minutes unwinding with a good book. Whatever it takes, your kids will appreciate seeing a fresh face and a positive attitude when you get home.

2. Leading by example.

A successful father is above the old “do as I say, not as I do” credo. He’s not smoking if he doesn’t want his kids to do it, and definitely not drinking heavily. He teaches them to deal with conflict with a family member and with others by being firm but reasonable at the same time.

A good father also illustrates how significant is affection by professing his love for their mother in front of them. And he won’t fight with her in their presence. In all, he adheres to the values he’d like his kids to follow.

3. Being consistent.

Ensure that what you say is actually what you do. Every child needs to believe he has a dependable father, so if you promise you’ll make it to that basketball game or take him to the zoo or make his favorite dinner, it’s important to follow through no matter what comes up in the meantime. If your child believes your word, trust will soon follow.

Another important point about consistency is structure in discipline. Remember that your kids aren’t perfect — despite what you may think — and they need guidance. It can be hard to discipline your children because you’re ready to stand at their defense no matter what. But remember that rules and structure are important in life and the earlier they learn that, the easier their lives will be. Rules are there for a reason and you need to make sure your children understand this.

4. Staying involved.

Being involved with your kids is often twisted to mean that you ought to do the morning carpool and attend sports games. Although this is true, there is much more to involvement with your kids than just being a personal driver and cheerleader to them. Watch the soccer game, but also listen to school stories. Hear what your kids have to say, know their interests and their friends. Being involved seems like a no-brainer when it comes to parenthood, but it’s so easy to forget.

If your kids feel important enough to garner your interest, this will raise their confidence, their trust in you and their willingness to share the details of their own lives with you. All these things will give you more opportunities to guide your children and keep them out of trouble.

5. Scheduling family recreation.

I know how all-important it is to work hard all week, but you also have to schedule some fun activities for downtime and stick to them. It is far too easy to just assume that family time will come naturally when the weekend arrives. Unfortunately, work spillover, visits from family members or home improvement projects — just to name a few scenarios — can easily take that time away.

Not to mention that as your children develop their own social schedules, they’ll quickly let quality time with their families slip away. For this reason, planning ahead is decisive in maintaining this important aspect of your family life. Just like you’ll keep New Year’s resolutions more often if you write them down as a promise, making appointments with your family will make time with them a priority — for both you and them.

6. Teaching.

There’s something especially touching about learning. Learning something new boosts self-assurance and is a lot of fun. For the teacher, there is a unique feeling of pride in seeing how you helped create ability.

If you show your children how to do things you will develop a unique bond between the two of you. You may assume you don’t know that much, but whatever tidbits you can pass along will be highly valued by your kids. Do you play guitar? Are you a chess master? Your children may learn this stuff in life anyway, but if you’re the teacher, they’ll not only remember the skill, they’ll remember the great master who gave them that knowledge.

7. Creating family rituals.

Because kids are so impressionable, structure can be very important to how they learn and grow. It can also instill a sense of significance in what goes on in the home.

Establish a firm supper time (when the whole family gathers around the table), a time for a story before bed, game night or even an evening where the entire family watches a TV show together. Doing this will ensure that the event will be known as “family time” and that it will stick out as something sacred for your children.

The value of a great father is often overlooked. But there are few things as priceless as a father who will do everything he can, and provide all the tools he has so that his children can become better than him.

Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.


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