What Makes a Good Father

What makes a good father? Anyone can have children, but not anyone can be a father. So before you claim that "World's Greatest Dad" mug, take a look at some of the criteria that illustrate how to be a good father.

  • Sharing time. You can't be a father if you're not around, let alone try to be a good father. Spending time with your children and being involved in their lives is imperative to being a good dad. You only get a few years to make a lifelong impression on your child. Don't miss those moments because work or other interests seem more important.
  • Being a role model. As their father, your children naturally look up to you. They think of you as their superhero. While you may not be able to leap over buildings in a single bound, children are equally impressed by the simple things you do. Children will emulate your behavior. If you're rude to a waitress, they'll think it's okay to be rude to waitresses. If you treat others with honesty and respect, your kids will do the same. It's important that you lead by example, not by, "Do as I say, not what I do." Always be mindful of what your children see, because you'll see the same behavior down the road.
  • Being honest. How are you going to expect honesty from your children if you're not honest with them? When your kids ask tough questions, you need to respond with open, but age-appropriate, answers. You may not want to talk about smoking pot in college or how you ran up a huge credit card debt, but you're not doing your kids any favors if you lie to them. Tell them the truth and tell them what you learned from the experience. Tell your kids what you did wrong, and you may keep them from making the same mistakes.
  • Be loving, yet stern. It's important that your children feel loved. That goes without question. But a father should never be a child's friend. Loving your children means grounding them, withholding allowance when chores aren't finished and saying no to things they really want. You are the authority figure in their life. If you're too much of a pushover, your children will grow up lacking discipline. On the other hand, if you push them too hard, they may end up resenting you. A good father should know how to straddle this delicate line.
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