How to be a good father: Be a Good Role Model (3/4)

3/4. Be a Good Role Model

1. Lead by example

If you want to lead by your example, then your motto should be, “Do as I say and as I do,” so your children know you’re not being hypocritical when you teach them right from wrong. If you want your children to act in a way that meets your expectations, then they should see the positive behavior from you first. Here are some ways that you can lead by example:

  • If you don’t want your children to smoke or drink excessively, for example, then you shouldn’t do these things in front of them — or at all.
  • If you want your children to treat people with kindness and respect, then they have to see you treating people, from the waiter in your local restaurant to a telemarketer, with basic respect.
  • If you want your children to not pick fights, then don’t pick a fight with their mother right in front of them.

2.   Treat the children’s mother with respect

If you want to be a good role model, then you have to treat the children’s mother with respect. If you’re married to her, then you should let them see how much your love her, help her out, and enjoy her company. If you’re mean to your own wife, then your children will see that it’s okay to be mean to Mom or other people because Dad does it.[4]

  • Part of treating the children’s mother with respect means sharing childcare and household duties with her.
  • Let your children see you praising their mother and giving her the love and affection that she deserves.
  • You should not only treat the children’s mother with respect, but love her and work on maintaining an loving, fun, and nurturing relationship. If the children’s mother is happy, then everyone is happy.
  • If you and the children’s mother are divorced, then you should never say a bad word about their mother to them, even if you’re not on the best terms. Letting them see your less-than-ideal relationship with their mother will make them stressed and confused.

3.   Admit your mistakes

You don’t have to be perfect to be a good role model. In fact, it’s better if you’re not perfect, because then your children will see that nobody’s perfect and that everybody makes mistakes. If you’ve made a mistake, like forgetting to pick your child up from school at the right time, or losing your temper, you should apologize and say that you know you’ve made a mistake.

  • If you can swallow your pride in front of your children, then they’ll see that it’s okay for them to admit when they’ve done something wrong, too.
  • Admitting when you’re wrong builds more character than “doing the right thing” every single time.

4.   Help out around the house

If you want your children to help out around the house, then you should help out around the house, too, no matter how all-consuming your job may be. Let them see you doing the dishes, cleaning the counters, and vacuuming the carpet, and they’ll want to help out too. If they think that cleaning up is just “Mom’s job,” then they’ll be much less likely to help out when the time comes.

Helping out around the house will not only make your wife happy, but it’ll help your children see that you and your wife work as a team and that they should join in.

5.   Earn your children’s respect

Respect is earned, not given, and you should do what you can so that your children respect you as a father. If you’re not around a lot, yell at their mother, or are only occasionally in the mood to discipline them, then they won’t respect you just because you’re their father. You should act in a way that is admirable, honest, and consistent so that your children see that you’re a model father and a person worthy of their admiration.

Your children shouldn’t worship you and think you’re perfect — they should see that you’re only human and want to do well by them.

6.   Shower your children with love and affection

Though you may think being a good role model means being slightly distant but always doing the right thing, it actually means being connected enough to give your children kisses and hugs, and to let them know how much they mean to you. Don’t let a day go by without saying “I love you,” giving your children physical affection, and letting them know how much they mean to you.[5]

Your children long for love and affection from you, no matter what age they are. Praise your children and let them know that your life wouldn’t be the same without them.



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