I don’t care whether you are happily married, a single dad, divorced dad, separated, or live far away from your child in a different country. You are a father. and if you want to learn how to be a good dad, there are some things you have to do.
If I had to narrow down the most important things needed to be a good dad, these would be it. In this episode, I’m giving you 3 specific things you need to start doing now. It doesn’t matter whether you have a newborn or a grown adult child.
#1) Presence – Not gifts, your physical and mental presence. You can’t be a good dad if you are not there. Both physically and mentally.
Now, if you only see your child once in a while, then make it count when you do see them. I would suggest you do whatever you can to see them more often but I understand everyone has their own circumstances they need to deal with.
When we spend time with our kids, make it quality time. I talked with a man who told me a story about only seeing his dad a few weeks every summer when he was growing up. Yet those weeks were some of the best of his life.
His dad would take off from work and they would spend quality time together. They went camping, had amazing conversations, and his dad was present.
30 years later, he has an amazing relationship with his father and looks back at his early childhood years with his dad as very positive…yet he only saw him a few weeks a year.
If you are with your kids all the time, I understand not every minute can be high quality. But be mindful about putting your phone away, reducing your distractions, and spending that quality time with your child to be present. It goes by fast.
#2) The second thing for how to be a good dad is providing your child Affection –
For many men, being affectionate towards your child may not come naturally. I don’t care. You need to practice and make it natural. No excuses.
Give your child hugs, kisses, and as much affection as you can. When they are young, they will hold your hand. They may get to an age where they don’t want to do that. Then put your arm around them, give them hugs. The physical touch and coming from their father is so powerful!
Touch provides connection, it provides safety. It’s like communicating but you don’t have to talk. As they grow older they may back off with their affection, but you try not to. Stick with it. Being affectionate with your child is so valuable both for them and for you.
The 3rd thing is Empathy – I can’t tell you enough how important empathy is in learning how to be a good dad. From your newborn baby to your grown child, being empathetic is the key to a great relationship.
Empathy is looking at a situation from the other person’s perspective and understanding it from their point of view.
Here’s an example: Let’s say your child comes to you crying and says: “I just fell off my bike and my knee hurts.” The normal dad’s response might be, “you’re ok, I don’t see any blood. Shake it off. you’ll be fine.”
Well no, the child is not fine. The child is upset and his knee hurts. So why you don’t want to coddle the child, an empathetic response is: “It looks like you are really upset. Falling down and hitting your knee can hurt. Is there something I can do to help you? Do you want to get an icepack?”
This has nothing to do with teaching your child to be tough or to get back up when you fall. You can value those things if you want to and still be empathetic. It about your child feeling like you understand them. you are hearing them.
Do this hundreds of times with multiple aspects of their lives and you better believe your child will be close to you., will feel comfortable communicating with you and will want to be around you. This is how to be a good dad.
I created a series of 7 videos called the Fatherhood Formula. It goes into much more detail about how to be a good dad to your child.
We would love to hear from you. What are you going to do now in order to be a good dad? Make a pledge. Leave your feedback in the comments section below.