Being A Dad You Can Count On – 7 Pillars Of Fatherhood… : ThyBlackMan

Monday, June 25, 2018

Being A Dad You Can Count On – 7 Pillars Of Fatherhood…

February 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Fatherhood, Misc., News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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( A person’s father (or father figure) is one of the biggest, if not the biggest, influences in their life.  This influence can be either bad or good, but it’s almost always there.

If you want to give your kids a headstart on life, if you want to make life easier on them all the way from childhood up to middle age, and sometimes beyond, one of the best ways to do it is to be a dad they can count on.

What does it mean to be a dad you can count on?  It’s somewhat subjective, of course, but there are some underlying principles, or pillars, that are  consistent.

These pillars, as I’ve mention in my first and second 7 pillars articles, are underlying supports.  They all work together to support the whole, the being a dad you can count on, while at the same time supporting each other.

That connection between the different pillars means that strengthening any one pillar strengthens them all… but also that weakening, or worse yet removing, any one weakens the rest as well.

So, here are seven pillars of fatherhood:

  1. Loving – No Matter What

    The most important thing you can do for your child is to let them know, through your words, your actions, and all other means, that you love them, no matter what.  Let them know that you don’t just love them when they’re good, that isn’t their actions that you love, but actually them.

    If you do that, they will always have a place to fall back to if they get lost, a place to get their bearings and regain their strength before going back out into the world.

  2. Attention

    As with any relationship, your relationship with your kids requires you to devote your attention to them.  You should regularly have time with each of your children that is exclusively theirs… no other kids, no wife, just them and you, so that they can have your full attention.

    This one on one time goes an amazingly long way to making them understand that part of you belongs to them, that they are worthy of your time all on their own, and that if they need your attention, they can get it… definitely part of being able to be counted on.

  3. Respect

    Treating your children with respect can make a huge difference in their strength of character, in their ability to be their own person.  One of the clearest ways to show them that you respect them is to treat them as much like adults as they can handle… don’t talk down to them, listen when they speak, stop and take time for them when they request your attention, etc.  Treating them as an adult obviously has to be tempered by their age and maturity… but if you consistently treat them as an adult, their “maturity age” will quite likely be higher than their actual age.

    This doesn’t mean expect them to be adults… that will lead you to being more harsh than you need to be.  It means give them the opportunity to act as adults… the more opportunities you give them, the more likely they are to take them.

  4. Consistency

    One of the most important, and one of the most overlooked, aspects of being a father is consistency.  Consistency is how children build up a strong foundation for their lives… if you are unpredictable, delivering harsh punishments for a minor infraction one time, and little or no punishment for something major another time (without special circumstances), if you give them loads of love and attention one moment and turn on them angrily the next, it throws their life into chaos.

    If, on the other hand, you are consistent, with the same punishment nearly always given (everyone needs a break sometimes) for the same breaking of a rule, reliably loving and supportive, then you provide them a safe base that they can count on, that they can return to when the rest of life gets chaotic.  That allows them to build much stronger foundations for themselves, making their life easier for, well, the rest of their life.

  5. Support

    One of the biggest things you can do for your children is to stand up for them.  When someone does something wrong to them, confront that person and tell them it was wrong.  When they stand up for themselves, assuming they are not in the wrong, back them up.  Let them know that they can count on you for support when they need it… it reinforces their own strength and sense of worth.

    Never underestimate the impact of having someone stand up for you… especially someone that is an authority figure to you.

  6. Teaching

    An essential part of being a good father is teaching your children from your own experience, hopefully saving them from going through some of the painful lessons you had to go through.  This can include things like teaching them what is important in life and what isn’t, how to do the things they’ll need to do as an adult (basic finances, for example), or even just certain actiivities that sound a lot better than they actually are… including any scars those activies may have left.

    Speaking of teaching your kids what is important and what isn’t, the best way to teach them, and the way they will learn from the most regardless of what comes out of your mouth, is by your own actions… Your actions and what has your attention will always reflect what is really important to you, rather than what you think , or say, is important.

  7. Listening

    It is pretty easy as a parent to slip into a habit of not really listening to your kids.  That is, you hear what they say, but you run it through your own filter of what’s important, rather than listening to what is important to them, and addressing it.  It’s easy to dismiss things that you have learned along the way aren’t really important and forget that at one point those things were front and center in your life.

    Just because something is unimportant to you now, or to you in general, doesn’t mean it’s unimportant… and you need to listen to your kids and learn what is important to them.

These seven things are all related, and all feed on each other.  If one falls, it can lead to the quick crumbling of another, and then another, in a chain reaction.

On the other hand, strengthening one can easily improve all six of the others, and lead to you improving your father-child relationship considerably.  You can focus on any one of these and improve your relationship, as long as you don’t totally neglect any of the others.

Being a dad that your kid can count on is one of the best things you can do for them… it will help them greatly throughout their entire life, giving them at least one place that they know is safe, one person they know will be there when they need them.  That anchor (ironically) can sometimes be the only thing that keeps you afloat.

Written By Jason Ivers

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