The very first moment you saw your child was one of your most incredible experiences. Your emotions were nearly indescribable. Your mind dreamed of how you would make life wonderful for that beautiful little baby. Have you done that? Life moves forward and we all learn that parenting is tough work. That doesn’t mean you have to be a bad dad.
But to be a good dad takes sacrifice and diligence. Most of all, it requires a man to feel and share a love deeper than he ever knew was possible. There is no such thing as a perfect parent and even the best make their share of mistakes. But when we are trying to be the best fathers we can be, there are things we definitely don’t do. Here are 10 of them.
1. All Pro Dads don’t avoid communication.
Your children want your attention. It means the world to them. Coming home from work, turning on ESPN, and tuning everything else out is the default for many men. Don’t be like that. If you do, it can severely damage the lines of communication you will desperately want to have open as your children continue to grow. Keep the TV off, get down on their level, and start listening. You will never regret it.
2. All Pro Dads don’t abuse.
According to the Baltimore County Government in Maryland, 84 percent of prison inmates were abused as children. They also say that 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 boys are sexually abused by an adult at some point during childhood. More than 80 percent of the abusers are a parent or someone close to the child. Whether it is physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, it can’t and won’t be tolerated. There are no excuses.
3. All Pro Dads don’t fail to lead by example.
A child can spot a hypocrite just the same as you can. When you say one thing and do another, you send mixed messages and provide future excuses for when your child does the same. If we are to be proper leaders, we have to hold ourselves accountable to lead by the highest example.
4. All Pro Dads don’t neglect.
As the head of the family, a dad’s responsibilities are numerous. We must take care to see that we do not neglect a single one. This applies to divorced fathers as well. Handle your business. Pay your child support in full and on time.
5. All Pro Dads don’t put work above family.
Workaholics are plentiful and have a million excuses to justify their actions. It is expensive to raise a child—it certainly requires money and a great work ethic. In most cases, though, the workaholic is really going overboard for selfish reasons, like to achieve status or to escape other responsibilities. Placing your career above your family is a bad dad move. It creates messes that can be impossible to clean up later. Choose your priorities carefully.It is the responsibility of a father to put himself second to the needs of his family.
6. All Pro Dads don’t live selfishly.
It is the responsibility of a father to put himself second to the needs of his family. While it is important to have individual interests, such as a round of golf or time away with buddies, they should always take a backseat to the family you lead. Give of yourself unselfishly toward the happiness and security of your family members. They come before you.
7. All Pro Dads don’t deny affection.
Spiritually, we are called to display affection and tenderness toward our parents, spouses, siblings, and children. Hug your children and tell them you love them. If you don’t, they’ll find somebody else who will.
8. All Pro Dads don’t disregard discipline.
Failing to discipline children is an enormous mistake that hurts the child as well as society. It is easy to see examples in our world today of children who never heard the word “no” or ever experienced consequences of their actions. The end result is a life that never reaches its potential. Properly discipline your children. It is a great expression of love and an investment in their future.
9. All Pro Dads don’t stunt development.
It seems logical that no parents would purposefully stunt the growth and development of their own children. Yet there are a great many actions we take that can do just that. We may fail to see a child’s given talents and nurture them. Some parents place unrealistic expectations on a child by trying to live out their own dreams through their children. Allow your children to grow into who they were born to be. We are to help them build a solid foundation and instill the principles of success. Trust your child when it’s time to let him or her go.
10. All Pro Dads don’t show disrespect.
A dad who displays honor, courage, and respect isn’t a bad dad. But when we disrespect ourselves, our spouses, and our families, we taint everything in our sphere of influence. The effects are far-reaching and highly contagious. “Men are respectable only as they respect.” –Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Sound off: What trait do you think all good dads have?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What can I do to be a better father?”