There are few things in life as relentlessly desired and vitally important as a father’s love. As Pam Brown said, “Dads are most ordinary men turned by love into heroes, adventurers, story-tellers, and singers of song.”
Such love is crucial for a child’s development of personal identity, worldview, and future family patterns. Here are 10 ways a dad should express love to his children.
A father’s love actually should be tender—and a child has the ability to tap into the tenderness of a man’s heart like nothing else. The man who will unapologetically take a stand for his family is also the same man who needs to be found on his knees regularly and tenderly playing with his children.
When children fall down or experience physical pain, they naturally run to momma, because moms naturally know how to show empathy. As fathers, we have the same opportunity to show love to our children by momentarily stepping into their world through empathy. It just takes a little more effort.
A father’s love involves sacrifice. The daily grind can be very taxing in order for a father to provide financially and sufficiently for his family. The long hours, the short nights, and the mental and physical drain often can threaten the time and attention he wants to give to his family. Yet a loving father strives to balance making sacrifices both on the job and in the home.
A loving father understands that his children are not a bother but a blessing. They are not additional background noise in his busy life. They are an investment worth making. They are not a waste of his time but worthy of his attention. They desire it. They need it. And so he regularly tries to give it to them.
Children long for their parents’ affection and especially physical affection from a father. Multiple studies have shown that this is one of the cornerstones of healthy development and strong self-esteem. Children and fathers need physical affection, like daily hugs, time spent snuggling on the couch, or wrestling matches on the floor.
The ability of a father to keep his cool when things get heated is a quality that children need to see often. Self-controlled gentleness and kindness when life and children are anything but speak love to a child. Fathers have the privilege of intentionally being gentle with the smallest people—their children.
7. FirmnessA dad who says what he means and means what he says is a loving gift to his children.
While gentleness is needed, it must be balanced with firmness when necessary as well. A dad who says what he means and means what he says is a loving gift to his children. Kids desire the balance and boundaries they find from a father’s authority and expectations.
Children feel secure because of a father’s love. They feel loved simply by their father’s presence, provision, and protection. There is something undeniably secure about having a loving father in the home, no matter what may be going on outside the home.
Children long for their father’s approval. They desire for you to be proud of them. And if they don’t find your approval while they are young, they may unhealthily seek approval elsewhere for years to come. A dad’s approval can speak love to a child like nothing else.
10. Unconditional Love
Above all, the greatest way a father can love his child is unconditionally. For children to know that nothing can separate them from their father’s love is the ultimate gift and a reflection of their Heavenly Father’s love.
Sound off: Which of these 10 could you work on most this week?
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What could I do to make you feel more loved by me?”