Owning my own home has forced me to become a jack-of-many trades. Of all the things I’ve learned to do, I have the hardest time with plumbing. Plumbing mistakes aren’t as obvious as a light that won’t turn on properly or a spot missed while painting. Even a slight leak can worsen over time and cause significant damage. After any plumbing job, I regularly check on my work, looking for leaks or signs of water damage. I find that these occasional inspections can help identify issues before they become more serious.Small problems become big problems if they are left unchecked.
At times, parenting seems a lot like plumbing. Each of my kids has unique needs and there’s a lot of parenting advice out there ready to help me out. Much like my plumbing work, problems aren’t always obvious. But small problems become big problems if they are left unchecked. Every father-child relationship can benefit from taking a closer look at how things are going. Your parental inspection could start with these 20 questions every dad should ask himself.
- Do I tell my kids I love them?
- If I saw them, did I hug my kids before I left for work and before bed?
- Do I make my kids laugh (or at least groan) on a regular basis?
- Do I make an effort to listen to my kids?
- Do I get down on my hands and knees to play with my kids? If they are older, do I try to play with them on their own terms?
- Do my kids know they are more important to me than my job, my phone, and my favorite sports team?
- Do I make an effort to let my kids share in the things I love most?
- Do I make an effort to discover the things my kids love most?
- Am I invested enough in my kids’ lives to have learned their friends’ names?
- Do my kids know that I celebrate with them on their best days and weep with them on their worst days?
- Do I allow my kids the opportunity to try new things and fail?
- Am I quick to forgive my kids when they’ve put a hole in the wall or scraped my car with their bike?
- Do I discipline my kids in healthy and constructive ways?
- Do I apologize to my kids if I’ve overreacted and yelled at them unnecessarily?
- Can my kids be proud of my honesty and integrity, both in what they see and in what they don’t see?
- Did I compliment my kids today for something that they tried or accomplished?
- If I died today, would my kids be able to look at our relationship and know they are loved?
- Can my kids look at the way I treat my wife (or their mother, if I’m single or divorced) as a healthy example of the way I’d want my kids to relate to their own spouses someday?
- Am I looking for ways to be a better dad to my kids tomorrow than I was today?
- Do I pray for my wife and my kids?
Sound off: What other questions should every dad ask himself?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing I do well as a dad and one area where I can improve?”