hardest jobs

4 Big Fathering Errors to Avoid

My grandfather was a very successful businessman who knew that fatherhood is one of the hardest jobs. He paid for the best education not only for his children but also for his grandchildren. He gave his kids every advantage money had to offer, but his philosophy for his relationships with them was “children should be seen and not heard.” So they were sent away to boarding schools and summer camps rather than listened to, cared for, and loved.

Preoccupied with building an empire, he didn’t spend time with his kids. That created wounds. And it isn’t that he was a bad person or even a bad father. However, he certainly made many critical errors. If we’re not careful, we can make the same mistakes, even with the best of intentions and love for our kids. Yeah, fatherhood is one of the hardest jobs you can have. But here are 4 big fathering errors you can avoid.

1. Being preoccupied with things other than your kids

What takes up most of your time? What fills most of your thoughts? Are you aware of what your children are doing, reading, listening to, and watching? Do you know their friends? If you’re preoccupied with things other than your children, shift your focus back to them. We’re not saying you can’t be focused on your career or have hobbies, but if you don’t know the answers to the questions above, you probably need to spend time focusing on your kids.

2. Refusing to see the reality of who your children are

We love our children, but as the saying goes, love can be blind—even in the midst of parenting, one of the hardest jobs. Of course, we should look for the good in our children, but we also need to be realistic by seeing them for who they really are. It is only then that we can help them grow in their challenge areas. As Max De Pree said, “The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality.” Your kids need your leadership.

3. Rationalizing your children’s wrongs

If we aren’t giving our children consistent and loving correction, they will remain children forever.

“He’s really a good kid; he just attracts bad friends.” “She’s really a nice girl; I know there must be a reason she talked back to her teacher.” When our children do wrong, we owe it to them to give them loving consequences. If we aren’t willing to give our children consistent and loving correction, they will remain children forever.

4. Failing to respond to the warnings of others

If your child’s teacher points out troublesome behavior in your child, don’t just listen. Do something. If you have caring friends who tell you that your child is headed down the wrong path, don’t get angry at them or defend your child. Take their warnings to heart and act—for the good of your child.

Sound off: What are you doing differently with or for your kids from what your parents did with or for you?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is one thing you need me to do more?”