Not long ago, I was online trying to diagnose an issue with my wife’s car when I noticed my daughter standing beside me yelling, “Dad!” “You need to stop yelling,” I said in an angry tone. Then my wife stepped in and pointed out that my daughter had been trying patiently to get my attention for a while before resorting to yelling.
It’s easy to get involved in my own world, worrying about an issue at work or being focused on the game I’m watching. Unfortunately, this often distracts me from the more important job of being the best dad I can be. So am I a bad father? Are you? Not necessarily. But here are 5 signs you are missing the mark as a dad.
1. You don’t know your kids’ friends.
As our kids get older, they spend more and more time with their friends and less time with us. When our kids start talking about their friends and we don’t recognize some or all of the names, it should be a warning sign. It shows that we haven’t been having meaningful conversations with them about their daily lives.
2. Your kids don’t want to tell you about their day.
We have a responsibility to know what’s going on with our kids. There can be a variety of reasons why they may not want to talk to us about their day. Regardless of the reason, we need to move past it and open the communication. They need to know that we are interested in them and that we are there to help them when they need to have a difficult conversation. If they aren’t talking to us, who are they going to talk to?
3. Your kids don’t treat their mother and other adults respectfully.If our kids aren’t respecting their mother, we need to look at how we treat their mother.
As dads, we need to make sure our kids are respectful. This starts by setting the example. If our kids aren’t respecting their mother, we need to look at how we treat their mother. The second step is to make sure we are vocal about their treatment. If we see our kids disrespecting their mother, we need to step in and let them know it is unacceptable.
4. Someone criticizes your parenting.
Any time we get criticized, whether by a friend or your wife or ex-wife or your parents or in-laws, it is natural to become defensive—especially when we are talking about something as personal as parenting. But if we are interested in being the best dads we can be, we must be willing to listen to criticism and look at it objectively to determine if we need to make an adjustment.
5. You realize you don’t do any activities with your kids.
We won’t always have the same interests as our kids. In many cases, our interests may be very different. However, if we want to have a close relationship, we need to make an effort. That might mean playing a video game we don’t like or watching a sport we don’t understand. But when we go out of our way to spend time with our kids, we get a glimpse into their world, which helps us relate.
Sound off: What signs have told you that you need to make a change as a dad?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What activities would you like us to do together?”