Feedback from Moms

I want to say a word to moms out there, you faithful partners who can really help us dads be the best we can be. One of the many valuable things you provide fathers is feedback, reflecting back to us what we need to know about our fathering. Let’s look at three ways you can do this:

First, praise and encouragement is great feedback to have. Simply notice what your child’s father does right and point it out in a positive way. Now, I know with some of us dads, those times might be few and far between. But whatever you can praise and encourage, please do so.

Usually, that’s as simple as something like: “I think you handled that situation with Brian really well. I think he learned his lesson and felt loved at the same time.” As with any relationship, praise is a much more effective tool for behavior modification than criticism. When your children’s father hears that he’s doing something right, he’s more likely to continue that behavior, and then more confident about being a dad.

Second, dads often need information. You can help him by supplying him with observations you’ve made throughout the day. What did your daughter say on the way home from school? How did a child react to your husband in a certain situation? Compare notes. Offer a heads-up. Give him a gentle nudge.

You might say, “Jackie’s trying out for a part in the school play. She really sounded nervous about it.” Or tell your husband, “I think Sam was hurt by what you said at dinner. He didn’t finish his meal.” That kind of information helps dads do their job better.

Finally, there’s confrontation. There may be times when your child’s father’s behavior is foolish or destructive. For his own good and for the good of your family, he needs to be held accountable. But it’s vital that you confront him in a healthy way, so he’s encouraged to stop the wrong behavior, but also motivated to make changes and try again. Make sure what you’re saying is best for him and the entire family, and not simply what you want in the situation.

Thanks, moms, for all you do to make us better dads. Many times, we need all the help we can get.