I’m sure that you have all heard the statement, “they don’t have a manual that comes with your child when they are born on how to be a parent”. There still isn’t a manual, but there are some cheat sheets. The NRFC’s Fatherhood Buzz Tip cards can be found online, and may be at your local barbershop. Barbershops are safe havens where men gather to get a haircut and talk about life’s events. What are the tips? They are simple and straightforward.
- Spend time with your children. Each moment can create positive memories.
- Always keep your promises. It builds and maintains trust with your children.
- Celebrate and praise your children’s accomplishments. It will increase their confidence and encourage them to keep trying.
- Tell both your sons and daughters that you love them. Not just for what they do. But for whom they are.
Spend time…Sometimes as parents we don’t realize how important spending time with our children is. Little moments mean a lot. My father was a Union Pacific Railroad waiter. The family used to see him off at the front door when he was going out on the road. At eight years of age Daddy always let me carry his suitcase. After kissing my mother, older sister and younger brother good bye he would say to me, “Take care of everybody. You are the man of the house.” Looking back on it now I realize that Daddy did not consider me to be a man. But for that brief period in time he taught me about what a man is supposed to do to keep his family safe. Those words have stayed with me for a lifetime.
Keep your promises…One of the first things that fathers can teach their child is how to trust. An infant develops trust when his cries are met with a clean diaper, a bottle or by holding her securely in her father’s arms. Children thrive on consistency. Continue to be there for them to meet their needs. Keeping your promises completes the bridge between the development of trust to a child with integrity.
Praise your child for their accomplishments. If you tell her she is smart, pretty, good, kind and trustworthy, they will believe it themselves. Why? Because Daddy said so! It will give them the courage to persevere when life throws them a curve.
Always tell your sons and daughters that you love them. A father’s demonstration of love for his daughter will keep them from looking for love in all the wrong places when they get older. Dads, please remember this. Showing your son affection and telling him you love him will not make him soft. Those three words are money in the bank that they can draw from to enrich their lives and those close to them.
There really isn’t a manual that comes with the birth of your child. But, the Fatherhood Buzz Tips for Fathers helps to lay the foundation… and your time, promises, praise and love are the building blocks for their future.
Dr. Ronald Banks, Project Fatherhood, Children’s Institute.