By Ed Primeau
As far back as I can remember, my father was the biggest influence in my life. Since I grew up in the late 50’s and early 60’s, tradition was different then it is today. Fathers were the main support and income for the families as mothers were the caregivers and nurturers.
This is very different today. Both parents work to support the family as expenses and cost of living are greater. It seems that people want more than the simple life we had when I was growing up. Much has been forgotten about good simple family values.
Some of you reading this know I have four children. Well, young adults may be a more appropriate term to describe them. I am very proud of their accomplishments and proud to be their father.
Not everyone grew up with a positive father experience. Many grew up with abusive fathers or even no father at all. This article is for the men that want to know what I know about being a good father. It is also for daughters who want to learn how a man should treat a lady. It’s for boys who didn’t have fathers to better understand how to become a father and for single mothers trying to find a father for their children.
It is very important for fathers to teach their children about life, love and intimacy. When a boy grows up without a father, how does he learn how to be a man? When a little girl grows up without a father, how does she know how men are supposed to treat them? How do they learn how to be in a healthy relationship? Parents have to demonstrate healthy relationships. What does a good marriage look like?
It is my opinion that boys learn how to be fathers from their father. If the father was abusive, the boys probably learned to be abusive. Sad but true.
Why is it that many men turn out to be lame fathers? Do they lack the courage to be strong for the children? Did they learn what courage actually is? Do they know how to balance their life between family and work?
It’s been said if a family were a business; the father is the CEO, chief executive officer. He may also be the CFO, chief financial officer (although today many moms handle the family’s expenses). Being a father is much more than running a business. It is about love and leading by example. It’s about teaching and directing lives. Fathering is about guidance and free will. It is about helping children understand life.
It is also about fun things like barbecuing, bowling and camping. Canoeing, playing cards and cooking as well as entertaining, being a leader and decision making. Bottom line, children learn more from their fathers than any other human being in their lives! So why is fathering so important? It is a huge responsibility that many men don’t realize they have.
Nobody hands us a manual when we become fathers. We take our collective knowledge and experiences and do the best we can. Here are ten tips to becoming a good father based on my experience:
1. Heal your relationship with your father the best you know how.
2. Children spell LOVE – T-I-M-E. Do things with your kids often, not just watch TV.
3. Help your children learn about things not taught in school (like spirituality).
4. Always take time to enjoy your children’s accomplishments and praise them.
5. Teach your children about music, especially your favorite songs.
6. Criticize in private, praise in public. Never yell at your children in front of people.
7. Teach your children how to choose friends and avoid trouble.
8. Talk to your children about drugs, alcohol and sex
9. Take family vacations.
10. Be involved, not controlling in your children’s lives.