I have heard many fathers lament the question, “Am I a good father?” It is the one question that can keep a man up at night. It can also do a lot to damage his self-esteem and keep him from connecting with his children. Doing your best to be a good father is critical to successful parenting. You are raising a future adult here. Being a good father has a few elements that need to be weighed.
The good news is that if you are pondering the question of being a good father, it’s pretty likely that you are on the right track. The simple things parenting life are worth it when it comes to being a good father.
When You Didn’t Have A Good Father
Sometimes good men hurt themselves emotionally over worrying about whether or not they are either going to be like their father or the man who raised them. Poor role models can leave marks on a man’s life that stay long after the situation is over. But worrying about whether or not you are turning into a bad father will not help you be a good father.
For men who have come from abusive or neglectful homes, fatherhood can be anxiety-producing. The path to being a good father in these instances can be counseling over past parenting experiences so you can move forward.
Dads who didn’t have full-time fathers in their lives can lead lives of bitterness and resentment over the role of father that will affect their relationship with their children. Being an active parent in your child’s life doesn’t necessarily refer to whether or not you live with your children. There are plenty of dads who are very involved in their child’s life even if they do not share the same address.
The Hallmarks Of Being A Good Father
First of all, a good father means admitting what may need fixing. There is nothing wrong with knowing there is something within you that needs addressing to help you be a good father. Talking to a pastor or finding a good role model to help mentor you in fatherhood. A local church can be a great place to start if you need some guidance on putting the past to rest so you move forward on the path to be a good father.
Most of the battle to be a good father is just starting somewhere and building a foundation. Getting involved with your child requires effort. Every dad has to start from the same place in fostering positive communication with their children.
- Ask your child how their day was
- Show up to sports games and dance recitals
- Take an interest in your child’s interests
- Do something with your child that involves their interests
- Share a part of your own life with your child
Letting your child know they have room in your life to share something about themselves and that they are interesting to you will go a long way in connecting with them. Your child’s interests may not be especially interesting to you, but giving them space to talk about them with you and share something about them that they like is like turning on a light switch of relationship building with you.
Doing things with your child doesn’t have to cost money. Take them to the park and walk and talk. Take them fishing. It is the little things that make the most difference. Children want to get to know their fathers in ways they didn’t know before. Share some parts of yourself with them to find better connections and common ground that can be the place you build your relationship.
Lastly, it is all about being consistent. If you want your child to trust you, you have to demonstrate you are trustworthy. If you are not a father who has historically been consistent, apologize and start anew. Show up when you say you will, and if you make plans with your child to do something, keep them. You have to be a man who is worth his word. Being a good father is modeling good behavior we want our children to follow.
Where You Can Get Help With Parenting Issues
ABC Women’s Center is committed to helping the whole family be successful. Our new programs offer fathers the opportunity to receive mentoring and counseling on being a good father. If you have some concerns about becoming a father or want help being a better parent to the children you already have, contact us today to set up some time to talk to one of our father mentors.