Daddy Does It

Parenting tips for the man of the house.

When it comes to child rearing, dad can feel left out or unsure of his abilities. Here are powerful pointers to help fathers increase their parenting confidence.

  1. Don’t fear being alone with your child. For those of you with babies, it’s important to remember it’s in their nature to cry. Know that you can’t always prevent it and aren’t always the cause. Rather than being intimidated by your babe’s tears, go through a mental checklist of possible causes. Is he hungry, tired, hot, cold or in need of a diaper change? If you’ve tried to fix the above issues and the outcry continues, try a change of scenery, like a walk around the house. Eventually, you’ll succeed in calming your baby or youngster.
  2. Acknowledge the cuddle factor. It’s not a scientific fact, but most dads have an innate kid-calming mechanism. You’re warm, you’re calm and can relax for hours watching baseball. Revel in the fact you possess a talent to soothe your little guy. This is especially great since kids love to snuggle.
  3. Keep yourself in the in the loop. Find out what, if any, disciplinary actions have been taken while you weren’t present. Knowing what has happened during the day, good or bad, ensures a seamless transfer of responsibilities.
  4. Realize the power of your words. Regardless of parenting experience, your words of comfort, support, love and pride stay with your child forever. Choose what you say carefully as it can affect your child’s self-esteem. What you say does matter.
  5. Play. When you are with your kids, engage in recreational activities. This is a surefire way to bond with your tyke since it places you on his level. Youngsters let down their guard when they are in a playful mood, helping them to open up. If this happens, just listen. Every now and then, ask, “Do you feel like you need any help with that situation?” Recreation provides the opportunity to have fun and show your kid you’re there for him.
  6. Become unplugged. Whether it’s a cell phone, iPad or TV, be sure to disconnect while spending time with your tyke. Opt to build something together with blocks or rocks and sticks. Creative activities show him the world is more than just high-tech gadgets.
  7. Carve out a niche. To become a great parent, do one thing a bit differently than the other dads on the block. Think of a way to give meaning to the precious time you have with your child. One idea is to set a tradition.
  8. Be more than just a money tree. Fathers are often portrayed as the ones who dish out the cash. However, being a human ATM doesn’t teach your child that you’re there to offer guidance. You are more than the bank. You are responsible for teaching him the value of money— among many other things. At home, talk about how money can be earned by doing chores.
  9. Partake in setting boundaries. This job often goes to mom. However, she needs your support. Implement a system together and stick by it— no matter what. Your child needs you to be firm, calm and unwavering. Believe it or not, he wants to respect you.
  10. Admit to mistakes. Don’t pretend to be a superhero. All parents fall victim to blunders. Briefly explain to your child and partner the mistake you made and how the situation is being corrected.

Dads sell themselves short when they shy away from child rearing out of fear. All parents need practice to do it well. You have talent, I promise you. Now, go get ‘em!