Father has an important role in a child’s life. Although a father’s role has not always been seen as important as has a mother’s, as a father your role is very important for your child’s development.
From day one as a father of a young child, you need to form a strong bond with your child. You play an important role in your child’s cognitive, social physical development. Research shows that when you are a supportive father to your child, the more advanced your child’s development. They are more confident to explore and try new things. They learn by being with you, and this initial learning is powerful.
The initial bond that you form with your child shapes all their future bonds. Give your child lots of your time, unconditional love and support as they grow up. Your child will absorb and form belief systems by observing you as a role model. You will be the role model of how a man should be. Your child picks up the ways you treat their mother and other women, and they take it as a norm. This is particularly important for a daughter: because you set up the standard for how she believes that others, should treat her at work, at friendships and in romantic relationships.
When you spend time with your children and love them, they will develop a strong sense of self. They will be more confident in their abilities. They will develop good self-esteem and be warm and loving.
You also need to set appropriate rules and enforce responsibilities. Give them appropriate freedom to become independent. As an active and nurturing father, your child will acquire better verbal skills, intellectual functioning and academic achievement. An active father in a child’s life encourages better mental, behavioural and physical health.
Love and treat their mother well
If you cannot love their mother any longer, respect and admire her anyway. Even if she does not return this behaviour, it is up to you to be honourable and respectful. She is the mother of your children and it is your responsibility to treat her well.
Spend as much time with your daughter as you spend with your son
They both enjoy doing things with you, such as fishing, bushwalking, playing soccer or tennis. They love to do things with you in the workshop. Let the child decide and lead what games to play. This increases their self-esteem and boosts their independence and creativity.
Respect your child’s safety
It is your job to teach your daughter and son about privacy, modesty, appropriate touch and boundaries. You model the way that your child will be with others.
Be proud of your child’s intellect
Read to them when they are little. Pay attention to their interests. Be interested in their school achievements. Tell them interesting things about your work. Particularly do this with your daughter, because most successful women in the world had fathers who were proud of their intellect and academic achievement.
Attend your child’s events
They need to see you there to witness their efforts, talents and triumphs. Be genuinely proud of them and compliment their achievements.
Give honest, positive comments
Particularly with girls, you need to be careful that you do not give high value to prettiness, either of your child’s mother or of her. However, if you think she is beautiful say so. Be aware that her looks do not define her. Genuine comments about her appearance that are not sexist, such as how she moves, how she does sports and she wears dresses, and the beauty of her mind, gives her positive a body image. If you criticise her or her mother, you will project a negative body image. Be careful how you talk about other people’s appearance. Be respectful, regardless of the person’s body type.
Have conversations with your child regularly
Cultivate a trusting relationship, so that your child feels free and secure in talking to you of things that happen in their lives. Children, who talk to their fathers regularly, and in a positive way, will become better communicators.
Apologize and ask forgiveness
Everybody makes mistakes sometimes. Admit this to your child. Apologizing and asking for forgiveness shows respect and love to your child.
Be a good role model
Be faithful to your partner, honest, hardworking, use money wisely and do not abuse people, alcohol or other substances. Remember to have fun. Give your child a good example of a man, because you are the kind of man you want your daughter to marry one day and your son to grow up to.
Footnote: Not every child has a father or father figure or grandfather to rely on. Everybody does the best they can to bring up a happy, well-adjusted child. This is the book that gave me the idea to write this blog: https://www.amazon.com/Life-Dad-Making-Modern-Father/dp/1471161404