Being a better father

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Being a dad, not just a father

Being a Dad is possibly the biggest responsibility you will ever have in your
life. It will be the longest commitment you ever make in your life and
it will be the source a lot of you r emotional turmoil's. I am
a dad of two boys aged 9 and 11 and they constantly drive me nuts, make me
laugh, make me mad, make me feel proud; one minute I am on a high with them
the next minute I am on a downer. No other relationship will be as wild
as this. But what is being a dad?


I was out today in Glasgow with my two sons and the youngest one, who I am
probably hardest on, as he is probably the hardest to deal with, was complaining
of being cold. We were walking along and he started singing a little
marching song: "˜I don't know what you've been told, but my
big butt is freezing cold' and we all started laughing, I mean real belly
laughing and tears forming laughing. It was one of those moments that
happens every once in a while and it does so much for our relationship, it
brings us closer than ever before.

I constantly feel I could be a better dad. I feel I work too much and
don't see my kids or wife often enough and it's this time in their
young lives which I will affect the most if I am with them. My wife
also feels like this sometimes and we convince ourselves we do it for the family
and for the future. The truth is we are good parents and we do spend
enough time with our boys. However, unless you are not working I think
one always feels that they do not do enough for their kids.

The fact that myself and my wife are so loving towards each other makes a
huge difference in the boy's lives. It is teaching them so much
about relationships, about love, about respect, about how to treat other people. All
that from a kiss, a cuddle, a look and a bit of larking around.

The three stages of boyhood

Research has shown that there are distinct stages in boyhood, and in general
there are three.

Ages 0 "“ 6 years: Boys are still very much attached
to their mother. Their father is still very important, and it is important
to be around. However the mother shows the boy warmth love and shows
that the world is a safe place to live in.

Ages 6 "“ 14: This is the stage when boys want to develop
their sense of what it is to be male. This is where the dad steps up
and takes the reigns form the mother. The mother is still very much there,
but plays a less prominent role. This is when the boys are learning about
skill and being male. There is a big change and they want to play with
swords, guns, knives and want to wrestle with their dad and siblings. The
dad is the role model in every sense, their sense of humour, their playfulness,
their love and respect for the world is learned from their father at this stage.

Ages 14 "“ Adulthood: This is when the mother
and father take a step back and let other role models take a more prominent
role. This is when the parents have to, as much as possible, make sure
that their son has role models and peers in their lives that will be a positive

Tips for being a great dad

You can't be a great dad all the time, but as long as you are conscious
of the way you are parenting your boys it will go a long way. My wife
and I have frequent discussions about parenting and how we could be better
parents. We have an open and honest talk about where we can possibly
improve. We also tell each other if we think the other is being unfair
in certain aspects of parenting.

Over the years the most important tips I would give about being a great dad

  • Make time for your children: it is so easy to get caught
    up in other things in life, like work and use it as an excuse for neglecting
    your children, or family in general.
  • Always be there: It is not always possible to be around
    all of the time but it is possible to be there all the time at the drop
    of a hat. If you children call you and say they need you, be there. If
    they say they need to talk to you in private, be there. If they need
    you for a life to a friend's house, be there. In every sense,
    just be there for them.
  • Be open: I am always hugging my boys, being playful
    with them or wrestling with them. I think it is important to show your feelings
    to them. It stops your children wondering what you are thinking if they see
    you acting different on some days e.g. being quiet, being angry etc. A
    simple "˜I am angry with my boss at work' will suffice, children
    worry about their parents as well and worry more about if they have caused
    the worry.
  • Make the unpopular decisions as well: It's important
    that discipline be dished by both the parents, if possible. This
    way one parent is not seen as the bad one all the time. It is not fair
    to the other parent if you leave all the hard decisions to them all the time. Be
    active and show support for each others decisions in front of the children.

Being a dad can be very hard work but it can also be very rewarding. I
love my boys and cherish them. I am not always a good dad but I question
my responsibility every day and that's what will make me a better dad.

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About the author

Steven Aitchison

Steven Aitchison is the author of The Belief Principle and an online trainer teaching personal development and online business.  He is also the creator of this blog which has been running since August 2006.