Children thrive with fathers

QUESTION: What are the important things for fathers, and grandfathers, to remember?

RESPONSE: Children thrive who have close and respectful relationships with their fathers and grandfathers. There are several things that kids want their fathers, and grandfathers, to know.

Fathers are irreplaceable. No matter how much a child may push a father away sometimes, no one can take a father’s place, ever. Children have several teachers, bosses, uncles and friends, but only one father.

It’s important for children that fathers work hard at their jobs, but what is most important to children is what fathers do at home.

Children feel important to their fathers when their fathers ask them questions about things that they, the children, are interested in and then listen to them with focused attention.

When fathers treat mothers kindly and gently, their children feel safe.

When children believe their fathers are “on their side,” and that their fathers believe in them, they are more hopeful about the future.

Children want to be able to ask their fathers questions; they want to be able to share problems without getting lectures or over-reactions.

Positive words of encouragement and affirmation from fathers build confidence and courage in their children.

How fathers treat their children affects their perspective of God. Is the father-child relationship based only on the child’s behavior and obedience to the father’s demands? Do the children know they make their father happy? Is the child-father relationship based on how forgiving and kind the father is? It makes a difference for the child’s entire life.

If fathers can’t control their emotions and actions their children become anxious about their lives. If fathers can’t handle pressure, how can children be expected to handle pressure? When fathers are able to stay calm and think clearly under pressure, their children are likely to learn to handle pressure well, too.

To talk with a parenting specialist about the challenges in child-raising call the toll-free Parent WarmLine at 1-888-584-2204/Línea de Apoyo at 1-877-434-9528. For free emergency child care call Crisis Nursery at 1-877-434-9599. Check out the Straight Talk for Dads CD (Kirk Martin) at the PRC Specialty Library (105 First Street S.E., Austin) and www.familiesandcommunities.org

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