Dads, just like moms, hold lasting impressions on their children’s development into adulthood. Kids’ experiences with their parents—either sweet or sour—affect them mentally and emotionally for a lifetime.
As a father of two little girls, I take my role as “Superdad” very seriously. So, after my divorce a few years ago, I tried extra hard to maintain my relationship with my children as much as I could on the weekends, holidays, and summer visitations. Unfortunately, I quickly became a “Disneyland” dad but saw the light when I noticed them wanting more, more… and more. Also, their view of me transformed from “father” into their bigger “bud.” There was no balance.
Through research, personal experience, and frustrations, I learned some valuable lessons to help strengthen a father’s relationship with his children. Here are three major tidbits:
- Be your child’s friendly father, but always remember “father” comes first. It’s ok to tell your kids, “No.” You may be labeled as the bad guy, but being a bad guy is fine when you know it’s best for your children. If I were to say, “Yes,” to my five-year-old all the time, she would not have teeth. She and sweets, like candy and ice cream, are best friends. She would love to hang out with them all the time.
- Take a seat in their world. Ask your children questions about their everyday life. “What happened at recess today?” Show interest in their lives, thoughts, feelings, and opinions. Warning, dads, don’t tune out because they may ask you an important question that could indicate trouble. Listen to what your child says as well as what they don’t say. Dads, remember to watch their body language, too.
- Play nice… and fair. It’s best to be cordial and cooperative with your children’s mom for the sake of everyone involved. Take your own mother’s advice and always try to be nice. Kids are always watching, and they can decipher the tension between you and your ex. Also, as much as you can control, never allow anyone to speak negatively of your children’s mother while they are around, even if you agree. That’s still their mom, and their view of “Superdad” may change drastically. It’s all about doing the right thing.
As previously mentioned, these are just some of my lessons learned. Invest love, patience, consistency, and attention into your kids’ lives. You will reap the rewards of a true “Superdad” with healthy, happy children.
Lance Brooks is a father of two daughters and co-owner of Lance Brooks International. Lance Brooks International will be conducting a seminar for divorced/separated fathers at the Smyrna Community Center on Thursday, April 14 at 6 pm. For more information, click here.