Dads have a tough (but very rewarding) job. Many fathers wear a work hat by day and a dad hat by night and are constantly juggling multiple tasks at once. It takes some serious multi-tasking to pull it off, and today we’re highlighting six skills every dad should have down pat. Master these, and you’ll find your life becomes a little less hectic and a lot more rewarding.
1. Separate your work life from home life
Wherever you are, be fully present. This is super important when it comes to modern day fatherhood skills. Today’s dad is more involved than ever in his child’s life, which is a fantastic thing, but one that requires focus. When you get home from work, focus 100% on your children and home life. The same can be said when you are at work: Although you should always try to be on-call for child emergencies, make sure you focus 100% of your energy on work when you’re there. That way when you leave the office for the day, you can fully check out and give your family all of your attention.
2. Actively listen
When your child is speaking to you or telling you a story, be totally engaged. That means no distractions, like checking email, sending a quick text, or glancing at the TV to check the football score. The more your kids feel like you’re listening, the more likely they will continue to open up to you. Try setting a special time every day where the two of you can talk and catch up on what happened that day.
3. Set and enforce boundaries
Setting and enforcing boundaries helps children learn how to be self-disciplined. Make sure your kids know exactly what is expected of them, and respond accordingly if they break the rules. About.com delves into 10 effective discipline methods, which range from positive reinforcement to time-outs to behavior contracts. Find the one that works best for you and your kids, and stay consistent with it.
4. Be a great coach and motivator
Dads are both a coach and mentor to their children. When you take on this coaching role, you are your child’s advocate. It’s your job to help them develop the skills and attitudes they need in order to succeed at life. Part of your job as their coach is also to teach them life lessons; look for teachable life moments in everyday life, and always take the time to discuss these events with your kids. Be their role model, and work to teach them something new everyday.
5. Praise them
While dads need to know how to effectively discipline and correct children’s wrong behaviors, you also need to know how to praise them effectively and celebrate their successes. Having the ability to give them sincere and heartfelt praise and let them know when they have met or exceeded your expectations is crucial; it’ll encourage them to keep up the great work.
6. Parent unitedly
This is so important when raising a child. Mothers and fathers may have different parenting styles, and that’s fine, but you should always be on the same page about things. Find a unified approach and make sure that both of your parenting styles are working together. Remember, when you and your spouse are communicating, it makes the whole family function better.