If you can learn to appreciate your teenager’s environment, such as his tastes in clothes, as well as his music, it will be a good start. It is very important to avoid driving a wedge between you and your child particularly at this stage of his life. Although you may not approve of some of his friends, while you can tell him discreetly about your concerns, you have to let him make his own decisions. He will discover on his own later on, whether he has made good decisions or not. If you can do this, it will keep you much closer to him when problems arise.
Keeping relevant, means making a real effort to keep up with your teenagers’ technology, his games and his music. You should learn to play his computer games with him and get him to teach and explain things to you. He will love the fact that he can teach you things as well, and it is not always the other way round. By having this approach, you will always stay an integral part of his life, as he evolves through his teenage years. Although on many occasions it won’t feel like it at all and it won’t stop the arguments and disagreements, he will definitely respect you for trying to do this. Try to empathise with his lifestyle and the things he enjoys doing as much as possible. And be careful not to condemn and be disrespectful to his personal tastes just because you don’t happen to like them yourself.
Whatever your child is up to, positive feedback about what he is doing will always be well received by him. Even if you actually disagree with what he is doing. During this period of your child’s life he will be full of self-doubt and will be trying to find his way, so if you can find a positive slant on things, he will always respond better to that than if you are always critical of him. But it can be very difficult to do this at times. Make sure you are sincere about what you say, as children are quite perceptive and can very easily see through their parents if you aren’t. There will of course be many periods of anxiety and doubt as a teenager, so your positive and constructive comments will help keep his confidence levels as high as possible.
You as a Father made several choices, many of them unconscious, before and when you finally decided, together with your partner, to have children. It was to become a complete change in your life and certainly will have turned out to be just that. Exactly how involved you are in your child’s life, will determine inextricably what kind of person he/she will become. Your children are what you make them into and this is a responsibility that is absolutely enormous.
The relationship between parents and their children, within the family unit, underpins the whole fabric of our society. So many ills in it can be directly linked to problems within the family unit. Very often this will be because of an absentee Father in the household. This can be for a variety of reasons, some of which can be out of the his control. If however the relationship is strong and stable, it will have a positive effect for many years into the future. A close and loving dynamic will benefit you, your child and society in general. If you are to get the most out of being a Father, you have to be prepared to take on every aspect of the job, however challenging it is, and be involved 100% in every area of your child’s life. If you do this and are totally committed to being the best dad possible to your children, it will be the most rewarding thing that you will ever have experienced.
“Great Dads make for Great Children and Great Children make for a very Happy life for everyone”. This has always been my motto, and anyone who is involved with children will know this is true.
Thank you for reading this Blog as it means you really care. I have written a book called ‘Help I’m a Father’ which talks all about this relationship and is full of really useful tips and advice. It is available through Amazon and all Royalties are being donated to sick and underprivileged children’s charities to help improve their lives.
Christmas and New Year is the most magical time of year and one for the whole family to really enjoy being together. For your children, having Daddy around helping Mummy prepare for Christmas and sharing in the excitement as it builds, will be very special. Try to make sure you always spend Christmas and New Year with your children. You will see, that by always making an effort to be together at this time of year, when they are very young and as they grow older, they will want to continue to spend the Festive period with you. They will come to expect this, and it will always be like that, even when they have their own family unit. The tables might be turned though and it will be them doing all the work.
Something you could do to make the magic of Father Christmas more realistic, is to dress up on Christmas morning and just as your child is waking up, run across the lawn (or across a corridor if you live in an apartment) in your outfit. While you do that, your partner can call your child to the window or the door, so he can just manage to catch a glimpse of Father Christmas disappearing round the side of the building. Of course it has to be perfectly co-ordinated with your partner. While your child is still looking on in disbelief, you can quickly come inside, get rid of your outfit, join in and share in the amazement. Your child will be convinced he has seen Santa Claus.
Always keep in mind when you decide to do this that your Child is extremely observant. One year I forgot to put boots on and wore a pair of my everyday shoes. When I got back inside the house all pleased with my little charade, my son asked very ‘matter of factly’ why Father Christmas was wearing my shoes. Fortunately he was still very young, only 2 years old and I was able to explain it away by saying lots of people had shoes like mine. It wouldn’t have worked if he had been much older.
A Father is a vital component in the family and such an important daily point of reference for his children. A truly involved Dad will have such a positive impact on his children’s well being and contributes so much to their lives, it can never be over played.
In my book ‘Help I’m a Father’ I have really focused on things that a Father can do to improve the quality of his relationship with his children and offered tips and advice which can certainly get him out of some tricky day to day situations. It can offer him options when he most needs inspiration. But don’t believe me, below are some of the 5 star customer reviews it has received on Amazon.
“Brilliant book! So many useful tips and bits of advice to keep you going through the tough times of being a parent. Suitable to all parents from those with young children all the way to those with adult children. Plus it has some really good ideas of things to do to keep your children amused on long journeys! Would recommend to anyone needing a bit of help with parenting, especially those couples that are first time pregnant and want a little heads up with what’s about to come!”
“Perceptive, clever and sharply written. Hearn tackles the most important and least-written-about area of a man’s life. This book is a must for fathers, fathers-to-be — and mothers who want to understand the particular challenges their partners face”
“This is a really useful, enjoyable, amusing and long overdue book which gives an excellent perspective, for any Dad or Dad-to-be, on what it takes to be a better parent.”
“Great read! Well written and gives fantastic advice on all the areas of family and fatherhood!”
Any feedback or comments you can give me are very welcome, so please don’t hesitate.
The book is available through Amazon in paperback or an e-book. It would make a very useful and practical Christmas present for any Father, and would certainly be appreciated hugely. The link is below
This is one of the most important things you can do as the father of a teenager. Lead by example: work hard, be nice to people, be consistent, respect others and their opinions, and be honest with yourself and your children (as well as others). Your child will be observing you very closely, although he may very often appear not to care at all what you are saying or doing.
As a Father with a teenager, you need to continue to pass on your life skills (only the good ones of course, even if your teenager quite likes some of your bad ones). These cover a wide variety of areas, such as social interaction with others, management of finances and the need to work hard to achieve things in life.
An area that is very often ignored by parents is the development of personal Financial Management skills. This is absolutely vital for your child to learn as this life skill could have very serious implications and even ruin your child’s life when he is older, if he doesn’t know how to manage this. The importance of grasping an understanding first and then managing this area of his life is a key life discipline.
You will need to make a real effort to teach your child this skill and it should start when he becomes a teenager, if not before. He will by now be receiving pocket money from you, to buy the personal things he wants, some of which he cannot afford. You need to discuss with him about the concept of working to earn money, then budgeting and managing how to balance his immediate need with what he can afford. He needs to understand that he must save a portion of his weekly money until he has sufficient funds to buy that special purchase he wants. This is a very important message to get over to him, as it is very dangerous and potentially disastrous if he doesn’t understand this concept when he becomes an adult.
Your child will already have an idea of what he is good at and what he isn’t, and your job is to guide and encourage him. Always respond positively and always encourage him. This will give him belief in what he can achieve. You also need to be a realist in terms of his ambitions, while at the same time never stifling his dreams. This is a very difficult balancing act to do, particularly as nearly all teenagers are full of self-doubt, not to mention the mood swings. If you get this balancing act right however, you will launch your child into life with a very positive attitude, but if you get it wrong, it will make this transition from childhood to adulthood much more challenging for both of you.
Bedtime can be a stressful time for you, but you don’t really need to worry, as once you have got your Toddler into bed, if he is tired, he will go to sleep. You don’t need to close his door either. Many children can be afraid of the dark for no reason at all. Therefore, it will be reassuring for him if he wakes up in the middle of the night and doesn’t feel cut off from the rest of the family. Pitch blackness can be very intimidating and scary for a young child.
In any case, most young children do not need complete darkness or silence to sleep. When they are tired, they will sleep anywhere, even in bright sunlight in a noisy store or park. How many times have you seen a small child fast asleep in his parent’s arms or a pram, in the middle of the day? Leaving his door open can also be a good discipline for later on in life. It may well help keep your child with an ‘open’ attitude to you and others as he grows older. It should help avoid him trying to always close himself off in his bedroom when he is a teenager and distancing himself or becoming aloof from the rest of the family. It’s amazing how something as simple and unscientific as this, can help promote good habits, later on in life. And these habits die very hard in later years.
Children don’t need silence to sleep. Young children sleep if they are tired, and if they are not, then they won’t go to sleep. It can be reassuring for your Toddler to hear normal family background noise when he goes to sleep, so he does not feel cut off at bed time. It also means that your family can continue its normal household (sometimes noisy) routines in the evening. It is very important for your child’s development that he is raised in as normal household environment as possible. It goes without saying that normality is relative and based on your particular religion and culture. You will also feel less stressed as you will not be trying to keep other children quiet or keeping the general level of noise down.
A little night light in the background, particularly when your child is very young, will also help prevent him becoming afraid of the dark. Because he has this light on, as he grows older, darkness should never become an issue for him.
If your baby has a temperature and is a little under the weather, the temptation is to ensure that he doesn’t get cold sweats and keep him well wrapped up. If you do this, his temperature will keep rising. Wrapping him up will make him even hotter and make matters a lot worse.
It seems crazy now, but we did that with our oldest child and couldn’t understand why his temperature was getting higher and higher. The first time this happened, it was very stressful for us, as we just couldn’t reduce his temperature. Eventually we called the hospital in a panic and got some very sound advice which thankfully worked really well. We put it into practice immediately and the effect was almost instantaneous. Every time any of our children ever got a temperature from then onwards, we just followed this simple advice.
So, if your child has a temperature which is proving difficult to reduce, you can use a moist cloth or flannel to dab his forehead, neck and body. This will start to cool those parts of his body specifically and his body in general and will help bring it down. You can even use a fan if you have one, as a cool breeze will also help to reduce it. While doing this, leave him without any clothes on, apart from his nappy, so his whole body can benefit from the cooling down measures you are using. Of course, the strategic use of a children’s paracetamol medicine mixture should help as well.
However, sometimes it is more serious and all these measures fail and you make no progress in bringing it down. If this happens, then you should of course seek medical assistance immediately.
Recently I finally published my book on Fatherhood ‘Help I’m a Father’, which has taken one year for the whole project to become reality. I started writing the book last July and it is now available on Amazon as a paperback or on Kindle as an e-book.
Some of what I have been writing on my Blog is in the book, but there is also a lot of brand new material in it. I intend to keep my Blog going as so many of you have been Following it, but it can also serve as a forum for any feedback you may have on the book, which I hope you will all read. The Book and also this Blog are expressions of how important I feel Fathers are to the upbringing of their children, and if they can help just one dad become a better father to his children then my goal is achieved.
If you are thinking that I believe I am the perfect dad, nothing could be further from the truth. I have made many mistakes along the way, you only have to ask my children, but on that journey, I have learnt some strategies and tips which actually work and hopefully by sharing them, I can help another dad avoid the pitfalls and consequences which I had to deal with.
If you do like my book, and I hope you will, please spread the word to others, as my total belief is that it remains vital that fathers are as involved with their children as their mothers are, and I will never stop saying and believing this. A balanced child needs both parents involvement equally, as they both bring many different attributes to the dynamic.
Thank you for supporting my Blog over the last year and I look forward to many more years of Blogging on this subject.
I am pleased to advise you that my book ‘Help I’m a Father’ is now available in paperback version, as well as Kindle and e-book formats from Amazon. The links are below:
I hope you enjoy the read.
From next week my Blog will be back to normal with new posts. Thank you again for your support and if you do buy the book, I hope you enjoy the read and the many tips and anecdotes that are in it.