Your child can teach you things whatever age he is, so you should take every opportunity to learn from him. This is even more important in those vital teenage years.

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.

Exactly how important do you think it is to be a good Father to your children? Even more than just ‘vital’ if that is possible, as you will see!

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.

What do you do when honesty might hurt your child? An eternal parental dilemma but it all depends on his age.

As a father and a parent, you will never want to hurt your child, but sometimes if you tell them things as they really are, they will get upset and the effects may even last for sometime. Occasionally a ‘white lie’ is acceptable if it is done to protect your child from something, particularly if they are not yet at an age when they can understand the full consequences of it. However, you should always try to be honest with your children and never lie to them on serious issues.

Sometimes it is very difficult to stick to this guideline, but remember that your children deserve you to treat them correctly. It doesn’t really matter what the subject matter is of your ‘white lie’, but your judgement of the situation will determine if it is the correct course of action. If your child is a toddler or under five and his grand mother passes away, you might tell him that ‘nanna has gone to a special place with the angels’.

If however he has been at primary school for a few years he will be starting to learn about the human life cycle and that we are born and we eventually die. You may make a judgement call in this instance and tell him the truth but couch it in more direct gentle terms like ‘nanna passed away peacefully in her sleep and has gone to heaven’. So how you communicate with your child will very definitely be relative to your child’s age and his ability to comprehend life events like this.

If however you do lie to him even on a subject as serious as this and he finds out, it will send the message that this is an acceptable form of behaviour. Remember, at all times your child will look up to you and copy your behaviour, so he will need you to handle a situation like this in the correct way. He will remember how you do this for many years to come.

How can you stay close to your Teenager as your relationship changes? It is a real challenge.

When your child becomes a teenager, the dynamics of your relationship changes dramatically, so you need to evolve and become a different kind of role model. He will be mixing with a wide variety of individuals independently of you and it is important that you remain consistent in how you behave towards him. ‘Work hard … play hard’, is a very important philosophy you need to get through to your teenager, and to do this, you must lead by example.

As he will be trying new things during these years and following your example (where it suits him of course) try to avoid doing anything to excess yourself. While he needs to understand that he can enjoy himself, this must be linked to working hard, particularly at school. Therefore, he needs to see the example of ‘normal acceptable behaviour’ coming from his father.

It is vitally important that your child feels he can still communicate with you openly while he is a teenager. So this will be one of your biggest challenges during the next few years. So keeping all lines of communication open between you both is vital, and will influence strongly how your relationship with him develops. However difficult and awkward the subject is, you can never have a ‘bad conversation’ with your child, only a good one, even if it doesn’t feel like it at the time. With all the challenges facing him during this period of his life, this is where you will really benefit from the investment in time and effort you made with him during his earlier years.

It is during that period where you have laid the foundations, to allow you to stay connected during the extremely challenging times ahead of you. Your child is still very vulnerable when he is a teenager, but he neither believes nor realises this, and he will get sick of hearing you telling him this. He will be rebellious and very difficult to manage at times, so, your role really is to guide him through this stage of his life. Don’t worry, he will come out the other side, every child does, and hopefully with a sense of independence and respect for you, his mother, as well as other people. He will need this sense of value and perspective when he becomes an adult.

My Book ‘Help I’m a Father’ has just been Published

As you know, I have been writing a Blog for many months now and I will be continuing it. I really enjoy the interaction I have built up with you all as Followers and I really value the feedback that you give me. But I have also written a book of the same title ‘Help I’m a Father’, which I’m delighted to tell you has just been published.

I decided to self publish it, as I could not get a fair deal from a Publishing company. So it is now available to buy on Amazon Kindle as an e-book. It will be available as a paperback this coming week. If you have enjoyed reading my Blog, there are many more tips and anecdotes in my Book. In fact you can dip in and out of it depending on the specific situation you are in with your children and hopefully it can provide you with some options.

Like in my Blog, I do not claim to have all the answers, or not to have made mistakes along the way with my own children, but the importance of a Father to his children can never be underestimated. An involved and committed Father makes for well balanced and rounded children and that has to be the ultimate goal of all parents.

 

How important are you as a Role Model for your child?

Sometimes you can forget how important you are as a positive Role Model for your child, and just take this vital part of the Father child dynamic for granted. Your child will observe and copy everything you do, all the time, even if you are not aware he is doing it. Boys particularly will observe very closely what you as their father are doing.

As the joint most important Role Model in your child’s life, you have a huge responsibility to lead by example, however difficult it appears to be at times. The way you behave will be considered as normal and acceptable behaviour by your child. If you are considerate and calm, your child will be. If you are aggressive and loud, you child will also be like that. The question is always, ‘what constitutes a good Role Model for your child’?

Remember at all times, ‘your children are what you make them’. Whatever you are doing or saying you must always keep this in mind. Your child will reflect how you are towards them and others on a day to day basis. The following tips on being a good Role Model are fairly obvious, and certainly not meant as a lecture, but only as an ‘aide memoire’ and is also certainly not an exhaustive list. The goal is simply to help you improve the quality of your child’s life going forward as they pass through childhood.

Work hard at what you do (paid or unpaid)

Be nice to people, even if they irritate you

Be polite and kind to everyone you come across in life

Be tolerant of other people’s differences with you

Always help others if you are able to

Never be aggressive, nasty or react violently

Be a good citizen and respect the laws of the country

Be a good listener and give your time to people you meet

If you haven’t got anything nice to say about someone, then don’t say it at all

They all seem fairly obvious, but in the heat of the moment, we often forget. Your children look to you as their beacon and you must truly lead by example.

 

Is it ever acceptable to lie to your children?

This is often one of a father’s (parent’s) real dilemmas. What level of openness and honesty should you have with your child when she is a Toddler or under 7? Should you tell her exactly what is going on and risk upsetting her, or are there ever times when lying to you child is acceptable? Every parent wants their child to be brought up to be open and honest and therefore you may worry that if you are not like that with your child every time, she may assume that not being honest is acceptable and normal behaviour.

It really depends on the sensitivity of your child and you may feel that a ‘white lie’ is acceptable if it is done to protect your child from something, particularly if they are not yet of an age when they can understand the full consequences of it. The dilemma of course, is that you may not want to tell a lie to your child.

Once your child gets a bit older and becomes more mature, you will decide when she is ready to hear the truth every time. But initially this may be very hard for her to take in or accept. Irrespective of the age of your child, you may decide that on very serious issues, you will never lie to her. This rule however, can be very difficult to stick to, but if you always keep in mind that your child deserves to be treated with respect, then you will always make the right choice for her.

If you do decide not to tell your child something and tell her a lie, you must ensure that there is no way she can ever find out the truth, until at least she is an adult. If she does, then it will say to her that this is an acceptable way to behave. Always remember, your child, particularly as a Toddler and up to puberty, will look to you as her role model and if you do something, then she will do it as well.

Your child only has one chance to make a first impression!

A key social skill that your child needs to learn at a very young age is the ability to make a good first impression. He will only ever have one chance to do this with everyone he meets. So whether it is for an entrance interview to a new school, or a job interview, or meeting a new business contact to seal that important sales contract, first impressions are vital. So how can you help your child to succeed at this?

You can start at a very young age, when he is only a Toddler and encourage him to stop whatever he is doing when someone arrives at your house and go and positively greet them. A firm handshake, whether you have a son or a daughter, will always start the first meeting off in a good way. By stopping what he was doing, shows your visitor that he is important and worth stopping everything to go and say hello to. All your visitors will appreciate this from your child.

When your child greets your guest, encourage him to look the person straight in the eye when he says hello. Many children will look down or away when they first greet someone, so encourage your child to make immediate eye contact. Your child is not inferior to your guest, so being deferential is not needed. Your guest will certainly notice the confidence and warmth of the greeting from your child and will appreciate it. Your child will also feel good about himself and it will help his self confidence.

Not only will this make a good first impression, but it also shows your child has good manners, which will just reinforce the excellent impression that your child has created. This is a very important communication and life skill and will be liked by everyone. It will help make your child a positive and outward going individual, which is a great social skill for him to have as he grows up and moves into adulthood.

First impressions last, and you should make sure your child knows this. He will thank you in later life.

Do children break things deliberately?

How annoyed should you get when your child breaks something? Should you make it a big issue if they do?

Your child will very rarely break something deliberately, so you should always keep your reaction in proportion to the misdemeanour. Many times it will be just because they were clumsy, so keep in mind, accidents do happen!

Your child will observe carefully how you behave when he breaks things. If you blow it out of all proportion, then he may have several reactions. He could become scared and nervous that you might shout or aggress him. This could make him become very timid. Or he may take your lead and over dramatize other things that go wrong in his life. Worse still, he may become very blasé and casual towards other peoples property, and treat their possessions with no respect.

Material possessions although often quite precious, can always be replaced (most of the time anyway). Therefore, you should always keep this in mind when considering your reaction to a breakage. If you exaggerate your response, the situation may degenerate, when in fact the lesson you really want to pass over to your child, is that he needs to pay attention to things. It doesn’t matter whether it is one of his toys, a glass, or even a window in your house, everything is replaceable.

How you react will determine his behaviour as he grows up.

 

Everyone benefits if you are a good Father.

The relationship between a father and his children is one of the two most important links in the whole of society. The other one of course is between a mother and her child. The dynamic and contribution of you, as a father with your children, underpins the whole fabric of society.

You may be unsure how to act when your child is born, or if your relationship with your child’s mother breaks down at some point, you may feel you have failed as a father. Well you haven’t, and you remain one of the two most important people in your child’s life. Whatever the circumstances you find yourself in, never give up on your role as a dad.

So many ills in society can be traced back to problems in the family unit, and in particular to poor fatherhood skills, or even an absentee father. So whatever your situation, you must continue to have a strong, loving and guiding influence on your child throughout his entire childhood. Of course, if his mother really loves him, which she does, she will allow you to be the best father possible, even if you don’t live under the same roof.

A  close and loving dynamic will benefit everyone. You, your partner, society in general, and most of all, your child. If you are going to get the most out of being a father, you have to be prepared to take on all the varying tasks it involves, however mundane or interesting, in every aspect of your child’s life. If you do this, it will be the most rewarding thing that you have ever experienced, and will set your child up beautifully to go out into the world and make his own mark in it.