“We need fathers to realize that responsibility does not end at conception. We need them to realize that what makes you a man is not the ability to have a child – it’s the courage to raise one.”- President Barack Obama
I know so many fathers who were barely present when their children were growing up. Yet the father’s role is a most important one because, aside from providing a safe home, he must carry out the duties of fatherhood diligently. That includes loving support, guidance and encouragement in winning life’s battles. Here are 14 things a responsible father will never do.
1. He will never set a bad example.
How many times have you heard a father tell his kids that there are certain things they must not do, like losing their temper and behaving badly? The problem is that some fathers lose it and are not a role model for their kids at all. They lose their temper when driving and curse the other drivers loudly. They forget that kids copy behavior.
“Every father should remember that one day his son will follow his example instead of his advice.” – Charles F. Kettering.
2. He will never beat or spank his kids.
An irresponsible father uses physical violence and beating to impose the rules. But a good disciplinarian knows how to use other methods which are far more effective in the long term. Using violence is teaching a child that aggression is one way of dealing with conflict.
3. He will never cancel prime time with his kids.
Children expect parents to be present. Workaholic fathers never carve out time to be with their kids and they feel neglected and abandoned. Enjoying games, movies and outings together is precious and a really good father knows that and will rarely cancel because of some urgent work commitment.
4. He will never forget important milestones.
Fathers have to remember the milestones in their kids’ lives and make a firm commitment to be there. These can be anything from an important match to a birthday party or graduation from high school. The best way to get to know a child really well is by following his progress and achievements. When fathers fail to turn up, kids are really disappointed.
“It is a wise father that knows his own child.”- William Shakespeare
5. He will never criticize his kids unfairly.
You know the scene. Fathers tend to pick holes and criticize their kids’ efforts and belittle them. They do not realize that when a kid washes the car, they need to encourage them by praising them for doing a good job. If they have missed some dirty spots, the responsible father tells his kids that they should go over the car and check for the smaller spots they may have missed. It is also a way of teaching kids to do the job well.
When I told my father that I was doing my best, his reply was “Your best isn’t good enough!’ It was very discouraging.
6. He will never let his relationship with his spouse affect the way he treats his kids.
When conflict and tension begin to sour marriages, kids are often the first to suffer. An unloving and uncaring father will let his resentment take over and may well spend less time with the kids as a way of getting even with his wife or partner. A responsible father will always let his precious values dominate family life.
7. He will never show disrespect.
When a father loves and respects his spouse and kids, this sets the tone for family relationships. But when a father allows disrespect and bitterness to flourish and never hides this from his kids, they will never be able to love and respect him. This should be reciprocal and it is an essential element in responsible fatherhood.
8. He will never be authoritarian.
Most parenting experts point out the difference between being authoritarian and authoritative. The former means that the father is always right and imposes the rules in a very harsh and often violent manner. Being authoritative means that the father will offer his kids choices and chances to grow in a warm and supportive environment. You can read more about this is Laurence Steinberg’s book called We Know Some Things: Adolescent-parent Relationships in Retrospect and Prospect.
9. He will never be totally permissive.
The other end of the spectrum is where fathers allow their kids free rein to do what they like and they thoroughly spoil them. This is totally irresponsible because the real world out there is full of obstacles, limits and rules. Being permissive is the worst possible way you can bring up a child because he or she will never function well in society.
“People are saying it takes a village to raise a child, but first it takes a mother and a father, who are understanding, compassionate, nurturing, and responsible – working together to instil discipline, character, integrity, and responsibility in their children.”- Charles Ballard
10. He will never be detached.
Irresponsible fathers put their children at considerable risk. They refuse or cannot be bothered to look after them while playing or when they need emotional support. Such detachment is bound to lead to injury at a physical and psychological level. This is the view of Anita Gurian who is a professor at the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry unit at the NYUMedicalSchool.
11. He will never lie to his children.
“So my father was a person who never lied to me. If I had a question, he answered it. I knew a lot of things at a young age because I was intrigued.” – Nick Cannon.
Research shows that by the age of 5, children are expert liars! Many of them have learned the art from watching their own parents lie. The parents sometimes tell them how to do it by suggesting they lie to their grandparents to pretend they like their presents. Another favorite is to ask them to tell callers that they are not at home when they are in. There are even parents who are prepared to lie about their residency to get them into a better school. They risk up to 20 years in prison if they do that. What a great example!
It is therefore a surprise to learn that parents get upset when their own kids lie to them. But who taught them? A responsible father or mother will know the dangers of lying and will always try to tell them the truth.
12. He will never ignore a plea for help.
When things go all wrong, it is terrible if your father is not there or even willing to listen. He never has any time for his kids. The kids feel that they have no one to turn to unless Mom will help out. There is now much debate in the UK about changing the Dickensian laws on neglect of children which were introduced in the Victorian era. The proposed law would make child neglect a criminal offence.
13. He will never insult his kids.
I know some very strict and rather harsh fathers who make a habit of insulting or deriding their kids. They call them stupid, lazy and untidy, just to mention a few. There is always something to criticize and they are doing this in front of friends, relatives and even colleagues. The responsible father will err on the side of over praising and encouraging their children so that they never have low self-esteem.
14. He will never stop loving his kids.
“I cannot think of any need in childhood as strong as the need for a father’s protection.”- Sigmund Freud.
A responsible father will never stop loving his kids in any conditions. Even when marriages break up, a father must always maintain contact, even if he is at the other end of the world. It is so important for the mother not to ruin or pollute the child’s view of his father. The same goes for the father because very often parents use the sad event to denigrate the other partner. This is why parents should always encourage their kids to set up a Skype account so that they can still maintain contact.
Do you have happy or unhappy memories of your father? What made him the best or worst dad in the world? Let us know in the comments.
Featured photo credit: Grandfather and grandson. black and white. Focus on child via shutterstock.com