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14 Things A Responsible Father Will Never Do

14 Things A Responsible Father Will Never Do

“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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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More by this author

Robert Locke

Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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Last Updated on December 3, 2019

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

10 Life Lessons You’d Better Learn Early on in Life

There are so many lessons I wish I had learned while I was young enough to appreciate and apply them. The thing with wisdom, and often with life lessons in general, is that they’re learned in retrospect, long after we needed them. The good news is that other people can benefit from our experiences and the lessons we’ve learned.

Here’re 10 important life lessons you should learn early on:

1. Money Will Never Solve Your Real Problems

Money is a tool; a commodity that buys you necessities and some nice “wants,” but it is not the panacea to your problems.

There are a great many people who are living on very little, yet have wonderfully full and happy lives… and there are sadly a great many people are living on quite a lot, yet have terribly miserable lives.

Money can buy a nice home, a great car, fabulous shoes, even a bit of security and some creature comforts, but it cannot fix a broken relationship, or cure loneliness, and the “happiness” it brings is only fleeting and not the kind that really and truly matters. Happiness is not for sale. If you’re expecting the “stuff” you can buy to “make it better,” you will never be happy.

2. Pace Yourself

Often when we’re young, just beginning our adult journey we feel as though we have to do everything at once. We need to decide everything, plan out our lives, experience everything, get to the top, find true love, figure out our life’s purpose, and do it all at the same time.

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Slow down—don’t rush into things. Let your life unfold. Wait a bit to see where it takes you, and take time to weigh your options. Enjoy every bite of food, take time to look around you, let the other person finish their side of the conversation. Allow yourself time to think, to mull a bit.

Taking action is critical. Working towards your goals and making plans for the future is commendable and often very useful, but rushing full-speed ahead towards anything is a one-way ticket to burnout and a good way to miss your life as it passes you by.

3. You Can’t Please Everyone

“I don’t know the secret to success, but the secret to failure is trying to please everyone” – Bill Cosby.

You don’t need everyone to agree with you or even like you. It’s human nature to want to belong, to be liked, respected and valued, but not at the expense of your integrity and happiness. Other people cannot give you the validation you seek. That has to come from inside.

Speak up, stick to your guns, assert yourself when you need to, demand respect, stay true to your values.

4. Your Health Is Your Most Valuable Asset

Health is an invaluable treasure—always appreciate, nurture, and protect it. Good health is often wasted on the young before they have a chance to appreciate it for what it’s worth.

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We tend to take our good health for granted, because it’s just there. We don’t have to worry about it, so we don’t really pay attention to it… until we have to.

Heart disease, bone density, stroke, many cancers—the list of many largely preventable diseases is long, so take care of your health now, or you’ll regret it later on.

5. You Don’t Always Get What You Want

“Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.” – John Lennon

No matter how carefully you plan and how hard you work, sometimes things just don’t work out the way you want them to… and that’s okay.

We have all of these expectations; predetermined visions of what our “ideal” life will look like, but all too often, that’s not the reality of the life we end up with. Sometimes our dreams fail and sometimes we just change our minds mid-course. Sometimes we have to flop to find the right course and sometimes we just have to try a few things before we find the right direction.

6. It’s Not All About You

You are not the epicenter of the universe. It’s very difficult to view the world from a perspective outside of your own, since we are always so focused on what’s happening in our own lives. What do I have to do today? What will this mean for me, for my career, for my life? What do I want?

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It’s normal to be intensely aware of everything that’s going on in your own life, but you need to pay as much attention to what’s happening around you, and how things affect other people in the world as you do to your own life. It helps to keep things in perspective.

7. There’s No Shame in Not Knowing

No one has it all figured out. Nobody has all the answers. There’s no shame in saying “I don’t know.” Pretending to be perfect doesn’t make you perfect. It just makes you neurotic to keep up the pretense of manufactured perfection.

We have this idea that there is some kind of stigma or shame in admitting our limitations or uncertainly, but we can’t possibly know everything. We all make mistakes and mess up occasionally. We learn as we go, that’s life.

Besides—nobody likes a know-it-all. A little vulnerability makes you human and oh so much more relatable.

8. Love Is More Than a Feeling; It’s a Choice

That burst of initial exhilaration, pulse quickening love and passion does not last long. But that doesn’t mean long-lasting love is not possible.

Love is not just a feeling; it’s a choice that you make every day. We have to choose to let annoyances pass, to forgive, to be kind, to respect, to support, to be faithful.

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Relationships take work. Sometimes it’s easy and sometimes it’s incredibly hard. It is up to us to choose how we want to act, think and speak in a relationship.

9. Perspective Is a Beautiful Thing

Typically, when we’re worried or upset, it’s because we’ve lost perspective. Everything that is happening in our lives seems so big, so important, so do or die, but in the grand picture, this single hiccup often means next to nothing.

The fight we’re having, the job we didn’t get, the real or imagined slight, the unexpected need to shift course, the thing we wanted, but didn’t get. Most of it won’t matter 20, 30, 40 years from now. It’s hard to see long term when all you know is short term, but unless it’s life-threatening, let it go, and move on.

10. Don’t Take Anything for Granted

We often don’t appreciate what we have until it’s gone: that includes your health, your family and friends, your job, the money you have or think you will have tomorrow.

When you’re young, it seems that your parents will always be there, but they won’t. You think you have plenty of time to get back in touch with your old friends or spend time with new ones, but you don’t. You have the money to spend, or you think you’ll have it next month, but you might not.

Nothing in your life is not guaranteed to be there tomorrow, including those you love.

This is a hard life lesson to learn, but it may be the most important of all: Life can change in an instant. Make sure you appreciate what you have, while you still have it.

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Featured photo credit: Ben Eaton via unsplash.com

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