Firstly, for those of you, on the brink of becoming a father, congratulations are in order and those of you who wish to be better fathers, I wish you all the very best. The lesson of being a good father, is synonymous with being a responsible human being.
Preparing for fatherhood is a balancing act, that is unparalleled with anything you will ever do in life. It is being tender, yet tough at times, being protective without smothering your child, being a good mentor, without trying to take control, letting them be independent, yet being there for them. As you can see, it is not going to be easy. Having the responsibility of an entire person upon you, is never going to be easy for you or your wife.
To be a good father is a journey in self-discovery and the greatest lesson of your life. It is an opportunity to pass on all that is good in you and see a tender new life blossoming under your care. You are going to learn more from your child, than you learned from anybody else ever.
You have been on the other side before, that is, you have been a son. Now, it is time for a role reversal and you are a father now. It is time to unlearn a lot and learn a lot more along the way. Do not blindly give your children, the same treatment, just because you got the same from your mother and father. Recognize the good points of what they did and also identify the bad parts. Pass on whatever good there was and I am sure there was a lot. Forget and forgive the bad parts, if there were any. Make sure that you do not repeat them with your children.
As you face your own difficulties of bringing up your own child, you will be able to appreciate your father and mother, even more, for how they put up with you.
Being the Best Father
Unconditional love is the prime ingredient for being a good father. You do not have to work to bring this out, it's always there in you, just let it flow out. Do not withhold love under a false exterior of appearing to be tough or being a man. Let your child feel loved.
It is very essential that your child learns how to take in love and give out love. If he is deprived of that, it will create problems for him later, when he is connecting with the world outside. When a child grows up, seeing and feeling the love between you and your wife, he will learn to love too.
Enjoy the process of Being a Father
Enjoy the process of nurturing a new personality and seeing a new person take shape. You have to be a child yourself again, to connect with your child. See the world anew, through his or her eyes and see your own perceptions change. Right from changing nappies to dropping children to school, you will relive your entire childhood.
Be your child's friend and his protector. There is something very satisfying in being a father. That feeling, you can only understand, when you see your child for the first time. It is scary and wonderful at the same time. So, enjoy the process of bringing up your child.
Be Responsible and Share Responsibility
Understand the immense responsibility you have on your shoulder as a father. Do not run away from it. Embrace it and grow with it. It is time to shed your careless ways and realize that one more person depends on you now. Whatever you and your wife do, your child is top priority. Think twice before taking rash decisions. In short, remember that you have to put your children before you.
A child's mind is like clay. It is very impressionable and every action of yours around him or her, is going to influence the formation of his or her psyche. A new personality is taking shape in front of you, so be careful about how you shape it. Do things in such a way that there is no doubt in the mind of the child, about what is the right thing to do.
Share responsibilities with your wife. Plan things together. Be conscious about the health concerns of your child.
Be There For Your Child
Work is no excuse for not being there, when your child needs you. What use is the money you earn, when the people who you earn it for, are deprived of your presence, when they need it. It's all about priorities in life. Once you marry and have your child, you must think of them first.
Yes, it is important to earn material comforts for your child. However, just buying big and costly toys is not your only responsibility as a father. A toy can be hugged but it cannot hug back. For a child, people are more important than having things. Remember that, or else do not complain when the child grows up to be insensitive.
Ensure Good Education and Moral Conduct
Good values and good education are the greatest gifts you can give a child. Ensure that he gets the best schooling possible. Teach him through example about how lying is wrong, how hurting people is wrong, and how to respect people. The child, especially a son needs to learn to respect women. The lessons for that will be taken from how you treat your wife, your daughters, and your mother.
Be stern and criticize your child, when he does something wrong, but do so in private. Do not insult him to the point where he or she cannot overcome the guilt. Teach your child, that it's okay to make mistakes, but do not repeat them.
Encourage Curiosity and Independent Thinking
Obedience in a child is a virtue, but not meekness and conformism. Encourage curiosity and independent thinking. Explain things to children, as logically as possible. Do not reinforce false beliefs. Encourage reading and playing sports.
Let There Be Conversation
Talk to your child and create an atmosphere, where he or she can feel free to discuss problems. Let him or her question your methods and thinking. Children are the most honest critics and you will get a lot of insight from them, I am sure. Treat their opinions with respect and do not ridicule them. Teach him to reason things out. This may iron out some of the stubbornness in them.
Spend Quality Time
Go on a hike or camping with your child and show him the wonders of nature. No matter, how busy a schedule, let there be a large portion of your time, that is exclusively devoted to your child. Having fun is an essential part of growth in a child's life. Have fun together as a family and you will stay a family.
Accept Your Mistakes
When you expect frankness from a child and expect him to own up his own mistakes, you must do the same. A child can very easily spot double standards. They are like mirrors. So, when you are mistaken regarding something and the child points it out to you, accept it. This is very important. When a child sees honesty, he or she reciprocates it.
You Can Be Tough and Firm Without Being Violent
There are bound to be situations, where you may have to be strict and stern, when the child is unreasonable. Reprimand him with straightforward words, when you find something unacceptable and make it crystal clear that it should not be repeated and tell him the consequences of his actions. Beating a child never brings out good results in short or long term. Never raise your hand on a child.
Do Not Compare Between Your Children
Do not compare the abilities of your children and pit them against each other. Teach them the importance of sharing and respecting each other, for what they are. Be fair with children and encourage bonding between them.
Mentoring Without Taking Control
You cannot decide the destiny of your child. Every child is different and comes with inborn gifts. Do not try to mold him in your image and do not expect him to trace your footsteps. Nurture your child and provide all the opportunities you can. Put the pros and cons in front of a child and leave the decision up to him or her. Do not force your child into something, when you realize that it's not conducive to his or her inborn talents. Do not kill your child's dreams, but embrace and nurture them. Let the child know that you are always there behind him, for support. Do not use the carrot and stick practice with children. So mentor them, but do not manipulate and control them.
Protect But Do Not Smother With Care
Help your children and take care of them, but do not care so much, that they are unable to stand without you. Encourage self-reliance and resourcefulness in a child. Take pride in doing things on your own and your child will learn that too.
Small Trees Cannot Grow in a Big Tree's Shade
Let the child bloom into his own personality. Give him opportunities to test his strength in the real world. Let him learn to take his decisions on his own. Trust him with jobs and give him responsibility and I am sure, he won't be wanting, in shouldering it. This will build up self-esteem in your child.
Don't Burden Your Child with your Own Unreasonable Expectations
Do not burden children with unreasonable expectations. This puts undue pressure on them. Encourage them to find themselves and be themselves, which is more important.
Never Give Up on Them
Things may go wrong and the child may land himself into trouble. Never give up on him or her. Be there to encourage and be his or her source of confidence and strength. Believe and trust in him to pull out of whatever trouble he or she has gotten into. Do not ignore your children ever.
Let Your Relationship Evolve With Time
As the child grows up to adulthood, be his friend, philosopher, and guide. Let your relationship evolve with time and be transformed into friendship. Let the child benefit from your experience and wisdom and let yourself benefit from the freshness of his spirit.
There is no perfect way to become a good father and life is perhaps the best teacher you can have. No matter what happens, do not let your ego come in the way of reaching out to your children.
You will realize how good a father you were one day, when your son or daughter will beat you at your own game and surprise you with his or her profundity. What you sow, you reap. Nothing can be more satisfying, than seeing your son or daughter fulfill your most ambitious dreams, but it's more satisfying to bring up good human beings. One day, you will realize that it was not you who carried the child, it was the child who carried you.