The 7 Habits of Highly Successful Fathers

“Anyone can be a father, but it takes a real man to be a daddy.”

– Anonymous

Father playing with his sonA great father makes all the difference in a kid’s life. He’s a pillar of strength, support and discipline. His work is never-ending and, oftentimes, thankless. But in the end, it shows in the sound, well-grounded children he raises.

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that parenthood comes with no instructions. It can be difficult to balance everything in life, especially since every father-child relationship has its own individual challenges. Although there are no clear-cut methods to successful parenthood, there are some habits you can develop as a father to ensure that you are prioritizing the right things, and to guarantee that your family sees you as a real hero.

1. Keeping stress to yourself.

Children shouldn’t have to be burdened with adult problems. They have enough to deal with just being kids; growing, learning, exploring, and evolving. Instead of sharing your difficulties with them, keep your time with them about them. Try to keep your stress to yourself and don’t let it affect your attitude when you’re around your kids.

In order to do this, find a different outlet for your stress that you can use before you see them. Go to the local gym on the way home and let it out on a punching bag or stop at your favorite coffee shop and spend a few minutes unwinding with a good book. Whatever it takes, your kids will appreciate seeing a fresh face and a positive attitude when you get home.

2. Leading by example.

A successful father is above the old “do as I say, not as I do” credo. He’s not smoking if he doesn’t want his kids to do it, and definitely not drinking heavily. He teaches them to deal with conflict with a family member and with others by being firm but reasonable at the same time.

A good father also illustrates how significant is affection by professing his love for their mother in front of them. And he won’t fight with her in their presence. In all, he adheres to the values he’d like his kids to follow.

3. Being consistent.

Ensure that what you say is actually what you do. Every child needs to believe he has a dependable father, so if you promise you’ll make it to that basketball game or take him to the zoo or make his favorite dinner, it’s important to follow through no matter what comes up in the meantime. If your child believes your word, trust will soon follow.

Another important point about consistency is structure in discipline. Remember that your kids aren’t perfect — despite what you may think — and they need guidance. It can be hard to discipline your children because you’re ready to stand at their defense no matter what. But remember that rules and structure are important in life and the earlier they learn that, the easier their lives will be. Rules are there for a reason and you need to make sure your children understand this.

4. Staying involved.

Being involved with your kids is often twisted to mean that you ought to do the morning carpool and attend sports games. Although this is true, there is much more to involvement with your kids than just being a personal driver and cheerleader to them. Watch the soccer game, but also listen to school stories. Hear what your kids have to say, know their interests and their friends. Being involved seems like a no-brainer when it comes to parenthood, but it’s so easy to forget.

If your kids feel important enough to garner your interest, this will raise their confidence, their trust in you and their willingness to share the details of their own lives with you. All these things will give you more opportunities to guide your children and keep them out of trouble.

5. Scheduling family recreation.

I know how all-important it is to work hard all week, but you also have to schedule some fun activities for downtime and stick to them. It is far too easy to just assume that family time will come naturally when the weekend arrives. Unfortunately, work spillover, visits from family members or home improvement projects — just to name a few scenarios — can easily take that time away.

Not to mention that as your children develop their own social schedules, they’ll quickly let quality time with their families slip away. For this reason, planning ahead is decisive in maintaining this important aspect of your family life. Just like you’ll keep New Year’s resolutions more often if you write them down as a promise, making appointments with your family will make time with them a priority — for both you and them.

6. Teaching.

There’s something especially touching about learning. Learning something new boosts self-assurance and is a lot of fun. For the teacher, there is a unique feeling of pride in seeing how you helped create ability.

If you show your children how to do things you will develop a unique bond between the two of you. You may assume you don’t know that much, but whatever tidbits you can pass along will be highly valued by your kids. Do you play guitar? Are you a chess master? Your children may learn this stuff in life anyway, but if you’re the teacher, they’ll not only remember the skill, they’ll remember the great master who gave them that knowledge.

7. Creating family rituals.

Because kids are so impressionable, structure can be very important to how they learn and grow. It can also instill a sense of significance in what goes on in the home.

Establish a firm supper time (when the whole family gathers around the table), a time for a story before bed, game night or even an evening where the entire family watches a TV show together. Doing this will ensure that the event will be known as “family time” and that it will stick out as something sacred for your children.

The value of a great father is often overlooked. But there are few things as priceless as a father who will do everything he can, and provide all the tools he has so that his children can become better than him.

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36 Comments

  • Kelsey says:

    Why just fathers? These seem like very nice, logical tips for Moms as well. 🙂

  • Todd Perkins says:

    Good stuff.

  • father says:

    I have a great ritual, I teach my children about the dangers of the new world order, the bilderberg group, the council of foreign relations. I teach them about the importance of the constitution and patriotic people like Alex Jones and Dr. Ron Paul. By the way 9 11 was an inside job.

  • QMonkey says:

    Great Advice… keep it up

  • Bryan says:

    Some of this might be debatable, all kids grow up, and soon realize that their parents are only putting on a facade.

    These aren’t just tips for being “good daddies” they are tips for being just “good people.” People respect consistent, intelligent and responsive/understanding people. Aristotle’s Doctrine of the Mean is a good read that could relate to this – Do as the good man does if you want to be good. Don’t just “act” like you care, you should really care, etc…

  • Rami Lehti says:

    Great list. I have been trying to do all of these.
    What family rituals do you people have?
    Daily, Weekly, Yearly…

    @3
    Teaching is important. But teaching children to think for themselves is more important than handing them ready-made ideologies. No matter what the ideology.
    Give your children enough credit to do their own thinking. The degree of freedom given should be dependent on age.
    You can give them information. As unbiased as you can. Don’t give them conclusions.
    Ask why often. It can be annoying to the child. I know I was annoyed when my father did to me. But I am thankful that he did.

    Critical thinking. That is, common sense. Is too uncommon nowadays.

  • Nice post. As an addendum…a friend of mine mentioned that the tone of the family atmosphere is generally determined by the type of face we fathers bring when we walk into the house. A long face/grumpy look already communicates to the rest of the family that we are angry or upset. He suggested to try to have a smile/pleasant demeanor when walking in. It is a big ask especially if something really bad happened that day. Another idea is to put down whatever one is doing when a son or daughter comes up to ask or say something. It is an implicit way of telling them that you respect them and you value whatever they are going to say.

  • Gemini says:

    Good stuff. Quite true for fathers and ewuqally true for mothers…

  • Pat says:

    Amen, Rami. Excellent points.

  • Hello
    Very solid and practical information..good for “fathers to be” like me 🙂

  • rdp says:

    good article, a lot of common sense involved. “Father” is going to have some good nut jobs to take care of him when he is older. “Whitewater” was an inside job.

  • Gary Cockanballs says:

    I usually bring my kids along to the gun range, so they can watch me “unload” my stress. Somtimes my little daughter likes to “be like daddy” and we have great fun shooting off my Heckler & Koch USP together.

    just some words from the wise,

    cheers,

    Gary

  • TomB says:

    Concerning #2, giving good example to our kids:

    From the time my son was born, my wife and I made a real effort to always be polite to one another (the old “please and thank you”). Now that may sound lame and of questionable usefulness, but my son picked up the habit from us. He is now a teenager and makes a solid impression with the adults he deals with on account of this habit. He has learned how important it is for people to have a good opinion of you, particularly when you mess up in school and need a teacher to come to bat for you. But beyond that, teachers want to spend more time with him, since he comes across in a very positive way. He learns more.

    This is a cold, mean society we have today, with bad attitudes reinforced by the way families are portrayed on television. Bringing kids up right takes a bit of effort, but it’s worth it.

  • James Seay says:

    Excellent points! It is amazing how much of this my father did as I was growing up…thanks Dad! (-:

  • dent says:

    good advice – it’s so tough getting the balance between giving kids emotional security and financial security…

  • Michael says:

    There’s a great video at http://dadsmakeadifference.net/ that is really encouraging and an awesome help for fathers.

  • Mary says:

    Makes me feel so thankful that my father is such a guy!

    And I just want to say that my mother is great, too! They’re both great parents!

  • Rahul says:

    Excellent list! Specially the point about “Leading by example”. If a kid figures out that the dad isn’t practicing what he preaches, the kid will lose trust in the father. And once that happens, it will be nearly impossible for the father to have any kind of influence on kid.

  • Great post. Thanks for this.

  • Brian Lovett says:

    Good ideas… except, of course, if you aren’t allowed to see your child, which happens to most divorced fathers. See http://www.loveisearned.com/html/Status.htm (and prior statuses).

  • Milander says:

    I have the enviable position of being able to work from home and I have two boys, a 6 year old and an 8 year old. Having read through the points made above they seem to be logical extensions of what a normal father should do. Some of the comment suggest that they apply equally to women, I disagree, women have a very different relationship with their sons or daughters. Some other pointers I have picked up on while having to deal with two young boys at my heels are:

    – involve the child in what you are doing, I get my eldest sone to sharpen my pencils while I get ready to sketch stuff out.

    – always, ALWAYS, have time for them, be prepared to have to drop what you are doing to deal with them. YOU can always do it later, they can’t understand that you don’t have time for them and will resent it and end up making your life worse by nagging, brawling or bawling. Just give up and give them the time, it’ll make your life easier in the long run.

    – You will never have more than 20 minutes to yourself after and before they go to bed. So plan the day and ensure that it involves them.

    – Always set aside a little ‘just them’ time, you can use this as ammunition later when you need to do stuff “I said I needed to do this Michael, I gave you some time give me some now please”, my 6 year old is ‘just’ old enough to understand that.

    – As you pointed out, teach the kids, whether chess or games or cards or whatever. Everyone has a skill they can pass on, if you really really feel you don’t then get family friends, grandparents, brothers or sisters, family involved. My youngest brother has a black belt in Judo and has been doing ‘organised’ play fighting with my boys once a week on Saturday. The kids love playing with him, they really are learning some of the moves and getting a lot of physical exercise out of it which means they sleep a lot better on Saturday night and my wife and I get more evening time together as the kids are knackered.

    – Do something different with them, plan surprise trips, organize surprises. I don’t think I’ll ever forget the look on my youngest son when I said “Want to see a donkey?”, “Oh yeah daddy”, “Well, look out your window then” – luckily, we have a friend who keeps donkeys and he let us have one of them for a weekend to look after. The kids loved laying down straw and feeding it.

    – We both work from home, and we homeschool at the moment, it seems to be working. Homeschooling taught me a valuable lesson – never neglect what your friends and family can offer.

    Well, that’s the end of my comment, hope it helped. Bless all, cheers.

  • Groovy Mom says:

    Great post, fantastic tips. Going to share it with my husband 🙂 Though, yes, it is somewhat common sense, it never hurts to spell things out a bit.

    GM

  • Ignacio says:

    Very interesting and useful post. Thx!
    Teach your children to think by them self, and give all the facts that you may have. They would have a founded opinion, and that’s something we don’t see very often this days…

    Another point that it’s important is money, but should be another post, don’t you think?

  • J W says:

    Great post! All this while, father role is kind of leadership role, but within family. So I won’t be surprised that the role the father played in their office life will be similar to their family life too!

  • Tom says:

    One of the lessons I have learned is take the time to let your children teach you. The satisfaction they garner by teaching Dad something new is amazing and they will work so hard to do it again.

    It is so easy to interrupt a child when they are telling you something that is a little off and turning it into a lesson from you. Instead, catch yourself and let them keep going even if they are a little off. The confidence they will gain is immeasurable.

  • Chuck says:

    This is a good start, but I’d like to include some of what Harvey Mansfield brings out in his book: Manliness, as well. The father insists on the importance of individuals (his wife, his childern, and especially himself). The father “asserts” things that are important to him, within and outside of the family: by his example his children see that the family is part of the community, the city, and the nation. I wish every father could understand the points Mansfield is asserting in Manliness.

  • kathylynn says:

    I love this. I usually read about a mother’s role int their child’s life. How refreshing to read about the importance of being a good dad!

  • This is great.

    I am going to bookmark and read this regularly…

    Thanks.

  • Fecundity says:

    This looks like wonderful advice. My only caveat is that when your stress does occassionally leak out(and I can’t imagine that anyone could be perfect at blocking it), make sure your child understands why you’re stressed, so that s/he doesn’t think it’s his or her fault.

    @Milander: I’d be very interested in your reasoning why these 7 habits wouldn’t work just as well for mothers. I know that kids will have a different relationship with their mothers than with their fathers, but I don’t see how these seven habits wouldn’t apply.

  • I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well. But it was interesting! Look for some my links:

  • I’d prefer reading in my native language, because my knowledge of your languange is no so well.

  • Adam says:

    Great post. I am awaiting my first daughter and will have to keep these ideas handy.

    My parents always fought in front of me and it affected me and my sisters. My wife and I have already agreed to never do that.

  • Robert Smith says:

    Good advice. Most of your ideas seem to point to something that I believe. Spending time with your kids is important but more important is the quality of the time spent.

  • AUSTIN says:

    This is a very Great Advise which every father should stick to.Thanks for the post.

  • Very touching and learning. Nice post. Inspired me.

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