Kids need dads, too

Father’s Day is this Sunday. While honoring the fathers in your own life, remember to take this opportunity to hone your own fathering skills.

Children form secure attachments with their fathers just as they do with their mothers. When kids grow up without a nurturing father, they are more likely to live in poverty, develop emotional problems, have difficulty in school and engage in risky behaviors.

The best way fathers can nurture relationships is by spending quality time with their kids everyday. The length of time spent with a child is not as important as the quality of the activity. Developing a good relationship with your child does not mean you have to set aside a lot of time or money. Instead, focus on making the most of the time you do spend with your child. Simple activities, such as reading a book or playing catch, can make a big difference.

What dads can do:

  • Learn about child development. When you learn about what is normal and age-appropriate behavior for your child, you will have more realistic expectations.
  • Practice appropriate discipline with your child. Discipline should be age-focused and should teach age-appropriate behaviors. When your child has done something wrong, think about what you want him or her to learn from this mistake. Approach discipline with this goal in mind.
  • Become involved in your child’s daily activities. Talk to your child about what is happening at school and take part in his or her after-school activities. Take time to listen to your child.
  • Kids learn from the things we do, so lead by example. Always speak respectfully to your child and model behavior you would like to see. Your child learns from your example.
  • Praise your child. When a child says or does something that doesn’t make you happy, calmly point out the behavior and show or tell the child how he or she can do or say things differently. Praise the child when he or she has shown the kind of self-control and positive behavior you want to see.

Most of all, remember to have a happy Father’s Day. You’ve earned it, Dad!

– Samantha Laskowski, program coordinator, Prevent Child Abuse Wisconsin

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