Father Nature: How to be a Super Dad without Having to be Super Dad

by Mark J. Stevens
  
Being a loving and caring father and husband is the key to raising healthy, happy children. But even if your heart is with your family, there are always ways to improve – to go above and beyond for your kids. Here are eight helpful tips to become a Super Dad:
 
1) Be yourself: You don’t have to show off or be something you are not. To be a super dad, lead by example. Children love to imitate. Not only do they copy the way you swim and paint, they also observe very precisely your daily attitude and how you treat family, friends, and strangers. You therefore influence your children immensely—for better or for worse.
 
2) Be friendly: So be aware of how you treat others. Create loving surroundings for your children by being friendly and patient. Don’t bring your problems home from work. It is especially important to be friendly and patient with our own family. This will create a nice atmosphere in your home.
 
3) Be accepting: Don’t expect too much from your children. Give them your love and support and give their creativity a chance. Don’t live through your children. Let them decide which hobbies or sports they like to pursue and show them that you love them all the same. If they fall, catch them. If they stray from their path, give them a nudge in the right direction.
 
4) Set guidelines: That surely doesn’t mean you should always let your children do what they want. You and your wife should work in harmony to set the rules. This will create a harmonious environment. Your children will ask you on occasion why they have to do their math homework or go to bed at 8:30 p.m. If you and your wife are synchronized, the children will quickly sense that you are setting the rules in their own interest.
 
5) Get your child involved: Make up games as you go. If your child does not eat well, name a color and ask her what she saw today with that color. Tell her to take a bite after each answer and then the game can continue. Pretend cook with her and also let her get involved in the real cooking process. Let her wash the tomatoes. Praise her during dinner for having helped out. Those tomatoes will taste that much better to her.
 
6) Allow for playtime: When your children complete their homework (or phase one thereof) and chores, it’s time to play! Stop worrying and let the child in you run free, Dad. Break down the barriers between the generations. Life is not always a serious matter. Jump around. Be a fun dad. Let your children ride on your choo-choo train or horsey-back or kick the ball around. Don’t be afraid to get dirty with your children in the sandbox. You were not born in a museum, Dad!
 
7) Talk about things: Talk to your children about the day or the week, or simply about whatever is on their minds. Compare notes with your wife. It is important to know what our children are thinking before we can truly understand them and build that one-of-a-kind father-child relationship you both want and deserve.
 
8) Spend quality time: Mom and Dad have different characters and therefore different roles. Children need role models. They closely inspect both how people treat each other and how they go about their lives. Nobody is closer to them than Mom and Dad. If Dad takes time to speak openly with Mom and helps find ways to work together as a team, children learn the principles of cooperation and harmony. It is only through cooperation and harmony that we can make quality time for our kids, despite a hectic work schedule. This quality time that you as a role model Dad spend with your children strengthens them emotionally, gives you a feeling of accomplishing something bigger in life than anything else, and, most of all, leads to wonderful, lasting father-child relationships and a strong family foundation that that stands up to the strongest of winds. Only you can be the dad your children need and love and strengthen Mom to be the mom they need and love.

About the Author:
Mark Stevens, author of Luisa's Nature (Wyatt MacKenzie Publishing, Spring 2008), is a journalist for Crain's Automotive News Europe. Fluent in French, Spanish and German, Mark has enjoyed extensive world travel throughout much of his life. Shaped by the rural New Jersey setting of his youth, Mark continues to explore the richness of nature with his wife and two children on the outskirts of Munich, Germany. For more information visit www.luisasnature.com.