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How can I be a Great Dad?

Posted on 16 April 2015

With governmental changes to Shared Parental Leave there is a greater emphasis on fathers and the role that they play than ever before.  However, with the pressures of work, being a father and having the time to engage with your children is not an easy task. 

What makes a great Dad?
A great Dad is a dad that makes their children feel loved – whatever the circumstances.  All Dads are fundamentally important to their children, even if they no longer live with them.

What does a great Dad look like?
A great Dad like a great Mum helps provide for his child and spends time with them, takes them out, visits their schools, looks after them at home, talks and reads with them.  But above all helps them feel safe, competent and loved.  

Great dads can lose their cool like any parent. But, on the whole, they keep their tempers and set reasonable and clear boundaries.  They know that within their families they are modelling half the world’s population – the male sex – showing (not telling) boys how to be good men, and girls how a good man will treat them.

Father, like Mother, is one of the two people in the world most likely to love their child madly and stay loyal to them for life.  Even men who rarely see their children usually think about them a lot. And disadvantaged dads love their children just as much as more skilled or confident fathers.

Being a great Dad is important
Research shows that good fathering helps develop:

  • Better friendships
  • Fewer behavioural problems
  • Better results at school
  • Higher self-esteem and life-satisfaction
  • Lower change of becoming criminals or abusing drugs
  • More satisfying adult relationships

How can you be a great Dad if your children don’t live with you?
You want to be a great dad and this is a great place to start.  Just because you don’t see your children every day does not mean that you cannot have a great relationship with them and be a great dad.  You can keep in touch with them while they are not with you through phone calls, emails SKYPE or letters and when you are together make the most of that time.  You will want to do exciting and fun things with them when they are with you but make sure you spend time just hanging out, doing stuff together and chatting as the need arises. Just being there means you are passing on all sorts of things to your children and whether it’s by text, phone or email you are staying informed and being there for your children when they need you.

You can make a difference
The most important thing a father can give their children is self-esteem, according to Adrienne Burgess, author of Fatherhood Reclaimed: The Making of the Modern Father.

"The more time fathers spend with their children, the greater their impact.  It's called the “dose effect" says Burgess, "the more dads interact with their kids, the more of an influence they are".

A dad’s role has become more important than ever in helping his child to achieve their potential, and your involvement in your child’s learning will make a big impact on his or her life.  A little bit of praise from Dad can do wonders for their motivation to learn and do well at school. 

It is important to maintain your focus on their schoolwork and other activities.  One of the biggest contributions you can make to your child’s educational and personal development is to read with them regularly.  Most children love being read to at any time of the day so don’t worry if you are not around during the week to read at bedtime and if your children have gone past this stage, just staying engaged in their subjects and whatever they are up to at school can be hugely beneficial.

Article by Zoe Sinclair from Employee Matters.  The views are the author’s own.