I find Derek’s blog very inspirational and I love his writing. He talks about attachment, natural parenting, co-sleeping, natural living and so much more. Please visit his site and enjoy reading his awesome stuff!
Today I would like to share his post about 100 Ways to Be a Better Father. I agree with most of the points Derek has made. But when he talks about praise, I see that issue in a different way and refer to Alfie Kohn’s work on ‘Unconditional Parenting’. Have a read yourself and enjoy!
Fatherhood: 100 Ways to be a Better Father
Fatherhood is a tricky proposition. We all want to be great dads, but chances are, our fathers never sat down with us and taught us how to be one.
And we don’t necessarily want to be our fathers. I mean, we want to emulate their positive influence on us, but we also want to do it our own way. And because children tend to spend more of their time with their mother, not being the greatest dad ever isn’t as obvious. No matter who we are, though, we can always improve our relationship with our kids and our spouse, and we can redefine the meaning of fatherhood each and every day.
There’s not as big of a movement toward better ‘fathering’ as there is toward better mothering. No big fancy fatherhood magazines, no Oprah for dads, no real exchange of fatherhood improvement programs. There’s just Natural Papa. (I’m kidding. There’s a bunch of great dad blogs out there.)
I’m a crappy dad sometimes, yet I hope that I’m always learning how to be a better father, so I felt moved to put some of my thoughts on fatherhood down in words to share with you.
I read a post called ‘Tackle Any Issue With a List of 100′, by Luciano Passuello, a couple of weeks ago, and then later I came across ’100 Ways To Live A Better Life, by Dragos, which was inspired by ’100 Ways to Be a Better Leader’, by Mike King, which was inspired by ’100 Ways To Show Boldness’, by Armen, which was originally inspired by… You guessed it, Luciano’s post about lists of 100. Whew. Got that straight?
Anyway, after reading those, I thought I would format my ideas on fatherhood into my own list of 100. If you have something to add, I’d love a comment about it.
100 Ways to be a Better Father
- Be present with your children.
- Heap lavish amounts of praise on your kids.
- Focus on the positive when speaking to your children.
- Say I love you. A lot.
- Don’t be afraid to show your emotions to your family.
- Work on improving your relationship with your wife or partner.
- Take time out from work for family time.
- Laugh at yourself. All the time.
- Listen to your kids with all of your attention.
- Learn new things by teaching your children about them.
- Start a personal journal.
- Hold your kids accountable for their actions and words, but don’t use punishment to teach..
- Leave your watch and daytimer on your desk sometimes.
- Make a meal for your family.
- Do something wacky and unpredictable in front of your kids.
- Spend some time one-on-one with your child.
- Get moving. Have a fitness plan in place and get your kids to join in.
- Take more walks, and leave the car at home.
- Fall in love with your wife. Again.
- Admit you’re wrong when you are.
- Forgive your dad for any grudges you hold against him.
- Teach a new dad what you’ve learned so far.
- Take time for yourself, so you can bring that sense of fulfillment with you to the family.
- Remember what you hated to hear from your parents as a kid and vow to be different.
- Read out loud to your children.
- Leave your work issues at your job. Don’t dump on your kids because your day was bad.
- Drop your change in a jar each day. When full, open a savings account for your child.
- Once in a while, ask your kids what you can do better. Then do it better.
- Hugs and kisses are golden. Be generous.
- Let your kids make their own choices.
- Get out in nature with the family.
- Count to 10 before you react to your children’s actions.
- Remember that kids mirror our actions, so watch what you say to or around them.
- Parenting is a shared responsibility. Jump in and do something mom normally does.
- Learn from your elders – ask them what they’ve learned as fathers.
- When a child does something not so nice, separate their actions from them in your mind. A child is never bad, even though their actions may be.
- The next time you feel like giving up on something, do it anyway and use it as a teaching moment.
- Remember that everyone is somebody’s child.
- Listen to yourself. Do you sound like your dad? Is that a good thing?
- Give yourself a break. I haven’t met a father yet who doesn’t make mistakes.
- Unplug the TV and pretend it’s broken once in a while. Or hide it.
- Go with your child to school once in a while. Meet the teacher and ask how you can help.
- Make your health and fitness a priority so you’ll be around for your kids for a long time.
- Teach the value of service to others by volunteering in your neighborhood, church, or school.
- Write love notes and leave them for your kids to find.
- Read a book about fatherhood.
- Write a book about fatherhood.
- Make some snacks for the kids as a surprise.
- Speak as one with your wife, so your kids don’t play you off on one another.
- Do you say yes all the time? Use no when you mean it, even if they don’t like it.
- Do you say no all the time? Say yes once in a while.
- Snuggle with your kids.
- Show your wife respect always. Make sure your kids do also.
- Take the time to really explain things to your children. Don’t just say “because I said so.”
- Ask for help if you need it. Don’t suffer from excess pride.
- Accept who you are, but don’t settle. Strive to improve yourself every day.
- Smile at your children and your partner.
- Make amends when you’re wrong or grumpy or harsh with your kids.
- Periodically assess your life and change course if needed. Don’t be unhappy just because you think you can’t change.
- Take a class or learn a new skill with your kids.
- Act as if you’re the best dad ever.
- Imagine you’ve only got one week left to live. How would you treat your kids? What’s stopping you from doing that right now?
- Let your kids see you cry.
- Explore every park in your town.
- Once in a while, take a day off just because, and spend it with your family.
- Find out about your family history and start sharing it with your kids.
- Give high fives for each tiny accomplishment they make.
- Get out of debt as quick as you can, and teach your kids about the value of being debt-free.
- Take a big leap when you see an opportunity, and show your children about trust, faith, and the virtue of following your dreams.
- Get down on their level and try to see things as they do. Chances are, you’ve forgotten what it’s like.
- Learn some really corny kid jokes and use them often.
- Hold a family meeting and get your kid’s input on important decisions.
- Don’t just give your kids the answers to questions. Show them how to find the answers.
- Remember, they’re never too old for piggyback rides.
- Have patience with your children. Don’t expect them to be perfect.
- Don’t insist on conformity. Let your kids follow their dreams, not yours.
- Hold their hands, literally.
- Remember to let your children save face. Embarrassing them in front of their friends is not cool.
- Keep your relationship issues between you and your wife. Don’t let your kids take on all your crap.
- When your children were babies, you gushed over them. Do the same thing for them now.
- Don’t gossip around your kids.
- Stand up for the weak, the oppressed, the underdog.
- Grow a beard. (Actually, I just put that in to see if you were paying attention.)
- Take your child to work with you and explain what you do for a living.
- Make something by hand with them. Don’t worry about perfection, just enjoy the process.
- Once in a while, give them a “get out of jail free” card.
- Tell your children how much they mean to you.
- Follow through on your promises to them.
- Give your kids responsibilities.
- Speak to your children as your equals. Give them the respect you ask for.
- Plan surprises for them and keep them guessing.
- When speaking to other adults, act as if your kids were listening.
- Play games with your children. Let them win sometimes, but don’t make it obvious or easy.
- Before you walk in the door from work, take some deep breaths and leave your work outside.
- Give mom the day off once in a while, and get the kids to help you pamper her.
- Be generous with your time, your energy, and your money. Give freely to those in need.
- Cultivate your fatherhood Superpowers.
- Don’t let other adults get away with unacceptable behavior around your kids.
- Remember the Golden Rule. It does apply to your children as well.
- Find your center and define what truly matters to you. Make that your inner retreat when life throws you a curve ball, and share that with your kids.
What have I missed? Please leave a comment with your addition to this list.
Personal, Parenting and Natural Living Bio:
I’m a husband, a father, and a carrier of things.
I think peanut butter on anything is great.
I love big mountains and little kids, ’cause they make me smile, and I drink a double americano almost every day.
I’m a nature boy, a tree-hugging dirt-worshiper. I try to live with reverence for our web of life.
I like big trees and large boulders, cold mountain streams and redrock desert, the smell of pinyon and sage. I’d rather be sitting in a canoe in the wilderness than the backseat of a Rolls Royce.
(As long as the canoe had an espresso machine and a wireless connection…)
Things I dig include: simple living, natural fatherhood, attachment parenting, natural building, unassisted childbirth (homebirth), bicycles, composting (sawdust) toilets, organic and biodynamic gardening, vegan peanut butter cookies with chocolate chips, bouldering, and the blues.
In my life I’ve been a factory worker, a farmer, a grocery clerk, a handyman and jack of all trades. I’ve worked at fast food joints and car washes, for temp agencies and day labor hire, for moving companies and landscapers. I’ve driven forklifts and bobcats, and I’ve installed solar panels and sold fruit at the farmers market. I spent 10 years in the natural foods industry, most recently as the general manager of a natural foods co-op.
I support local food production and am a regular at the farmers market and our local food co-op. The dream of a sustainable homestead is still alive for us, and our self-sufficient zero-energy input green home is being planned. Our permaculture oasis is a sustainable small-scale village. Single-speed bicycles, drumming, and DIY anything can really make me grin.