One task every father should do

Dividing up responsibilities between mother and father when our kids are young can be a daunting task.

But it turns out that there’s one duty I, as a father, should always take on, according to science, no less: the bedtime story.

Kids who are read to by dad, according to a study by Harvard University researchers, have better-developed language skills than kids who were read to by mom. So, if families have a choice—meaning the father is in the picture and present in the household—dad should take on the nightly bedtime story.

Let’s face it. Most dads interact with their kids differently than mothers and those differences can be hugely beneficial—dads roughhousing with kids, for example, helps children sync physical action and mental concentration and helps them learn to regulate themselves.

So Dads, let’s read to our kids!

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How do I love thee, my child…

That’s a strange question, but one that every parent needs to be able to answer.  Sure, your kids know you love them, but they also want to know why you love them.  They need to know that you don’t love them because they get good grades, because they’re a star athlete, or because they’re super talented.  They need to know that you do love them for who they are…an incredible creation with infinite value, dignity and worth.  So, hold your child close and say, “I love you just because you’re you!”  and let them know that your love is forever and doesn’t have any strings attached.  Say it often.  Say it sincerely.

Dating your daughter

Dads – if you want to do something really special for your daughter, take her on a date!  It will be a great way to show her you love her and give her an idea of how she should be treated once those dreaded teenage boys start showing up at your door.  Dates do not have to be expensive – it is actually better if they aren’t, but they should allow you to spend time with your daughter and express to her how much you value and love her.

Asking questions

One of the best ways to learn about your kids is for you and your children to ask each other open-ended questions.

Do your children know:

– The name of your first pet and how you got him?

– Your favorite food when you were growing up?

– What your first job was?

Do you know your children’s:

– Favorite holiday memory?

– Dream vacation spot?

– The celebrity they’d most like to meet?

These are good questions to ask around the dinner table tonight.  Find out what is going on in your child’s life and ask them about it!

When you feel like you are in an emotional fog

You can’t see where you are going; you’ve lost your vision. Maybe you’ve lost your vision for your marriage. The road you were heading down with your spouse was suddenly engulfed by an affair, illness, cancer, or an addiction.  You once could see a bright future for your child, but the light has dimmed because of rebellion, drugs, or sickness.   So, what can you do?  First, pull over. Stop what you are doing for a few hours or maybe even get away for several days to clear your mind. Second, be patient. Wait until the fog clears. You can’t control everything – but you can speak with the One who can…

The curse of cursing

According to a report in the U.K.’s Daily Mail, one school in the town of Wellingborough is allowing pupils to swear at teachers, providing they only do so no more than five times a class.  A tally of how much cursing is used will be kept and if the class exceeds the limit, they will be “spoken” to, the newspaper reported.  As pathetic as that school policy may be, it’s even sadder that children come from a home that would tolerate this level of disrespect.  Do not allow cursing from your kids.  Start by watching your own mouth and what is coming through TV and movies. Make your home a safe haven, free from damaging and abusive words.

Leading at home

It’s tough to lead at the office. You have constant HR headaches, cash flow issues, and operational problems, just to name a few. But it’s a lot tougher to lead at home.  Why? First, you can’t fire your children. You’re a parent forever, no matter what your children say or do. Second, there is no paid or unpaid time off. You are always on the job, 24/7, doing their laundry, helping with homework, carpooling them to school, practice and games. Third, there are no salaries, bonuses or raises. As a parent, you are more like a constant ATM.  So what do you do?  You keep leading and praying for wisdom each day.  It is a daily thing, not a once-in-a-while thing.