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By Thea Theresa English

Ways you can improve yourself as a father

We hear so much about absentee or emotionally uninvolved fathers, but you don't have to be a statistic. Now is the time for you to improve yourself as a father and be the best example you can be to your children. If you didn't grow up with a father, seek counsel from other males in your life such as your older brothers, uncles, grandfather or pastor. Here are ways you can improve as a father:

Show respect to your child's mother

Even if you are no longer with your child's mother, it's important that you respect her because this teaches your child that he must respect her. Talk with her gracefully concerning the child's well-being and needs. Consider your child's mother's goals for the child and not just yours. You want to see her as a team member who is striving to provide emotional and financial stability for the child.

Be physically present often

Sure, you can provide for the child financially, but it's just as important to physically be there on a regular basis. If necessary, rearrange your weekly schedule so that there will be enough time to spend with your child. Talk to your child about which activities he likes the most, then resolve to do them on a weekly basis. Introduce your child to new venues around town. Listen actively when your child talks to you, and eliminate distractions such as your phone or TV. Show physical affection toward the child and tell him how much you care about him.

Teach important life skills

Parents are a child's first teachers, so as a father you should teach your child life skills as often as possible. These life skills include housecleaning, cooking, memorizing important phone numbers, street safety, grooming and hygiene, understanding how to relate to peers, knowing what to do in emergencies, a healthy view of sex and how to choose the right profession.

Give discipline when needed

When you are too permissive with your children, they lose respect for you and do not feel safe due to a lack of boundaries. Be clear on what you expect and why certain rules are set for them. Never discipline your children harshly or out of frustration with other issues in your life. After you discipline them, tell them why you did so and reassure them of your love.

Encourage their dreams in life

You may want your daughter to enter the military like you did, but if she feels like entering a different career field, encourage her dream. Nurture the talents you see in her and seek out ways she can express herself with them. For example, if you see that she does exceptionally well with critical thinking skills, get her into the debate club at her high school. Talk to her about potential career options that she can enter based on her interests.

Fathers are essential to a child's well-being. You can improve as a father and influence your kids in a positive way.

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