Each year millions of dollars are allocated to government agencies to promote and support healthy marriages. Why, because the family unit is the backbone to a strong society. Children who are raised in a two parent household are more likely to do better in school, be physically healthier and have fewer brushes with the law compared to their counterparts. A mother and father have different but equally important roles in the home. When the relationship between mother and father is strong the children have an opportunity to witness cooperation, affection and self-control. For these reasons nothing can replace a sound marriage.
Every young girl needs a knight in shining armor and her father is the first to take this position. He protects her. He guides her out of trouble but most of all he is there for her. She can feel safe when her daddy is around. He becomes her ultimate hero. For teenagers fathers answer questions about boys and marriage. Fathers are honest and believe in their daughter when self-doubt sets in. When a woman strikes out on her own often the relationship with her father will remain. She can count on him to leave a care package or know he will be there as a shoulder to cry on when life gets tough. A daddy is the rock in which women can always rely on when the world is crumbling.
Over the last generation the number of single moms and dads has increased dramatically changing the makeup of many families. When men head out to the dating scene they are often smacked with the hard reality that choosing another mate is more difficult. Women can shy away from men who have children because they don’t want to be reminded that another relationship preceded them. Most women like the romantic notion of forever. They want a trustworthy man to stick it out through the highs and lows of a relationship. If a man has children he will always be connected to them. They will take his time and money. This can make a woman feel that she is playing second to a family already established. Women often have their own idea about family. For those who want children they see it as a way to connect to their husband. They want to be more than a babysitter they want to establish a family with their own legacy.
The role of a father is critical in every child’s life. But a lot of men can hold themselves to a standard that is nearly impossible to attain. If you are a dad remember to do your best. Your life experiences will help you to navigate your child. Give yourself credit even when no one else does. You know what your children need so focus on that and avoid negative comments from people who aren’t parenting your kids. By being an engaging father your children will learn to make health choices and you will be their biggest hero.
When children know how their mom and dad are going to react to any given situation it gives them a behavioral road map for their actions. If young people know their parents expect good things out of them they will strive for success. Teach your children how you make decisions. Be predicable and lead with integrity. Your children will follow.
Have you ever noticed that there are some parents that make raising children seem effortless? Their kids are well adjusted and polite. Ever wonder how that happens? Me too. On the other hand I have learned that when challenging times come up in the home I have to take a step back and focus on why I became a parent in the first place. I have to relive my story of wanting a family and the dreams of having children roam my home. By sharing these stories with my husband I find everyday challenges become manageable. I think once we realize why we do what we do, we can put our God given gifts to good use.
Good rule on this one is to be hands on with your kids while they are children. Give them structure, love and all the attention they need. Once they reach legal age hands off the parenting wheel and offer advice when they ask for it. The more you give to them as they grow up the less you will have to give them as adults. Too many times parents are manipulated by adult children either through money or attention. They can drain even the strongest parents and weaken the family bond.
How many times have your kids looked you in the face and said, “You don’t know what you’re talking about.” ? It happens. But instead of getting mad listen to what your children are saying. Often with chores, schoolwork and other responsibilities they may feel like servants and not family members. Take some time to jump in with the housework. Make it a competition. With schoolwork make it a game to see who can come up with the math answers first. When kids doubt their parents they are just asking for more participation. Lead your family. Sometimes this means going back and proving that you can get things done.
In today’s world of day care and hectic households sometimes what children need most is time with their mom and dad. Nothing says “I love you” more than spending time with your children. Consistency helps children understand that they can trust their caregivers. When children know that they can rely on their parents they are able to explore and grow without fear.
As teens grow into adults they still need encouragement and support from their parents. Although the relationship changes it is still important to bridge physical distance with compassion. Sometimes parents have to take the initiative to call, write or drop by. Creative solutions insure that family ties will remain strong.