The Words of the Orman Family

Becoming a "True" Father

Betsy Orman
June 16, 2009
Special to the Milford Weekly

This Father's Day take time to assess your fathering skills. If you think there is room for change, here are some of the best methods for self - improvement.

Pray for your kids -- Prayer sends out an invisible but clear message of love that children receive directly from our hearts. Sending spiritual support throughout the day uplifts and nourishes our children, helping them deal with any difficulty. A praying parent can stay connected to their child no matter how far the distance or how long the separation. It is one of the most powerful tools for understanding the character and mind of our child and spouse, and for keeping your family connected and together.

Communication -- Even if we have to do it by phone, postcard or email, daily communication is critical. By asking for feedback regarding our kid's day we will know when they need to vent or how we can guide them. Even when they want to hide in their room, go in at night and tuck them in, no matter what age. If we sit by their bed they will begin pouring out things about their life. If we can't be physically present make a time that you call or e-mail every night to just say, "I love you and I care."

15 minutes a day -- In our busy schedules it's hard to find time to only focus on our children. By spending 15 minutes a day with each child individually, it will transform your relationship with them. Play, cuddle, shoot hoops, read; just do whatever they want. Fathers work hard to support their children, but kids don't understand financial support. The more they actually feel love; physically, spiritually and emotionally, the less likely they will look for love in all the wrong places. Don't be afraid to hug your kids and tell them you love them no matter what age or sex.

Homework help -- Ask how you can help instead of "do you have homework?" Do they need you to type something up for them or help them work on an art project? How about math homework or help with spelling words? They can e-mail you a list, and you can test them over the phone if necessary. Don't think that even though you're out of sight you're out of their minds. Taking responsibility to parent our children, even if we can't always be physically present, helps them succeed in life.

Be a good role model -- If we don't want our kids to smoke, drink or swear, we had better give it up first. Kids see what parents are and follow that example. For kids to be unselfish, we have to model unselfish behavior. We can't model the wrong behavior then scold them when we see our own bad behavior coming out of the mouth of our five year old. Instead, apologize to them and work together to improve the attitude of the entire family. If we say, "Its okay for me but not for you," they get mixed messages. Better to give up our unhealthy or negative habits, so they can respect the example they see before them all the time.

Discipline with love -- Try not to react to anger by yelling, screaming or becoming violent and disrespectful. When our kids test our limits, the best thing to do is not respond immediately. Take ten deep breaths or sit on your hands if you have to. Walk away and think about what you are trying to teach them. Parents cannot win when responding to anger with anger. If we are silent and prayerful, they will automatically begin to listen. After they calm down we can ask questions and find out what they were really upset about. Many times they are reacting to our bad attitude. If you have abusive tendencies call someone for help and put distance between you and your kids. If we discipline children with love they will feel it and realize we are right. Later they will apologize. Never let the sun set on your anger or theirs.

Love their mother -- When a couple loves one another a spiritual element is created that is greater than the love of either parent. The parents' unity nourishes the soul of that child. If kids see fathers disrespecting their mothers, they will lose respect. Love is a verb. It takes daily effort and action. Kids need to see fathers expressing their loving hearts to their mothers. Even though they smirk inside they feel they secure, knowing that their parents love one another.

The most important way to become a "true father" is to be true to ourselves and true to our conscience. We can't be afraid to face the weaknesses within our character and take the steps necessary to change.

A child's memory of a loving father will sustain them all their lives. It will help them become trustworthy, caring and concerned parents someday. Our gift of good fatherhood will be passed on for generations and is more precious than any material thing we can provide for them. Becoming a "true parent" is not easy; it takes a lifetime of work. It is our most difficult challenge, but it's our greatest endeavor, and there is no job more important. 

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