Your child wants to respect you. As a dad, you have the opportunity to shape a life, and for some dads, that’s a scary thought. Dads sell themselves short when they shy away from parenting. All parents need practice to parent well. Give yourself a chance to practice, and if you do it wrong, your child will let you know. Children are amazingly forgiving, and if you are trying your hardest to parent well, they know that. Here are two things you can do to earn your child’s respect:
- Show your child a man who is worthy of respect. Your child watches everything you do. Your child will learn to react to frustration the same way that you do; he will value optimism or cynicism the same way you do, and he will treat others the way you do. You don’t need to be a super-hero to earn the respect of a child, but you do have to be genuine and kind. Teach your child about teamwork and respect. If you’re not sure what to say about a given topic, find a book and read it together. Not only are you a dad, but you are a teacher, too.
- If you make a mistake, admit it. Don’t be too proud to admit that you overreacted or that you wish you had handled a situation differently. All parents make mistakes, and it doesn’t discredit you at all if you admit it. Explain briefly to your child the mistake you made in your parenting, and then explain how the situation will be corrected. Say, “Everyone makes mistakes, and I made one. I’m sorry. I have learned from it, and I’ll do my very best to not make that mistake again.” Your child isn’t keeping a tally of your mistakes. If anything, she is keeping track of the times you were there for her, to give her a hug, a pep talk, or a tissue to dry her tears.
Now, go get ‘em, Dad. Happy Fathers Day.