Recently, Professor Geoffrey Greif of the University of Maryland School of Social Work released an article that offered ten tips for being a good father. These advice points were used in a therapy program Dr. Greif spoke at. He said that some tips came from him, but others were inspired by some of the fathers in his audience. Here are a few of our favorite points from Dr. Greif’s advice:
1. Children need Structure. Structure includes consistency, reliability, and meeting expectations. Children need to know what time dinner will be, what time bedtime will be, what the rules are for homework, and what the rules are for playing outside. We can be flexible occasionally, but children need parents to set the structure and stick to it.
2. The way we treat women and our daughters teaches them what they can expect from men in their lives, and it teaches sons how to treat women. Treating the mother of our child with respect, even if we disagree with her behavior or her lifestyle, is a way of treating our child with respect
3. We fathers must role model taking care of ourselves and making healthy choices. If we get to a good place ourselves with all we do, we can get to a good place with our children and set expectations for them. We have to walk the walk before we can talk the talk.
4. Find good friends. People with friends live longer, healthier, happier lives. Find good men who are taking care of themselves and keeping their commitments. Being a friend means being understanding, loyal, dependable, and trustworthy – these are also good attributes for fathers.
5. No matter where we are and what our situation is, our children need to hear from us and know that we care. If we feel ashamed of our situation or ashamed of something we have said or done, avoiding our children will not make it better. Being a man and a parent means being able to deal with what comes our way.