What messages do you send your children about their father? Are you his biggest fan or his worst critic? The amount of respect your children have for their father is directly related to the amount of respect you give him while in and away from his presence. One of the best gifts we can give our children is a respect for and security in their father. Here are some things you can do (or not do) to achieve just that.
- Give your husband compliments in front of your children. These are not superficial compliments based on transient things like looks or possessions, but are based on qualities and attributes. You can say things like, “You are such a hard worker. You give everything you do 100%.”
- Thank your husband. Appreciate the things he does. Even if in your mind it is not enough, recognize him for the things he does. He will appreciate it as will your children.
- Talk about him behind his back. Talk to your children when your husband is not around in a positive light. You can say things like, “Daddy is so much fun, don’t you think? We are so blessed to have a Daddy who loves to play and laugh with us.”
- Don’t fight in front of the children. There is nothing scarier for a child to see two people he loves demonstrating great levels of anger at each other. This is not to say that you cannot disagree. They need to see that two people can disagree and resolve issues in a way where feelings are not hurt or damaged. They need you to model how to “fight fair.”
- Watch what you say. A hushed phone call or a quiet word with a friend in a corner may seem out of range of your children’s hearing, but be careful. Some children are oblivious, but some are very perceptive and these types of conversations will do nothing but increase the acuity of their emotional antennae. This is not to suggest that you should put on a happy face and present to the world that all in fine when it is not. Just use your judgment when you are seeking the support of a friend.
As we honor Dads this month, let’s agree to make the effort to honor him in good times and in bad.