There’s nothing like a good father-and-son relationship. As boys grow up, there will be many influences to his development to adulthood, and as a father, you should be his most important role model. Your son needs you. A good father ensures that he’s giving his son the fundamental things he needs.
Having a son you can raise up to be a good man is one of the greatest privileges a man can have in this life. So if you have a boy, seize the opportunity to give them what they need – and we’re not just talking about monetary provision and material things.
There are already too many fathers in the world who do not give the emotional and relational needs of their children because they don’t know how. Some just let the mom fill those things because they think their spouses or partners should give them, and sadly, some doesn’t even bother. But you are here, reading and trying to become a good father, read on to know what your son needs from you.
1. Unconditional love and acceptance
When we think about a nurturing and loving person, most people think about their moms. But there’s nothing like a fatherly love. Conventional wisdom and society dictates that nurturing is primarily a mom’s job, but the root meaning of “nurture” is “to protect,” and that’s something dads are great with.
Let your boys know that they matter to you more than work, more than sports, more than money. There are a lot of things that can make sons think that “Dad doesn’t care,” so it’s crucial to assure them that you love them and you care for them. If they are still kids, it’s best to start hugging and kissing them – it may be awkward and harder to start doing when they get older. You can show your love by also taking the time to cater to their daily needs like cooking for them, playing with them, giving them baths, reading to them and so forth.
As your son gets older and he learns to make decisions on his own, he needs to be loved and accepted irrespective of his choices. It doesn’t mean you have to tolerate bad choices and mistakes – you need to assure them that you will be compassionate and understanding even if they do the wrong things. It is when a love connection is built when you can guide your children better, and they will most likely value what you say and what you tell them to do if they are secured that you love them. Your acceptance will build his self-esteem.
A great way to demonstrate love to your son is by loving his mother no matter what happens. If you are married to his mother, be sincerely loving to her, whatever situations may arise. Always remain at her side to support her and value her as your better half. This will help set the foundation for your son on how to treat his mother, his sisters and all the women that he will meet later in life. If you are divorced or separated to his mother, treat her with respect. Divorce and separation can already be difficult for the kids and can cause character problems later in life, but when he sees that his dad is respectful to his mother, he can still have a good role model.
2. Your presence
Spend time with your child. Play with them, ask them about their day, and talk to them. Dads can easily get so busy with work, business and other things in life, and this is why a lot of children grew up with an absentee dad. This leads a child to crave connection and a father figure, which may lead them to be wrongly guided. Though they work hard to provide for the child, it is still crucial for your child to feel your presence in his life. This way, you will avoid conflicts and resentment from your son later in life.
Be your child’s friend. Sometimes, a boy may not feel comfortable discussing certain things with his mom. A son needs a male buddy, and who can be best to be his buddy than you? If you are not present, then he will go out and try to find answers from friends, from peers, from the Internet and more – and he can end up trying out and learning bad things. If you are present as his friend, you can avoid having an unruly son.
All men have that innate need to be affirmed by his father. Guys love to be praised. Affirming words like “I’m proud of you, son.” “I love you.” “You are amazing.” “I believe in you.” “I know you can do it.” “Good job!” works wonders. Take note of their good traits and let them know you recognize it. These affirming words prepares your son to enter the world with confidence and belief in his potentials. Mothers may talk a lot, but these few encouraging words from you can mean the world to your son.
Take interest in his schoolwork, hobbies, passions and anything he likes to do, and tell him you are pleased with his works. You may not have the same interests, you may not understand why your son likes to do certain things (and it may frustrate you for a bit), but if your son knows you that you love him and support him no matter what, he will grow into a man with great potentials.
The objective of affirmation is meeting your son at a particular point of need and connecting with him heart to heart.
Your son is going to make mistakes, just like when you were a kid and just like you do now. He needs a father who will guide him to make better decisions and better choices in life, so disciplining your son is very important. When you discipline you set healthy expectations and boundaries. But he needs to know that there will be consequences to his actions. Disciplining your son will help him think and evaluate decisions before actually making it. Be forgiving and accepting to your child when he does something bad and disappointing, but encourage him with compassion not to do it again. A disciplined child becomes a good-mannered citizen.
5. How to overcome failures
You are not perfect and you don’t have to try to be perfect for your children. Don’t try to hide your failures from your son. Learn how to handle your failure well and rise from it. This will teach your son valuable life lessons. One day, he won’t remember very much why you failed – what he will remember is the way you accepted your weakness or flaw and overcame the phase. Giving an impression that you are “perfect” can place unnecessary stress and pressure to your son, as he will grow up trying to live up to your “standards.”
Teach your son early on that life isn’t always perfect and it’s okay to make mistakes. So if they fail at academics, sports or any sphere in his life, he won’t be taunted and afraid to face you. It is in these low moments where they need the understanding and encouragement of a father, the same way the need their mothers to understand and emphasize.
No one likes to fail, but if you do, your failures can serve as a life lesson to your child. This way, you can inspire your son to not be afraid to take risks or level up in life because he knows he can also conquer challenges, just like his dad.