To the Dads

By Anne Peters, LMFT

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads, step-dads, grandpas, uncles, and all the men who stand in as a father figure! Another year, another day to celebrate you. The role of a father has changed through generations, but what differentiates between a father and a dad? What does it mean to fill the role of a dad?

1. What I would consider the most important part of filling that dad role is simply showing up. Spend time with your child. One of the easiest ways to show your love and dedication to your child is to simply be there. Easy enough, right?

2. Be involved! Whether your child has matching interests with you or completely different, get involved. Use this opportunity to bond over a common interest OR learn about something new. It feels so good for children to know they are supported and it feels really good for you, too.

3. What is better than having a role model that you can also call “Dad?” Use your position as a parent to your greatest advantage and set the best example you can for your child. This does not mean avoiding mistakes – that’s impossible! It means make those mistakes and teach your child resilience.

4. Be interested in your child. No matter their age – learn their friend’s names, know their taste in music, and truly get to know their interests.

5. I encourage a positive relationship across the board, and this includes appropriate boundaries and consequences. As Dr. Daniel Siegel states in The Whole Brain Child, “Too often we forget that discipline really means to teach, not to punish. A disciple is a student, not a recipient of behavioral consequences.”

6. Finally, the answer is love. Love yourself, love your child, and love your relationship.

Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! This day is for you.

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