MAN STUFF: 18 Ways to be a Killer Dad

AOM- What follows are the fatherhood tips I wish they’d passed out to me upon the delivery of my first child. It would have helped a ton. I hope they’ll help you become an even more awesome dad than you already are — feel free to refer back to them as a cheat sheet, anytime you need some help.

  1. Cherish your time with them. One thing that will amaze you is how quickly the years will fly.
  2. It gets easier. Others may have different experiences, but I’ve always found the first couple of months the most difficult, when the baby is brand new and wants to feed at all hours of the night and you often have sleepless nights and walk around all day like zombies.
  3. Don’t look at anything as “mom” duties — share responsibilities. While there are a lot of good things from our grandparents’ day that we should bring back, the traditional dad/mom split of parenting duties isn’t one of them.
  4. Love conquers all. This one sounds corny, but it should be at the center of your dad operating philosophy: above all, show your children love.
  5. Kids like making decisions. Teach your child to make decisions, and he’ll grow up much more capable — and happier.
  6. A little patience goes a long way. As a parent, I know as well as anyone how easy it is to lose your patience and temper.
  7. Sense of humor required. There will be times when your child does something that might make you blow your lid — stay cool.  Try to laugh it off.
  8. Read to them, often. Whether you’re a reader or not, reading to your children (from the time they’re babies onward) is crucial.
  9. Don’t be the absent dad. The biggest mistake that dads make are not being there for their children.
  10. Let them play. Kids really develop through playing — and while it might seem obvious, you should allow them as much free play as possible.
  11. Spark their imagination. Free play, mentioned above, is the best way to develop the imagination, but sometimes you can provide a little spark.
  12. Limit TV and video games. I’m not saying you have to be Amish or anything, but too much of this type of entertainment keeps them from doing more imaginative playing, from reading, from getting outside to exercise.
  13. Learn the “firm no”. While I’m all for giving kids the freedom to choose, and for free play, and lots of other freedoms, there should be limits.
  14. Model good behavior. It’s one thing to tell you child what she should do, but to say one thing and do another just ruins the message.
  15. Treat their mother with respect, always. Some fathers can be abusive toward their spouse, and that will lead to a cycle of abuse when the child grows up.
  16. Let them be themselves. Many parents try to mold their child into the person they want their child to be … even if the child’s personality doesn’t fit that mold.
  17. Teach them independence. From an early age, teach your children to do things for themselves, gradually letting them be more independent as they grow older.
  18. Stand together with mom. It’s no good to have one parent say one thing, just to have the other contradict that parent.

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