Father’s of the world, we want you to know that we appreciate you!
According to the Pew Research Center, roughly 48% of fathers feel like they aren’t doing enough. As a father, you love your children and do your best to show it–but sometimes that takes a little planning. Fathers usually spend more of their waking hours at work than they do at home with their families, so you may be longing for that elusive work/life balance everyone talks about.
Giving up a few (or many) things is perhaps the most universal and the hardest part of being a dad. For example, you trade in your relaxing after-work “zone-out time” for “zone-in time” with your family. But that ‘sacrifice’ is ultimately worth it. Babies with emotionally engaged dads show better mental development as toddlers and are less likely to have behavioral problems later on, compared to babies whose dads behave in a more detached way. Older children benefit, too. Those whose fathers, or father figures, are more emotionally supportive, tend to be more satisfied with life and have better relationships with teachers and other children. Way to go Dad!
Some dads may think that it’s mostly the big gestures that count. Like taking the whole family on an expensive vacation, buying your kid a new car when they turn 16, or working extra hours to get that next promotion so you can buy a bigger house. Though these are all great things, they’re not what matters most to your kids. Research shows that stuff doesn’t actually make kids happy, but time and experiences do. Not only that, shared experiences with loved ones stick with kids for a lifetime. It’s easy to get wrapped up in the daily routine and miss simple opportunities for meaningful connection with your kids.
Parenthood, like any other art, can never be fully mastered. Children don’t come with instruction manuals, and every day your child changes just enough to keep you on your toes – no matter how old they get.
As you fill out your Weekly Compass Card and make your daily plans, focus on creative ways that you can communicate your love for your children. Try to find something new or something your kids love that you haven’t done in a while that you can make time for this week. They’ll remember your efforts, despite your occasional mistakes, and be grateful for it.