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10 Ways To Be a Better Dad*
(10 Things Every Father Needs to Know... and Do!)

Congratulations! You've just taken one of the most important steps in becoming a good father - wanting to become a good father. Today, more and more fathers like you are experiencing the satisfaction and reward of taking a more active role in the lives of their children. Read on and discover how 10 simple things you can begin to do immediately can have a dramatic effect in your parent-child relationship... and in your child's future, too.

The National Fatherhood Initiative is committed to helping improve the lives of children by encouraging all fathers to be involved, responsible, and committed in their children's lives. We are encouraged that you have demonstrated your interest in making this goal a priority in your life, because we know that fathers change the world, one child at a time!

So, take a few moments to read the following suggestions and think about practical ways you can start to make a difference in your own children's lives. You'll be glad you did. Your children will be, too!

  1. Respect Your Children's Mother

    One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you are married, keep your marriage strong and vital. If you're not married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children. A father and mother who respect each other, and let their children know it, provide a secure environment for them. When children see their parents respecting each other, they ar emore likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected.

  2. Spend Time With Your Children

    How a father spends his time tells his children what's important to him. If you always seem too busy for your children, they will feel neglected no matter what you say. Treasuring children often means sacrificing other things, but it is essential to spend time with your children. Kids grow up quickly. Missed opportunities are lost forever.

  3. Earn The Right To Be Heard

    All too often the only time a father speaks to his children is when they have done something wrong. That's why so many children cringe when their mother says, "Your father wants to talk with you." Begin talking with your kids when they are young so that difficult subjects will be easier to handle as they get older. Take time and listen to their ideas and problems.

  4. Discipline With Love

    All children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment, but to set reasonable limits. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and provide meaningful rewards for desirable behavior. Fathers who discipline in a calm and fair manner show love for their children.

  5. Be a Role Model

    Fathers are role models to their kids, whether they realize it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect by boys, and what to look for in a husband. Fathers can teach sons what is important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility.

  6. Be a Teacher

    Too many fathers think teaching is something others do. But a father who teaches his children about right and wrong, and encourages them to their best, will see his children make good choices. Involved fathers use everyday examples to help their children learn the basic lessons of life.

  7. Eat Together As a Family

    Sharing a meal together (breakfast, lunch or dinner) can be an important part of healthy family life. In addition to providing some structure in a busy day, it gives kids the chance to talk about what they are doing and want to do. It is also a good time for fathers to listen and give advice. most importantly, it is a time for families to be together each day.

  8. Read To Your Children

    In a world where television often dominates the lives of children, it is important that fathers make an effort to read to their children. Children learn best by doing and reading, as well as seeing and hearing. Begin reading to your children when they are very young. When they are older, encourage them to read on their own. Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth.

  9. Show Affection

    Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted, accepted and loved by their family. Parents, especially fathers, need to feel both comfortable and willing to hug their children. Showing affection every day is the best way to let your children know that you love them.

  10. Realize That a Father's Job Is Never Done

    Even after children are grown and ready to leave home, they will still look to their fathers for wisdom and advice. Whether it's continued schooling, a new job or a wedding, fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they grow and, perhaps, marry and build their own families.

* These tips are product and publication of National Father Initiative can found and purchased in brochure style at Fatherhood.org.

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101 Fathers and Father-figures speak

1. Name: Bill Monning

2. Occupation: California State Assembly member

3. How many children do you have or you are father-figure for? 2 daughters

4. What does fatherhood mean to you? Fatherhood represents one of life's greatest joys and one of life's most humbling responsibilities. I feel incredibly fortunate to have 2, healthy, adult daughters with whom I enjoy a very close and mutually supportive relationship.

5. What is the best part of being a father or father figure? The joy of watching a child grow from infancy and dependence to adulthood and independence.

6. What is the challenging part of being a father or father figure? Realizing that a father or father figure is a role model 24/7 - all the time. As human beings we manifest our frailties and it is important that children see how we deal with disappointment, challenges, loss, and life as well as how we display love, joy, and the fulfillment in giving to others.

7. What advice do you have for fathers or father figures in our community? Realize that you have not only a tremendous responsibility, but also a gift to teach and learn from your children. By being mindful of presenting a strong role model, children can help us to become better individuals and better members of our communities.

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