Let’s face it: being a dad can be one of the most fulfilling experiences in life. However, at the same time, it’s never a walk in the park. It can be challenging to take care of kids and keep them healthy, well-fed, safe, and loved, while also ensuring that you nurture them in just the right way. If you are a dad who worries about doing everything right when raising your kids, fear not. It’s normal to make mistakes. However, what’s important is to recognize those mistakes and learn to correct them as you go. Read on to learn more about 10 common mistakes that dad make, so you can avoid them while you raise your little people into successful adults.
1) Avoiding Vulnerability
You may think you need to always seem tough for your kids. It can make you put up a tough shell for your exterior. In reality, however, kids do better when they see their dad model vulnerability, showing them that it’s okay for males to have emotions. By being vulnerable with your kids, you can encourage them to embrace their feelings and understand that their whole range of emotions is okay.
2) Being the Fun Parent
Dads may be tempted to make mom the nurturing, hardworking parent, and they may try to be the parent who always provides the good time. However, both parents should share the parenting work equally, and both should show kids what it’s like to have fun. Trying to be the fun parent can cause an uneven relationship between your kids and you and your kids and their other parent, when kids should see you as equal parts in their upbringing. (Also, this can cause resentment from the other parental figure).
3) Acting Like You Know It All
Sure, you have some idea about how to be a dad — maybe from having a dad, or from seeing friend’s dads. But, it’s okay if you don’t have all of the answers and you need to ask for help. Don’t pretend you know the answers about parenting when you really have no idea. Ask your dad, a peer that is a dad, a mentor, or even consult a book. Acting like you know it all can stress you out and model false bravado for your little ones.
4) Protecting Kids From Consequences
Nobody wants to see their kids suffer. However, when your kid does something wrong, you should let him or her suffer the consequences, rather than remove the consequences for them. For example, if your kid forgets to do a project to the last minute, you should let him or her get the bad grade, rather than rushing to do the project for them. The dad’s instinct is to rescue, but by doing so, you allow your kid to skip out on a really important life lessons.
5) Letting Mom Read to the Kids
You may think of reading as an activity that moms do with kids, while you play ball with them. In reality, it’s important for kids to have both moms and dads read to them. Being read to is a key step to helping children develop language skills. Also, studies show that moms and dads often have different styles of reading to kids, and dads tend to be much more active and playful (helping kids develop reading skills even further).
6) Telling Your Kids Not to Cry
You may be tempted, as a dad, to encourage your kids not to cry (especially your boys). However, it’s important to let all kids—especially your boys—express their emotions fully, including crying. Boys should learn that crying is healthy, not a sign of weakness, and you should help show that to them.
7) Being Too Disciplined
You don’t always want to be the parent, but you don’t want to only be seen as a strict disciplinarian either. Discipline is important, but you don’t want your kids to fear you. Try not to yell at your kids or dole out overly harsh punishments. Leading with love is always more effective than leading with harshness.
8) Comparing Your Child to Others
It may be tempting to compare your kid to that of your buddies’. However, in reality, it’s best not to compare your kid to anyone but just to enjoy him exactly as he is. Kids develop differently, at different times and in different stages. Avoid comparing your kid to others in your life so you don’t feel unnecessarily worried, compelled to push them, or like bragging about them disproportionately.
9) Not Getting Enough Sleep
All parents need sleep. Even if you’re tempted to stay up late and watch Netflix or drink a beer or two after your little one goes to bed, you’d do best if you head to bed each night at a decent hour. Dads who get enough sleep have enough energy to do well at work and at parenting some wild kids.
When you’re a dad, you can have a blast with your kids, but also find it hard to get everything right. Luckily, though, making mistakes while parenting is common, and if you can learn some of the most common errors dads make, you can do your best to avoid them. By being aware of ways you can go astray as a father, then course correcting yourself, you can ensure you are the best parental figure possible for your little ones.