A father should be a major influence in a son’s life, irrespective of how many other people out there contribute to the person he becomes. So, how does a father ensure that they have the strongest influence on their little boy? Start at being what your son needs.
1. He needs you to love his mother
When you love your wife, or the mother of your son, you are showing him how to treat his mother, his sisters, and all the women he will meet in his life. This will set the foundation for the relationships he will have later in his life.
2. He needs to see you fail, not just succeed
The best teacher is failure. The best type of failure to learn from is someone else’s.
When your son sees you fail, and handle the failure well, he sees that it is okay to make mistakes and that mistakes can be great teachers. A boy who is not afraid of making mistakes will grow into a man positioned to accept and conquer great challenges.
3. He needs your servant leadership
You may or may not be the boss at work. You may or may not be the pastor or minister at church. You may or not be a leader in your community. But you are the leader of your family. Your son needs to see true leadership in your home.
He needs to see you leading by serving. When he sees you leading by serving, he will better understand leadership and be able to more effectively lead versus follow his peers. As he grows, he will better lead his family, lead at work, lead at church, and lead in his community.
4. He needs you to be present
As you fulfill all the different roles you have, you may be pulled in multiple directions. He needs you to be present in his education, in his social life, in all areas of his life.
Some areas are not intended for mom only, or for his friends only. Your presence in all areas will give him the support he needs.
5. He needs your love regardless of his choices
You may be a mathesmatics wizard. And your son may not be able to multiply two by two, nor care that he can’t. No matter what choices your son makes, he needs you to love him even if they are different than yours.
Even when they are wrong choices. Your love and guidance will open the door to trust and acceptance that build your relationship. And it will build his self-esteem.
6. He needs you to affirm him
“I love you, son.” “I’m proud of you, son.” “You are amazing, son.” “I know you can do it, son.” “That was an amazing play you made!”
“You are a hard worker.” “You messed up, but I know you’ll bounce back.” Your son needs your encouragement. He needs to hear the words that let him know you love having him as a son.
7. He needs you to discipline him in love
When you discipline your son, you set boundaries and expectations. He is going to make mistakes just like you did as a child and just like you do now.
But he also needs to know that his actions have consequences. Disciplining him in love will teach him to consider the consequences his actions will have. This will prepare him to think and evaluate the choices he makes both now and in the future.
Dads and daughters
Fathers have been given a tremendous ability to influence the lives of their daughters – either positively or negatively. How a father treats his daughter will shape how she views herself and how she expects to be treated by other men for the rest of her life.
Girls need the following intangibles from their fathers. Be aware of these seven needs and focus on discovering ways to fulfill them in your daughter’s life from an early age:
1. She needs you to be involved
A daughter needs her father to be actively interested in her life.
“Actively interested” does not refer to the second-long conversation that sometimes happens between a father and daughter when he asks how her day went and she replies with one word. A father should participate in his daughter’s hobbies and activities by displaying interest.
For example, if she is interested in collecting coins, take her to coin shows. Use the Internet to learn about rare coins and talk about them. Is your daughter talented in the any sports, such as volleyball?
Whether she wants to play or just enjoys watching the games, become an enthusiastic fan and supporter! Show your daughter that you are interested in her life by learning more about it and trying to become a part of it.
2. She needs you to demonstrate a healthy marriage
The first relationship a daughter experiences is the one between her mother and father.
If her father disrespects his wife with physical or emotional abuse, a daughter might come to believe that is the expected relationship with a husband.
However, a father that displays physical affection, respect, and a true partnership with his wife provides an incredible example that his daughter will want to mirror in her own life.
3. She needs you to support her
Even though a father may not always agree with his daughter, she needs to know you will support her.
When a father fully and wholeheartedly supports his daughter, she will develop strong self-esteem and a positive self-image.
This doesn’t mean that you always have to agree with her, but show her that while you might not agree with a choice she is making, you will always believe in her as a person and have confidence in her abilities.
4. She needs to trust you as a confidante
When your daughter does come to you and discusses personal issues and problems, she needs to know that you will treat them with respect and confidence. They shouldn’t become dinner-table conversation with the rest of the family.
5. She needs your unconditional love
Just as our Father in Heaven demonstrates unconditional love, fathers on earth need to display this as well.
Unconditional love requires that a daughter knows no matter how badly she messes up, her father will be there, not to ridicule and demean but to forgive.
6. She needs a strong spiritual leader
A father should be the spiritual head of a household and should take charge of his children’s religious education. Pray with your daughter! Don’t be shy about bringing the Lord into your conversations with her.
7. She needs a positive role model
Many daughters today lack a positive male role model in their life. A father is the first man in a girl’s life that she will intimately know. Her father sets the standard for all other men in her life, and a positive role model will help her choose a good husband in the future.
Take a moment for some self-reflection. Are there any habits you need to break? Are there some areas of your own life that could use a “spiritual overhaul” and prayer?
When your daughter sees that you are willing to examine your own life and make changes when necessary, you provide the best example she could ever have of accepting responsibility for her actions.