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dad role model

As a father, you have a unique opportunity to play an enormous role in the lives of your children. While this might seem self-evident, some men still tend to step back and allow mothers to do most of the caregiving. However, fathers play a much bigger part in their children's lives than in previous generations, and this means that you can model values and behavior for your children as part of a much closer relationship than many fathers had with their children in the past.

Identifying Your Values

Everyone has a value system that they operate under, but you might not have thought explicitly about this when you were just preparing for children, and did not yet actually having them. Identifying it is a crucial part of passing it on to your children. If you aren't entirely sure what your values are, spend some time thinking about how you act or feel you should act in various situations and what that is based on. Examples of values that people may feel are particularly important include honesty, integrity, hard work, and loyalty. As you're considering your values, try not to be too judgmental with yourself.

Some might argue that making money is a shallow value, but making money can also be about supporting your family and having the ability to influence causes that are important to you. Another thing you may find is that you don't always act in ways that are in accordance with your values. You might feel that this is hypocritical, but it's only hypocritical if you aren't striving to be consistent with those values. Humans aren't perfect, so you won't get this right 100% of the time, but if you are aware and trying to do better, you are on the right track.

Supporting Your Children

Once you've identified your values, you'll have a better idea of what supporting your children is like. If education is especially important to you, you may want your children to go to college. However, one obstacle many young people run into is the cost of college. If you prioritize independence, you might want your child to figure out how to pay for school largely on their own.

If it's important to you for family members to support one another materially as much as possible, you may want to consider helping them get the money for college. This might involve cosigning on a student loan. It can be hard for students with no credit history to get approved for a loan, but they may also face a frustrating situation if their parents won't cosign for them. Are you wondering do parents have to cosign student loans? You may want to read more about your rights and responsibilities as a cosigner before you decide.

Do as I Do

There's a saying that goes "do as I say, not as I do." In other words, don't pay any attention to what I do and listen to what I'm saying instead. When this saying is applied to someone, it isn't meant to be flattering. It means that the person pretends to be one thing but is the other. As a strong role model for your kids, you should strive to live the way that you urge them to live, even when it is difficult, and more often than not, it will be difficult. But this is what your children will remember most. Rather than focusing on what makes this task so hard, think about the lifelong effect that living your beliefs can have on your children.

Falling Short

What happens when you inevitably fall short at times? This can be as profound and important a learning experience for your children as successfully living in a way that is consistent with your beliefs. When you have failed and done so in a way that is visible to your children, this is a chance for you to talk to them about the fact that failure doesn't mean giving up. No one lives up to their ideals 100% of the time, so how do you handle failure and conduct yourself when that happens? This is an opportunity for you to demonstrate humility, learning, forgiveness, and the power of persistence, all of which can be invaluable.