Fatherhood Guide: Communication

Talking to your children can be difficult, even if they are just a few months old. If you are a dad who did not have a great father to look up to, it makes being a dad that much harder. You do not have to worry about how to talk to your kids, though, because it can be as easy as you want to make it.

Start talking to them as early in their lives as you can. If you have to call them on the telephone so that they recognize your voice, then do it. If you have a great situation at home, where you and their mother are married or live together, then you see your children every day. You are lucky. Talk to them all the time when you are home. Really get to know your child. You should not aim to be their best friend, but you should know everything about them. Remember that your boys watch you to see how you talk to their mother and will emulate that speech to their sisters and girlfriends. Your daughters will be watching to see how their future husband should talk to them by the way that you talk to their mother. Set a great example and a high standard.
Here are some things every parent should know about their children:
• Favorites- everything from color to sports. Know all of their favorites so that you can relate to them. It also helps around Christmas and birthdays as well when you want to surprise them.
• Friends- who have they been BFF (best friends forever) with and for how long? You will be surprised how many BFF they go through in a school year. If they have any boyfriends or girlfriends, you need to pay a lot of attention to that as well. Are they in a safe or abusive relationship? Is it getting really physical that you wonder if they are having sex? If so, you need to step in and set boundaries quickly and your expectations of the children should be known within the first week of them dating. After all, you remember what it was like to be a teenager.
• Fights- who are they having a fight with? Did it get physical? What was the fight about? Is there a way that you can help them solve the problem without it getting physical? Should you involve the other set of parents, if the fight is that damaging? Does anyone else know about it?
• Facebook- know where they go online. Your computer, like every computer in the world, has parental controls that you can create for your children. Use them. It does not matter if the children are 5 or 15. You are the parent. Explain to them that the internet can be a dangerous place if they are not careful. Check their histories while they are with you and ask them to explain sites that you do not approve of. This will open a great discussion about online safety and what you expect from them. A tip here is to only have one computer but let everyone in the house have a profile. It will take some getting used to and some scheduling, but if there is only one computer, you can keep a sharp eye on what the children are doing.
• Failures- as much as you do not want your children to fail in school, you need to know about this sooner than you need to know about the successes. Stay in contact with your children about their subjects. You know they have to have English, Math, Science and Social Studies each year. How are they going? Call the teachers if you need to and talk to your children about what the teachers said. If they are struggling, you can help them now instead of later when they have to have A’s on every assignment in order to pass the whole class with a C.