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Christian Living

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10 Do's and Don'ts for Dads

Fathers have a huge influence on their children. Here are some tips that dads should keep in mind.

1. Connect before you correct.

Part of every Dad's role is to bring a healthy sense of structure and discipline to the family. Communicating with your child, which includes listening to their "side" of the issue, is a key first step in successful, loving discipline.

2. Be there.

One of the great myths is that a little "quality" time makes up for a substantial "quantity" of time. Going to school, sporting and other events is a big deal! It says - "I have your best interests at the center of my heart" to your child. Don't think only about your own affairs, but be interested in others, too, and what they are doing. -- Philippians 2:4

3. Express love often.

Kids (especially pre-teens and teens) act like they don't want their parents to "make a fuss" over them. It's just an act. Kids need hugs and kisses ... affirm them at every opportunity.

4. Phony, macho men are only heroes in the movies.

Real Dads aren't perfect. You can be a hero to your children if you open your heart to them and admit when you've made mistakes. They have an enormous capacity to forgive and their hearts' desire is to love and be loved. People who cover over their sins will not prosper. But if they confess and forsake them, they will receive mercy. -- Proverbs 28:13

5. Never make your child choose between parents.

If you have problems with your wife, don't try to convince your child that you're "right" or the "victim". This causes an emotional split in your child and will ultimately drive him or her further away from you. Confine the adult issues to the adults.

6. Love your wife.

The greatest Dad in the world will minimize the true impact he has on his children if he does not model Godly intimacy in front of his kids. That's where the cornerstone of their future marriage is laid. Since God chose you to be the holy people whom He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. You must make allowance for each other's faults and forgive the person who offends you ... And the most important piece of clothing you must wear is love. Love is what binds us all together in perfect harmony. -- Colossians 3:12-14

7. Be consistent.

When you are consistent in your actions, love and discipline, an environment of safety and security is created. Kids need to know that there are some things they can always count on. Discipline your child while there is hope. If you don't, you will ruin their lives. -- Proverbs 19:18

8. Be careful, you're in the spotlight.

Your kids are watching every move you make. To some extent, their picture of you shapes their picture of their Heavenly Father. You have the opportunity to create a positive, loving image or a confusing and untrustworthy one. Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness - righteous, holy and true. -- Ephesians 4:23,24

9. Guard your tongue.

The words you speak to your children can cut like a knife or send them soaring like a rocket. They will remember some things you say in passing for the rest of their lives. Kind words are like honey - sweet to the soul and healthy for the body. -- Proverbs 16:24

10. Develop Godly character.

Nothing will influence your children more than watching you grow in your relationship with God. You can preach the Gospel by your actions much more effectively than you can by your words. And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to live in obedience to Him. Let your roots grow down into Him and draw up nourishment from Him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught. Let your lives overflow with thanksgiving for all He has done. -- Colossians 2:6,7

Excerpted from the book The Christian Mom’s Answer Book, compiled and edited by Mike Yorkey and Sandra P. Aldrich. Used by permission of New Life Ministries. Help is available, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We have resource materials about anger and we have caring Christian professionals available to speak with you. You can contact us at 1-800-NEW-LIFE or visit our Web site at www.newlife.com.

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