Does your man have what it takes?
When I was a kid, most parents understood “good parenting” to mean raising kids however they’d been raised by their own mothers and fathers.
The genre of parenting advice began when Dr. Benjamin Spock first emerged as a child-rearing expert, but really, moms and dad pretty much just expected their kids to behave, entertain themselves, and learn how to be responsible adults based on experience and some stern discipline.
And, as noted by Time Magazine, the first edition of his classic work, Baby and Child Care, “was published in 1946, when ‘parenting,’ at least for infants, meant almost exclusively ‘mothering.’”
It’s a different world now, one that relies upon both parents working as a team to make effective choices for their family in order to foster healthy personality traits in their children and keep their kids emotionally and physically “safe.”
Modern complexities of the digital age, which include an older average age of parents, shifting parental roles, starker generational differences, and widely spread outright parental anxiety complicate matters, but at the same time, on the plus side, bonds between parents and children have never been stronger.
And no matter how many parenting books you have on your shelf — and there are likely to be many — effective parenting often comes down to certain personality types and personality characteristics.
Just as many women have (or had) a checklist indicating the combination of traits that would make man husband material, a similar list can be created outlining which kinds of men are most likely to make the best dads to your children.
Of course, a lot of parenting for everyone is trial and error, and none of us will ever be perfect at it, but when someone possesses a solid foundation of certain skills and innate tendencies, they have a higher likelihood of achieving better outcomes, which in this case, means raising healthy, happy, well-adjusted kids who are poised to lead successful lives, however they define success for themselves.
Dads play the role of moral compass, protector, provider, teacher, coach, and playmate.
For their sons, they model what it’s like to be a man, a partner, and a father.
For their daughters, they build their girls’ self-esteem and teach them which qualities to look for in a healthy, dependable life partner.
It’s true that nobody’s perfect, but if you pick the right man, and one who has the right personality traits, you’ll be further ahead. Choose less wisely, and you’ll have a much more difficult time co-parenting through an already tricky experience.
Here’s a list of personality traits and characteristics of men who make the best dads out there raising kids these days.
Kids need to know they can count on their dad. If they can’t, they lose faith in all men after that. Simple things, like being on time and keeping their word, mean so much.
Honesty seems like a no-brainer, but take a closer look.
Does the man in your life come clean when he makes a mistake and tell the truth even when it might make his life a little more difficult?
Kids need to learn that it’s an imperfect world out there, and that as much as they may admire their father, he is only human. Infallibility and humility are both important traits to show kids so they can learn self-compassion and healthy leadership.
A father who can give his child his undivided attention teaches his children one of the most critical life skills. Actively listening to others is a way of saying, “I care. You’re important to me. What you say matters.”
Let’s face it; temper tantrums are an expected, if unpleasant, experience all parents face. Add in teenage hormones, and you’re into a whole different ballgame! If the prospective father of your children cannot patiently deal with frustration, he’s not going to be effective as a dad, period.
Every kid wants to have fun! Piggyback rides, tickle torture, catch, and game nights make life enjoyable. In order to teach kids balance, you don’t want to end up with someone who’s too serious all the time, and who has a lot of trouble when it comes to letting go and laughing a little.
Curiosity is the desire to learn something new. In fact, curiosity is at least an equal, if not potentially even greater, predictor of success than intelligence itself. Effective parents hold off on judgment, seeking to understand and continuously learn themselves. This is a basis of trust, and you’ll find that the more curious you are about your child and the world, the more open your child will be with you.
Compassion goes beyond empathy. If your mate is able to not only sympathize with your child’s predicaments (and at times they might have daily predicaments), put himself in his or her shoes, and then be willing to act on it, you’ve got one gem of a guy! Your kids will learn kindness, how to build positive relationships, become good citizens, and ultimately be happier.
Rigid parenting doesn’t work as well today as it once did. It’s important for parents to know when to stand firm and when to give the rope some slack, or even drop it altogether. Someone with an adaptable personality type can give and take with their child in an effective way that teaches them structure and allows them to feel loved and whole.
There’s enough pessimism in the world right now. Kids need hope. They need someone in their life who can show them what is possible and give them the courage to go for their dreams.
Besides being optimistic, effective dads should be pragmatic. There needs to be an equal dose of realism about what it takes to succeed in life. On a micro level, too, good dads need to be able to handle the everyday things that happen and make clear judgments, like when to deal with illness at home versus when to drive to the emergency room.
Creative doesn’t have to mean artistic, although, if the potential father is handy with a paintbrush and a box of crayons, it’s going to make junior’s playtime extra fun and save Dad’s sanity. What’s important here is the degree of creativity Dad brings to problem-solving. Solutions aren’t going to be black and white in today’s parenting dilemmas. Any man who possesses creativity is going to be miles ahead of other parents.
Creating a safe and predictable world is essential in parenting, and structure is one means of doing that. Flip-flopping and loose rules are the enemy and assertiveness can save the day! Here, assertiveness means being self-assured and firm, without being aggressive or unpleasant.
Your man’s conscientiousness will lead him to be a thoughtful and stable contributor to your family, and he will model conscientiousness to his children. This means they, too, will be more likely to be careful, thoughtful, goal-setting, and rule-abiding contributors to society. They’ll be more likely to experience higher job satisfaction, and health and happiness, as well.
A parent who is the same on the outside as he is on the inside demonstrates congruence. His child sees the world as secure. Also, his child sees that it’s important, even essential, to be who you are and to love that person, and in this way, a genuine father helps build up his child’s self-esteem.
It takes true grit to get what you want in life. You want a man who will passionately go after his goals, works hard for what he wants, and who will do what it takes to succeed. Your kids will admire his commitment, endurance, and resilience.
As kids are learning and growing, they need a helping hand. They need someone who’s self-sacrificing and generous with their time and energy, or else they’ll be left with one defeated child. A good parent provides just the right amount of help — enough to be instructional, but not enough that they become over-responsible and fail to build self-efficacy in their kids.
Is your mate calm in the face of a crisis? Flying off the handle or otherwise reacting emotionally will keep your kid’s emotional brain offline longer, too. Kids need emotional stability, and they need a calm environment in which to solve problems.
“Love is all you need,” is such a popular saying for plenty of good reason. Well, it’s not everything you need, but it does count for a lot. Fathers who are more easily able to access their emotions and share them are more likely to have emotionally connected kids, too. Bonus points if your man can tap into your child’s love language and give them what they need to feel loved and secure.
Finally, bringing up great kids means being self-aware as a parent. It means embracing your strengths, accepting your growing edges, and knowing when to get help. Parenting does take a village, and sometimes you must call in backup!
Of course, being self-aware himself, he’ll be able to teach his kids self-awareness, too. They’ll be in a better position to identify their own likes and dislikes, strengths and passions, and these will guide them all their lives. Without this trait, your partner — and your kids — may flounder, and will likely miss out on the greatest skill of all: loving one’s self.
If your man possesses a lot of these qualities, hold onto him tight!
He’ll not only be an exemplary father, but he’ll be a fantastic life partner and co-collaborator on your journey through parenting.
There’s me and my little one!
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