7 Tips to Help Dads Maintain Hero Status This Father's Day

We are our children’s first heroes, whether we want that responsibility or not.
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When my son was 9, he and I were watching a baseball game together on TV. As the camera panned cheering fans, he asked why the kids in the stands were so excited. I told him that the players are heroes to those kids. I suggested that some day one of those players might be his hero. He paused and said, “They may be my hero some day, but you will always be my first hero.” The message was clear — we are our children’s first heroes, whether we want that responsibility or not. Fathers can maintain hero status by earning their children’s trust using these seven tips.

1. Celebrate victories.

Celebrate achievements and victories by taking your kids for a treat. Before immediately running to the next dilemma, take time to enjoy accomplishments as a family. This validates a child’s self-esteem and importance to you.

2. Confer regularly with your inner child.

When our children struggle, stop and think about what you wanted to hear from your father at that age. Let that compassion shape what you say and how you say it.

3. Be curious.

Show interest in your children’s lives by simply asking how they’re doing and what’s new with them.

4. Monitor your inner critic.

If you grew up with an inner critic telling you all the things you were doing wrong in life, chances are high you may pass this inner critic to your child. Become mindful of behaviors that could pass this intrusive voice down to your children.

5. Choose your battles.

Relinquish your need to always be right and instead choose closeness. Take a step back and listen to your children, and identify with their struggles and feelings.

6. Permit mistakes.

Mistakes are part of being human. Affirm that they can fail at times without becoming a failure. If we deny our children compassion when they stumble, we negate their humanness. If they lose compassion for themselves, they lose compassion for others as well.

7. Provide a safe environment.

Be the person they can come to with anything. Allow them to vent, cry on your shoulder or confide in you their mistakes.

Thomas Galiano is a parenting and relationship expert and author of “The Problem Was Me” and his newest title, “Don’t Put Your Crap in Your Kid’s Diaper: The Clean Up Cost Can Last a Lifetime.”