Make Fathers Day unforgettable
Giving up just one Fathers Day to make it about the children could end up leaving Kiwi dads with their best Fathers Day yet, says a parenting guru and best-selling author.
New Zealand is full of brilliant dads wanting to be better, says Ian Grant, "they just sometimes need some tips as to how".
In his book, Fathers Who Dare Win: 30 Ways to be an Awesome Dad, Grant says most Kiwi fathers simply want to be the best they can be.
And the Auckland father of three and grandfather of nine has more than a few tips to pass on.
"One of the most important things I think to remember is to be a hero to your kids."
Grant said the importance of a male role in a child's life could not be underestimated. While many "Kiwi blokes" still looked at their role in the family as a provider - of food, shelter, clothing - an idea shift needed to take place to get dads more involved.
He said one Kiwi icon who had mastered that was Michael Jones.
"He's one that it is known he didn't have an easy upbringing, but boy he loves his children and that is very easy to see.
"There are many fathers in the same situation, where their own childhoods may have been a bit tough for different reasons, but it only takes one generation to turn that around."
Grant said it was like "coming out of a painful nightmare", that suddenly society had woken up to discover how important fathers were in the raising of their kids.
He said the changing family structure, and the ever increasing situation in which a child grows up without a father-figure in their lives has prompted the re-enlightenment.
"Angry and unattached young men, acting out violently and without conscience, and young girls looking for male love and affirmation in inappropriate ways, paint a picture of children who lacked fathers," Grant said.
He offers helpful tips in how to nurture boys and girls differently.
"A young son needs to be built up by his father, left in no doubt that he is loved and has a hero he can look up to, while it's important a daughter feels she has the love and support she needs to build self esteem and confidence throughout her life."
Grant said while some of it is simply common sense, it was important men knew they were a necessary part of the parenting team because they believe in the three Rs: Rules, Routines, Ridiculousness.
His second tip was to turn this Fathers Day around.
"One of the best Fathers Days I've had has been when I've made breakfast for my family and organised the surprises."
He said a good tip was to say three good things about your children and then turn to your wife or partner and say six good things about her. "That will be the Fathers Day your children remember for years to come, because there's nothing more special to children than knowing their parents love each other."
While modern parenting had been made that much more difficult with the invention of the internet, and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, Grant said it often only took few simple strategies to make that light bulb switch.
And while the family unit comes in many different forms nowadays, the best strategy is to just be confident of the importance of a father in both his daughter's life, and in his son's life, he said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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