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'Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a Dad!'

12 parenting tips to support for all the fabulous dads who are already doing a great job!

The fact that you are reading this proves that! :)

“What do I do with a three-year-old who's grabbing my trouser leg just as I am on an important call?” 'I am really not in the mood to play house-house or hide and seek or football after a long, hard day at work.' 'I can’t watch cartoons after an exhausting day at work. I need to watch the news and my cricket match. Why doesn't anyone understand?!” 'How am I going to get this adamant child to eat his food? I have no patience for these things.' 'Shouldn't all this be handled by the mom? Isn’t it her domain? I am so lost most times as to what to do!' The last one almost sounds like a wail for help! Doesn't it? Yes, Fatherhood isn't easy either. Well, to make it clear - it isn't meant to be easy, but it is definitely meant to be a life-changing experience, giving you some of the most precious moments of your life! :)

Here are a few tips to remove the struggle in your journey of fatherhood and to help you become an even more awesome dad than, what I am sure, you already are!! 

1. Spend Time with Your Child How much time a father spends with his children tells them how important they are to him.  Spend a minimum of 15 minutes every day, having FUN with your children on a one on one basis. Find something that both of you enjoy, be it a sport, board games, laughing together, tickling, dancing, painting, reading, roughhousing- absolutely anything that is ‘fun’ for both of you! Remember, filling their cupboards with toys and other material things will not help in building that bond; spending time together is what will get you closer to your child and strengthen your relationship.

2. Respect your Children Talk politely to your children. It is very important for us to respect them if we want them to respect us.  Listening to them when they are talking, not interrupting their conversations, allowing them to make some of their own decisions, all go a long way in showing respect. 3. Communication is Important Talk to your children. Talk about their day-to-day routines and tell them about yours. Be aware of your child's life, get to know their friends, the activities they do, their hobbies, and their interests.  Get to really “know” your children. 4. Don't just hear, LISTEN! When children talk, listen! What they are saying is very important to them. Don't jump in and start giving advice. Take the time to just listen and try to understand the feelings behind their words. When they talk, be fully present. Keep the newspaper aside, switch off the television, put your mobile on silent. Maintain eye contact and give them your undivided attention. This will tell your children how important they are to you. It will go a long way in increasing their self-esteem and also set the stage for more meaningful conversations, as your child grows older.  Though if your child wants to talk to you at one of those times when you are really busy, don't stress. Assure them that you will be with them once you are done. Fix up a time -- it could be half an hour later – or even by the day. Just make sure to make the time to follow through with it. 5. Teach and Encourage 

Very often fathers feel that teaching is something their spouse or the school has to do – be it something concrete as learning how to use the computer or play a game or imparting values and teaching right from wrong. But a father who spends time teaching his children in every way, and encourages them to do their best, will see his children grow up believing in themselves and making correct choices in life.  A father who is involved in his child’s daily routines will be able to impart the basic values of life through everyday examples. 6. Discipline with Love Every child needs guidance and discipline. This does not mean punishment, but setting reasonable limits. Discipline should always come from a place of love and the purpose of discipline is to teach the child responsible behaviour.  Also keep in mind that as the child grows older, the freedom should be increased and the limits have to be reduced.  Use positive forms of discipline such as logical consequences; wherein the consequence is connected to the misbehaviour. 7. Demonstrate your Love

Children need the security of being loved and accepted by their families. Showing affection is a wonderful way to demonstrate the love you have for your child. Hug them, kiss them, cuddle them and be there for them at all times.Let them know they have your unconditional love and support. This will strengthen the parent-child bond and also ease the discipline and communication process 8. Respect your Child's Mother One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you are married, keep your marriage strong. Show your love and affection for your spouse. When you have a conflict, demonstrate how two people can make up. This teaches your children a lot about relationships. If you are divorced, it is still important to respect the mother of your children. Don't ever badmouth your spouse in front of your children.When children see you respecting each other, they are more likely to feel accepted and respected as well. 9. Eat Together as a Family Mealtimes are special times for bonding as a family. Sharing a meal together is an important part of healthy family life (breakfast, lunch or dinner). Besides providing stability to busy days, it is a wonderful opportunity for the entire family to share the happenings of their lives with each other. It is a time of togetherness and strengthening the family ties. 10. Make Plans with your Children

Take your children to the zoo, the museums, the beach. Take them for walks; take them swimming, take them bowling, take them fishing, take them to the park. Celebrate festivals, significant occasions, and even no occasion surprise celebrations! Give them your undivided attention and be present with them at these times. Use these opportunities to bond, to teach and to learn from them. Whether these times are spent one-on-one or with family or with friends, the most important thing is to enjoy yourself with them!

11. Be Involved in your Children's Lives  Give priority to your children over other things and other people. Attend parents' days, sports day, annual day celebrations and any events they are participating in or which are important to them.  No matter what reasoning or justification you give to them for not being there, we all, including children, realise that we "make" time and prioritise things and people that are important to us. (It's very rarely that we genuinely cannot make it.) Remember this the next time you have to take a decision on whether to attend an event that is important to your child or fix up a meeting with someone at work.  Time and childhood both don't wait. Being a part of their important days will not only build your child's self-esteem but also go a long way in strengthening your relationship with them. 12. Be a Good Role Model Practice what you preach. Don't tell your kids that honesty is the best policy and then ask your spouse to say you are not at home when an unwanted person calls. Children will model themselves on your actions more than your words. When you make promises, even to your children, follow through with them. Be the same man behind closed doors as you are in public. This will increase the respect your children have for you

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