Dads Can Lead by Example


We have all heard from someone in authority over us at some point in our lives to do as they say and not as they do. That is awful advice, though, and something I hope no father tells their children. Your children will follow your example. They don’t do what they are taught, but rather the behavior they see. If you show them the way to act, then that is much more effective than if you tell them what to do. When children look back on their lives on the lessons they learned from their fathers, they tend to recall more vividly the experiences they had rather than the words that were said.

For example, if you tell your child to treat other people with respect, but then you talk poorly of garbage disposal workers, your child’s teachers, their mother or other people around them, then they will emulate that same behavior. You can tell them all you want what to do, but if you show them a different example, you are confusing the messages and hurting the foundation you are trying to lay.

Consider every lesson you want to teach your child as a building foundation. You can build on it with conversations about the topic and with personal exercise in their lives. But when you show them behavior that goes against what you taught them, it damages the foundation and takes a few pieces from it, making it harder to build a strong foundation.  

Teach Respect for Women with Their Mother

The best way for children to learn how to treat others of a certain gender is to watch how their parents treat each other. As a father, if you treat their mother with respect, you are setting an example that your children will be able to emulate. They may not always copy the behavior, but the example you show them will stick with them. When you open doors for their mother, do her chores and housecleaning(or hire a professional company such as for her when she is working or sick, or you take time from what you normally do for yourself to do something kind for their mother, then you teach them how important it is to look out for others and to treat women respectfully.

On the other hand, if you yell at their mother, talk about her behind her back and don’t pay attention when she talks to you, then you are teaching your children to disrespect women. They are likely to copy that behavior. Whether they do it at home or at school, it will come out, and you will wish you had set a better example.

Show Love Instead of Just Verbalizing It

You can tell your kids “I love you” every day and they may not believe you. It is important to tell your children that you love them, but you have to do more than just say it. You have to prove your love and show them that they are loved by spending time with them, talking to them in a way that shows you think they are important and helping them with their problems. If you make sacrifices for them that they can see, then that shows your love better than any words can.

You can do this by setting the example in their lives. If you have plans with your friends, but then your child has problem, you can show your child that you love them and that they are more important to you by cancelling plans. Spending time with your kids, taking them with you when you go to have fun with your friends or simply making them a part of important conversations tells your kids how much you care about them and that you want to include them in your life.

One of the best ways that fathers can show their love is to reserve most of the personal time for when the children are sleeping or at school. Everybody needs some “me time”, but most people get far too much of it. Your kids will notice if you spend most of your time doing things for other people or doing things for yourself. Your example tells them what kind of person you are and how much you love them.

The Attention Example

In today’s world, we are more distracted than ever before. We all have electronics that we spend a lot of our time with, whether it is our computers, our phones or our video games. It’s not wrong to have these things in your life or to spend some time with them, but they often get in the way of kind of attention we give the people around us.

Think about how often you let your phone interrupt a face to face conversation we are having with someone. Think about how much time we spend in front of screens that we could have been spending with people we care about.

When you tell your kids to build relationships with people around them, or to show respect to people and to not let their screens take over their life, then consider the example that you set.

When you are talking to your kids or their mother, then you need to keep the phone out of it. Don’t check notifications, look at texts or even answer phone calls, if you can help it. If you do have to stop the conversation to use your phone, then let your kids know in a respectful way and tell them that you will finish the conversation. This shows them not only that they are important, but it also teaches them how to set boundaries with their electronics.

The way you live does far more to teach your kids than any conversations will. Lectures only penetrate so far into the brain, but your example will stick with them forever. Is your example one that you can be proud of?