Because fathers of today must he away from
home more than the fathers of the past, when much
of their work was carried on in or near the home, a
father's relationship with his children is more limited.
However, it is the quality rather than the quantity of
the time spent with the children that counts. As is true
of mothers, children have definite ideals of what a
father should be. Fathers, unfortunately, fall short of
these ideals more than mothers.
As with mothers, studies have been made of what
children want their fathers to be like and what qualities
they would like their fathers to possess. How do you,
as a father, rate yourself on the following qualities?
Youthful appearance. A child does not want his
father to look like a teenager, but he doesn't want him
mistaken for his grandfather either. To help make your
child proud of your appearance, and on behalf of your
own good health, keep yourself as physically trim as
possible. Add good grooming and a cheery smile and
your child will point to his father with pride.
Achievement. Not all achievement is measured by
material success or social prestige. To a child his father
is a success, no matter what work he does, as long
as he has the respect of people around him, and the
child can trust in his integrity and honesty. Even small
children observe more than we think they do and are
quick to compare what you say with what you do. It is
important for a child to have faith in his father's values,
for he often models his own behavior on them.
Understanding. A child often turns to his father
for special understanding since he is not involved in
the small mishaps of the day as the mother is. A father
can create a close bond with his child if he responds
to this appeal wisely, and his special man's viewpoint
can help both his sons and his daughters.
Tolerance. A child hopes his father will be tolerant
of his short comings, for this will bolster the child's
faith in his own ability to overcome them. A wise
father will make an effort to be patient and to guide
his child gently along the road to maturity. He will
find his reward in his child's love, loyalty and trust.
Willingness to do things with child. Because the
mother is usually ready and willing to do things with
and for the child, it is natural for the child to expect
the same of his father. In the case of boys especially.
the desire to have their father as a playmate and
companion is strong. particularly when they reach
school age and find that their friends' fathers are their
chums and playmates. How do you rate here in the
eyes of your child ?
Fairness. Because, traditionally, the father is the
family disciplinarian, the child has a good opportunity
to judge how fair or unfair he is. When you punish or
scold your child, do you find out first what prompted
the act you believe deserves punishment, or do you
judge the behavior according to adult standards.
Are you fair in your punishment when you let out
your pent-up anger for something that went wrong
in business by being more severe than your child's
behavior justifies ?
Reasonable expectations. Far too many fathers
expect their children to do things way beyond the
child's capacities. When they are successful men, or
when they are failures and have never achieved what they wanted from the time
they were children, they are likely to set their goals too high for their
children and then be bitterly disappointed when their children do not reach
these goals. How can a child love and respect a father who is disappointed
in him ?