Mantry introduces our "Expert" series. From Bourbon to Jerky to Keto to BBQ top minds give us their insider picks. It's parenting time so we tag in Dad blogger Andrew McFarlane who dishes out simple parenting tips...
Andrew McFarlane // Real Life Dad
Andrew is a dad blogger based out of Utah with a beautiful wife and 2 boys under 5. When he’s not at home with the family he’s usually at the rink playing hockey or out in nature taking photos. You can find his blog at papaperspective.com or follow his journey on Instagram @papaperspective
PS: Think of Andrew as a well of Dad knowledge, follow him and soak up some Dad Hacks:
And now, without further ado...
5 Tips for How to Be a Successful Dad
“A Successful father is not more successful than his children.”
Becoming a dad is relatively easy (if you know what I mean). However, becoming a successful dad is an arduous task. As I continue to grow through the stages of Fatherhood I am coming to realize that this is truly a lifetime endeavor to which I have embarked. It’s not going to be as simple as keeping my kids alive for 18 years until they finally leave the coup. I’ve also realized that there’s a lot more to it than knowing how to grill, having a perfect lawn, and telling the best puns on the block. Though a sense of humor is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary to survive parenthood.
The first question I had to ask myself when I first became a father was “what does it mean to be a successful dad”? Was it as simple as making sure my kids don’t get injured and have food in their bellies? Or was there more to it… Though the definition of being a successful dad can be different for everyone, I believe you can know you are successful if your children: can talk to you about anything, know how to love others unconditionally, and have healthy relationships with many friends and family.
So, the final question remains. How do you be a successful dad and what are the actions involved in accomplishing that goal? To keep things simple, here are 5 quick tips to help you become a great dad.
1. Keep your hobbies
As soon as you start having kids you begin to realize that the free time you had once labeled “Netflix & Chill” is only but a dream now.
Wake up. Coffee. Work. Coffee. Dinner. Coffee. Playtime. Sleep. Wake Up at 2 am, 4 am, 6 am. Repeat.
The cycle just keeps on going and the stress just keeps on growing during the early years. You need to find an outlet for you to relax if even for an hour a week (but hopefully more). This will take a lot of teamwork with your spouse so you can both schedule some “me time” where you get to do what you love. For myself, I love playing hockey. I found a rink that had games that would take place between 8 pm and 11 pm. I was able to continue doing what I loved, got some exercise, and had valuable time with “the boys” that let me unwind and be fully re-charged to parent again. This also meant that I pushed my wife to have a GNO (girls night out) with other moms while I watched the kids.
Don’t lose who you are when you become a dad. Find a way to still do what you love. This will set an example for your kids to do the same while also exposing them to more of who you are. Who knows, maybe your children will end up enjoying the same hobby down the road so you can both share in the joy it gives you.
2. Maintain important relationships with your friends
One of the key measures of success that I mentioned above is seeing your kids surrounded by a large group of good friends and family. The best way they will learn how to achieve that is by watching you. A survey done in 2019 by Ipsos Mori Public affairs found that 23% of dads felt isolated when they first became fathers and 1 out of 5 dads say that the number of close friends they once had decreased within the first 12 months into fatherhood. Not a great sign...
Losing close friendships can take a heavy toll on us. We often rely on our friends during the hard times as well as call on our friends to share in the good times. When we are alone, we are susceptible to depression, poor sleep quality, impaired executive function, and even poor cardiovascular function. Maintaining good strong relationships is beneficial as we grow so that we have others to lean on when we need help and vice versa. There are even results that show long-lasting relationships can keep your memory sharper for longer and show increased happiness.
So, if you have a friend that you haven’t heard from or seen in a while now would be a good time to set up a playdate for the kids while you catch up on life. Who knows, it might even help you live a little bit longer too!
3. Love your spouse and show it (yes, in front of your kids)
PDA in front of the kids might be a bit awkward if you’re not used to doing it already… but it is key to showing your kids how to properly love someone. There are a lot of shows/videos all over cable, Netflix, and the internet where people “love” each other. Often times these are over-exaggerated or flat out fake. Showing appropriate affection to your spouse (such as an often kiss or a hug) can make kids feel secure in the health of your marriage and introduce what proper unconditional (romantic) love is like.4. Show respect for your kids
When we take our kids to the park or drop them off at school, we hope that they are able to “play nice” and be able to socialize well with the other kids. The best way for them to learn how to be respectful to others is for them to learn by our example first hand. When we, as the parent, apologize to our kids when we do something wrong, give our kids our full attention when they talk to us, and respect their boundaries (when they say “no” or “stop” to being tickled or roughhoused) we inevitably teach them how to properly interact with others.
Showing respect for your kids is key to your success as a dad as well as it will set the precedent that they can come and talk to you about anything. When your child (regardless of their age) wants to learn something new or simply vent about their day, listen. Listen to understand, not to respond. Let them know and feel like you are the best person to talk to when they need advice or want to share with you a new experience. It will pay dividends later in life when you invest the time early.
5. Appropriately Discipline your children
Properly disciplining your children by setting limits in your home is vital for kids to learn self-control and understand what behaviors are and are not appropriate. Disciplining your children with love will teach them 2 things:
- How to love unconditionally (they learn that even though they make mistakes you will still love them)
- How to behave properly around others so that they can begin to build healthy relationships with peers
Through discipline, you ultimately align your actions to set yourself up to be a successful dad. If you’re unsure how to appropriately do so, there are plenty of articles online as well as videos to teach the best techniques for various ages.
Couple of quick tips to remember here. First, ensure that the rules you set are appropriate and are able to be kept. Second, when rules are broken, remember to discipline out of love with an intent to mentor your child (don’t see them as bad, but rather the action as bad).
What are your thoughts about what it takes and how to be a successful dad? Let us know in the comment section below!
Thank You Andrew!