The Super Power of Fathers: Helping Kids Weather Negative Influences
By Trishia Van Orden
I recently heard a “Story Behind the Song” segment on the radio where the artist was sharing some of his greatest fears as a father. The artist shared that he wrote his song as a way to help his children and others know that they are perfect the way they are and that they do not need to try to fit into some mold that people create.
After hearing this, I contemplated some of the challenges kids face in our culture and how their fathers can help them overcome these. With so many loud voices in media, social media, and other influences telling our kids what they should look like, what they should wear and how they should behave, I realized how incredibly important good fathers are to their children.
A father has the capacity to influence their children for good or bad. Their influence impacts all areas of a child’s development including; self-worth, prosocial development, education, and emotional and physical development (Osborne, Dillon, Craver, & Hovey, 2016). They are one of the keys to how their child will handle the messages and ideas that they see and hear from others around them.
This can sometimes seem hard as we often have no idea how to help our children see just how perfect they are. The good news is, fathers have time to help their children see just how wonderful, smart, and beautiful they really are!
Here are some ways that fathers can help build their child’s self-worth:
- Remind your child that they are beautiful.
- My husband tell our little girls that they are beautiful every day no matter how silly they are dressed, how messy they look, or anything else. He knows and reminds them that beauty is something more than an image. It is the true essence of who we are. Because of his influence, my children our learning to see themselves as beautiful.
- Stay involved in your child’s life.
- Many times we get so carried away with our lives that we sometimes forget to be part of our children’s lives. Do you truly know your child? Take some time to play with, talk to, and have one on one time. Get to know your child and what is happening in their life. This is the best way to tell your child you love them, spending time together–without screens.
- Never tell your child that they are something negative.
- Many parenting books, studies, and websites have said that when a parent tell their children that they are something, the child internalizes it and essentially becomes it. This means that if you tell them that they are dumb, ugly, bad, or any other negative adjective, they will end up trying/becoming what they are told they are. Instead help them see the good in them. If they are misbehaving simply refer to the behavior and not the person.
- Help your child see the good in life.
- According to the National Eating Disorders Association, people who have positive views on life are less likely to be dissatisfied with themselves and their bodies. Fathers can help their children develop this positive outlook by being optimistic. Point out the good, smile, and set an example of being happy. Doing this will encourage your children to do so as well.
In the end, there are many things that fathers can do to help their children, but being involved is most important! Show your children that you love them and care for them and they will be more open to your influence. You are so important to them. Just remember to smile, love them, and have fun.
Happy Father’s Day!!
For amazing discussions and activities that help connect you to your kids, check out 30 Days to a Stronger Child. The book includes great questions, lessons and challenges to help your kids learn to fill their emotional, intellectual, social, physical and spiritual “accounts.”
Osborne, C., Dillon, D., Craver, J. W., & Hovey, I. (2016). Making good on fatherhood: A review of the fatherhood program research. The University of Texas at Ausin, Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. Ausin: Child and Family Research Partnershi. Retrieved May 25, 2017, from http://cdn2.hubspot.net/hubfs/135704/CFRPReport_MakingGoodonFathers_ReviewofPgmResearch.pdf?__hssc=162717731.5.1497333636244&__hstc=162717731.23b1eddfb3dc9816615e74b9abf67dc7.1495731962316.1495731962316.1497333636244.2&__hsfp=2219875683&hsCtaTracking=c8c4
Trishia Van Orden and her husband, James are the parents of three amazing little girls ranging from 3 ½ years to 3 weeks old. Trishia received her bachelor’s from Brigham Young University-Idaho in Marriage and Family Studies. She has a love for psychology and one day wishes to open her own Family Life Education Center where she lives. She also dreams of getting her master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. Trishia loves to go outdoors and spend time with her husband and little girls.