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Appreciation for Dads

By Jodie Lynn

What happens to families, specifically to the kids, when there is not much interaction with the dad in the family? They go looking for someone to provide them with the discipline, conversation, fun, approval and love that they see other kids getting.

Sometimes, even if we know these facts, we still have a tendency to forget how crucial Dads are and assume that they are either not interested or don't care.

That is why it is so important to invite fathers to participate more in the lives of their children by sharing a few things here and there--but don't overwhelm him with long lists of facts.

Then, let them try their hand at things while we keep our thoughts to ourselves.

Allow Dad to solve perplexing situations on his own

Everyone, including your mother's brother's best friend, has parenting advice to share. That is okay; just take it with a grain of salt. Nevertheless, when it comes to sharing all of this advice with Dad, unless there is a safety issue, allow him to come up with his own way of solving a challenge. For example, if he is trying to comfort an upset toddler, and you come up and show him what works best, he might feel like you are criticizing his technique. The next time the toddler cries or throws a temper tantrum, he will remember this and may be less willing to help.

Provide Dad time to be alone with the kids

Fathers need to learn how to deal with the kids on their own. Find a time to be out of the house for a few hours and let Dad be by himself with the kids. If you are dying to leave a random list of favorite activities. don't. Unless Dad specifically asks for some suggestions, let him figure out his own schedule. Dads can come up with some pretty off-the-wall things that we would never think of that for some reason kids seem to love.

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Let Dad feel important

If there is something that the kids love to do with Dad, let it be their special time. For example, if baby will not eat peas and squash for you but will for Dad, save that time for him. Maybe baby loves it when Dad acts like a choo-choo train when he puts the spoon in baby's mouth. That's great; let that be Dad's special technique and you stick with your own. Tell him how incredible and amazing you think this is and tell everyone else: relatives, friends, and neighbors, anyone who might mention it to him. This offers a surge in self-confidence for Dad and will encourage more interaction between him and baby. In the long run, this is how memories are made. something as simple as feeding time.

There are a lot of devoted Dads out there but they just are not sure what it is that will work best with kids. They need to know that in many instances, it won't matter if everything he does is the same way you do it or even that it may not have the same outcome.

Sometimes, Dads will do anything and everything possible to avoid taking care of the kids. However, if you allow him to build his own personal relationship with them, he might opt to engage more often. Just like anyone else, Dads just want to be appreciated.

© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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