AS Fathers Day approaches, it is a good opportunity for fathers to ponder on how we guide our children and how these actions impact and lead them to become responsible adults and good parents in due course.
Foremost is for fathers to be conscious that any guidance or correction of our children should be done from a position of, and rooted in, unconditional love.
We must never correct out of anger or a selfish desire for our children to act a certain way to make our lives easy. A key part of this is for our children to know by our words and actions that our love for them is not because of what they have or haven't done, but because they are our children.
Next, we need to be aware that shaming our children has no place in guidance or correction by a parent. Even if we see short-term behavioural changes, there will be no long-lasting transformation in them. Rather, it could create fear and resentment in them.
It is imperative that any punishment or restriction we impose on our children be made clear to them before their actions, and must be followed through when warranted.
When children are made aware of the consequences of their actions, it almost always keeps them away from indiscipline and wrongful acts, and if they do commit such misdeeds, they accept, even if reluctantly, the upshot or penalties that follow.
It is equally necessary to help our children understand that fathers have authority over them and responsibility towards them.
Fathers must lead the household by exercising, with wisdom, discretion and justice, this right and accountability.
We as fathers should not, however, tell our children that they must submit to our authority and respect norms and values while on, the other hand, disregard authority in our own lives and go against those same standards, morals, ethics and ideals we demand they uphold.
Equally important is to accept that none of us is perfect. We all make mistakes and it is important to admit this to them.
We must make amends and changes to remedy those mistakes as much as possible.
Being transparent teaches children honesty and also gives them a chance to learn from our mistakes and, hopefully, avoid them.
We must stay involved in our children's lives, without giving them the impression we are putting them under our thumbs or guiding them by remote control.
To be involved, we must invest the time, however much it takes, to build mutually satisfying and rewarding relationships with our children. We must spend both quality and quantity time with them.
Indeed, if we ask children about their regrets as they get older, the vast majority will tell us they wished they could have spent more time with their dads.
In almost all cases, it is a good idea to present our children with choices and let them decide. Of course, we must first equip them with the understanding of what such choices entail and that they have to live with the consequences of those choices.
Almost every one of us wants our children to grow up possessing leadership qualities.
Part of leadership is the ability to make a choice and deal with its consequences, positive and negative. If we do not allow our children to practise that skill when they are young, they will be ill-equipped to handle choices and become responsible as adults.
Finally, it is necessary to tailor our approach to guide, correct and lead each of our children to become able, productive, dependable and useful adults, parents and citizens.
It is truly amazing to see how children can be so alike in some respects yet so different in others. It almost seems impossible that they share the same DNA. Furthermore, children change over time as they grow up.
We must, therefore, customise our approach based on the personality, experience, emotional needs, age and maturity level of each child.
Fathers, watch your children grow, talk to them, study them and spend time with them. Guide and help them plan and fulfil their most cherished goals in life.
Happy Fathers Day!