The Daddy Factor: Dad's Best Parenting Moves

Style Pointers for Dad

I'd like to think my kids have benefited from my way of raising them. However, I should also thank their mom for the innumerable things she's taught me about parenthood, like these four biggies.

Emotion isn't a character flaw. One of the tenderest moments I had with my son, Paul, was when our dog died unexpectedly. We all hugged and cried together. By watching Maria share her feelings, I learned that it takes real courage to show your kids that you're human.

Sports aren't everything they're cracked up to be. I desperately wanted my kids to be the athlete I never was. So I coached them and drilled them until they lost interest completely. My wife never understood it. "It's just a game," she said. I realize now that she was right.

Kids can't always wait. I was working in the yard when Paul (who was potty training) said, "I have to pee now." When I carried him into the house minutes later, soaked, Maria glared and said, "When he says now, he means now." After that, I dropped everything when my kids needed me.

Being is far more important than doing. At first my caregiving style was to keep Paul and Claire constantly busy with activities and outings. But Maria showed me that spending time with your children simply means being there and not rushing to go somewhere else.

Originally published in the June 2013 issue of Parents magazine.

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