Top 3 Parenting Tips from Hamish Webb (Dad Coach)
According to The Economist, parents are spending more time with their children than they did 50 years ago. Mothers have almost doubled time spent with children from 54 minutes a day to 104 minutes per day. Dads have almost quadrupled the amount of time they spend with their children, from 16 minutes a day to 59 minutes per day (Parents now spend twice as much time with their children as 50 years ago, 2017).
Dads of the past have had so little input in their child’s lives compare with today meaning that a lot of parenting skills from dads are not passed down. Dads of today often feel uncertain about how to spend time with their kids. The 3 most common tips I give new dads are;
Play with your kids,
I have learnt so many new skills as a dad, have had fun doing them, and this has helped me build a closer bond with my kids. I’ve learnt to do things like ice skating, taekwondo, and computer games.
I wouldn’t have had an interest in these things if it wasn’t for my kids.
Computer games are bad, aren’t they?
Sure I’m not like most dads, either trying to get the kids away from the screen feeling it’s bad for them, or trying to put them in front of the screens to avoiding parenting responsibilities. There is plenty of research out there telling parents to limit screen time.
This isn’t an argument about playing computer games, it is an argument for spending time with your kids. Parents and their children spending time together is beneficial.
You don’t have to be good at these things (I’m not particularly good at these things), but they are things that interest my kids and this means we spend time together.
Kids need your time, not your money,
Parents can usually recall a Christmas when a cardboard box was more popular than the present inside. When children recall great times they have had in their lives, they seldom tell a story of an amazing gift. The brain’s frontal lobe is an area that controls impulses and judgement, this part of the brain is not fully developed until 25 years old. Children are therefore very susceptible to advertising and can honestly believe that if you buy them something, they will never need to ask for anything ever again. Any parent that has fallen for this will know that their child’s need for this product is very short lived. This example demonstrates both the lack of control a child has over their impulses and a lack of lack judgement. What children really need is our love and attention. We can have all sorts of fun without the need for money.
Some of the cool things I did with my kids would be to build a fort using chairs and blankets. Do particularly bad magic shows, where I would hold up a blanket and tell the audience that I was going to make a child disappear. As I told the audience this my child would run off and hide somewhere. These activities are not only fun and exciting for kids, but it also helps them use their imagination.
Sharing your interests and skills with your kids by taking them hiking, fishing, or tinkering in the garage, whatever you enjoy doing, are things your kids will like too! Just make sure you make it age appropriate.
Having clear boundaries means that both the child and parent understand right from wrong. Children from a very young age can have discussions with their parents about rules. When children are included in rule discussions they feel more obligated to follow them and this help reduce conflict.
Notice we haven’t talked about punishments. Research tells us that rewards are far more influential than punishments. So thinking about some rewards should be your first step.
I remember having a decision with my son who had broken a very minor rule of our house and I asked him what he thinks the punishment should be. He said he thought that he shouldn’t be allowed to play Xbox for the rest of his life. As we discussed it some more, comparing this punishment to some of his other punishments, he decided to reduce his sentence to a year, which was still very extreme in my eyes. Kids can feel really bad for things they have done and what they really want is approval. Telling your kids that they have done something wrong can help them correct their behaviour, but notice how often you say “No” to your kids. Many parents say “No” a lot, without much thought to saying “Yes” to their kids more often.
Children can act out because they want attention, if you already give them a lot of positive attention, you lessen their reasons to act out.
The easy solution when a child does something wrong is to just be angry at them. After all, for most parents that is what their childhood was like. How many of you have heard the statement “Just wait until your father gets home”? Yes, those kind of behaviours were common years ago, that dad would come home to deliver the punishment.
The goal nowadays for most parents, is to be better parents than their parents were to them. I help them achieve that goal by teaching them new tools, and new ways of doing things, that are different to how their childhood was.
Hopefully, his post has introduced some new ideas for you as a parent. Now, I would encourage you to have a look at our dads parenting course and enrol.
Parents now spend twice as much time with their children as 50 years ago. (2017). Retrieved from The Economist: https://www.economist.com/graphic-detail/2017/11/27/parents-now-spend-twice-as-much-time-with-their-children-as-50-years-ago