The perfect Father's Day gift

June 15, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The best gift for your dad this Father's Day. Find out what he really wants. Dr. Will Courtenay, "The Men's Doc," explains.

The best gift to give dad this Fathers' Day is free!

Many dads are anticipating this Father's Day with regret. That's because they're struggling to provide for their families in the way they best know how: economically. This Father's Day, moms can play a big part in helping Dad to realize just how important he is to the family - and how money has little to do with that. It's the best gift Dad could receive.

TIPS

Set the record straight. For many men, being a father means being "the provider," economically. In fact, they think it's the most important way they provide for their families. The truth is, the most important ways dads provide for their families have nothing to do with money. There's even a lot of debate among social scientists about whether a family's income has any effect on a child's development. But there isn't any debate about the positive effects of involved fathers. And the most important thing a dad provides to his kids, is the time he spends with them. If the dad in your life is like most, he's unaware of this. So, let him know: it's time, not money, that's important for kids.

Tell him what he does provide. Remind dad - especially if he's struggling economically - that he provides for his kids in many ways, not just economically. Help him see that what he gives to his kids by spending time with them, is far greater than anything money can buy. Children who have fathers that are involved in their lives do better socially, behaviorally, psychologically, and cognitively. So, help dad see that he's providing something to his kids that will last them a lifetime.

Help him be "The Greatest Dad in The World." A mother's encouragement is one of the biggest factors contributing to a father being involved with his kids. So, leverage your influence and encourage his involvement with them. But let him know he doesn't have to be Super Dad to be the greatest dad to your kids, he just has to be involved. Encourage him to do whatever comes naturally to him. What's important for kids, are the simple things - like reading a book, taking a walk, throwing a ball, volunteering together, talking with them on a car ride, cooking and sharing meals, or helping with homework. These are the things that make a difference for them.

Take pride in his being a dad. If there's a dad in your life, take pride in him and the importance of his role as a father. And help him to see and take pride in knowing that his presence is making a huge contribution to his kids' well-being and development. And this Fathers' Day, let him know - whether he's down on the floor being a human jungle gym or just taking a walk with his kids - he's being the best dad in the world that your child could ever hope for. And, the very father his child needs most.

About Dr. Will Courtenay:
Known as "The Men's Doc," he is an internationally recognized expert in helping men, a psychotherapist, author, and researcher. The American Psychological Association calls him, "a leading psychologist in the field of masculinity" and "one of the leading scholars, researchers, and public policy shapers in the psychology of men." He lectures internationally and, as a consultant, has trained thousands of health professionals in how to most effectively communicate and work with men. Dr. Courtenay was recently selected for inclusion in "Who's Who in America, 2009" for his "exceptional achievements." He maintains a private practice in Berkeley, California.


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