The importance of Dad

December 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
How to help your partner become a more involved father with your kids, especially during the holidays. Rona Renner, host of radio talk show Childhood Matters on Green 960AM, and Berkeley psychotherapist Dr. Will Courtenay, otherwise known as "The Men's Doc," share their advice.

Tips for moms to help dads be more involved with their kids

Give Your Attitudes A Makeover. Still stuck in '50's ideas about parenting? If so, it's time for a makeover. The fact is, in this day and age, dads are more involved than ever. And if you don't update your attitudes, your partner could get stuck in the middle ages. Women with traditional ideas about the roles of moms and dads, have partners who are less involved with their kids. So, if you want your partner involved, get your attitudes evolved. And remember - other than breastfeeding - dads can do everything that moms can do.

By Invitation Only. So, you like the idea of your partner being more involved with your kids. But are you sure about that? A lot of women like the concept, but when it actually comes down to it, they've clearly staked their claim on the home front. And if your partner thinks that home is mom's turf, chances are, he's not going to want to step on your toes - and he'll have you take the lead. So, if you really want him involved, you're going to have to invite him in.

Don't "Hop On Pop." It might be a fun Dr. Seuss book to read to your kids, but jumping on dad isn't a good approach with your partner. In fact, the worst thing you can do is jump on your kids' dad every time he doesn't do the things the way you'd do them. Which leads to the next tip...

Gag The Nag. The three things women do that are guaranteed to turn men off - and turn them away from their families - is nag, nag, and nag some more! No one likes to be reminded of the things he should do that he hasn't yet done. Your partner is no exception.

Accessorize Your Feedback. You may have a lot more experience with kids than your partner. And chances are, he can benefit from your experience. But when you're giving him feedback, be careful: criticism is like silk and it's easy to slip into. So, instead, remember to dress up your observations. Accessorize your feedback with some positive comments.

Give Credit When Credit's Due. Admit it; he doesn't do everything wrong. Right? So, what's wrong with telling him what he does right? Try to acknowledge what your partner does well. A little praise will go a long way to help build the confidence that's necessary for a dad to be more involved with his kids.

Believe In Him. And speaking of confidence, he needs your confidence. Dads who have partners who are confident in their ability to be good fathers are more involved with their kids. So, give him your official mom's seal of approval.

Back Off. Okay, so now you're all set to have a father who's really involved with his kids. One last thing: you've got to get out of his way. Women who are reluctant to give up responsibility to their partners, have fathers who are less involved with their kids. So, step back and let him step in. And remember not to judge what he does.

About Rona Renner:
Rona Renner, RN has been a nurse for over 40 years, and is temperament specialist and parent educator. She is the Executive Director of Interactive Parenting Media, and the host of Childhood Matters Radio show, Saturdays at 9AM on Green 960AM

About Dr. Will Courtenay:
Known as "The Men's Doc," he is an internationally recognized expert in helping men. 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."