The saying goes that you can attract more flies with honey than with vinegar. Same holds true for getting our husbands to be better and great father.
If you correct him at every turn, that’s the vinegar approach. If you praise him when he is doing a good job—or even something approximating a good job—that’s the honey approach. And, as parenting partner says, you are your children’s connection to their father. The better you can make your husband look, and the stronger you can make the father and child bond, the better it is for your children. Dr. Meeker gives this advice to moms: “…in situations where a father is a good man clearly trying to do a good job, we help him do a better job when we choose to focus on his positive attributes rather than the negative ones.”You can make your husband a bigger and better part of his children’s lives by doing these things.
Let us try.
As men, sometimes when we try to do something good (or what we think is good!) you can involuntarily get in the way and we are forced to step aside. Don’t take over and we might surprise you! Make it a “mingling” of the minds instead of a battling of the minds. This gives us the freedom to rise up as dads and then the kids will get the best of both parents.
Encourage us when we do something right. You have no idea how much it means to us and how much more confidence it gives. And if we’re doing something wrong, choosing the right time and tone you tell us goes a long way.
Because moms are often with their children more than dads are, it can be easy for us to feel like we can’t do anything right. Or, if we disagree with something, it can be hard to speak up. Being able to have open discussions about parenting issues is really important. If your communication as a coupleis good, then parenting well together is only a step away. If it’s not good, you need to go back to the beginning and fix your relationship with each other.
Don’t set your husband up for failure. Let’s say your son really wants Dad to throw the ball around on Saturday morning, but you know your husband is exhausted from a tough week at work. Protect your husband from looking like the bad guy by explaining to your son why Dad needs to sleep a bit longer before he heads outside.
In other words, don’t guilt trip him. If you do a heavy, “you should, why don’t you, you never” tirade, he might buck up and not make time for the kids just to spite you. He might not know how to be a good dad, but you can help him. Let him take care of the kids more on his own, without micromanaging him.
Praise him in front of the kids
Many times moms kind of laugh at dad behind his back with their kids–especially older kids or teenagers. Watch how you speak about your husband with your children. It’s one thing to laugh about the funny thing dad said without realizing it, and another to laugh at him in a condescending way.
Include him in planning big family events
How many times do kids open a present from “mom and dad” and only thank mom, because they know dad had nothing to do with picking it out? Whether it’s presents or birthday parties or important sports games or competitions, get dad involved! Don’t just micromanage it–give him responsibility with this. Plan the birthday party together and you may find that he has some great ideas that the kids just love. Go shopping for birthday or Christmas presents as a couple and ask him what kinds of presents he got as a kid that he loved. Often dads can start to feel like they’re watching their family from the outside, by bringing him in to these big family events, you’re making sure you don’t leave him on the sidelines. Call out your husband’s strengths and gifts in front of your kids. Tell him you think he’s a great dad, and give specific examples. “I just love watching you play with your daughter–it’s such a gift to see that our daughter has a daddy who loves to spend time with her and pour into her life.”
Wives often find that their husbands have interests they think are kind of silly, or they don’t understand the appeal of them. But kids often love them. So celebrate that your husband and kids can bond over these activities you have absolutely zero interest in, and if they start doing something you find fun, join in with them every now and then!