How do you know you’re doing a good job as a dad? Suzy Darke of Under the green fig tree lists 21 signs that you’re a great father figure.
Whether you’re a dad, stepdad, uncle, or role model for a child or young adult you care about, here’s confirmation you’re doing the best for your loved ones.
1. Your kids are kind. From giving up their train seat to letting someone out at a busy junction, your children nearly always do the right thing. They learned it by watching you.
2. They are loving. They’re not afraid to show family and friends how much they care. That’s partly because you’ve never stinted on the bear hugs – even through the perpetual embarrassment of their teenage years.
3. They are brave. Your kids test the boundaries and have an enterprising spirit. That’s thanks to all those times you pushed your luck on ‘daddy day’ and ended up scaling that cliff face/running away from that charging bull/pushing the car home (delete as appropriate).
4. They never give up. Whether it’s education, work or love that’s proving difficult, your kids have the tenacity to keep going. They learned this by watching you calmly assemble flat-pack furniture, or unblock the sink without a single expletive. (Ahem.)
5. They know when to say sorry. Thanks to the unswerving vigilance of your other half, you know when you’re in the wrong and apologise for your mistakes. That’s why your kids have no issues with saying sorry themselves.
6. They can express their emotions – good and bad. While your parents and grandparents were of the stiff-upper-lip generation, thankfully you’ve always encouraged your children to express their emotions. As a result, they’re happy, resilient and self-aware.
7. They are honest with you. And you are honest with them. This means that, while you may argue from time to time, you never hold things against one another. Your relationship is real, truthful and solid.
8. They have excellent manners. How many times did you have to remind them not to speak with their mouths full? Or to say thank you after a meal? What… a million times? Well the payoff is worth it. Because they’ve grown into polite, charming individuals.
9. They work hard. Your children understand that hard work is the key to success. They’ve seen you put in the hours to give them a fantastic childhood. And now they’re doing the same for their families.
10. They play hard. When the working day is over, your kids know how to relax and unwind with friends and family. And you’ve provided the blueprint. Whether it’s dad-dancing to your old faves, lighting up the BBQ for the fourth day in a row, or shooting the breeze until the sun goes down, you know how to enjoy your free time.
11. They respect themselves. Your kids like to have fun and enjoy themselves, but they know when to stop. They make their own health and wellbeing a priority – they won’t bow to peer pressure if something doesn’t feel right.
12. They respect others. Your children have never seen you disrespect anyone and so respect for others is second nature to them too.
13. They phone you for no reason. You speak to each other regularly on the telephone. Sometimes you call them, sometimes they call you – and not only when they need something. You all just like to catch up and have a chat.
14. They always call to share their good news. They know you’ll make a big deal of their successes and share in their happiness because you’re their greatest fan.
15. They give great advice. Your children have grown into interesting, thoughtful adults. You respect their views and frequently ask for their viewpoint to complement your own thinking.
16. They are generous – with time, money and affection. Their hearts are huge and they enjoy helping others and spreading happiness. They learned generosity by watching you support good causes, graciously fund their hair-brained hobbies and always tip the waiter.
17. They can manage their money. Your children live well and enjoy life but don’t rely on credit to do so. They’ve worked hard for their money and you started them early – washing the car, cooking breakfast and tidying their rooms to earn pocket money.
18. They’re resourceful. Whether it’s changing a tyre, putting up a shelf or servicing the car, you’ve taught your kids how to do countless important tasks for themselves. You know they’ll be well prepared, whatever the situation.
19. They are self-confident. Your children don’t strut around like peacocks, but nor do they shy away like little mice. A childhood grounded in love, respect and honesty has given them the self-confidence to know their own minds and stand up for themselves.
20. They are happy. You’ve given your children all the tools they need to live a rewarding life. There’ll be plenty of ups and downs along the way, but they will be brave, make (mostly) good choices, learn from their mistakes, and surround themselves with good people. And that’s all you can ask for, right?
21. They make you proud. All of the above points make your heart burst with pride. Yes, they’ve got their faults – don’t we all? – but ultimately, your children are pretty smashing human beings.
We all know bringing up children is a crazy, exhausting, wonderful rollercoaster of an experience. And how they turn out in the end is partly due to nature and partly due to nurture. Be confident that you’ve done all you can to get the nurture bit right, and you’re a very, very good dad indeed. Happy Father’s Day!