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Brian and Joe on Fatherhood

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With Father’s Day just around the corner, dads everywhere are reflecting on what fatherhood means to them. I recently chatted to my good friend Joe Niego about our own experiences of parenting our kids – a grand total of 11 between us! Here are some of the lessons we have learned along the way:

Say No

As a father, you must always come to parenting from a place of love, but there’s a big difference between being a father and being a friend. We all want what’s best for our children and sometimes that means having the backbone to say no. It’s not a good idea to always give kids what they want, just because that might be easier in the moment. In the long run, learning to say no to negative influences will help your kids to build and maintain healthy relationships, allow them to maximize their potential, stop them becoming entitled and give them the lifelong gift of gratitude.

Let Kids Experience Competition and Adversity

None of us wants our kids to know the heartbreak of disappointment or failure but, if we want them to build resiliency, we have to let them experience the lows as well as the highs. Competition is good because it teaches kids that setbacks are just part and parcel of life, whether that’s in the classroom, the athletic field or the music arena. If you overprotect your kids, what will they do when you’re not there to save the day? Allowing them to compete teaches them about teamwork and ultimately brings out the best in them. Always remind your children that there’s no such thing as failure, only feedback.

Really Connect

The most important thing you can do as a parent is to connect with who your kids really are. Where do their passions lie? What are they interested in? Maybe it’s music, sport, literature, art or fashion. Find out what lights their fire and then connect with them on their level to form really strong bonds. Make a sustained effort to establish a healthy and loving culture for your family and, most importantly, always make the time to talk.

Let Kids Take Ownership

Encouraging your kids to think critically pays huge dividends. We live in a culture where parents tend to take responsibility for almost every decision their kids make. Don’t always spring to provide the answers to their every difficulty – let them figure it out for themselves. When we deny them ownership, we deny our kids the opportunity to be truly responsible for their own actions and decisions. If you want your kids to be masters of their own destiny, you have to allow them to make their own choices and live with the consequences.

To learn more about lessons in fatherhood, listen to the latest episode of “It’s a Good Life.”

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