Accept children as they are

Dad hugging his daughter at a wedding

“The number one priority in fathering is to make sure that kids know they are accepted regardless of their performance. That is one of the keys. Our world is performance-driven. Kids will experience this at school, in sport, with girls, everything – only if you perform will you be accepted and liked. But no-one can live up to that ideal. So I bend over backwards to make the kids know that my feelings for them are never based on performance. The other day I got upset with Josh about something and he said to me, ‘Dad, do you still love me when I am bad?’ That’s it. That’s the question. I have to give him a clear, categorical answer to that question in my fathering.” – John Dickson, author, speaker and historian

  • Encourage your child to do their best. But let them know that you love them no matter what
  • When your child fails it is especially important to express your continued love for them
  • You can be proud of your child’s accomplishments, but let them know that your love is not contingent on their success


Get help if you are not coping

It’s tempting to put on a brave face and give the impression to your family that you are coping well with work, fathering, or other aspects of your life, even when things are not going great.


Connect over a meal

Use meal times to do more than just talk about what happened that day.