The Father Factor

If the paternal presence is this good a deal for your kids, how can busy and overcommitted men stay close to kids' lives in meaningful ways? Sure, talking is nice but doing is so much better. Go to teacher conferences. No excuses. Your spouse cannot possibly hear things the way you do. Your questions, while overlapping, are categorically different from hers. Take car-pool duty. Those are incredible opportunities for learning and communicating. Get to know your kids' friends, do the field trips. You will both remember them forever. Take your kids to work with you; they should know your world, too. Above all, get time alone with your kids. It is simply irreplaceable and they won't want it forever. And the benefits go both ways.

The positive effects don't just change your kids -- they also change you. Spouses of men who are closely connected to kids find them more open, loving, affectionate, and emotionally powerful partners. But more on that another day. Never underestimate what your fathering means to your children. Just remember what you liked about being fathered, or how you wish you had been, and then let your kids help you make it happen.

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