In just a few weeks, we will take time to celebrate fathers and the important role they play in their families’ lives. Fatherhood is a topic I am passionate about because I know how a great dad can impact his child, and I know how the absence of dad can impact his child. I am pro-dad, as I know you are too.
Dads don’t always understand just how great an impact they can have on their children’s lives. One of the most powerful ways you dads can have an effect on your child is with your words. Your words are so powerful, they can actually make or break your child. You can build your child up with positive affirmation, or you can tear your child down with abusive language or harsh words.
Most dads want to be good fathers who raise great kids. A great place to start is with your words.
Whatever you tell your child, she internalizes. Trust me. I know this because I hear your children talk about themselves every time they come into my office. If she knows you love her, she feels loved. If she thinks you only criticize her, she criticizes herself.
A lot of dads are great at building their child up with their words until they get angry about something. Losing your temper is completely normal as a parent, but when dads lose their tempers, they have to be especially careful because their words mean so much. This is where taking a step back and considering your words can be incredibly helpful for both you and your child.
Next time you are tempted to lose your temper and yell or criticize your child, try my CAAR method instead. Correction. Affirmation. Attention. Respect.
When correcting a child, use the fewest words possible. Your toddler only knows a few words anyway, and as she grows older, she’ll tune out long speeches of correction. All kids do this because if you correct them at length, they feel ashamed, hurt and embarrassed, and in self-defense, they try to stop listening. Using fewer words also keeps your temper in check. Anger has a habit of escalating, so cut yourself off. Stop talking. Leave the room (and don’t slam the door).