How to be a good dad

Improve the quality of your fathering to be a really great dad.

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Being a dad’s not an easy job – it’s a challenge, albeit a great one.

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From the moment your baby comes into the world, you’re faced with learning how to handle this tiny creature. On another level, there’s the daunting prospect of developing a good relationship with your baby, a vital foundation for the years ahead.

Some dads have it extra tough. Maybe you’re on your own, juggling the practicalities and emotional responsibilities of fulfilling the dad and mum role, or maybe you’re a distant dad – trying to build a successful relationship with your child when you only see him every so often.

Remember that you don’t have to have the ‘perfect’ situation to be a great dad. It is the quality of your fathering that counts, so concentrate
on understanding your child and demonstrating your love for them rather than dwelling on all the things that you would rather change.

Stepfathers face a particular challenge. Whereas biological dads can get to know their children gradually from birth, stepfathers are often thrown in at the deep end.

If you’re a stepfather, recognise however old your partner’s child or children are, there will be times when you feel as if you’re doing it all wrong. Take heart, you’re probably doing fine, but it takes time for both you and them to get used to a new situation.

Remember that you are not their real dad, so don’t try to be.

The relationship that you build with your stepchild/children should be totally different. Let them get to know you gradually and make sure that you don’t impose yourself too soon on the family.

To be a great dad takes time and effort. You and your stepchildren need to get to know each another and learn to love one another. Then they’ll see that they can trust you, get to know you and even begin to like you – and then you’re well on your way.

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Steve Chalke is founding director of Parentalk. Call 020 7450 9073 for info.

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