Growing up a young black male was tough in many ways. Now I’m raising a son I’ve reflected on what I needed from my dad and written these tips as much to myself as anyone else.
Here are my 10 things that every son needs from his father.
1. Time and conversation; and not just talking about sporting events. Be interested in school and in everything he tries to do as he wants your approval in everything.
2. He needs you to be approachable; and not jump down his throat if he gets it wrong, he needs to be able to talk to you about the various things he may go through as he grows older
3. Emotion; show him that it’s actually okay to show emotion
4. Conflict resolution; teach him not to be a push over but to be controlled and assertive and be able to articulate himself
5. Be interested every day; ask him how his day was and work through any problems together
6. Discipline: as he gets older and hormones kick in he may try to test the boundaries and may want to flex the muscle, you’re the parent so settling disputes with fists is not setting a good example. Be considered in your approach to discipline.
7. He needs you to be faithful; if you’re going to have affairs or leave his mother remember you’re hurting him too. I often hear my mates tell me their older sons ask them why they cheated on their mother.
8. Reliability and consistency; be the guy he can always depend on
9. Feedback and reassurance; regularly tell your son how he is doing. He will seek to hear that positive, and at times negative, feedback from you. Letting your son know you’re proud of him goes a long way.
10. He needs you to be a role model; if they have children they will aim to at least as good a dad as you are. You are setting the standard for generations to come.