How To Teach A Child Right From Wrong (Without Being A Hypocrite)

If the daily interaction with friends and colleagues already requires a good deal of attention, understanding and respect, the good relationship between fathers and children requires even more. The constant intimacy and contact between the members of a family soothe and nurture the relationship, but also expose fragile and human aspects of our personality.

To be a father is not easy, moreover in face of the monitoring of society that demands stability and perfection from a person that is essentially human.

This is a fundamental aspect: above assuming the role of father, to be your own self in the relationship. It is no use trying to assume a pattern, a behavior that does not correspond to your inner reality, your own beliefs and values. After all, children need a reference, from their fathers´ example. Thus, it is necessary a good deal of self-knowledge, as good examples arise from good attitudes.

It is no use trying to point a road or impose limits if you do not behave coherently. That story "do what I say, but do not do what I do" is a disaster. Nobody supports inconsistency and ambiguity in face of a contact that should be at least authentic.

Thus, besides consistency the relationship must have a balance. Above being fathers and children, both are unique individuals, full of their own potentials. Of course the adult keeps more experience and understands aspects not yet accessible to the child or adolescent. But those who wish to keep clear these differences, discriminating the child´s capacity to grow up and to develop, will sustain an unsafe relationship, contributing for the emergence of feelings of fear, submission or rebellion.

Applying limits is also very much necessary. As attention, love and encouragement are vital attitudes for the personality development, the notion of limits is the complement for the balance. Many people develop difficulties along life exactly by the limits lack or excess. Now, it is not necessary to hide the reality, which sometimes may be hard, from our own children.

Limits are necessary and must be applied with sincerity. Unfortunately, there are fathers that mix things, believe that setting limits is to be tough. Now, we can be firm, not necessarily tough. After all, attention and affection are necessary even in the most concrete situations. It is also important to be attentive not to project our own frustrations and wishes on our children.

Many fathers seek personal fulfillment in their children's success. They wish the children to be their followers and accomplish what they were not able to fulfill themselves along their own lives. They are full of expectations and may even have a negative influence in the development of their children´s maturity and personal autonomy.

Being a father is an eternal learning. The important thing is to have the wisdom and courage to overcome difficulties and try to improve. After all, to be a good father is to be a good man, to know yourself. It is to believe in your own capacity and to grow mature in a sincere way. It is to make yourself a person, to appreciate new encounters and relationships. It is to be human, understanding the limits that life imposes, but never escaping the opportunities it gives us.”