A good husband and father makes time for both his children and his marriage, and contributes more than just a paycheck to the family. To truly be a good husband and father, you have to spend quality time with your family and strive to be a loving role model.
Family coach and Episcopal minister David Code, author of the book "To Raise Happy Kids, Put Your Marriage First," warns against leading a life too focused on parenting. "These days, many parents seem to be married to their children instead of their spouses," says Code. "This creates stressed-out parents who feel disconnected from each other and demanding, entitled kids who act out." Part of being a good husband and father, says Code, is making both your marriage and your children a priority, and not allowing one to overshadow the other.
Children need involved father figures who actively participate in their children's lives and show love and support. "An involved father figure reads to his child, takes outings with his child, is interested in his child's education, and takes a role equal to the mother's in managing his child," says psychologist Eirine Flouri from the University of Oxford in England, who studied parental involvement and academic success among 17,000 British school children in 2004.
Active involvement may also mean the difference between a happy marriage and a marriage lacking love and intimacy. "When women feel overwhelmed or resent that their husbands aren't doing their share, a desire for sexual intimacy can go out the window," says sex therapist Joy Davidson, Ph.D. Reduce your partner's stress levels by sharing household chores and making time for relaxation and intimacy.
According to research conducted by pediatrics professor Maureen Black, Ph.D., from the University of Maryland School of Medicine, children whose fathers play an active role in their lives benefit both socially and academically. Black contends that children with actively involved fathers have fewer behavioral problems and better language skills than children with absent, uninvolved fathers.
A good husband and father creates a safe and loving environment for his wife and children. This means more than just financial support. Wives and children need emotional support as well. "One of the things we seek in marriage is a haven. We want the feeling that home is a safe place to go," says psychologist Judith Sills.
Men in particular need to watch how they react to stress when it comes to balancing work and family obligations, says psychologist Ron Palomares. Because children mold their behavior after their parents, developing healthy responses to stress helps children feel safe and teaches them how to appropriately handle their own anxieties, says Palomares.
Setting a Good Example
The way a father shows love to his children provides a template for the meaningful relationships children experience later in life, says social and developmental psychology professor Michael Lamb, Ph.D., from England's Cambridge University. Lamb, who has studied the shifting roles of fathers and the effect parental involvement has on children, says children "need to experience a sense of emotional security within their relationships with their parents or caregivers in order to learn how to relate to others."