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Become an involved and active father.

Updated on October 21, 2014
My 3 boys 2013.
My 3 boys 2013. | Source

My hub on how I become active and involved in my children's lives. I have 3 boys from 6-11 years old and a 2yr old girl. Patience and understanding is needed.

I am married with 3 wonderful boys and a girl who keep my own my toes. A 2 year old daughter named Carmen, 6 year old Alexander, 8 year old Ryan, and Howie who is 11. Children are a blessing but they require attention and love. Discipline is also required in various ways, each child varies and parents can soon find out the best way to deal with each child. Now, I was raised on a farm where my father also worked a full time job and my mother was a stay at home mom. I had 3 other siblings and we were pretty close besides the normal sibling arguments over a toy, etc. I was close to my mother and she always kept us busy and was the affection giver in the family. She was the one who helped with the homework and you talked about your day at school with. My father was always tired and in his free time he just wanted to relax and not be bothered as he watched his favorite show. I was always trying to impress him and get him to play with me but it always seemed like I was in his way. This caused me to swear to myself while still young that when I grew up I would do whatever it took to make my kids feel loved and be the coolest dad ever. Fast forward 20 years and I'm a now a father. I've come to realize that my father had real life issues about finances and working all the time. We are closer than we have ever been now that he doesn't have the pressures he faced back then. It wasn't that he didn't love me, he just didn't feel comfortable showing it. His father was the same way towards him so he didn't really even realize that I was looking for more. Of course a child doesn't realize how a parent's upbringing and life's issues can affect the way they act.

My thoughts have wanted me to blog about how I want to be the best father I possibly can and ways I try to get involved with my children so they won't have the same feelings I did for an impressionable part of my life that I can't get back. I am not perfect by any means and make mistakes. I have to take a step back when real angry so that I don't act rashly. What I strive to do is talk with my children and try to understand them. You would be suprised how important something is to them that you think is silly, aka Elmo and the Incredible Hulk. I dedicated this to fathers and it doesn't matter if you are a single father, divorced, or married. The stereotype that the man's main responsibilty is to bring home the bacon doesn't apply in today's society. Some even think that a man isn't supposed to do a "woman's job" which is showing emotional involvement and dealing with the children. These stereotypes are ridiculous and way outdated. Us fathers are important forces and figures in our children's lives. I want us to be a positive figure. I put a list of sorts, of things I do to bond with my children. I hope it can give someone an idea or help them out with the struggle of being a good parent/father.

All photos were taken by me.

Helpful books

Emotional Involvement: Hugs and Stories

Ways I use to show affection and little things to make them feel loved

What is important is emotional involvement. Sometimes we have to drop the I am a man and we don't act that way routine. There is nothing wrong with giving your kid/s a hug and telling them that you love them and are proud of them. I do all of these and even the simple act of patting on the head and tossling their hair. Listen to your children and give them encouragement and praise when they do something they are proud of or feel is important to them. When your child shows you a picture they drew and it looks like scribble and say this is a T-Rex, say how cool and hang it on the fridge instead of saying that doesn't look like it and crushing their enthusiam. When your child says something silly like I'm going to be a space astronaut and find aliens I say, wow that would be cool being an astronaut instead of saying things like there are no aliens or you're going to be a lawyer, etc. When they mature they will realize certain life truths but crushing their dreams at a young age can hamper their imagination and may not be as communicative with their problems and goals when they get older.

Instead of yelling at them when they do something wrong try reasoning with them and explaining the consequences of what they did. Never discipline in anger. I have been guilty of yelling when angered and frustrated but it is a rare occasion because I have to stop myself and take a deep breath and walk out of the room, anything to calm down before dealing with them. I believe in discipline but when exercised with reasoning and not anger, it is much more effective and your children will be more willing to come to you when they did something wrong without being in fear. I knew how my father was so if I did something wrong, I would try to hide it/keep it a secret.

Telling stories are a great way to get your children involved with you and creates a great bond. I'll sit down regularly and tell my oldest Howie stories and he looks forward to them. When he is tired, he'll often ask for a story and in 5 minutes he'll be sound asleep. It doesn't have to be anything fancy: there are a few plot outlines I use regularly. Howie and I are space soldiers exploring new planets and we are in the Amazon jungle keeping an eye out for Anacondas and Piranhas and looking for treasures. With my middle son, Ryan, he loves Thomas the Tank engine so I am Percy and he is Thomas and make up little stories about the island of Sodor and where we try to avoid Diesel 10. Ryan and Alexander are also big Spongebob fans so I try to do stuff Spongebob related with them like coloring books. What young child doesn't like to color?

There are various other things that I use but some work better on one child than the other. All I know is that my kids tell me regularly they love me and are always clamoring for a story. It makes me feel good inside knowing I am more than just someone who works and hopefully will buy them toys on occasion.

Why Fathers Count: The Importance of Fathers and Their Involvement with Children
Why Fathers Count: The Importance of Fathers and Their Involvement with Children

Of all the books listed this is the only one I have purchased. I love it and fathers are very important in the lives of children so get involved.


Educational/Learning Involvement

We all want our kids to be geniuses but there's a difference between nudging them and forcing them to fulfill what is probably your ideas on what they should know or be able to do. Since my children are still young I can only describe what I do now and plan on doing in the future.

Reading to your children is very important. It helps them learn and helps take away the dread of reading a book to a bigger desire to read. There are numerous studies that show that reading is one of the biggest things you can do to stimulate your child's mind but I'll leave that up to you to research. I read Thomas the Tank engine stories to Ryan and with Howie, I read various kid stories like Treasure Island and dinosaur books.

I also help Howie practice his spelling words and look over his homework to make sure he understands it and is doing it correctly. Oh, its better to help them, don't give them the answer because that will only harm them in the long run. Get their mind working and they will learn the value of self satisfaction that they did it themselves and will make them more confident and self assured in the future.

Music is also a very powerful tool in your child's learning development. I plan on enrolling Howie in the near future to play the guitar. Foolishly, I had always thought that the piano would be the best for development and was trying to push that on him but why force a child to do something they don't want to do. He wants to play the guitar so I will support that. At work, how do you feel when someone gives you a daily task you don't enjoy? You do it because you have too but not because you want too. These are just a few things that I do and/or will do in the future with my children.

Howie and I at a Tiger's baseball game
Howie and I at a Tiger's baseball game | Source
Helping Ryan bowl
Helping Ryan bowl | Source

Physical activities/hobbies

This is the part I really enjoy and is the easiest thing for most men to do with your children. What I did is found things we could do together that we both enjoy. For Ryan and Alexander it is basically just building Thomas the Tank Engine Train Tracks and watching the trains go around and I've always liked trains so that is pretty cool. When the weather is good we all bike in the yard or a short distance down the street. We also throw and kick various balls to eachother. All the kids enjoy setting up a tent and camping in the backyard and each one has to have their own little flashlight. That's a lot of fun.

With Howie I had to experiment with things I liked and see how he reacted to them. These are the things we do together that we both enjoy: fishing, playing baseball, video games in moderation and collecting marbles. Of course I wanted him to collect football and baseball cards like I did when I was younger but that doesn't interest him, collecting cards that is. My sports that I love are baseball and football. He likes baseball and soccer and we go to Detroit Tiger's games on occasion and watch them fairly regularly on TV. Very rarely do we toss the football, it's putting on the mitts and throwing the ball and batting or my clumsy soccer self getting whooped on by Howie in soccer. I compromised here and have learned to enjoy soccer more than I thought I would.

What kid doesn't enjoy being pushed in a swing, playing catch, occasional light wrestling/tickling and the like. These are almost universal things that kids enjoy and can be great fun.

Overall thoughts

Kids will always love toys and the latest movies and video games. You can't buy love and in the long run, your children will appreciate your time more than material possessions. It's hard trying to manage your time and spending time with the children after a long day of work but just a little bit of quality time pays off. I err but I try to learn from my mistakes because being an involved father isn't always easy. I get frustrated just as easily as the next person but I have had to work on my patience a lot. Take a step back and breathe so I don't say or do something I shouldn't. Just because we're men doesn't mean we shouldn't show emotion and affection with our kids. This is just my little blog on being in my children's lives and hopefully it may give you some ideas for a closer bond with your children.

The Divorced Dad's Survival Book: How to Stay Connected with Your Kids
The Divorced Dad's Survival Book: How to Stay Connected with Your Kids

A must have for a divorced father. Has good reviews so am including it here.


My Boys

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Ryan, Alexander and Howie taken mid 2008Ryan, Howie holding Alexander in late fall 2009.
Ryan, Alexander and Howie taken mid 2008
Ryan, Alexander and Howie taken mid 2008 | Source
Ryan, Howie holding Alexander in late fall 2009.
Ryan, Howie holding Alexander in late fall 2009. | Source

For Men: Your parental status

Your Parental Status

See results
The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Single Father
The Ultimate Survival Guide for the Single Father

I am not a single father but many are so this book is for you.


Reader Feedback and comments

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    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 4 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      It's nice to read how you value your fatherhood. But don't ignore your wife. I suggest you also give her the same quality treatment.

    • profile image

      ConvenientCalendar 4 years ago

      Very inspiring!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have to believe that the biggest problems with kids today is that the parents did`nt spend enough time with their kids when their young. The biggest problem today is that both parents work and the baby sitter raises their kids, sometimes several sitters. This a very difficult thing nowadays for parents to spend time with family and should be altered in a way as to have at least one parent at home at all times. You have the right idea though and it will truly pay off in the long run. Spending as much time with your children will benefit everybody in the long run, you will never regret it.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Hey!! I have 3 boys and my last is a girl! Awesome read. My hubby is very involved, but I am glad there are dads posting awesome lens' like these that help support and encouraging other fathers. Dads are usually so focused on the financial, they lack the emotional. Thank you for this. Many dads need this kind of encouragement...I know my dad could have used this! Blessings

    • profile image

      yukaeil 5 years ago

      nice involvement with your kids. very important for parents.

    • dianab31128 profile image

      dianab31128 5 years ago

      Thank you so much for sharing the kind of father you are. This makes me happy, seeing men write about how much they do for their children and how much they care.

    • Tobint44 LM profile image

      Tobint44 LM 5 years ago

      Great lens man, this encompasses the type of father I aspire to be!

    • TwistedWiseman profile image

      TwistedWiseman 5 years ago

      Hopefully some day I will be as good if not a better dad :)

    • profile image

      MetalBillz 5 years ago

      Nice lens, some great tips there. I have a 15 month old girl, its amazing how fast she grows up but am learning how to do things every day.

    • profile image

      msseiboi 5 years ago

      Great and useful lens...

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 6 years ago from Michigan

      @danielmccarthy lm: I appreciate your insight. I added a non married couple option to the poll. I can't believe I overlooked that originally. Thank you for you comments and suggestions, they mean a lot to me.

    • Oneshotvariety LM profile image

      Oneshotvariety LM 6 years ago

      Great lens!

    • danielmccarthy lm profile image

      danielmccarthy lm 6 years ago

      Great lens. Lots of great tips but a few things: I think that it's good for kids to do things that they don't like sometimes because its part of real life... in moderation of course. Also, I think that you should add another option to marital status. I am not married but have 2 kids and a woman that I have been with for 9 years, we will be married within the next few years... I would have liked to be part of your poll but I am not married, single or divorced. Really good lens, you should definitely keep expanding this one.

    • Rangoon House profile image

      AJ 6 years ago from Australia

      You're a very lucky husband and father, as are your family. Children grow up far too quickly! Enjoy every day, even the bad ones.

    • LewesDE profile image

      LewesDE 6 years ago

      This is a well put together lens!

    • bluewren56 lm profile image

      bluewren56 lm 6 years ago

      Loved reading your story. Well done.

    • profile image

      jimmyworldstar 6 years ago

      This is very true, a big problem with kids these days is a lack of parental involvement in their life which hurts their self-esteem and need to be loved. I have kids myself and I also read to them everyday, encouraged their imagination, and helped them with their homework.

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      Nice read about importance of dads being in the lives of their children. Doing a great job and that influence will help them later on in life.

    • profile image

      crstnblue 6 years ago

      Great lens and sensitive topic.

      Everything counts in life - after a while... you'll be the winner out of your diligence and care.

      Thumbs up for you for thinking, feeling and sharing this way! :)

    • JMaltman profile image

      JMaltman 6 years ago

      #1 on my list of things for my life is to be the best Dad I can be, followed closely by best husband. :) Like you said - the return on time you spend with your kids is infinite, especially when they're young. I'm willing to pay or give up a lot of $ for that time. Can't wait to see what its like to have #2 in 5 weeks or so.

    • profile image

      Luvnit 6 years ago

      I think you kids are very lucky to have such an affectionate & caring father... great job! I know they will love you more than ever as time goes on.

    • laguild profile image

      laguild 6 years ago

      Your boys look adorable! Keep up keeping up!!

    • profile image

      Pway21 6 years ago

      that was a nice read

    • vauldine profile image

      vauldine 6 years ago

      Very impressive! Congratulations!

    • profile image

      slotowngal 6 years ago

      My Dad was a really involved Dad, spending most of his free time playing educational games with us, driving us to our activities and lessons, being the lifeguard while we swam in our family pool etc. It's great when a Dad spends time with his children.

    • profile image

      ThomasNKlotz 6 years ago

      You are great parents and your children is too much lucky.

      Law Firm Chicago

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 7 years ago from Michigan

      @jdwheeler: Thank you. I am glad you appreciated the lens.

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 7 years ago

      Great Dad lens... I want to feature you on my Top 10 Dad Lenses on Squidoo.

    • nukemdomis lm profile image

      nukemdomis lm 7 years ago

      Good work on your lens. I've added your lens to my Best Parents lens here on Squidoo. Here's the link: World's Best Parents

    • JeanJohnson LM profile image

      JeanJohnson LM 7 years ago

      nice lens about being with your kids. keep up the good work!

    • squidoopets profile image

      Darcie French 7 years ago from Abbotsford, BC

      What a blessing you are to your boys, and all who see you interact with your little guys. They'll grow up and be just as loving. And neat how you and your Dad are close now; your boys were teachers for you in that way. Wonderful to read about, many thanks -:)

    • EdTecher profile image

      Heidi Reina 7 years ago from USA

      You share so many terrific ways dads can engage with their children. Blessed by a SquidAngel ~

    • LouisaDembul profile image

      LouisaDembul 7 years ago

      how I wish more children had fathers who want to be involved with their children. Wonderful to see your determination to be a good father!

    • jdwheeler profile image

      jdwheeler 7 years ago

      Becoming a father changes your life forever. You will never be the same. It's not about you anymore. My favorite fatherhood quote is "A father carries pictures where his money used to be..."

    • profile image

      scar4 7 years ago

      My boy friend should see this. It's helpful for us in the future.

    • ClinicallySigni profile image

      ClinicallySigni 7 years ago

      What a great lens! As a single father I know what a challenge being an involved father can be. I need to work on the whole patience thing myself. Thanks for a fantastic lens!

    • profile image

      danielf 7 years ago

      This is going to be useful when I have kids. Thanks for sharing this

    • javr profile image

      javr 7 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I'll be sure to relay your lens to others. Thanks!

    • profile image

      watchmoviesonline123 7 years ago

      Thanks for great index of very useful resources in a single page.

    • profile image

      watchmoviesonline123 7 years ago

      Thanks for great index of very useful resources in a single page.

    • profile image

      anonymous 7 years ago

      Enjoy your writing. Being good dad is much work.

    • profile image

      myraggededge 7 years ago

      Lovely boys. You are a great dad.

    • profile image

      anonymous 8 years ago

      good parenting blog about your life. if you work with them when young you wont have as many problems with them when older. good luck.

    • profile image

      Videoart 8 years ago

      2 thumbs up.

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 8 years ago from Michigan

      Back from vacation.

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 8 years ago from Michigan

      Will be gone on vacation for a couple of weeks and won't be able to update or approve new links, comments, etc that you may have submitted. I will get around to them when I get back. Thank you.

    • profile image

      Dewdrops 8 years ago

      Very good reading. Put a lot of thought in it. Keep on what you are doing cause the kids will always remember their childhood.

    • profile image

      Larry_Stoneman 8 years ago

      As a single father I apreciated this lens. Fathers play big roles in kids lives.

    • profile image

      boutiqueshops 8 years ago

      a powerful personal experience lens ~ love it!

    • profile image

      TonyVega 8 years ago

      Very thoughtful and personal lens. Enjoyed it much.

    • profile image

      ajfrank 8 years ago

      Really liked this lens. Keep at it. 5 stars.

    • profile image

      NathanAmboy 8 years ago

      very nice parenting and father lens. this dad gives it 5 stars

    • profile image

      mherman 8 years ago

      Really enjoyed this lens.

    • profile image

      MysticKrystal 8 years ago

      The joys of parenthood. Found your quit smoking cold turkey lens and figured I would check a few more of yours out. I love the personal touch you put in the lenses. Not all copy and paste jobs like some lensmasters.

    • profile image

      janfulton 8 years ago

      Fathers are important as well as us mothers. Great lens.

    • retro-gamer profile image

      Howard 8 years ago from Michigan

      Thank you for all the visitors and comments. Due to work related relocation for the next few months I may not be able to update or approve links regularly. I will get around to it though when I have the time. Thank you all

    • profile image

      danie5 8 years ago

      good parenting lens. rated it.

    • profile image

      geraldsinclair 8 years ago

      Dads rock.

    • profile image

      mando66 8 years ago

      Great lens about the fatherhood and raising kids.

    • profile image

      GrowWear 8 years ago

      Kudos for all you do for your children.

    • profile image

      DaddyAshie 8 years ago

      Hi iv just published a lens all about the male perspective on parenting and your really shows just how involved dads can be. I`l make sure i add you to my lensroll.

    • profile image

      farmer8i 8 years ago

      Nice squidoo lens. I can relate to raising kids. When they grow up then you can spoil the grand kids

    • profile image

      opalturn 8 years ago

      Great to see a father writing about his kids. Now if I can get my husband more involved, aarrhh.

    • profile image

      peekapoo 9 years ago

      Like this lens. Wish you great years ahead with your kids.

    • profile image

      chest5 9 years ago

      Great parenting lens. Enjoyed it and has a down to earth feel to it.

    • profile image

      juanhdz 9 years ago

      Fathers rule. Its a hard job to be a good one and just when I think I have it figured out I don't.

    • profile image

      Lucas73 9 years ago

      Have 2 kids of my own. Its hard getting time with work and all to spend good time with the kids but its worth it.

    • profile image

      JStabler 9 years ago

      Im sure you're a good poppa. Mine are grown up now but when young are the best times. You'll miss that in 20 years. Like your help on Blujay and about how to promote and stuff.

    • profile image

      katesale 9 years ago

      Very good lens from the heart. Its hard being a parent but you gotta keep doing your best.

    • profile image

      moneygames 9 years ago

      You have a great family relationship!

    • profile image

      mibhound 9 years ago

      As a father I can appreciate the lens. Good to meet a fellow marble collector.

    • BusyQueen profile image

      BusyQueen 9 years ago

      A great family lens, Classicvideogamesplus.

    • profile image

      elfgirl 9 years ago

      Nice lens. Feel free to check out my elf magic lens when you have time.

    • profile image

      lovebug1 9 years ago

      Another good lens Howard. I enjoyed it.

    • profile image

      mikalove 9 years ago

      Great lens about being a dad.

    • profile image

      pstarnick 9 years ago

      Nice lens, working on a Patrick Star lens right now. 5 stars.

    • profile image

      garfield32 9 years ago

      Great lens. As long as us fathers try to do our best, hopefully it will have agood impact on the kids.

    • profile image

      dougart 9 years ago

      Very good lens. Raising kids takes a lot of patience. Hope it keeps going well for you and myself.

    • profile image

      blujayer35 9 years ago

      Nice lens, of course I'm not a father but a mother. Still a good lens I liked it.

    • BusyQueen profile image

      BusyQueen 9 years ago

      wtg on another great lens! 5*****

    • profile image

      tdove 9 years ago

      Thanks for joining G Rated Lense Factory!

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      I am honored that you have joined my WELCOME PARENTS - THE PARENT PLACE GROUP! Fabulous lens! 5*'s for sure!

    • profile image

      jostaley 9 years ago

      Liked this lens. Wish you and your family the best.

    • profile image

      anonymous 9 years ago

      Another classic lens with 5* information! Some great parenting tips! Keep up writing lenses, look forward to them!