Finally, there’s “instruction” — verbal instruction and a verbal warning. “Instruction” literally means “to bring before the mind.” This frequently means to confront and is thus related to the previous topic, discipline. A proper upbringing necessitates explicit, forthright instruction. Men, to accept our responsibilities, we must be:
- Involved in verbally instructing our children; • Leading them in family devotions and prayer regularly.
- Monitoring and sharing responsibility for the information that enters our wives’ impressionable minds with our wives.
- Assuming responsibility for ensuring that church is a meaningful experience.
- Above all, we must ensure that the open book of our lives — our example — demonstrates the reality of our instruction because they will learn the most by watching us.
Fathers who are more involved in their children’s lives and make themselves more emotionally available tend to raise children with fewer emotional problems and better mental health overall. These outcomes indicating improved mental health in children are highly dependent on the quantity and quality of father involvement. However, the quality of participation is more important than the quantity. Even if a father is always present with his son, spending most of his time arguing or engaging in conflict with him is unlikely to have the same positive impact as a father who spends less time with mutually agreeable bonding activities. The length of time is less important than how they interact during that time. The father must be deliberate about the quality of his involvement with his children.
Fathers are considered emotionally available when they show an interest in their children’s lives, interact with them, support them, and pay attention to their emotional needs. Children of emotionally involved fathers are often more emotionally mature and have fewer emotional problems, resulting in better mental health for the child. As with any relationship, time, attention, and resources must be invested to build and strengthen it.
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