Most men in the upper Midwest had fathers whose greatest pieces of advice were to a) rub some dirt on it, and b) that potato skins put hair on your chest.
Well, for better or for worse, times have changed.
Parents, and especially fathers, are more apt to cuddle with their kids and give loving encouragement than in years past. And as stay-at-home dads, it is extremely important that we find our nurturing side and practice it daily.
Nurturing is a word that might have some connotations, but I'm talking about creating a foundation for a healthy mind and a sound value system.
The simplest way to get a start in the nurturing arena is to put your child's needs in front of everything else you do during the day. That means dropping the laundry to tend to your son who just smacked his head on the coffee table. It means turning off the TV when your daughter wants you to read her a book. It means reassuring your kids that mommy will indeed come home from work and that she still loves them.
Maybe most importantly, nurturing also means giving your children words so they can communicate their feelings effectively. Actually, this might be the best way to avoid major tantrums throughout the day. Think about it. Why do children have fewer and fewer tantrums as they get older? It's because the older they get, the more likely they are to develop different or better ways to deal with their emotions. They don't necessarily need to writhe around on the floor and scream.
Giving your kids hugs and teaching them words isn't going to end tantrums or make you Dad of the Year. But teach them that, as people they are allowed to be mad, and sad, and frustrated, and jealous. The key is how they deal with those emotions. The sooner you can coach your kids to tell you they're mad rather than throw a truck across the room, the more sane you're going to be at the end of the day.
If you want to learn more about this topic, visit www.nurturingfathers.com. It's site by the Center for Growth and Development, and they have a 13-week training course for dads to teach you how to develop and keep healthy and loving family relationships.