Building Healthy Relationships


Strengthen your relationships for a longer healthier life

A man’s social connections impact his health in ways every bit as powerful as good diet and fitness. Research indicates men who have satisfying relationships with family, close friends and the community are happier, have fewer health challenges, and live longer. In fact, one study following 309,000 people found the lack of strong relationships increased the risk of premature death by a whopping 50%! This mortality rate is best understood when we grasp this danger as comparable to smoking up to 15 cigarettes a day.

Health Beat, Harvard Medical School, January 18, 2011
Harvard Health Publications Harvard Medical School: Strengthen Relationships for Longer, Healthier Life

Modern Day Fathers and Their Families

Modern fathers often find it more difficult to make their children a part of their daily life. Unlike men of a few generations ago, today’s dads often work many miles away from home or might be separated or remarried. They leave for their jobs early in the morning and do not return until late in the day, perhaps seldom seeing their youngsters before bedtime. To offset this condition, men need to organize and devote as much of their weekends as possible to their children. Plan to share leisure moments with them: Family gatherings, picnics, trips to the ballpark or even visits to the school. These are important bonding experiences in the development of a father-and-child relationship.

10 Ways to be a Good Dad

  1. Respect Your Children’s Mother
    One of the best things a father can do for his children is to respect their mother. If you’re not married, it is still important to respect and support the mother of your children. When children see their parents respecting each other, they are more likely to feel that they are also accepted and respected.
  2. Spend Time with Your Children
    How a father spends his time tells his children what’s important to him. This often means sacrificing other things, but it is essential to spend time with your children. Kids grow up so quickly. Missed opportunities are forever lost.
  3. Earn the Right to Be Heard
    All too often the only time a father speaks to his children is when they have done something wrong. That’s why so many children cringe when their mother says, “Your father wants to talk with you.” Begin talking with your kids when they are very young so that difficult subjects will be easier to handle as they get older. Take time and listen to their ideas and problems.
  4. Discipline with Love
    All children need guidance and discipline, not as punishment but to set reasonable limits. Remind your children of the consequences of their actions and provide meaningful rewards for desirable behavior. Fathers who discipline in a calm and fair manner show love for their children.
  5. Be a Role Model
    Fathers are role models to their kids whether they realize it or not. A girl who spends time with a loving father grows up knowing she deserves to be treated with respect and what to look for in a husband. Fathers can teach sons what’s important in life by demonstrating honesty, humility and responsibility. “The world’s a stage…” and a father plays one of the most vital roles.
  6. Be a Teacher
    A father who teaches his children about right and wrong, and encourages them to do their best, will see his children make good choices. Use everyday examples to help their children learn the basic lessons of life.
  7. Eat Together as a Family
    Sharing a meal together (breakfast, lunch or dinner) can be an important part of healthy family life. In addition to providing some structure in a busy day, it gives kids the chance to talk about what they are doing and want to do. It is also a good time for fathers to listen and give advice.
  8. Read to Your Children
    It is important that fathers make the effort to read to their children. Children learn best by doing and reading, as well as seeing and hearing. Begin reading to your children when they are very young. When they are older encourage them to read on their own. Instilling your children with a love for reading is one of the best ways to ensure they will have a lifetime of personal and career growth.
  9. Show Affection
    Children need the security that comes from knowing they are wanted, accepted and loved by their family. Parents, especially fathers, need to feel both comfortable and willing to hug their children. Showing affection everyday is the best way to let your children know that you love them.
  10. Realize that a Father’s Job Is Never Done
    Even after children are grown and ready to leave home, they will still look to their fathers for wisdom and advice. Whether it’s continued schooling, a new job or a wedding, fathers continue to play an essential part in the lives of their children as they grow and, perhaps, marry and build their own families.