We have the privilege to interview Mark Brandenburg, a coach who helps men to be great fathers and husbands. Mark is also an author of many books and courses.
1. Usually children are closer to mom for some reason. For a dad, how does he overcome this and form a closer bond with a child?
It's important to understand that Dads get close to kids in their own way. It all depends on how we define "closeness." Dads form a bond with their kids by doing things with them and sharing experiences. Mothers often are the ones that kids will go to when they have a problem or when they want to share their day, but Dads can be involved in that too. All they need to do is to listen well, not judge too much, and to share some of their life with their kids too.
2. How not to lose our temper when our kids misbehave?
Have a plan! Practice being aware of your anger before it boils over. You can even say, "I'm feeling really frustrated right now!" This will help you to be more aware of the possibility of an angry outburst, as well as showing your kids how to express frustration in a healthy way. It will also help to employ a relaxation technique-deep breathing can be a great tool to use.
3. By working with your clients, what's the biggest problem dads face today and how to overcome it?
Dads are incredibly busy, like everyone else. They are stressed out and want to be involved in their kids’ lives, but are finding it very challenging. Dads need to make choices about their lives today and how they structure each day. They will need to say no to many things in order to spend more time with their kids-golf, TV, excessive newspaper reading, etc. There is a great personal development seminar waiting for Dads right in their own home-their kids!
4. Should you reward your child when he does something good? If yes, how to do it right?
Typically, no, rewards don't work very well. Kids who receive rewards don't tend to learn the intrinsic value of their work. Kids should learn to work around the house because that's what families do-not because they get paid for it. You don't want your kids to learn to expect a reward every time they finish a project, you want them to learn to feel satisfied that they did a job well. An occasional reward won't kill anybody, but don't use them often.
5. A personal question: Who has the most impact on you being a good father and why?
Actually, my father wasn't a particularly involved father, and he wasn't very skilled at it! I've been determined to be involved in my kids' lives, in some part because my father wasn't involved in mine. So I think you could say he had the most impact.
6. What's the best activity a dad can do when he's alone with his child?
I wouldn't say there's a single activity, but as a rule doing what your child wants to do and being absolutely in the moment when you're with them is the greatest gift you can give them. They want and need us to be with them and to enjoy our time with them.
7. How to instill discipline and raise a well-behaved child?
Very simple-Have high expectations, spell out the rules clearly and follow them. Be consistent and expect pleases and thank you's, good manners, responsibility, etc. Limit the amount you reward and punish-use consequences instead-if you don't get ready for bed in time, you lose your story! Also, it doesn't hurt to limit their time in front of screens-computer, TV, video games, etc., especially when they're young.
8. When is the right time to teach our kids about money and how?
I believe about age 6 or 7 you could start giving them a small allowance, and give them a savings jar, a spending jar, and a donations jar. Let them learn the lessons of money for themselves, and show them how you do it yourself. Show them your check book at some point and teach them how to spend and stay on a budget.
9. A father's role is always neglected and undermined. What do you think a father's role should be in raising kids?
A fathers role should be one in which he is totally involved in discipline, (not punishment), domestic duties, learning from his wife if he's married, listening well to his kids, planning outings for his family, sharing his life with them, etc. A father’s role does not have to be undermined-he needs to educate himself, improve his fathering, and take his rightful place as an equal partner in parenting.
10. When you get disrespect from your toddler (yelling at you, being rude to you, etc.), what's the best thing you can do?
Be firm, but be kind. Punishing your toddler for this behavior will not solve the problem. Who said that making your child feel worse will make them better? Let them know that that behavior isn't OK, and that if it continues they will have to leave the area, stop playing with the toy they have, etc. Give them choices, but do your best to keep your composure so they learn the skill from you. After all, you're the adult, right?