Elder Speaks: 8 Native American father code and ethics every dad needs to follow

A father is a man who takes responsibility for the children in his life. Many men grow up without a positive, healthy role model of fatherhood. Native American

It is often when men are holding their baby for the first time that they take a good hard look at what it means to raise a child

1- Provide the necessities of life: Most fathers want to provide for their children. This includes things like a home, food and education. It also includes things like love, security and attention. Think of it as providing a safe place to grow. When their needs are met, children learn to trust that their father has their best interests in mind at all times.

2- Spend time with your child: Children watch how you spend your time. They learn about the things that matter most to you. When you spend time with your children, they see they are worthy of your time. This shows them they are important to you. It is not only the amount of time you spend with them, it is also the quality of the time spent. When spending time with your children, focus on your children. Listen to your children. Do things that interest them. Involve them in things you like to do. Go outside whenever possible.

3-Show affection: Children need to know they are loved by their father. Your children need to hear you say, “I love you.” Hug them regularly. You need to initiate affection with your children.

Photo: Levi Blackwolf
4-Respect and honour the mother of your children: It is important that parents are on the same page when it comes to setting limits, discipline and roles in the family. Children do well when they see their parents working together, whether they are living together or not. Think about how you talk about and relate to the mother of your children

5-Be a role model to build trust and security: Your children learn more from what they see you do than from what they hear you say. They are watching how you spend your free time, what your attitude is towards hard work, how you talk about others, and how you handle your emotions (especially anger). Children bond with people they trust and respect.

Haida native With Child
6-Remember that being a father is a life-long commitment Your role as a father starts before pregnancy and continues throughout your child’s entire life. As your child grows, your relationship will grow and change. Children need to know that you will always be there and will always love them.

7-Share your traditions and your community Your children will feel more connected if they know about their community and their traditions. These will be a source of comfort and support when times are difficult. It will help them know who they are, and to take pride

8-Teach your child: Children look to their father to teach them about life. A great way to do this is to learn about your own heritage and culture. Learn about your past and where you came from. Pass this along to your children.

Father and child Powwow: Photo Credit: Mike R. Jackson

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