In a lot of ways, I am very much my father’s daughter, especially since we are both bookworms with a deep and abiding love for Sherlock Holmes. I remember watching Jeremy Brett as the great detective in The Hound of The Baskervilles on PBS with my dad each and every single time it aired when I was in elementary school.
To this day, watching detective fiction with my dad is one of my fondest memories from my childhood. He is responsible for introducing me to not only Holmes, but Hercule Poirot as well.
My father is also very athletic, and was the one that gently encouraged me to embrace my cycling skills by taking the training wheels off my bike when I was a kid. When I got older, my dad and I would take out our bikes and go for a leisurely ride down by the shore.
There are plenty of life skills that moms can teach, but in the age of the #MeToo movement and with all the recent discourse on the effects of toxic masculinity in our society, it is so important that fathers step up, too. They can teach their sons and daughters the following life skills and make sure that they strive to be a good role model by making sure they understand things like consent, respect, and being a good partner.
20 Good Manners
The Telegraph writes that fathers shouldn’t leave their significant others the sole responsibility of teaching good manners to their kids. Let’s face it, there are some dads out there that are more than happy to leave the etiquette skills for the moms to drill into their children, but learning good manners from one’s father will go a long way.
Not only should they be a good role model for their little ones to emulate in terms of manners and teach them how to say “please,” “thank you,” and how to use utensils properly, but they'll also impart how to communicate effectively with others and be polite, respectful and thoughtful.
In an age where women’s voices are often silenced by powerful men, this is a great skill for fathers to teach their sons.
19 Properly Caring For A Bike
When I was growing up, I have plenty of fond memories of my dad teaching me how to ride a bike. I was pretty hesitant to stop using the training wheels, but he never pressured me into moving beyond my comfort level and let me decide when it was time to learn how to ride a “big girl” bike. The day I let go of the training wheels, he was right behind me cheering me on when I realized I could keep myself balanced and wouldn’t fall.
The Telegraph recommends that fathers follow my dad’s example and not only teach their children how to properly ride a bike, but also how to take good care of one too. After I learned how to ride a bike, my dad took the time out to show me how to inflate a tire as well as how to change one.
18 Bicycle Safety
The Telegraph writes that another important skill that fathers can teach their children when they’re learning how to ride a bike is how they always need to wear a helmet when they’re out and about.
Since many fathers are pretty active, they can make sure that they are always seen wearing proper protective gear when they hop on the bike so that their kids will emulate their example.
My father loves to go cycling near the promenade by the shore, and he taught me from a very young age that I always need to wear my helmet the minute I got onto the bike. He knows how important helmets are from experience; he once fell off his bike trying to swerve to miss a car driven by a complete nitwit and since he was wearing his helmet, the only injuries he had were a cut on his arm and legs.
17 Preparing A Simple Meal
Cooking is traditionally seen as a woman’s role, with many working moms expected to not only juggle a nine to five job, but also be a mother, housekeeper and chef all at the same time.
Heck, there are some guys out there that can barely cook because they never bothered to learn what was traditionally seen as the “womanly arts.”
Parents.com urges fathers to teach not only their daughters, but their sons how to cook and smash the patriarchy by proving that men can be just as good (if not better, as is the case with my father versus my mother’s cooking) at crafting a nutritious meal. Plus, it’ll save the kiddos some money when they are in college and won’t have to rely on take-out.
16 Not Taking Failure Personally
The Huffington Post writes it is incredibly important for dads to take the time out to instill in their children that the key to surviving all of the failures they are going to encounter in the course of their lives is by not taking them personally.
Mothers should do the same, but since in some cases they have the lion’s share of the child-rearing burden, it’s easy for children to tune them out. Heck, I know I did the same thing to my mom since she was the primary caregiver.
But fathers should take an active role in parenting and teach their children that failure is an opportunity for education and nothing more.
For fathers of sons, this will also go a long way to making sure that they don’t feel entitled and absorb toxic ideals of masculinity if a woman turns them down after they ask her out.
15 How To Handle Money
Since many children have accompanied their mother when she was out grocery shopping or getting other essential items for the house, it can be easy for kiddos to tune out just how important it is to learn how to balance a budget and keep a pantry stocked. There's also the negative stereotype of grocery shopping being mainly a woman's chore in our society too.
Fathers.com notes that it’s a good idea for dads to take children on an age-appropriate shopping trip and take the time out to show them how to handle money. Heck, they can even accompany their significant other on their next grocery run so they can help them out (as well as provide a good example of a man that doesn't shirk his responsibilities to his significant other) and actively point out to their kids how their parents are budgeting.
14 Routine Home Maintenance Tasks
When I was growing up, I always stayed out of my dad’s way whenever he was doing a routine maintenance task such as cleaning the windows or changing the air conditioner filters.
Fathers.com advises dads to not do what my own father did when he was doing stuff around the house.
It’s important for children—especially girls—to participate in home maintenance tasks with their dad.
Not only is it a set of important life skills to learn, but it’s also a good way to boost the confidence of female children as well.
13 Age-Appropriate Workouts
One thing I have always been grateful for when I was growing up is the fact that my father instilled in me the knowledge of how to work out properly. I cherished the hours spent in the garage where my dad taught me how to properly throw a punch, use a punching bag and correct my form when I was using dumbbells.
Scary Mommy says it is especially important for fathers to teach their daughters how to exercise properly because it’ll boost their confidence, especially when they hit the age when they are fighting peer pressure.
12 Swimming In The Deep End
I’ll admit that I was a total chicken when I was a kid back in the ‘90s when it came to swimming in the deep end of our local pool, despite the fact that my parents sprung for swimming lessons.
My friends kept trying to get me to swim in the 12 foot section, but I always kept backing out until my dad gently coaxed me in and showed me that I actually had the skills to keep myself afloat.
Parenting.com points out that fathers who engage in everyday activities such as teaching their child to swim in the deep end and encourage them to be risk takers make a positive contribution to their little one’s development that gives them an edge over other kids.
11 How To Rough House Safely
Scary Mommy notes that there’s a stereotype in society that it’s perfectly okay to encourage boys to rough house with their friends, but girls are supposed to be prim, proper and have good manners instead of being rough-and-tumble.
For fathers of daughters, teaching them to roughhouse with their friends is the first step in teaching them bodily autonomy and that it is perfectly fine to disregard the societal stereotypes. Raising bossy, loud girls that will fight for what they want and use their voice is the best thing you can do as a father.
Scary Mommy writes that one of the most important life lessons a father can teach his daughter is self-defense. Teach her how to knee a creepy, touchy-feely guy in the groin or enrol her in a martial arts course.
Teach her that she, not anyone else, has full control over her body and she has every right to fight back physically if the situation calls for it.
This is one of most valuable skills a dad can instill in his child.
9 The Importance Of Hand Washing
There’s a stereotype about boys that they absolutely hate to practise proper grooming habits and it is always a chore for their mothers to motivate them to do things such as wash their hands before each meal.
Momtastic notes that fathers can instill proper habits in their sons by being a strong role model. If he takes the time out to wash his hands before and after he prepares a meal, then his kids are going to learn to make hand washing a priority too.
8 Cleaning Up After Yourself
I’ve heard my neighbor yell at her nine year old son about how he needs to clean up after himself instead of waiting to let his mother clean up after him or his older sister. Sadly, we’ve all heard our friends complain on ladies’ nights about how their significant other always expects them to clean up and they never pitch in.
The Mother List writes that fathers can break the stereotype by instilling in their sons, from a young age, a sense that you need to clean up after yourself.
They can also make sure that their sons see them helping their mother or cleaning the house or apartment without being asked.
7 The Joys Of Reading
I take after my father in that I always have my nose in a book. When I was a little girl, he’d always take me down to the local Barnes and Noble in Park Slope and buy me a whole stack of books to encourage my reading habit. To no one’s surprise, my father fostering a love of literature from a young age is why I decided to major in English when I was in college.
Momtastic points out that fathers should follow my dad’s lead and encourage their children to expand their minds by reading all different kinds of books. Let your kids see you reading books, take them to bookstores and encourage them to broaden their horizons by reading different genres and subjects.
6 Creating A Routine To Get Ready For Bed
There’s the idea in pop culture that mothers are always the ones that have to put their kids to bed and teach them how to set a normal bedtime routine. I won’t lie, that was definitely my mother’s role when I was growing up. Much to her chagrin, I wound up being a night owl like my father.
Momtastic recommends that fathers play an active role in teaching their little ones how to create a bedtime routine by setting your own schedule and making sure that they see how well you stick to it.
5 The Importance Of Consent
In the age of the #MeToo movement, The Mother List writes that it is so important for fathers to teach their sons from a very early age the importance of consent and that when a woman says no, she truly means no.
They also need to teach their sons to respect a woman’s bodily autonomy and to see them as a person worthy of respect in her own right, not just as a sex object or a prize to be won.
4 Don't Let Anyone Try To Change You
Being a woman and growing up is hard, especially when you start navigating the wonderful world of dating.
There are plenty of narcissistic, abusive folk out there who will try to change you and manipulate you, if you don’t learn to see the red flags beforehand.
The Mother List writes that it’s important for fathers to provide a good example of how men should be, by accepting their daughters for who they are and teaching them that if anyone tries to change something about you, they aren’t worth the time and effort it takes to know them.
3 Doing The Laundry
Toxic masculinity says that doing the laundry is a chore for women only, and it’s pretty common to see women shouldering the lion’s share of this burden when they have a family.
The Telegraph points out that fathers can change the next generation for the better by actively doing the laundry so that their significant others don’t have to do all the work around the house.
Their children (especially if they have sons) will learn that chores shouldn’t be segregated by gender.
2 The Ancient Art Of Gift Wrapping
When I was a kid growing up in the ‘90s, it was my mother’s task to instruct my sister and me in the ancient art of gift-wrapping since it was primarily seen as a women’s only task. Thanks to my dyscalculia and lack of hand-eye coordination, I was terrible at it but my sister made it look effortless.
Parents.com writes that not only do young children love feeling like they are helping when one of their parents asks them to help wrap gifts, but having a father teach his child how to properly cut wrapping paper, how to find the right size box, etc. will dispel the nonsensical notion that this is a task for womenfolk only.
1 Properly Cleaning A Wound
As a child, my father was usually the parent that took a more active role in supervising me when I was outside. He took me bike riding down by a shorefront promenade, stayed with me when I was rollerblading in the schoolyard with my friends, and kept a watchful eye on me as I climbed up the monkey bars at the park with my friends. He also taught me some first aid 101 during the inevitable scrapes and falls resulting from my after-school activities.
For fathers, Parents.com recommends boosting your child’s self-reliance skills by showing them how to properly dress and treat a wound. Some mothers might overreact and freak out when their little one gets scraped up as a youngin', which could lead to them becoming afraid of blood or flipping out when they are in pain. A calm father that doesn’t wig out when their child is hurt and teaches them first aid will go a long way to making sure their little one grows up to be a level-headed adult.