1) A few months back I wrote a Dad’s Self-Inspection Checklist for men to perform a self-evaluation of their fathering skills. While I think it is an excellent tool for any dad, the real grade you give yourself as a parent depends on how well your children do in life skills. But do you notice the life skills of your kids? What life skills are we talking about?
2) I found this Life Skills Report Card at Parenting 2.0. It’s an organized way to evaluate how well your children are doing, taking into account their age. Using this list is helpful in many ways.
- It's availability encourages you to take action
- It provides areas to look at that you may have otherwise overlooked.
- It provides a scheme to measure life skills and progress over time.
- It can be tailored any way you would like.
Evaluating Teacher (Dad) vs. Student (Child) Results
Sometimes it is helpful to match the weak and strong points of your children’s life skills to your self-evaluation on your 'Dad’s Self-Inspection Checklist'. You may find some telling information, both good and bad. There is no doubt that your children's mother is equally responsible for life skills. So any issues need to be resolved together. Even though you may be disturbed by some of what you learn, it is very useful information, allowing positive actions!
How many parents have a way to match their parenting skills to the life skills of their children? This information may help you to realize there are some issues to address, but what caused them? And how do you fix them? This combination of your self-evaluation as a father (and as parents), and an evaluation of your child’s life skills gives parents a baseline from which to work. A tool which can help you zero-in on any serious issues that may exist.
“Now really”, you say, “I may like this idea but I know myself and I will never take the time to actually do this.” I can’t argue with that. If the issues you, and/or your children have are the run-of-the-mill issues all parents have, then you are likely not to bother (not that you shouldn’t). Everyday life does keep us busy. On the other hand serious, or potentially serious issues require you to look closely at every factor, using every available tool.
The 'Life Skills Report Card' has five major categories.
- Personal Care
- Respect for self and others
Let me give you an example of how using my 'Dad’s Checklist' and this 'Life Skills Report Card' may work to help you find a reason, if not a solution, to issues within the family.
Take the six sub-categories of the major category called “Respect for self and others” and evaluate one of your children. Let’s say it’s your oldest daughter and one issue of concern is that you graded her low in manners. With that information, go through your 'Dad’s Checklist' with her in mind. Then, answer the questions on your checklist under the sub-heading, “Is building the character of your children a conscious part of your parenting?”
After reviewing these questions and thinking deeply and honestly about the answers, you may come to some startling conclusions.
- You may find that your daughter is really mimicking you! Unconsciously or not, your own behavior may not be a good example.
- Or you may realize that you really never emphasized kindness, values, discipline, or manners when she was younger, that you really started much too late--letting her get away with bad behavior when she was younger and so adorable that it was difficult to discipline her.
- Or, if you are really honest, you may find that you haven’t shown respect for her--and she is rebelling.
On the other hand, you may pass all the tests of a nurturing father (and her mom as a nurturing mother). If this is truly so, then you know to look elsewhere for the answers. Is it peer pressure, a terrible phase, a dark secret, mental illness, or does she just not understand or realize what is going on?
Coming at a problem from two directions will help you pinpoint a reason, if not an answer. Life skills are vitally important to succeed in life. You don't want you children to be mislead or left behind in this very competitive and judgmental world. Be aware and pro-active regarding any weaknesses in the character or life skills of your children.
Note: My Dad’s Self-Inspection Checklist was developed from my book "The Power of Dadhood" which will be released on April 2015 but can be pre-ordered on Amazon. The checklist is also an appendix to the book.