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Fathers play a very important role in their son’s life. The way that a father speaks, the way that he behaves and the way that he carries himself will all influence how his son turns out.

That may sound a bit dramatic, but let’s get real: it’s obvious that parents play a critical role in who their child becomes. Say what you will, but words have power. As a father, your words can make or break your son. While there are some things you should never say, that isn’t what this article is about. Instead, we are going to focus on what you SHOULD say.

1. I’m sorry.

It is so important that boys hear their fathers say that they are sorry. While it might seem like the tough thing to do, to act as though you are perfect, or can do no wrong, it is better to man up and admit when you are wrong. If you do, your son will have no problem admitting they are wrong, too.

2. I love you.

It might seem obvious that you love your son, but he needs to hear it. And I don’t mean every once in a while. I mean, he needs to hear it every day, multiple times a day.

3. Honey, how can I help you?

If you notice your wife struggling, make sure that you are attentive and are offering to contribute. One day your son will have a wife or a partner, and you will want them to treat her right. Don’t sit around watching your partner in front of your kids.

4. You are competent.

Your children will not have much confidence in themselves, to begin with. It is we as parents that help build that confidence. One way you can do this is by affirming that you believe in your child.

5. I messed up, here’s how I plan to fix it.

When you fail, don’t be afraid to say it. Why? Because when you admit you failed and then verbally explain how you plan to fix it or to push forward, you are encouraging a growth mindset in your child.

6. I am feeling very frustrated right now. (Or any explanation of emotion. )

Your children will learn emotional intelligence from you. If you bury your emotions and pretend as though everything is okay all the time, your kids will learn that is how you handle emotions. Instead, when you are feeling upset or overwhelmed, say it.

7. I need help.

Everyone needs help sometimes. If you are one of those who struggle to ask for help, I implore you to work on this. Why? Because you want your child to be able to ask for help when they need it.

8. I see you are upset.

Showing empathy teaches empathy. When your child or anyone in your household is dealing with something, show empathy so your child will learn this skill too.