Any time I get to spend with my daughter is precious, so I always try and make the most of it. This means spending quality time and taking every opportunity I can to teach her right from wrong. I want to be a role model for my daughter and that means setting a good example.

I’ve read so many things over the years about what I should be doing to set a good example for my daughter. What I’ve taken away from all of it is that every parent has their own way of raising their child, but every good parent has a few core things they abide by.

To that end, here are 6 things I never, ever do around Piper and why I consciously avoid these things at all costs.

  1. Lie: I’m not naive—I know my daughter is going to lie at some point in her life. Choosing not to lie in front of her is about developing principles. I don’t want my daughter to mistrust me—or to develop a general mistrust for others. I want her to know the importance of telling the truth and by always telling it myself, I’m setting the example.
  2. Yell: I’m pretty level-headed, so I rarely lose my temper. But, in the event I do blow a fuse—like dealing with a 45-minute customer service call that gets me nowhere—I make sure to never yell. I want Piper to know that even at wits end, there are better ways to vent frustration. By not yelling at her or anyone else, I hope to teach her a little humility and the importance of emotional control.
  3. Undermine: Many single dads have joint custody. If you’re one of them, don’t undermine you daughter’s mother or anyone else. It’s going to cause conflict both at the surface and deep within your daughter. Put on a happy face and avoid saying or doing things that undermine her mother. Don’t let yourself get walked on, but at the same time, strive to maintain civility. Your daughter will see the value of compromise and humility.
  4. Admonish: I want Piper to see the good in everyone. I make sure to never admonish people when she’s around and I’ve taught her not to put people down. Making fun of people or laughing at the expense of others just isn’t tolerated in our household, starting with me. I don’t want to raise a bully—I want to raise someone who is kind and caring.
  5. Speak for her: Piper is only 5, but she’s her own person with her own personality! I try to let her speak for herself whenever appropriate. When we’re out to dinner, I let her order for herself or if she has a question for someone, I let her ask it. Someday soon enough she’ll have to speak for herself—when that time comes, I’m confident she’ll have no problem!
  6. Ignore: I never ignore my daughter. It doesn’t matter how preoccupied I am with something or what’s going on. When Piper needs my attention, I give it to her, because she deserves it. As a result, I hope she grows up feeling respected and validated, with self-confidence and self-worth.

There are so many things a single dad should do when raising his daughter, but I think it’s easier to not do just a few key things. This is my list of no-no’s and it’s working out pretty well so far!