We have always heard a lot of things about mothers and their importance in a child’s life. But hardly heard about fathers and their contribution in child’s life. Fatherhood is not celebrated with that openness and enthusiasm. Fathers play a very important role in a child’s life. The first superhero in any child’s life is his father. It’s always a desire of every child to make his dad proud. The role of a father is not only to provide good financial support and educate his child but it goes beyond this. Father plays a very important role in the development of a child’s emotional well-being. Father promotes inner growth and strength; he helps the child in social development. Dads provide essential teaching, guidance, support, love, and motivation, which is very important in raising a confident child. A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the most valuable assets in our society ~ Billy Graham. Fathers are the most hardworking men who always want to give the best to their children. Fathers have a cultural image of being the breadwinner and authority figure. We have always heard our mothers saying, “wait till your father comes home” which forms an image of fathers being strict and controlling. Because of this, sometimes they are not comfortable showing affection and care.
Reason why fathers are not involved in parenting:
- Social Conditioning: Social norms still stereotype fathers going out to work and mothers managing the house and nurturing the kid. Fathers are never seen as “nurturing and emotional” parents, though a lot of fathers want to take responsibility of household parenting but they are pushed back by “dads guilt”. It’s a guilt that fathers who spend more time with kids and family are of less “manly” as compared to the fathers of the older generations.
- Most fathers think that parenting is mostly a mother’s job: Most fathers are not involved in the upbringing of their children; they are hardly aware of the routine and food habits. This could be because of a lack of interest, or they have not spent a good amount of time with their children, which could make fathers uncomfortable.
- Corporate Responsibilities do not provide space to the fathers: The research has also revealed that even though fathers want to spend more time with their family and kids, their work responsibilities do not provide them with that space. Countries in northern Europe that have instituted “daddy quotas” — generous blocks of time available only to men — have helped normalize paternity leave.
- Obedience vs Resistance: Fathers want the child to be more obedient and thus make them very opinionated, forming an image of being grumpy, strict, and controlling; kids feel that the father is not supportive and thus would affect the bond. It’s good to make them obedient, but you should also listen to them and figure out the reason why they are so rebellious.
How can fathers develop a good bond with children:
1. Non-Verbal Communication is important:
Using body language and tone of voice for better communication. Bending down at a child’s eye level while talking shows that you are approachable and less intimidating. Touch your child’s arm when they are talking to you to let them know that you are interested and you care about them. While talking, turn towards the child’s face and maintain eye contact to make them feel that you are paying attention and engaged in their conversation. Listen attentively, head nods, thumbs up, high five, or using vocal responses like uh… ha.. ah.. hm.. are gestures to acknowledge and show encouragement.
2. Engage in their school activities:
Schools are the main parts of your kid’s daily life. Not only ask them about their day in school but also get involved in helping them finish their homework or projects, know what they are learning and who their friends are, and attend school meetings and special events. Just being present on the annual day or sports day would make a big difference.
3. Spend Fun time together:
Watch cartoons, movies, and games together. When you are spending time together, you will know them better and create memories that will be cherished forever. You could also initiate bedtime stories that will be great for both child’s development and strengthen the bond with your little one.
4. Relive our childhood:
Children are always curious about how their parents were when they were young, share the games you used to play, share stories about your childhood, about their grandparents, show them your childhood photos and share the memories. This will help you bond better and they will know the history of their family.
5. Share your stories:
Initiate a conversation by getting your kids involved in your lives, and talk to them about how your day was. Show your human side that you could also feel sad or stressed, and talk about how it’s okay to make mistakes, and we all make it.
So this Father’s day let’s celebrate Fatherhood, breaking the stereotypes and embracing love and affection. Father may be the definition of “tough love,” but it is love.