What about Dads
Once upon a time men worked to provided financial security for the family and they were the family disciplinarian. These were very clear cut roles. Families have changed and the male and female parenting roles are not as clear cut as they once were. It is no longer unusual for women to work outside of the home and so parenting roles have changed to meet family needs.
Fathers have a number of roles in their children’s lives; they help to meet the social, emotional and psychological needs of their children. Dads are able to model effective problem-solving skills to their kids, which fosters responsibility, independence, and self-reliance.
Research shows that fathers tend to engage in high energy physical play with their kids. I don’t know about your house but I remember very well the noise that happened when my partner came home from work. The kids ran to him to be swung around, wrestled to the floor or scared by a ‘monster’ until they ran giggling to their rooms.
Play like this builds muscles and coordination and it can be a time that teaches kids about rules like taking turns, standing in line, and playing physically without injuring someone. A child’s work is play and it is through play that we can see our child’s thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams.
Research shows that girls whose fathers are involved in their lives have higher self-esteem, self-confidence and a better self-image than girls whose fathers are not present or involved in their lives.
A father teaches his daughter about the way men in her life view her and other women. This will have a significant impact on her early relationships with men and her perceptions of how a positive and acceptable romantic partner should behave.
Dads show their daughters how a man should treat them by the way they interact with their mother. They also enhance their daughters overall understanding of men, and provide opportunities for her to role-play communication strategies with men.
In our culture it is generally believed that daughters should spend more time with and share their most personal information with their mothers. Girls may miss out if they do not have a close bond with their fathers. Dads may find it easier to relate to and connect with their sons as they get older but their daughters will benefit from their effort to build a close relationship with them.
Boys learn a great deal from their dads, and most of the learning comes from what they DO – not what they say. Fathers can demonstrate the values that are important to them like commitment, sacrifice, self-control and responsibility.
Our sons learn about being a man by watching their fathers. As a young man watches his father interact with his mother, he learns about respect (or disrespect), about how men and women interact and about how men should deal with conflict and differences.
If our boys are to grow into responsible men they need to learn to live by many rules both at home and within the community. Boys need to learn the importance of kindnesses and showing compassion. As he watches his dad interact with other men, he will learn how men talk, how they relate with one another and how they deal with masculine issues.
I wonder how many fathers remember working alongside their dads pulling a car engine apart and putting it back together again. I feel this kind of interaction of father and son is being lost. There are so many activities that dads can do with their sons like build a billy cart, landscape a back yard, build a tree house or go on a biking holiday. Whatever it is, these kinds of projects done together can create a bond that will last a long time and make memories you will talk about together for decades.
So many of our teen boys are learning about relationships and sex via the internet and most of the information is misinformed and in my opinion dangerous. Men need to take the time to teach boys about healthy sex and relationships. Being open to having these conversations will help your sons develop better attitudes about sex and girls in general. With the ever-increasing presence of sex in the media, on the computer and in conversations with their friends, our boys are being fed information that is detrimental to healthy connected intimate relationships. Fathers are ideally place to demonstrate appropriate love and affection toward women and have those sometimes challenging chats about the birds and bees.
Our children are bombarded with negative messages all around them. Just watching commercials on television our sons as well as our daughters are left feeling different, inadequate. They feel they are not quite as strong, they don’t have the six pack and are not quite as good looking as the guys they see on television. As fathers, you need to catch them doing things right and communicate your approval. Create positive ways to celebrate their accomplishments, plug in and spend time with them, ask them the uncomfortable questions.
Dads your sons really need you – to learn about themselves and about women. I know they grunt, sit in their rooms and scratch themselves but keep checking in, keep talking, keep engaging. I promise it is so worth it.
Please feel free to ask a question or leave a comment. Until next time…..