Excellent and healthy parenting involves both mothers and fathers taking active participation in a child’s life. Scientifically, it has been proven that children whose fathers have active involvement in their growing up years have fewer behavioral problems and turn out better individuals socially and academically.
A father’s role is not just limited to being a breadwinner for the family. His involvement influences the child’s overall development, including:
- Intellectual growth,
- Gender-role development,
- And psychological development.
As children grow up, fathers assume the role of a friend, guide, and mentor. The presence of an actively involved father at home makes a lot of difference in the lives of children. Here is a look at the roles fathers play at different stages of their child’s life.
Fathers and Different Stages of Health Parenting
The quality of a father can be seen in the goals, dreams, and aspirations he sets not only for himself but for his family.
Fathers and Newborn Babies
While mothers provide emotional stability, fathers offer security and certainty in their baby’s life. Father responds to baby’s cries and signals; the baby gets attached to him and looks up to his father as a source of comfort and happiness.
Fathers tend to provide more physical stimulation than mothers and foster the healthy development of the child’s brain. Babies who grow up with involved fathers are more likely to grow into well-groomed, happy, and prosperous individuals.
Fathers and Toddlers
When infants become toddlers, they develop curiosity and a constant need to explore new things. At this stage, the father plays the role of a guide, who helps his child explore and sets the appropriate limits.
- Fathers indulge in roughhouse with their children, and by doing so, they encourage the children to become confident and help them solve their problems.
- They provide challenging scenarios for their children and encourage them to explore their strengths.
- Fathers encourage problem-solving skills in their children and also help them in building strong social and emotional ties.
Fathers and School-Going Kids
Fathers encourage children to accept more challenges and be successful when they arrive at an age where they begin going to school. They inspire confidence in their children, and their children look up to them for approval.
At this stage, children learn moral and social values by observing the actions of their fathers.
Various Roles of a Father in Healthy Parenting
Parenting is a team effort. An old African proverb says, ‘it takes a village to raise a child.’ At the same time, a child is influenced and shaped by society, though two individuals play a more pivotal role in this than the parents. Fathers exhibit various parts to raise a child effectively.
Father as a Role Model
Every girl child looks up to her dad as the first perfect man in her life. She expects other men to treat her with the same respect as her dad does. She even looks for the same characteristics in a husband.
A son grows up; He tends to replicate his father’s priorities in life, humility, and honesty.
As a father, whether you realize it or not, you are setting an example every day. You are their role model. Be a good one.
Father as a Provider
Generically speaking, a man assumes the role of a provider for his family when he gets married. Many traditional vows across different cultures talk about a man being a provider for his family.
Though technically, this may not be valid for everyone yet, a father needs to address his family’s spiritual, emotional, and financial needs.
Father as a Playmate
While mothers are better at singing rhymes and dancing silly, dads make excellent playmates, especially for rougher and physical games. This is where the budding seeds of friendship are first sown.
- As a father, you should never be too busy playing with your child. Since most fathers are not great with words and long chats, playing with your child gives you an excellent communication medium.
- It also will provide you with ample opportunities to teach them a few life lessons, like sharing and dealing with winning and losing.
Father as a Coach or a Teacher
As a father, you are your child’s first life coach. No matter how old they become, they always remember that you taught them how to cycle.
It is also essential not to shackle them in your expectations or your rights and wrongs. You need to maintain a delicate balance between pushing them to excel and letting them be.
Father as a Protector
Fathers are generally better at identifying security concerns and protecting the child and family from any physical danger. They are bigger and more powerfully built than women, making the child perceive them as a protector.
As a father, teach children to deal with falls and fights among friends. Teach them what is safe and what is dangerous and how to be adventurous without sacrificing safety.
Father as a Companion
A father is not always available, which makes his time very precious in the child’s mind. All special occasions – birthdays, parents-teachers meetings, football games – are made extra-special if the father can be a part of it.
Although mothers perform some or all of these roles themselves, but they are more defined for a father. Of course, a mother has a more critical role to play in parenting. But that in no way diminishes a father’s importance. Its time for fathers to stand for their natural responsibilities.