For the healthy and harmonious development of the child, it is necessary that both parents take an active part in his upbringing. But often the father takes on only the role of the “breadwinner” of the family and does not interact much with the children until they grow up. The statistics in this matter are disappointing – on average, dad communicates with the child only 7 minutes a day. Why is paternal attention and care important for children from the first days of life? What role does a father play in a child’s life?
The role of the father at different stages of a child’s life
Studies on this topic have proven that children whose father is actively involved in their development at different stages of growing up have fewer problems with behavior, learning and social interactions. Father’s upbringing affects the general, intellectual and psychological development of the child. Moreover, this influence is noticeable from birth:
- Neonatal period. While mothers provide emotional stability, fathers are responsible for the security and confidence of newborns. Children become attached to significant adults from the first weeks of life if they receive a lot of attention from them. When dad reacts to crying and other signals, the child becomes attached to him and perceives him as a source of comfort and pleasant emotions. At this stage, mothers give children more care and affection, while fathers emphasize physical contact, games and gymnastics. It contributes to the development of the baby’s brain.
- Age up to 5-6 years. As we mature and grow, curiosity and the need to constantly explore something new come to the fore. At this stage, the father takes on the role of a “guide”, who not only helps in the study of the world around him, but also establishes the necessary restrictions for safety. Moms are more busy with household chores, and dads turn into playmates for their children. They help to solve emerging problems, teach to cope with failures, encourage the baby to show their strengths.
- School period. At this stage, fathers encourage children to be independent in decision-making and self-confidence, while mothers continue to be protective and sometimes overprotective. The father, on the other hand, shows the child that the world is not ideal, helps to adapt socially and cope with difficulties.
At all stages of growing up, the child learns from his father respect for other people. First, it is respect for the mother, then for others. Children copy their father’s behavior by observing his actions and attitudes towards others. If the father is cruel or abusive, then the child will decide that this is the norm and will adhere to this particular model of behavior in the future. Therefore, it is especially important to behave politely, respectfully and with dignity towards others, setting an example for a son or daughter.
Why dads don’t want to communicate with children
Many men know and are aware of their role in the development of the child, but at the same time continue to distance themselves from his upbringing. This happens for a number of reasons, the main of which is the lack of desire to prove oneself in a new role. Often, a future or young dad is not ready for fatherhood, does not need a baby, his “paternal instinct” is still sleeping. To prevent this from happening, it is necessary that the planning and conception of a child occur according to mutual desire. A man should feel that he is ready to take on such responsibility, and not just “agree” with the desire of his wife.
There may also be other reasons that dad does not seek to fully participate in education:
- he himself had no experience of communicating with a caring and sympathetic father in childhood;
- he does not know how and what to do with the child;
- he is afraid that he will look ridiculous, inept, make mistakes;
- he feels disapproval from his wife.
The last reason is worth considering in more detail. Very often, it is mothers who prevent close communication between father and baby. The familiar “I will do everything myself” is based on fear and unwillingness to share child care and upbringing with her husband. And, if at the same time the young dad also has fear or no special desire, then he can get stuck in the role of only an outside observer for a long time.
Different roles of the father in the upbringing and development of children
Both mom and dad play important but different roles in raising children. At the same time, these roles should not be confused with parental responsibilities (care, satisfaction of needs). The latter can be divided equally between the parents and be interchangeable. Education, on the other hand, combines physical, intellectual, social, emotional development, as well as a contribution to the well-being of the child in all areas of life.
A man as a father has the following important roles:
- Active playmate. Moms are strong in creativity, intellectual development, and dads are better at more active and physical activities. With a baby, he can temporarily “reincarnate” into a horse, with a preschooler and a teenager, he can play ball or ride bicycles.
- Mentor and teacher. Even as adults, children will remember how you taught them to play football or how you didn’t succumb to chess. How you challenged them to become better and more successful, how you taught them to get up after a fall. Mothers love their sons and daughters with unconditional love, while fatherly love is more demanding, pushing them to develop and reach new heights. At the same time, it is important not to go too far and strike a balance between expectations and acceptance of your child.
- Defender. The task of a man is to protect his family from any danger. And also to teach the child to defend himself, to deal with life’s difficulties, to get out of conflict situations.
- Role model. The daughter looks at her father as the first ideal man in her life. She expects other men to treat her with the same respect he does. Of course, if he shows this respect for her and makes her feel like a real princess. The son grows up to be a copy of the father. If he sees that dad respects mom and other women in the family, he will grow up to be a respectable man. He “copies” his father’s life priorities, honesty and other principles.
In some families, all these roles are performed by the mother. She may be great at it, but they are still masculine and paternal. The role of a mother in a child’s life is invaluable, but the importance of a father should not be underestimated. The skills passed down by dad help children become strong, self-sufficient and self-confident. And it is important to remember that the father does not cease to perform these functions when the children grow up. If from the first weeks of life a strong bond is created between them, then over the years it will only grow stronger!