Being a father is an emotional experience filled with mixed feelings such as fear, excitement and gratification. As a man assumes his role as a father he learns new behaviours and develops new skills to meet the challenges of parenting.
Parenting research has uncovered some interesting links between a father’s experiences and his participation as a parent. Some experiences and characteristics, such as those listed below, may increase the father’s involvement with his child:
- having personal time to care for the child
- supporting the pregnancy
- attending the child’s birth
- dissatisfaction with the parenting he received
- having two incomes in the family
- developing child care agreements between both parents.
Yet, while these factors may reflect trends in western society, individual fathers themselves ultimately decide their level of involvement with their children.
A dad’s involvement in child rearing has been proven to help children have better language skills, self-control and behaviour. These children are also less likely to feel emotionally detached and have good self-esteem.
Fathers can help their child’s development by:
- showing affection to their child
- treating their child’s mother with respect
- reading to them
- talking and listening to their child and encouraging them to express themselves
- taking an interest in their school work and activities
- setting consistent limits for behaviour
- serving as a role model
- providing a secure environment
- spending time together as a whole family
- supporting contact and emotional involvement of both divorced or separated parents.
Fathers have a unique role and play a very important part in a family. Both the quality and quantity of their involvement is important to the healthy development of their children.