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.

Being involved

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.

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