In the cycle of life and birth, we often forget to notice the important role a husband or soon to be father plays. The focus remains on the mother for the nine months that she is carrying the baby and thereafter immediately shifts to the baby primarily and secondarily to the mother.
A close friend once said – “it took me almost a year to realise that I had become a father of my child and that my life had changed. I was so busy taking care of my wife and new-born baby that I forgot to see what was happening within me”. Have you also faced a similar situation at your home?
A woman transitions into being a mother not only mentally, nature also works in a way that her physical state transforms into the care-giving role. For a man on the other hand, life hasn’t changed much in terms of physical changes in his body but mainly from point of view of having additional responsibilities. This traditional format of adopting parenthood often results in the father’s role coming into play much later in the child’s life.
Lifestyles today are quite different and both the mother and father have to participate almost equally right from the moment a child is born. For those women who were working before the child, they have to get back to the office in 6 to 8 months and without the support of joint families, parents have no option but to split the responsibility of child care equally.
I believe that this is great for a child’s emotional development. Unlike the earlier generations, today’s fathers are hands on with their child’s needs. They participate in roles like feeding, changing, bathing the baby, putting the baby to sleep and much more. Why this is great, is because these routine activities help a child and father bond at an emotional level.
Recently at school, when a child was asked by the teacher “did your mommy pack your lunch for you” the child quickly responded, “No teacher, my father packed my dabba, because he knows I love having a joker face sandwich”. The child did not associate the act of cooking or packing school tiffin to be a role only a mother played.
Females are the primary caregivers in 95 per cent of mammal species. That is mainly because of lactation. Infants are nourished by their mothers’ milk, so it makes sense for most early caring to be done by females. However research shows that father’s when put in the role of primary care-givers were found to have the same level of emotional response as a mother and the same thinking and planning response as the secondary father. In other words, they are able to perform both roles.
Father’s naturally have a fun side to them. I’m not saying that mothers are very dull, but it is commonly seen that fathers are usually not so finicky about following set patterns and rules and that makes every day routine jobs more fun. “I love cleaning up my room with my dad” said a kid in my class. “Because sometimes while playing and cleaning we end up messing up the room more and then we have to actually do more cleaning, but it is so much fun so I don’t mind”.
When fathers spend ample time with the child then an un-said bond of trust and friendship is created. Children look up to fathers to be a role model but when both of them are on the same level then their relationship evolves into a life-long friendship. This equation can help a lot especially during difficult teen years or adolescence in being able to guide the child in the right direction.
Fathers instinctively protect their children by drawing clear boundaries and by considering the best interest for their child. A child listens when the father talks to them about things they should be aware of and learns about consequences of making the wrong choices. Fathers instil character development in kids
A father can make a huge difference in a child’s life. While being the pillar of strength and discipline, early involvement of a father in a child’s life results in raising well-adjusted, secure and happy children. When fathers are involved with their children, it brings positive benefits in the child’s life that no other male-figure can bring.
When mothers and fathers are ONE team, it sends a great message to the children. A message of unity, love and mutual respect which they will then learn to reciprocate by seeing their own parents.
In a world where children are exposed to a lot of male-domination around them, being raised by a father who is no different from their mother can create the much required gender equality in their minds today and in society tomorrow.