Fathers are incredibly significant influences and play a crucial role in the growth and development of their children. Children with active fathers who are involved in their activities and decision-making process, even in small things like choosing baby clothes (many times on an online store now, with the situation in Singapore!) are positively affected in terms of their personality. This involvement can even be one of the factors that decide how the child’s future turns out to be like. In a book by Michael Lamb, it was said that fathers largely contribute to children’s learning: About life, morality, how family members should treat one another, relationships, even right down to their everyday choices.
Fathers tend to be involved in more exploratory, physical play activities while mothers, being more nurturing, tend to be the ones who cook, feed, nurture and take care of the household for instance. Fathers, hence, encourage more development in certain areas of a child’s than mothers, and vice versa.
A father’s involvement in their child’s life also leads to better emotional, academic, social and behavioural development. Children with strong relationships with their fathers are typically more confident and tend to participate more independently in activities.
From making decisions like choosing their own baby clothes to adjusting to new environments; from exhibiting healthier socio-emotional behaviours to being more disciplined and cheerful, the effects of a father’s involvement in a child’s life are indeed profound.
Here are the key roles of fathers contributing to their children’s personalities.
- They provide emotional support
The emotional support provided by a father to his child is a priceless gift. By helping kids to understand how much they are valued and loved, children with supportive fathers are more likely to have high self-esteem and are generally happier and more confident. They also demonstrate a greater tolerance for stress/frustration, less hesitation/fear in new situations and an increased ability to resist peer pressure and stand up for themselves.
- Someone to look up to
Young children are also extremely impressionable and will emulate the behaviours of their parents. They pick up on how their parents behave in stressful situations for example and are likely to react the same way when in a stressful situation themselves. The role of parents is indeed important as they are role models for their children.
Children with more involved fathers have also shown to exhibit fewer behavioural and impulse control problems, longer attention spans and a higher level of sociability. These children also tend to be more compassionate and generous, with an increased awareness of the needs and rights of others.
- Provide a different perspective
Children are naturally full of questions, and mothers and fathers approach those questions in different ways. Active parents with different approaches to parenting can be a great way to expose children to a broad range of ways of thinking and problem-solving. Active fathers have a unique opportunity to share their perspective on life and teach their kids valuable life skills. Just like how fathers can give mothers a different perspective in something trivial like the choices they make when they buy their baby dresses online, they can also give children a different perspective on life – In ethics, relationships and attitudes, for example.
- Fatherly love
Last but definitely not least, an active father shows a child what fatherly love is, which can sometimes look different from motherly love. A mother’s love is oftentimes more protective and nurturing, while a father’s love typically encourages the child to step out and achieve their potential. Some might even call it tough love.
Having a dad as a steady source of love and encouragement helps ensure that baby boys and girls grow up happy and healthy, with high self-esteem.
Fathers are not second best in parenting
Depictions of dads in popular culture push the stereotype of fathers as incompetent, emotionally disconnected, secondary parents who are not nearly as important to their children as their mothers. As a result, fathers are often pressured to take a backseat when it comes to being involved with raising their kids and often leave the seemingly unimportant decisions like shopping for prams, baby cots and baby onesies in Singapore to their wives.
However, small things like shopping together are things that will show our children what it means to love their spouse. As Theodore Hesburgh said, “The most important thing a father can do for his children is to love their mother.”
A mother’s love is important and special, but having an active father figure plays an equally important role in the healthy development of a child’s confidence and self-esteem and we should not downplay that.
Happy Father’s Day, all daddies!
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