In my opinion, fathers get a tough rap, they are often portrayed as clumsy or inadequate when it comes to raising children. But having a father in a child’s life is extremely important both to their psychological and physical wellbeing.
Children who have healthy relationships with a father figure, often grow up to have higher self-esteem and better quality relationships.
In this article
- The Role Of A Father In The Family
- The Changing Role Of The Modern Day Father
- Top 12 Responsibilities Of A Father
- Modeling Healthy Relationships With Other Parent
- Connecting With Your Child Without Distraction
- Expressing Love in a Healthy Way
- Taking Care Of Yourself Both Physically and Mentally
- Being Understanding and Forgiving
- Allowing Your Child To Be Themselves
- Showing Compassion and Acceptance
- Teaching and Modeling Healthy Communication Skills
- Model Appropriate Conflict Resolution Skills
- Setting Boundaries and Disciplining Appropriately
- Providing For The Family
- Communicate With Your Child
- The Final Thought
The Role Of A Father In The Family
Today’s fathers are expected to take on a much more hands-on role in a family. They are expected to parent and assist with the chores and running of a house equally with their partner.
In a study of married couples who had become parents for the first time, the results showed that a good partnership and effort to reduce their wives ‘ stress led to lower aggravation for both parties.
This also remained the same even if their baby was not a content baby. Fathers can take on many roles within a family, these may include:
- Loving parent
- Stay at home parent
- Co-parent – even after a divorce
- Supporting their partners
- Providing financial contributions
The Changing Role Of The Modern Day Father
The past several decades have seen a huge change in the role of a father in a family. One of the biggest changes is the idea of the involved father.
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In history, men’s identities were very closely tied to their careers and that is still somewhat true today, with a huge percentage of men stating that they feel financial pressure to provide for their families.
More now than ever before men are taking an active role in both parenting and chores, but yet more than half of all Americans still believe that mothers are better caregivers than fathers.
Even with more men being more involved in parenting and childcare there are still some deep-rooted beliefs that Americans regard when it comes to the roles and men and women take in parenting and in a household.
Why Having a Father Is So Important?
Fathers provide the first male role model and also the first male relationship that a child will encounter.
Children are very good at observing and storing all their relationship experiences inside, meaning that they are creating a blueprint for what the role of a father looks like and also what a relationship with a man looks like.
This does also mean that if there are unhealthy relationships with a father figure it can have a detrimental impact on a child’s psychological wellbeing as well as their relationship choices as adults.
- If a child has a healthy relationship with their father, they tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, confidence and have more stable relationships with men in general.
- But if a child has an unhealthy relationship with their father, it may lead to them experiencing more psychological distress and it could also mean that they may struggle to form healthy relationships with men during their adult life.
Once this internal blueprint is laid down it is extremely difficult to change.
Top 12 Responsibilities Of A Father
Parents play a very important role in how their children build relationships throughout their life. Responsibilities of a father may include the following.
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Modeling Healthy Relationships With Other Parent
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your partner is going to be the foundation of a happy life. Showing your partner respect and love even when you may have disagreements will show your children what a good relationship looks like.
And it will help them build their blueprint of what a healthy relationship looks like and help them to model their relationships on it.
Remember all those cute things that you used to when you first together, this is the relationship that you should be modeling for your children. Need some help, how about sending your partner a goodnight text?
Connecting With Your Child Without Distraction
You are a father and like the vast majority of fathers, you probably work an 8 hour day or more. Your job is stressful and mentally exhausting and you are trying to provide for your family.
You are no doubt struggling for enough time to get the smallest things done but in amongst all these things your children still need you.
They need your attention, they need to know that you see them and that you will be there for them if they need you.
Yes if your partner stays home then she no doubt gets to spend more time with them but they still need their father just as much as they need their mother. But she also has a million things to do and feels just as exhausted as you.
Finding ways to connect with your children while doing the routine things like bathing or bedtime, allows you to not only connect with your children and have some fun with them but it also takes the burden off your partner.
Get them involved in any chores you need to get done, like painting a fence, taking the garbage out, or mowing the grass. Even a trip to the grocery store counts as connecting with your children.
Take them to the park or the beach – just make the effort to spend that time with them when you are not distracted by your phone or work.
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For more ideas check out our article on spending quality time with your family.
Expressing Love in a Healthy Way
Your children need to know that you love them unconditionally. Fathers need to be able to show their children how much they love them and that there are no conditions with that love.
Fathers can also show how much they love their partners in a healthy way, allowing children to see how a healthy relationship is built.
Taking Care Of Yourself Both Physically and Mentally
While being the all being father knows no limits, your body does. In order to keep up with all the challenges of fatherhood you also need to take care of yourself both mentally and physically.
This also shows your children that you should make your health a priority and that you should not be ashamed of that.
Taking care of yourself also means that you know when to ask for help and that again shows your children that this is the normal and correct thing to do and not something they should have to hide or be ashamed of.
Being Understanding and Forgiving
Children make mistakes and have been doing so for centuries but as their father you need to show them that you understand and forgive them.
Your children need to understand that everyone makes mistakes and that no one is perfect.
That you also do not expect them to be perfect but instead you offer them understanding in all areas of their lives and the ability to forgive when things go wrong.
Allowing Your Child To Be Themselves
There is a strong possibility that your children will have very different interests from you and that is perfectly fine.
But you have to show them that you completely accept them and provide them with enough space so they can explore their own likes/dislikes.
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Showing Compassion and Acceptance
We live in a world that is made up of a rainbow of different people. Show your children that because someone is different from you that you can still show them acceptance.
When you are out and about hold the door open for someone, smile at people and say thank you, all of these model compassion for your children to learn from.
Teaching and Modeling Healthy Communication Skills
When we consider that most of the communication that our children do is over some sort of electronic device, we need to show them how to communicate with people in person.
These skills can easily be taught each and every single day that you interact with your children.
Ask them about their day, allow them to talk and you need to show them that you are actively listening – no phones, laptops, or other electronic devices.
Teach children how to communicate with people of different ages, how to show respect, and take turns in a conversation.
Model Appropriate Conflict Resolution Skills
Life can be tough and we often find ourselves in conflict with others. Children understand this, but the way in which you resolve the conflict will teach them far more about you.
Show them good resolution skills such as communication, teamwork, problem-solving, and use conflicts as a way to learn something new about yourself.
Setting Boundaries and Disciplining Appropriately
Your children need boundaries and discipline, it helps them to feel safe and secure. But you must share the role with your partner equally so that children will understand that both parents have the same expectations of them
Providing For The Family
We are well past the traditional gender roles of years gone by and roles within households are becoming far more varied, with many mothers now taking on the role of provider or even both parents. But you still need to contribute.
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Raising children is not cheap and so being a financially responsible and stable father is also being a good father.
Children need an awful lot of stuff and outgrow things at a tremendous rate, this is why it is important to provide an income to help to cover these expenses.
Most women do not expect men to provide for every little thing, the goal is not to raise a spoilt child but children do need essentials.
Communicate With Your Child
This does also come under connecting with your child but it goes just a little bit further. If you are unable to do something with them because of prior obligations then explain this to them.
It is far better for them to know that there is a reason behind your decision rather than it’s just you saying ‘no’ because you are an adult. It will help them to understand and show them that you respect them enough to explain the situation to them.
What defines a father?
This is a term that refers to the male biological parent of a child. But this is a very literal definition and does not take into consideration the situations that many men find themselves in – such as step-fathers.
What makes a real dad?
The man that takes on the role of dad may not necessarily be the biological father. But the qualities he shows such as generosity, courage, strength, and many others are the same whether he is the biological father or not. Fully embracing the role of a father is what makes a man a dad.
The Final Thought
The role of a father has changed hugely over the last few decades and I think it is a good thing. The bond that many fathers have with their children because they are fully involved in their lives is an amazing thing to witness.
And possibly if their role had not changed and evolved they may have missed out on having this amazing bond with not only their children but also their partner.