For Father’s Day, I felt the importance of advocating for the fathers’ crucial role by highlighting a few significant attributes that dads can do in order to help build structured and confident family members. In my opinion, the presence of a mature male figure in a child’s life is an essential factor that helps in contributing to the rearing of stable future citizens. Nowadays, modern dads are more involved in parenting issues as they are not the only bread winners of the family. Since their role has considerably changed, I will site a few ideas on how dads can play a beneficial role in child rearing.
However, before I discuss how a dad can be involved with his family, I would like to go back in time and briefly tell you, my dear readers, about four great male figures whom I have been blessed to have in my life. Those extraordinary male figures were as distinctive as the formation of dew in the lovely mornings of Spring – whether it was my grandfather, my father, my brother, and now my dearest husband.
My grandfather was known for his wisdom, strong beliefs, endless generosity, boundless thoughtfulness and consideration for his family and people as well. Those who have known him were marvelled by his uniqueness. Being a school principal and having lots of worries on his mind, he never missed a chance of waking up his five children every morning with an affectionate smile and warm cup of milk served to bed! My mom always reiterates how he insisted on never sending an angry child to bed as by bed time a child needs to feel love and compassion. His unconditional love and wisdom were also felt by his grandchildren. He made it a point to spend quality time with us where he taught us about life, morals, of great people in history – you name it – and he did it with pleasure. He made us feel loved, valued, and respected as he treated us like mature people.
When I was young, my dad had a job opportunity that required him to stay away from us but gain unimaginable amounts of money. However, he refused simply because he knew what the essential purpose of his life was, and that was us! We came first! Knowing this as a child, I knew that his love for us could not be restricted to all the materialistic things in the world. He continues to shower us with his adoring generosity and compassionate watchfulness until this very moment.
In our young years, my dearest brother was my guide, my mate, my confident, and my tutor. Being close in age, we did everything together! What made things perfect is his endless attentiveness and courage that made him a great role model to me. We created a special bond that still expands with the years, and his love and care doubled with the presence of my kids whom he sacrifices from his time to be around them and enjoy them.
I do not know if a girl unconsciously gathers these attributes because when I married my beloved husband, I found in him the affectionate companion, the supportive husband and the loving dedicated dad. With a remarkable character and personality, he is also a person who is always willing to improve oneself. As a hands on father, he makes it a point to enjoy our children and be involved in their lives.
In his books Raising Boys and Raising Girls, Steve Biddulph elaborately explains the importance of a dad’s role in being present in the lives of his children. A father’s affection and increased family involvement promote children’s social and emotional development. Similarly, Sheryl Sandberg eloquently describes how paternal involvement greatly benefits our youngsters. In her book Lean In, she illustrates how children growing up with an involved and loving fathers have enhanced cognitive capabilities, greater levels of educational and economic accomplishments. I recommend that fathers read such books as it gives an insight and help them be aware of the various strategies in parenting. Realizing the importance of the father’s role in a child’s life, the founder of Virgin Group, Richard Branson, has announced that his company will provide each new dad one year paid paternity leave. (www.telegraph.co.uk/men/relationships/fatherhood/11662170/Richard-Branson-offers-new-dads-up-to-12-months-paternity-leave-on-full-pay.html)
So fathers of this generation, like moms, I think you do have a massive load on your shoulders as well, and like us, you have an essential role in childrearing.
Despite my husband’s congested work schedule, he always tries to find time for us. Like my own father, we always come first! Here are a few things that he enjoys doing with the boys and other ideas which other dads do as well with their kids.
It all starts when they are still babies. Dads can shower, feed, and even change the diaper of their babies. This bonding can start even before the child is born where the dad can attend pre-natal courses and be present at the doctor’s appointments.
Preparing dinner to give mummy a break once in a while teaches children, especially boys, to be considerate and thoughtful of others. Unlike European countries, in the Middle East, many men still wait to be served by their spouses. So if you really want to change that, it starts at home. Many dads accompany their children to after school activities which gives them a good opportunity in bonding together.
Playing social games, video games, watching a movie while eating popcorn, doing sports together, visiting museums, etcetera are all fun activities that dads can enjoy with their kids. (These ideas were discussed before in one of my articles Bonding Time with Dad)
A dad can drop off his kids to school in the morning. At that time of the day, usually kids are calm and they do absorb what you tell them. Even if you feel that they are not focused, they are in fact listening to every word you are saying. So a Dad can take this opportunity and talk to his kids. Moreover, if a dad is involved in parent’s meetings and follows up with the child’s academics, this makes the child feel that he has both parents’ support and concern. Finally, participating in school outings and activities also enhances their relationship.
Planning family trips is essential to all the members of the family. First of all it gets the couple out of their tedious routine. Since there are no deadlines and commitments, or stressful duties, the family can enjoy their time together. Second, it revives loving and caring emotions. This is where you can build good memories with your children and wife.
The best time for a family to spend some quality time together is at the table, where each one can talk about their concerns or comforts. Parents can involve their kids in the conversation and listen to them attentively. So if you cannot lunch together, find time to have dinner on a daily basis – if possible.
Bed time routine:
Like moms, dads can and should be involved in bed time routine. Reading a short story with them, or simply hugging them satisfies the child by all means.
Communicating with your partner is essential to make the family project work. When the children are soundly sleeping and the parents are enjoying some quiet time together, they can take the advantage and discuss what parenting skills they need to improve. Sharing ways to help each other overcome a certain issue your child is facing, and to review conducts that you like your partner to change will have a positive influence on the whole family. If the couple is solid and understanding, they will help in sharing the parental duties together. Sometimes moms interfere during father-child interaction because the mom is used to being in charge when it comes to kids. But mummies you need to back off and have the dads learn the way we did, and when you are both alone you can discuss it and help each other learn and grow. It is best not discuss these issues in front of your children as it might grow into an unnecessary argument in which the whole family will be stressed.
Express your emotions:
It is O.K. for a dad to share his feelings with his kids by telling them how much he missed them, loves them and feels proud of them etcetera. Let them know that dads also have feelings and help them express theirs. It is not a weakness and it does not modify a man’s masculine figure. In contrast, it makes him a superman.
Finally, I dedicate this article to all the outstanding dads who are working hard for their families’ happiness and well-being. It is never too late to start being the modern dad and enjoy being him.
To the four great men in my life and to my four cherished sons whom I have great trust and foresee a blooming future – in God’s will, I want to tell you I love you.
Happy Father’s Day.