Dads do matter. More than we ever think of. More than we give them credit for. Not only do they play role models for their sons; they influence the self-esteem department of their daughters.
Gone are the days when men were merely considered providers or walking wallets for their families. Emerging is a new generation of nurturers who take pride in fathering and don’t consider it a secondary or looked down upon job. Though such men still need to fight their way back into family life, given the patriarchal set up of society, where raising kids is still considered a womanly job.
Somehow we always seem to go with the old school notion that “mommy knows best”. However experts believe that dads play a unique and unparalleled role in a child’s upbringing. And especially if we are talking about raising boys, dad’s role becomes even more vital; for boys are genetically preprogrammed to follow their fathers, says Janis-Norton, founder and director of The Calmer, Easier, Happier Parenting Centre.
Photo Source: Karen Sheets de Gracia
As long as I can remember my husband has always been a doting father, and it won’t be an overstatement if I say that I myself learnt few parenting essentials from him as a new mom. Over time, however, I largely took over parenting our son. And it wasn’t until I read this book by Steve Biddulph called “Raising Boys” that I realized that DS got too taken up by his mother’s world. He is 3.5 years old now. Dad is still important. For I often observe that those extended play hours with dad on weekends always seem to soothe his crankiness. But my inner self knew that while trying to act as a bridge between my husband and son, I actually became a barrier. And it was time to step back a little and see the dad-son relationship flourish.
As a mother, somehow, I’ve always found it hard to back off and let dad take the control. At the same time I grew to learn that though dads have their own way of handling kids, which is predominately different from that of mothers’, it’s perfectly alright. Though, it’s never been easy for me to sit back and watch, and I still give up under pressure. But the positive change in dad-son relationship lately keeps me going.
The impact of dads on their sons’ lives can be further understood through the following points:
- Dads or father figures help boys in becoming balanced and well-adjusted adults, who know to handle their emotions as well as physical strength.
- Almost every boy loves play-fighting or rough-and-tumble games with dads and uncles. Steve Biddulph says these games teach little boys an important life skill called self-control. A boy learns that he can be strong and excited but at the same time he should know when to back off, which is essential for a man.
- A boy learns to express his emotions seeing his parents, and especially dad. Hence dads should never refrain from showing up all the basic emotions, be it happiness, sadness, anger, or fear, in a healthy way. This will help him release stress in a positive way when he needs to, and will prevent trapped agony and volcanic vent outs.
- In absence of a father, a boy will tend to establish his identity by what he’s not. He’ll learn not to be a girl, but he’ll not learn how to be a man. He’ll start to reject soft qualities associated with girls in an attempt to prove his supremacy. But he’ll never get an insight into real maleness, which would result into a low self esteem. For a fatherless or under-fathered boy, it is much needed to put positive male figures in his life who can help him become a balanced man developing competence and skill along with kindness and compassion.
- Seeing his dad a boy learns that women have to be treated with respect, and that a man can argue while staying calm.
Photo Source: Russ
Not just a mother needs to give space for a dad to grow and let dad be more involved with his son; even a father needs to work on forging a better dad-son relationship. So all the dads out there, remember, those little eyes are watching you. You’ve greater impact on the future of those little human beings than you ever thought. And trust me fathering is the best thing you are ever going to do!