I stumbled across Nathan Ripperger’s posters featuring some classic quips he’s found himself saying to his kids, let’s just say I laughed out loud for long enough to get stares from my fellow internet café patrons (the fact that I spluttered coffee all over myself doing so may have had something to do with it too)
What I loved most about his posters was the fact that here was a father who saw the beauty in what can often be tedious and taxing times in parenting. It also reminded me of how humour can be used to transform the seemingly mundane into the extraordinary. The following post provides some helpful tips on how fathers can be more present in their children’s lives.
The emphasis on the role of fathers in parenthood has had a
few waves. In the olden days, dad was the boss and primary bread-winner, the
family decision-maker and the one who wore the pants in the relationship. In the
70’s fatherhood took a backseat to the mother-child attachment, with
psychologists playing a guilty part in emphasising the mother-child
relationship over the father-child relationship. The role of fatherhood is once
again in the forefront of research and media interest.
What’s Research Got To Do With It?
Research has found that children with involved
fathers/father-figures are more likely to be emotionally secure and confident
with better social connections and better educational outcomes. Girl children
are more likely to have better opinions of men, and are more likely to achieve
cognitive and academic achievement.
The emphasis is of this article is on the involvement of fathers in their
children’s and family’s lives. This does not exclude fathers who are already
present in their family! Ask the questions: how involved am I in my child’s
life? Do I spend quality time with my children? Do I enjoy being with my child?
Am I being a good role model to them?
Tips for fathers:
- Let your children know that you enjoy being
their father. Fatherhood comes with a lot of responsibility, but also a whole
lot of fun!
- Spend enough time with and take responsibility
for your children
- The way you treat the child’s mother/mother-figure/other
parent is a key aspect. Show that you support and respect your children’s
mother (if your relationship with the mother is a difficult one, at least make
the effort to be civil towards her- do not bad-mouth her in front of the kids)
- As a role model, live by your word and by your
example, that it is ok to mistakes-can you learn anything from it? It is
important to be able to show your children how to decide between what is right
and what is wrong
- Show your children affection, demonstrate your
love for them
- Be careful to not place unreasonable
expectations on your children, instead help them achieve realistic and
- Take an interest in your child from a young age
- Play with your kids
- Protect them (financial security, physical security, etc)
- Help with the ‘mom-stuff’, help change their
nappies, help put them to bed (this gives you more time with your children and
you help the mother)
- Teach them about how to be responsible with
- Set firm boundaries with them. Discipline is
still important to uphold, be careful to not over-indulge your child
- Have a sense of humour (I highly recommend
reading Ripperger’s series)
Families do not all look the same, so it is important to adapt some of the above points to suit yours, regardless of whether you are a married/unmarried couple, a single parent, gay/lesbian/hetero, grandparents raising children, etc.
The more the role of fathers is validated the more conscious fathers will be of their value, which will ultimately lead to a greater desire to be involved parents.