Women experience a series of emotions for their unborn child and develop a maternal instinct right from their pregnancy, whereas, for most men, the baby’s existence becomes a reality only after the birth of the child.
I distinctly remember the time when my son was born, six years ago. It took my husband a good three weeks to hold him right. He was terrified, so I had to sit him down, place a pillow on his lap, and assist him to hold the baby. We still reminisce about how far along we have come as parents.
Though my husband really wanted to be an involved father, bonding with the baby proved to be difficult because of the distance and lack of time. I was the primary caregiver to our son during his initial months. My husband truly bonded with our son only when he could play with him. He cherishes fondly how he would be greeted at the door by our son as he got back from work.
The role of my husband became more involved when our daughter was born. There was no primary or secondary caregiver this time, and we were both co-parents! A father can possess a parenting instinct, as much as a mother. From the diaper changes to burping or skin-to-skin, we did everything together whilst tending to our firstborn.
Mothers and Fathers Parent Differently
Men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life. It is also evident that both mothers and fathers have very different ways of parenting styles.
For a long time, it has been considered that women are more nurturing but men too have always had the power to nurture. In the world of equal parenting, fathers have just as important a role to play in the child’s upbringing as the mothers. Fathers also have a strong influence on a child’s cognitive, emotional, social and overall well-being. The presence of a father can make a unique difference in the child’s life. Children want their dad to be around, just as much as their mom.
- Fathers communicate in a different way than mothers. Being able to effectively communicate with one’s children can boost the father’s confidence in his own parenting and also strengthen his bond with the child.
- Fathers are generally seen as strict disciplinarians, while mothers as being more lenient. But with new-age parenting, fathers have become more of a confidante and a friend to their children. Nevertheless, guiding and enforcing rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong.
- Fathers play with their children in their own unique ways, hoisting the child up so he could “fly” around with a cape. Fathers are more keen on physical play. But, they can be a softie too, giving in to those adorable little requests a whole lot more than the mothers.
- Fathers play an important role in building a sense of independence and confidence in children as they spend one on one time with their kids in infancy and toddlerhood. Children often visualise their father as their hero, someone who is invincible. You must have heard children saying things like ‘oh my dada is the strongest’ or ‘my dad can do anything’. They want to grow up to be like their father. Children learn by sheer experience and this understanding is critical for their development.
Not only do the children reap the benefits of an involved father, but a fathers’ own ideas of manhood evolve during the transition, as do their abilities to form worthwhile human connections. It also helps them slow down, be more patient and enjoy the little things in life.