Involved Fathers

Involved Fathers

Children need many things from their parents, but let’s break it down into the main pieces. They need:

• The necessities of life

• Human interaction

• Care and comfort

• Warmth and love

• Guidance and protection

• To be important to someone

All of these relate to the different roles that fathers (and mothers) play

The Provider Father (for the necessities of life)

This used to be a father’s main role, and it’s still important. If kids don’t get the basics — food, clothing and shelter — some of the other things we’re going to talk about won’t seem to matter much. And although nowadays many mothers as well as fathers provide for their children, it’s still true that kids who don’t have a father making a financial contribution are more likely to be poor. So working at a job which contributes to the family’s economic well-being is an important part of fatherhood.

The Interactive Father (for human interaction)

A child is a person, of course. And she learns how to be a person through human interaction that begins with parents, and starts at birth. Kids learn communication skills, social rules and values of their culture and/or religion by interacting with their parents and by watching parents interact with others. So they need to be with us as much as possible. They need us to talk to them, play with them and make them a part of our world.

The Nurturing Father (for care and comfort)

We hear a lot these days about how important it is to stimulate growing brains, but being smart doesn’t count for much if kids aren’t looked after and if they don’t feel good on the inside. Nurturing means helping someone or something to grow. In fact, it’s been shown that if babies aren’t held, stroked and touched, they don’t develop normally. When you look after babies — change their diapers, comfort them, feed them and give them baths — in a warm and loving way, you can’t help but give them the kind of nurturing touch they need.

The Affectionate Father (for warmth and love)

Another part of parenthood is being in a relationship. Because it is your child’s first relationship, it is very important and needs to be filled with love and warmth. Fathers express affection in many ways. Hugs, smiles and kisses are the obvious ones, but this warmth is also expressed in the way you talk to your children, play with them and reassure them when they’re upset.

The Responsible Father (for guidance and protection)

Young children need lots of guidance. Fathers need to share the responsibility for protecting and teaching them. We protect our children by providing safe homes, supervising them care- fully, ensuring they get proper medical care and making sure they are well cared for when we aren’t with them. Parents are also a child’s first and most important teachers. We teach kids what to do and what not to do. We also show them the world and how it works, and help them pursue their interests.

The Committed Father (for being important to someone)

Along with everything else, kids need to know that they belong and that they are the most important thing in the world to somebody. That’s you. This commitment is something you need to communicate to your children, through your words and also by the way you relate to them when you are with them. It also involves a consciousness that stays with you all the time. You think of your children when you are away from them, you talk about them with your friends. No matter what else you may be doing, on some level you’re always aware that you are a father.