Parenthood; How My Fathers Son Became My Sons Father
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Kyle Pruett explains that fathers have a distinct style of communication and interaction with children. This diversity, in itself, provides children with a broader, richer experience of contrasting relational interactions. Whether they realize it or not, children are learning, by sheer experience, that men and women are different and have different ways of dealing with life, other adults and children. This understanding is critical for their development. Fathers play differently. Fathers tickle more, they wrestle, and they throw their children in the air while mother says.
Girls and boys both learn a healthy balance between timidity and aggression. Fathers build confidence. Go to any playground and listen to the parents.
Who is encouraging kids to swing or climb just a little higher, ride their bike just a little faster, throw just a little harder? Who is encouraging kids to be careful?
Mothers protect and dads encourage kids to push the limits. Either of these parenting styles by themselves can be unhealthy. One can tend toward encouraging risk without consideration of consequences. The other tends to avoid risk, which can fail to build independence and confidence. Together, they help children remain safe while expanding their experiences and increasing their confidence. Fathers communicate differently. A major study showed that when speaking to children, mothers and fathers are different.
Men are not as inclined to modify their language for the child. Fathers discipline differently. Educational psychologist Carol Gilligan tells us that fathers stress justice, fairness and duty based on rules , while mothers stress sympathy, care and help based on relationships. Fathers tend to observe and enforce rules systematically and sternly, teaching children the consequences of right and wrong.
Mothers tend toward grace and sympathy, providing a sense of hopefulness. Again, either of these disciplinary approaches by themselves is not good, but together, they create a healthy, proper balance. Fathers prepare children for the real world.
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Involved dads help children see that attitudes and behaviors have consequences. For instance, fathers are more likely than mothers to tell their children that if they are not nice to others, kids will not want to play with them. Fathers help children prepare for the reality and harshness of the world. Fathers provide a look at the world of men.
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Men and women are different. They eat differently. They dress differently. They cope with life differently.
The Involved Father - Focus on the Family
Girls and boys who grow up with a father are more familiar and secure with the curious world of men. Girls with involved, married fathers are more likely to have healthier relationships with the opposite sex because they learn from their fathers how proper men act toward women. They know which behaviors are inappropriate. This knowledge builds emotional security and safety from the exploitation of predatory males. Boys who grow up with dads are less likely to be violent. They have their masculinity affirmed and learn from their fathers how to channel their masculinity and strength in positive ways.
Fathers help sons understand proper male sexuality, hygiene and behavior in age-appropriate ways.
A Father, a Son, and the Next Generation
Your reward—other than the satisfaction of dad duties well done—will be comforting, coagulating insight into how this whole baby thing works. You won't be intimidated when someone's watching you swaddle your baby. You won't be befuddled by how a car seat straps in or a stroller unfolds.
It's not magic—it just takes willingness and practice. This isn't some hackneyed "happy wife, happy life" nonsense. Your marriage of equal halves has one partner who, for biological reasons, needs her spouse to be particularly helpful and supportive right now. And by "right now," I mean the first six months of parenthood, at least.
Your wife is sore, probably feeling less-than-attractive, and potentially experiencing some level of postpartum doldrums. And since you can't breastfeed, she's taking the lion's share of the overnight shift. So add exhausted to the list, too. Your job, then, is basically "everything else. Cook or in my case order takeout. Run errands, walk the dog and stand guard against unwanted visitors.
All woke-ness aside, early parenting roles revert to tradition out of necessity; she has to care for the baby right now, and you have to care for her. Do your duty—and the dishes—with honor and gratitude. Let's have a frank discussion about self-respect and marital equilibrium, because both may be tested in early parenthood —for both partners. Though new moms deserve loads of leeway, there are limits to how much you should be marginalized. Her needs—and especially the baby's—are paramount right now.
The Involved Father
But not to the point where you forfeit all respect and relevance. Flip on the TV and you'll see how disrespected dads are these days. From Modern Family to Family Guy , the "doofus dad" stereotype permeates society. Don't let it infect your household. You may be third fiddle right now but remember: you're still in the band. And so long as you're really trying, you deserve respect; not because you're a man, mind you, but because you're a well-intending soul navigating new parenthood, too.
Newborns go through phases and stages with head-spinning speed. As soon as you recognize one pattern, it often gets replaced or redirected by another. Sleeping habits, feeding tendencies, what does and doesn't soothe the baby when they cry all evolve remarkably rapidly.
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So if you find yourself in a particularly rough phase, relax. It will pass. And if you find yourself recognizing stages only in their twilight—before their inevitable dissipation—don't kick yourself. That happens to everyone—moms and dads alike, and especially with firstborns. And even if, like me, you're not prone to sentimentality, do stop to soak this in. You'll only be a new dad once: the pride, the pain, the simple joys and sleeplessness are all part of it, and all beautiful in their nascent reality. This is all normal, and an unprecedented opportunity for growth.
You are fortunate, durable and altogether fine. Now go change that poopie diaper, Daddio, and make mom some breakfast while you're at it.
In addition to parenting, Christopher Dale frequently writes on society and politics. Follow him on Twitter at ChrisDaleWriter. When it comes to holiday gifts, we know what you really want, mama. A full night's sleep. Privacy in the bathroom. The opportunity to eat your dinner while it's still hot.