Mr. Parenting
Father putting sunscreen on daughter's nose during a beach vacation

Six Tips to Help Dads Be the Fathers They Want to Be

Fathering has a lot to offer a guy. Fathers are better and obtain more significance from daily activities than guys without children. Fatherhood can also be a struggle. A man can be a biological father without doing much real parenting– or an income producer who doesn’t do much child care and household chores. But many men today strive to be all things simultaneously: father and kid, husband and friend, income producer and caretaker.

This can be difficult– and unfortunately, fathers who wish to be more included can face many barriers in their journey. These barriers are legal and financial; some are mental and social. Here are six obstacles to being more included in family life– and how dads and mothers can collaborate to conquer them.

Problem # 1: Lack of Reasonable Good Examples and Expectations

In 2012, 392 fathers of teenagers were asked who is the perfect father figure. The most common response was Bill Cosby’s popular character, Cliff Huxtable. Throughout the eight seasons of The Cosby Show, Cliff was inexhaustibly offered, included, and interested in the lives of his children and spouse. His medical practice was in his basement. He always appeared nearby with a sandwich in hand and sound guidance on the tip of his tongue.

Many men told us they wished to be that kind of father. Their fathers were rather unlike Cliff: mentally remote, stressed by work, and unsure how to have significant relationships with their kids. While it is a lofty goal to imitate a character scripted for prime-time television, fathers today had a dad like Cliff to plan how to handle the everyday hassles of domesticity. After all, Cliff’s household issues were typically solved within 23 minutes.

The solution: Because today’s dads grew up without role models for involved, engaged dads in their lives, they are creating new ground in their careers and their parenting. Fathers today must be aware that involved fathering has developed over generations. It is not likely that this generation’s dads will have the ability to rely only on models from their own dads. Instead, dads can draw from things they liked about their fathers, strive to correct the routines that didn’t work, and pull other examples from other moms and dads.

Issue # 2: Lack of Paid Leave and Flextime

Since 1993 the Family Medical Leave Act has provided a federal mandate of up to 12 weeks of job-protected leave. But for dads, this leave is usually unpaid, and when men ask to take the overdue time, they deal with resistance from the corporations where they work. As an outcome, income producers tend to utilize a little vacation time however are quickly back in the workplace after the birth of a kid. The wage gap between men and women tends to drive guys back to work more rapidly than ladies.

While the Family Medical Leave Act has actually produced chances for father participation, it just applies to companies with more than 50 workers. As an outcome, advocacy for paid paternity and maternity time continues to be a crucial problem in the United States.

The solution: Here’s where households have a chance to make a distinction. Although moms and dads may be working, household life can be changed around times, and how fathers can be readily available. He can attempt to have breakfast with his kids if he works late. He may value time spent talking with his child if his job is physically exhausting. He may benefit from the exercise of helping a child learn to ride a bike if he works in a cubicle. Working together, kids, dads, and moms can create an area for the father to be involved.

Problem # 3: Economics Change How Dads See Themselves

How men view their fathering depends, in part, on their financial situations.

In a paper from the Parents and Youth Study and the Family Interaction Research Laboratory at San Francisco State University, dads of seventh graders were asked to “inform us of three things you succeed at as a dad.” The families were met three years later when the teenagers were in the tenth grade.

Two types of fathers emerged. Both mentioned attempting to be mentally close with their children– but there was an essential difference. Because they invested time with their kids, the first group stated they were good fathers. The second group discussed the worth of being a good example. While our two kinds of dads were based upon patterns of what dads said they did well, they masked an essential distinction. The mentally involved dads tended to be wealthier than the fathers who said they were role models.

It appears that the emotionally involved fathers can manage to hang out with their children and find it worth the time together. Other dads might be working longer hours and explain their physical absence as modeling the value of attending to a household. This is one of the reasons “involvement” can imply different things to various families.

The solution: Couples need to define what “included” means to them, given their scenarios so that fathers can try to live up to the best ideals. Partners and those who work with dads, such as marriage and family therapists, can support men by reminding them of their many contributions.

Problem # 4: Lack of community and support

If you asked anyone in 1985 to name how many close friends they have, the most common answer would be three. Today, practically half of people report just one buddy, 18 percent report two, 29 percent offer 3 or more, and 4 percent can’t discuss a single person.

As an outcome, many dads today understand their complicated twenty-first-century fathering without interacting with other men. Since they didn’t have a good example of how to be involved, they might lack access to other experienced fathers who can help model great fathering.

Dads gain from time together with other guys to discuss what works and fails as fathers, partners, and breadwinners. Many guys battle to accept that they should take time away from the household to become a better family man. Social media networks are excellent for everybody– even dads– even if they don’t know it.

The solution: Fathers need to take more responsibility for building a community– and individuals around them need to support those efforts. He should take the initiative to call a pal and find time to spend with another father. Many men have discovered success in formal men’s groups and father-organized playgroups. While it might seem uncomfortable initially, it ends up being familiar in time.

Problem # 5: Lack of Custody Ater Divorce

When couples divorce, dads are less likely to get equal time with children as mothers. Further, the father-child relationship is the most negatively affected quality of a child’s life following divorce.

Not always. Many men remain involved in the lives of their children following divorce. However, remaining involved needs a great deal of work for both dads and their former partners.

After divorce, many men are disappointed at their compromised role in daily decision-making for their kids. It may seem insignificant which day of week soccer practice occurs, and a custodial parent– more likely to be a mother – may make a choice without considering whether dad is readily available to take part.

Like it or not, having a kid with somebody ties the moms and dads together for life. Decisions should be as cooperative as possible, especially when they affect the dad’s time with the child. Often, a polite accommodation is beyond the ability of exes.

Research has found that teaching fathers about the negative effect of seeing parents fight and how conflict resolution reduces household disputes. Again, neighborhood and social support can make a significant difference. Families have fewer disputes when fathers participate with other men in an 11-week program following divorce. Men, it seems, hold the secrets to handling conflict in families, potentially because they are often the ones to stimulate the arguments.

Problem # 6: The Armor and Practices of Manhood

As heterosexual men and women fall in love, marry, and end up being moms and dads, they tend to embrace more conventional gender roles, even amongst the most egalitarian couples. As kids age and roles are more clearly defined, lots of guys accept the cultural script that their children will be closer to their mothers and become more distant.

The result is that dads persist, restricting themselves to a box with sturdy walls and no exit. However, when guys want to change, positive outcomes happen. For instance, when low-income dads are given a chance to participate in parenting groups with others, they can be involved, fathers. Their children often benefit.

The solution: Guy and gals need to participate in thoughtful conversation about how their gender expectations form their responses to scenarios. Men and women hold presumptions about manly and womanly roles. Those presumptions equate to how they react to one another. As men grow older, their households would likely take advantage of them feeling (and possibly acting) more youthful.

Making clever, little options

The dad of modern psychology, William James, put it best: “If you desire a quality, act as if you currently had it.”

Fathers can get included by getting their hands dirty. At the end of the day, a father can toss the ball with the kids. Put down the mobile phone and really listen when a child talks.

Here’s a fundamental solution to most of these barriers: Remember that nearly whatever about family life can be improved, if dads sincerely want more time with their kids, they’ll make the time. Mothers and fathers can be different in their parenting each time they interact with a child. In the end, fathering is what a man is doing today. Not recently. Not next year. Today. Go, father.

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About Me Author

My name is

Dallas Parker

I’m a writer that researches, practices and puts the spotlight on fatherhood and how to be a proactive Dad. Read More
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