This article is aimed at both mother and fathers, whether they are together or not. Being a father isn’t as easy as many people would believe; it has its own set of challenges that should not be trivialised.
Knowing your place
Your place is with your child when they need you. This is the most important thing to know and keep in mind. Many mothers and fathers these days are estranged, but this should not make a difference to your child, and whether you are the mother or the father you should do all that you can to ensure contact is maintained between parent and child wherever possible. Having supporting parents is one of the most important things in a child’s life.
Many new fathers face a dilemma very early on, when their child is first born in many cases. This is finding the time to spend with their new baby. It can be something as simple as not having enough hours in the day because of going out to work, or it could be something harder to work out. I refer to mothers who tend to take the reins a little too much. It’s only natural for a mother to take control and “get on with it” because usually from the moment the child is born, she is the primary caregiver. However, a thought must be spared for the father who is often stood in the shadows, not knowing what to do, and often with a volley of abuse and protestations about not doing enough to help.
As a father you need to assert yourself when it comes to your child and you simply must try to make time. If you fail to do this then your partner/the child’s mother will be forced to do everything and it will leave you knowing nothing and probably losing interest.
You can get involved in breastfeeding by asking the mother to express some milk with a breast pump into a bottle in order for you to feed the baby at another time. If it helps you could tell her that breast milk freezes very well indeed, and if you do this she will be afforded some free time to go and do something she has been missing during her pregnancy.
Your child and their father
Having two parents that are actively involved in the child’s upbringing is very important whether they live together or not. The important thing is the diversity they both bring to the child. A child will be more experienced as it grows with both parents taking an active interest in their development. This should give the child the confidence and support they need to achieve most of the things they wish for. Even if this is learning to play with a remote control car, it’s all very important experience and it’s all very important bonding too.
Do not underestimate the value of a father. Did you know that:
- Children with a father who takes an active interest are less likely to suffer mental health problems
- Having father present means your child is less likely to commit crime
- Children with two active parents have markedly better social skills and do better in examinations during their teenage years
- A father’s relationship with his daughter during her formative years will inform the relationships she has with the opposite sex as an adult.