Mommying BabyT

Mommy T's adventures; bringing up Baby T

Fathers – the other side of parenting

My blog is primarily about me mommying my little son. But what about the fathers voice? I would be wrong if I said I was playing the primary role in raising my child. #BabyT’s father has been very involved right from the time of his birth and even now. I think he was more comfortable changing diapers, holding and comforting a tiny baby than I ever was. I had never had a personal experience with holding newborn babies and I was more scared of hurting the tiny than nurturing him. Even in the first few days of breastfeeding, someone had to hold #babyT against me.

For my post on the letter F for the #AtoZChallenge I had no doubt I would write about fathers but I did not want this to be another run of the mill post about how fathers change diapers or burp babies, never miss a Doctor’s appointment and school PTM. I wanted to research and write about the impact this fathering business has on children and their development.

Last year for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge F was for Fine Motor Skills.

And D was for Daddah!

Fathers need to play more

The inspiration for this came from a discussion we had with our paediatrician. On a routine visit around the time, #babyT was 1.5 years old, I mentioned to him that he was not throwing the ball. He had well-developed motor skills but he didn’t play with balls or attempt to throw them. Our paediatrician laughed, probably because he got a million such absurd questions every day. He told us to give T more time and added, maybe daddy should spend more time playing with the lil man. That kind of threw me off.

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Firstly daddy was, in fact, beginning to spend less time playing with sonny boy due to work demands. Secondly, don’t women play with bats and bikes? I knew how to play these games with my child equally well. Sexist much?

Fathers do play

Turns out it isn’t so much sexism but rooted in genes and nature. Research has shown that dads do more of rough play while moms provide the nurturing play – playing with dolls, toys, reading etc. Dads don’t need any props or toys to play with. They wrestle, jump on things, play fight, throw babies in the air and end up being the cool parent for it. Sigh.

Dads also communicate differently with children and this forms the base for children to understand the difference between how men and women communicate and behave differently with each other, in situations and life.

Fathers are the often neglected side of parenting, especially in research about their importance to children's development. Fathers need to be involved just as much as the mothers are in the parenting game. And today most fathers are. But is the whole truth? #Fathers #fathersday #fathering #importanceoffathers #BlogchatterA2Z

My research also told me that fathers encouraged their children to take risks and push – jump higher, climb higher. Mothers tried to make children secure and comfortable – don’t jump, don’t climb.

Well, around our house, this is the opposite – I am the one pushing #babyT to try new rides, climb the monkey bars and sometimes fall and bleed. Yes, this happened. And you know what the funny thing is – babyT clambered all over me, blood and tears when this happened. I loved him, kissed him and cleaned him. The tears did not stop. But when daddy entered the scene and told him that this was how daddy had also fallen when he was young and bled but was fine eventually, #babyT calmed down and smiled. Now he’s all raring to go on the monkey bars.

It is also said that fathers discipline differently. They are all about rules, being strict and fair, whereas mothers are about forgiveness, sympathy and care. Ermm… not in our house. We are the opposite again. I am all for rules, routines, patterns, order and daddy is about the chill, it happens.. love, care, comfort, hope. Is it just the Libran in me that cares for the rules or is something new happening here?

Let’s do some more research on fathers

In an attempt to further understand the impact of fathers on children’s development I invested in some books and found this book Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked –  by Paul Raeburn.

You can buy this book here: Do Fathers Matter?: What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked

(This is an Amazon affiliate link, I will earn a teeny tiny commission if you choose to buy from this link. It does not cost you anything extra.) 

A father of 5 kids Raeburn looks intensively at scientific and behavioural studies which focused on the father and the role they played right from the genes they provide to the foetus to the amount of time they spent in playing, raising and being involved in their children’s lives.

Raeburn’s research told me that it was a lot to do with genetics, DNA, upbringing and the environment provided by fathers that determined how a child turned out. This book also goes on to present research findings which show that a father’s involvement in his children’s lives, ensures that the child does well in his future life.

However, family norms and structures are very non-conventional today and this left me wondering how the children from these set-ups fared.

Families today

My friend Udita who is a single mommy to lil Zuzu, says that while she would have loved to bring up Zuzu in a household with a daddy around, she doesn’t feel Zuzu is missing out on a father figure in her life. Udita’s father, i.e. Zuzu’s grandad is the one who provides her with all the “fathering” she needs. She adds that now that she is on the other side she feels it is more of a societal norm and pressure that a family has to be structured in a certain way. Since she lives in a joint family setup where her parents are around, Zuzu does get to experience the love, and care of a father from her grandfather.

Udita in her ever gracious manner says that a child goes wherever there is true and genuine love… that may be from a father or grandpa or even that distant family friend who is funny but a little annoying. It was never planned or predecided that you dear, grandpa will stand in for the role of the father.. it is just the feeling of genuine love that transpires between them.

It is not just to do with a single parent, or women without a male in the household choosing to have/ adopt a child. Today we also see relationships and households based on different sexual preferences – gay/ lesbian households for instance. These families also desire to have a child in the picture to love, cherish and grow with. And children from these families are doing well in their lives, have normal & healthy relationships with members of both sexes. If anything I think they are more sensitive and tolerant of the world and its complexities.

Healthy parenting is one which involves both the mother and father taking an active part and involvement in a child’s life. But it is debatable whether the role of mother/ father is to be played by the biological one alone. A child needs love, attention, sensitivity and respect and that could come from anyone. Dads are important and we love them a lot.

This blog post is part of a series for the #AtoZBloggingChallenge where my theme is
New Age Parenting: Parenting in 201x.
Read my theme reveal post here.

To read all the posts for the #AtoZChallenge go here – #AtoZ2018

You may particularly enjoy Discipline – the no more tears formula

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18 Comments

  1. Father deserve at least one post.. don’t they😋😋
    But truly, fathers do deal with the kids differently. And kids need some tough love too.

  2. I love many things about this post.
    I can totally relate when you say fathers play rough and throw babies in the air and I am the one going oh! No in the background to no avail.

    Even in my home, my husband is the more apprehensive one while I let the kid take chances a little bit more.

    I love how you concluded with the real life story about your friend Udita. I agree with you that children do need the interaction with both parents but maybe the fatherly support or for that matter mother’s role may be fulfilled by someone different than the biological ones in this rapidly changing definitions of ‘normal’ family.

  3. Even though I am not a parent yet, I have bookmarked your blog and will return when I do become one for advice. Until then I will check in purely as a fan of your writing style. 🙂

  4. My experience is similar to yours buddy. My husband too had played a crucial role from day1.

  5. I am here for the first time dear and what a great post to begin with. I relate so well to it for my husband too has aced the role of a father impeccably since my son’s birth. We definitely have lots to bind upon.

  6. I was equally close to my father as I was to my mother. He was more of a friend to us and used to play with us a lot. We had our joint TV watching sessions as we grew up. Lovely read. 🙂

  7. It’s lovely when babies have more than one parent (where possible) to bond with and learn different things from
    Debbie

  8. The role of my father in my life has been very important for me. Since Hirak is a complete opposite to him , sometimes I felt Mishti is missing out on all the fun things my dad and I did together. But when I see Mishti cuddle him every morning (she doesn’t do that to me) , bonds over playing loud music & dance , wants him to be with her when she goes for cycling, I realised every relationship is different.

  9. Fathers play a very important role in the child’s life, though sometimes it’s not so obvious. I remember my father covering my notebooks before the school year started, taking me to the doctor and telling me stories every night. I have seen a different kind of parenting with my husband, when I sometimes lose my temper with my daughter, he always tries to reason with me why I should have handled the situation differently.

  10. I’m so blessed that my husband is best papa and he takes care of baby angel better than me when it comes to emotional ground

  11. I am not a parent yet but loved the detail in your blog and the research notes as well. Nicely done!

  12. I was honestly expecting a standard post about daddies sharing the diapering load but I’m pleasantly surprised to see such a well researched and thought provoking article. This is my favourite one of the series so far. Keep them coming!

  13. Loved this one Tara !! So true about fathers too.. though as with you I am the one about Rules 😊.
    Arnavv adores his ajooba n that’s such a different relationship that what he shares with pappa.

  14. When my youngest was a newborn my 3 daughters’ bio dad left us. A few years later I met my husband who adopted the girls. I always said that one of the best things he gave us was one more person to love. It was so hard bearing all of their love. Kids need to be able to depend on more than one person. My dad filled that role for a while. Having a guy around is different than having mom around. They play different, talk differently. I recall a study once that showed moms more commonly held their babies close, facing mom. Dad’s face their babies toward the world. They lift them higher in the air. These different ways of approaching a child make the child more well rounded. I believe that absent the biological parent, someone else who is dedicated to that child can fill the role beautifully. I know my husband is more a dad than our kid’s biological dad ever was.

  15. Great post! Parents definitely have different roles in the way they raise (and play with) their children. I have found that moms are usually more about the structure and routines, but I think it also really just depends on the person. After all, a good couple balances each other.

  16. I loved this post. Dads play an important role in completing the parenting puzzle. A wonderful quote I remember is that: A mother brings the child into the world, but it’s the father that shows the child the world. All it means is that both ying and yang make one whole. You need nurturing, caring and emotional bonding that the mother provides and you need rough play and creativity that the father provides. In my home we are a little more traditional in the aspect of me being more nurturing and focused on developing his emotional needs through conversation etc. and his dad is more into rough play, practical solutions and carefree nature. I like this mix.

  17. Hi Nayantara, love the simplicity and elegance of your blog. and you had chosen such a perfect theme …and nothing could be better than “F as fathers”, very well written and very well researched. great work. #BlogcahtterA2Z

  18. The way we were brought up by my father and the way my kids are being brought up by my husband (their father) is totally different. I am not comparing as both of them belong to a different generation. However, the biggest similarity between both of them is that none of them spoilt their kids rotten with material things. What I am today, as a person, is because of my father. And I hope my kids can say it too in future, rather with pride

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