Of Fatherhood And Children

July 4, 2009 by  
Filed under Parenting

There are only a few things that have evolved as drastically in the last century as the portrayal of the father’s role in the child’s life.

In the Victorian era, a father was someone who was rarely seen by the kids but considered to be the law-giver! Then, with the theories of Freud, the non-important fatherhood became the biggest factor of parenthood. This theory was then replaced by the one in the fifties where the father was considered to be primarily the ‘breadwinner’. In the sixties, with the social revolution and women’s lib, the main role of the male in the family was the sperm donor! And now, there are a myriad of roles and requirements of fathers, most of which are quite distinct in nature!

To realize the proper role of the father, an evaluation must be undertaken which gives answers to the following questions: ‘What are fathers for?’, ‘What is the effect of a father’s absence or presence?’ and more importantly, ‘What is the actual influence exerted by a father on his kids?’ These questions are very complex, but need to be answered to figure out the real role of a father is the life of a child.

Most statistical studies show one common factor: kids who grow up without a father show a higher occurrence of bad outcomes, such as poor performance in school, juvenile records, drug use, propensity for violence and even heavy criminal activities.

Concluding from these studies, fathers do have a major effect on the lives of children.

One of the major signs is the lack of economic resources in households without a father. Then, the emotional, psychological and moral factors come into the picture. After taking a look at all the factors that feature in these studies, it becomes obvious that the presence or absence of fathers does have a big effect in the life of the child! When it comes to getting the best start in life, fathers become the biggest features.

Being a father is not enough, one has to be a good father. There are many issues involved in fatherhood, and bringing in the bread is just one of these. There is one role that fathers should excel at, whether they are in a single parent family or in a two-parent: that of guidance. Female children look at the father as the parent who protects them, as well as lends a different point of view from the mother. And males mimic their role models, in this case their fathers, to the point where their own character is molded upon that of the father.

In a two-parent, dual-gender home, the interaction of the father with the mother shows the kids how things are done. Fathers help their kids make decisions, and understand the consequences of the decisions too.

Usually, kids tend to gain an insight into the ‘normal’ parental roles when they view how their dad acts in matters pertaining to the household. Does the father rule over every aspect in a dominant way? Does he hold a discussion with the mother and include her input? Or does he defer to the mother in some cases and make his own decisions in others? This helps the children understand the wide variety of responses in interactions among the two sexes.

Apart from joint decision-making, fathers also tend to impress their own views of the world on their children, albeit unconsciously. This makes kids wiser as they learn how to form correct judgments of all that matters in today’s world.

Fathers show varied approaches in solving problems. Whereas one takes a sensible, matter-of-fact route, the other can choose to be very confident and shows a sense of excitement at the success of his method. Yet another can simply bemoan all the problems in life and use a hostile, fear-filled approach to problem solving.

Kids see their fathers in many different settings. And what they see influences their views of life more than anything that is taught, said or lectured. After all, seeing the real thing happening is worth a lot more than a thousand words!