Fathers in children upbringing
Like moms, dads participate in the upbringing depending on their specifics (background, worldview, their own upbringing, life habits, relationship with a partner, obligations, character ...).
I think that today it is no longer necessary to emphasize the importance of fathers in raising children. In recent decades, a great enough emphasis has been placed on fathers in upbringing, and fathers today are equal in upbringing with mothers. The pedagogical literature calls this "equal parental partnership" (Brajša 1995; Čudina Obradović and Obradović, 2003, Bracket, 2009). Whether they are really equal or not, I think it is left to each individual family to choose as a micro community that determines its own rules, habits and the distribution of "jobs" and roles.
The mother is still considered the primary educator of the child in the literature, mostly because of the resources that only she can provide to the child at the earliest age (the very act of birth and connection in the first days after childbirth int he hospital, the first contact of the known body, with the first milk rich with antibodies and immunity for the baby), due to the baby's instinct to look for food or for the mother's breast. As a mother, writing this gives me incredible emotions. All of you who have had a baby can find yourself in this, and others will also maybe someday see the peculiarity of those feelings that do not go away just like that.
Enough about mothers :)
If, for some reason, the mother is not there after the birth or is prevented from being with the child, there is a father who will provide the child with the same connections as the mother (body-to-body contact, proper feeding, connection ...). Fathers are in a natural inability to give birth and breastfeed (at least I wish they really could), but all other elements they can satisfy as well as mothers.
What does the professional literature bring about the significance of the role of fathers?
- Children create their own image of themselves using the father as a role model.
- Children who have a more involved father show fewer behavioral problems, have fewer difficulties at school, and generally have greater life and educational ambitions.
- The father's involvement with the child during the first 30 months of life significantly affects the development of the child's intelligence in later childhood (the so-called delayed effect of the father's involvement).
- The quality of paternity in the preschool and school age of the child directly depends on the frequency of the father's involvement with the child from birth.
- The father's "playful" approach and less attention to some details of everyday life encourages the child's creativity and future educational achievements.
- The game in which the father participates with the child has a particularly favorable effect on the child's regulation of emotions, social adjustment and popularity.
As with the different types of mothers, so we can talk about the different types of fathers.
1. Fathers who are extremely interested in the child and participate in all sorts of situations that can go through with the child (I just have to proclaim to the moon and back that my husband is in this category, which is really extraordinary, which makes us so happy, onwhich I am so grateful to him at the same time and at the same time I know that I don't have to be because it is an exceptional pleasure for him as a dad and an inherent decision that comes from himself).
2. Fathers who are there when needed (sometimes on their own initiative, sometimes at the request of the mother or child). These fathers are there, but they are not very prepared and willing to participate in any kind of situation. Mostly yes, but sometimes they would rather leave everything to the mother or someone else. Which is fine. Everyone decides on their options.
3. Fathers who will help if they see that it is a hassle, but will not really interfere and participate if they are not asked.
4. Fathers who mostly do something of their own or are not around, and when they are present they spend some time spending time with the child (such a father chooses the type of situations in which he will participate and those in which he could not - for example he does not want to change diapers).
5. Fathers who are physically present, but leave everything to the mother and think of themselves as if they don't know what to do with the child and that the mother is doing it better, so why should they interfere.
I have given only 5 examples of fathers here, but we are aware that there are 555 and more. Each is unique. Each has its own combination that either suits him best as a father and / or is agreed also with the mother.
Which are the dad-roles?
Dad is also important as a child model, educator and inevitably as a support to mom.
It is known that mothers find it difficult in the days after childbirth, the body undergoes hormonal changes, the mind gets used to motherhood, if the mother breastfeeds the child is very often with the mother, which is exhausting and demanding at this stage ... Other life obligations are still there (except for work maybe) - cooking, organising, cleaning, shopping... and the mother is not in full strenght. The role of the father is very important here.
Every woman somewhere deep inside knows what kind of father her husband will one day become. She imagines him and imagines how he treats the child, how he helps, how he plays, how he goes for a walk ...
My experience is that when you cross the threshold of fatherhood, you simply see the world with full eyes open. It is priceless that my husband has no problem putting dishes in the washing machine, hanging clothes on the dryer, sterilizing bottles ... cooking lunch, going to the store ... and besides, playing with the child, reading to him, changing his clothes, comforting him, laughing, setting boundaries ... I could write the list throughout all the article. I don't mean by this that every dad should be like that. I think every couple who has had a child has some internal cohesion of their own that works or not. For some couples, the father will not do any of the above, but family life will still work perfectly for them.
We had a specific first months because I had a hard and long recovery after giving birth. If I had someone by my side who doesn't want to and has no need to participate in anything and share jobs, I would get to the point where I can't do everything in front of me on my own and everyday life would be unbearably hard (for lack of a different expression).
Some here can now ask why mothers, ie. women, would not then repair water pipes, carry heavy loads, pour oil to the car ... This raises the question of gender division and gender identity, which is also very equal and individual today. We all know that women today do that part as well, just as we know that men carry children in cangaroos, feed them, put them to sleep and cuddle them while they have cramps. In my opinion, boundaries in gender-separate jobs can only exist in fields that require special physical predispositions that only one gender can have to perform an action (in men, for example, to carry an extremely heavy load or in women to be small enough to go through something narrow ... but again there are men who are petite and women who can lift heavy loads just like men). It is clear that this is a completely separate topic, very broad ... We live in an age when everything is possible to learn and learning information arw easily accessible, so there are no obstacles that one side could not learn something.
In fathers and upbringing, it is about the father as an individual being simply an important figure in the child's life, just with the event of child coming to the world. In doing so, each father, as well as each mother, will decide for himself which level of presence in the upbringing of the child suits him / her best.
Just as there are mothers who work 10 or more hours a day and see her child just for an hour or two, so there are also fathers who are very little present.
Just as there are mothers who fright every child crying, so there are fathers who worry as soon as they notice an unfavorable change for the child.
So, whether you are a father or a mother, it is not in itself immediately defined what your role will look like, but it is evident that it depends on each person how they will approach their parenting role.
I would like to single out here some features from our family, situations that are normal for us, and make me as a parent extremely proud for the father in our family.
⁃ The one when the father understands every child's word which is actually a code for something (our toddler mostly speaks all two-letter words, so on Croatian "ti" means listić, pa means "lopatica", ma means "mali", etc.). There is no reason that not every father understands such child codes as well as the mother.
⁃ When the father knows why the child is nervous, for real (yesterday you slept poorly during the day and this morning woke up early so now you are a little nervous ...) - actually when the father follows the child's daily rhythm and knows every change in it .
⁃ When the father estimates that the child needs a change in order to move away from the vicious circle of nervousness - "Let's go to the park you and me"
⁃ When the father already knows how to combine what to give the child for lunch / dinner ... and when he wants to learn how to cook semolina and polenta for the sake of the child.
- When the father knows how to combine the clothes so that all the pieces fit each other (because he respects the mother's wish to take care of it).
- When the father burns inside, but still speaks to the child in a soft voice full of understanding.
⁃ When the father explains to the grandparents / visitors why we don't give the child sweets before he turns one.
⁃ When the father can do everything the mother does with the child (there is no difference).
I think here we come to the question of how much we MOMS will allow FATHERS to participate. There could be a whole separate article about that.
- Sometimes mothers do not want to give the father enough space because they consider themselves as mothers to know everything about the child and do the best of all.
- Sometimes mothers want their fathers to do everything exactly the way they would and don't give them much room for their own ideas and suggestions.
- Sometimes mothers want their fathers to read their minds so they get angry when the father doesn't do "right".
- Sometimes mothers lose all energy and power and pass the child on to the father saying "Here you go, I really don't know what to do anymore".
- Some mothers communicate and settle on all the upbringing procedures with their husband.
We are different as mothers, and fathers are all also different, as well as our relationships are different.
Every family is unique. Let's find the best way for our family to function. Conversation, trust, honesty and sharing of common values and visions are indispensable.
At the very end I inevitably have a need and I want to thank my father, and the father of my child. Thank you!
Tea without taboos
Bracket, K. P. (ed.), (2009) Battleground: the Family. Volume 1 (A-G). London: Greenwood Press
Brajša, P. (1995) Očevi gdje ste. Zagreb: Školske novine
Čudina-Obradović, M., Obradović, J. (2003) Potpora roditeljstvu: izazovi i mogućnosti. Revija socijalna politika. 10 (1), 45.-68.
Juul, J. (2019) Coaching za roditelje. Zagreb: Harfa
Ljubetić, M. (2007) Biti kompetentan roditelj. Zagreb: Mali profesor
Ljubetić, M. (2012) Nosi li dobre roditelje roda?! - odgovorno roditeljstvo za kompetentno dijete. Zagreb: Profil International