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Northern Living - - NORTHER LIFE: DADS & KIDS - BY KRIS BAUTISTA DE GUZ­MAN

Nat­u­rally, kids are more at­tached to their mothers. Moms do have an un­fair ad­van­tage as we got a head start with our bi­o­log­i­cally re­quired phys­i­cal bond. How­ever, over time, the dads have been en­croach­ing into our tra­di­tional ter­ri­tory of car­ing for the kids, which is such a wel­come re­lief.

A re­search pa­per writ­ten by Adri­enne Burgess for www.fa­thers­di­rect.com showed sev­eral stud­ies on the ef­fects of in­volved fa­ther­hood on chil­dren. Th­ese showed that a dad’s “pos­i­tive” in­volve­ment with his child from in­fancy to early adult­hood is as­so­ci­ated with a range of de­sir­able out­comes in­clud­ing: “bet­ter peer re­la­tion­ships; fewer be­hav­ior prob­lems; lower crim­i­nal­ity and sub­stance abuse; higher ed­u­ca­tional / oc­cu­pa­tional mo­bil­ity rel­a­tive to par­ents’ em­ploy­ment; ca­pac­ity for em­pa­thy; non­tra­di­tional at­ti­tudes to earn­ing and child­care; more sat­is­fy­ing adult sex­ual part­ner­ships; and higher self- es­teem and life- sat­is­fac­tion.” ( The Costs and Ben­e­fits of Ac­tive Fa­ther­hood by Adri­enne Burgess)

In other words, a fa­ther has a pro­found im­pact on his child’s life. I am for­tu­nate be­cause my hus­band, Jake, is an en­tre­pre­neur. With his flex­i­ble sched­ule, he shares a big load of the house­hold re­spon­si­bil­i­ties and gets to spend qual­ity time with our kids. Here are some things he does with our girls ( Mika, 5, and Nala, 1), which other dads can do with their own kids, re­gard­less of gen­der:

1

He has con­ver­sa­tions with them in the car. In the car, our kids are hostages ( and vice versa) so it’s a great op­por­tu­nity to talk to them about their day, their friends, or just any­thing un­der the sun. Jake takes Mika to school and her sum­mer ac­tiv­i­ties most of the time and takes ad­van­tage of the 30- minute ride to bond.

2

He plays pre­tend with them. My five-year- old likes watch­ing Wipe Out, this Bri­tish ob­sta­cle course re­al­ity show. (Jake also en­joys watch­ing the show with her be­cause of Richard Ham­mond’s hu­mor.) With her dad and her one-year- old sis­ter, Nala, she likes to pre­tend they are con­tes­tants on the show. They cre­ate their own ob­sta­cles with pil­lows and boxes and make up their own spiels.

3

He in­volves him­self in their ac­tiv­i­ties. Jake makes it a point to come to pe­di­a­tri­cian vis­its, join Kin­der­musik ses­sions, watch gym­nas­tics lessons, at­tend all school events, and go swim­ming with them in the club­house.

4

He in­volves them in his ac­tiv­i­ties. Jake owns Tripleshot, a TV pro­duc­tion house. For some projects, he ac­tu­ally in­volves Mika by ask­ing her opin­ions on their shows. He has even re­vised some of his work just be­cause she be­came dis­in­ter­ested in the video af­ter 20 sec­onds. They also watch his shows on TV to­gether, and I see that Mika feels proud she was able to con­trib­ute.

5

He is in charge of the bed­time rou­tine. When I am putting Nala to bed, Jake is re­spon­si­ble for Mika’s bed­time rou­tine. He’s in charge of the time, drink­ing milk, brush­ing teeth, sto­ry­time, and re­mind­ing her to say her prayers be­fore bed. At the end of the day, I don’t think we re­ally need stud­ies to tell us that tak­ing an ac­tive role in your child’s life, whether you're the dad or mom, will yield good re­sults. When we take in­ter­est in them, we make them feel more con­fi­dent, im­por­tant, and loved.

With that, Happy Fa­ther's day to my hus­band Jake, my dad, and to all other fa­thers out there!

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