PAPA LET’S PLAY
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!