Children follow the footsteps of their parents. They tend to emulate their parents’ behaviour and habits and incorporate this in their life. This is why we are often advised to lead by example if we want to teach our kids anything. We do try and be good role models for our children, but are we doing enough to make them emotionally strong? Are they growing up with the strength and courage they need to face the world? Turns out, there is something that daddies can do – yes, daddies – to protect their babies from developing emotional problems later in life!
How connected is your husband to your baby? Do they share a strong bond and do things together? Modern life and times being what they are, we cannot deny this: both parents are equally responsible for determining the child’s development. A baby truly flourishes when he has the love of both his mother and father in his life. These are the two people who make him feel secure and loved. It is thus the responsibility of both parents to be a model for their child’s behaviour and determine their quality of development. However, we often overlook the contribution of a father to parenting.
Yes, isn’t it almost always the mother who is blamed for faults in her upbringing when finding faults in the child? A father who does as much as changing diapers on a day or two, or taking the kids for an ice-cream, is applauded for being a great father. But is that enough? Hardly. All of us have always known, within our hearts, that a father is just as responsible for a child’s future and behaviour as his mother is. But now, there’s scientific research to back this fact too!
New research conducted by Oxford University suggests that fathers who meet these four criteria have children with lesser behavioural problems as they grow up. So, if your husband is this kind of a dad, congratulations! Now is the time to pat him on his back and tell him that his behaviour is going to really help keep your child happy in later years:
- Dads who are emotionally involved with their children
- Dads who display confidence in their parenting skills
- Dads who have a strong bond with their kids starting from infancy
- Dads who are involved in more than just child rearing and domestic tasks (read: changing diapers is not enough)
Do you now see the one thing that all fathers must do to save their little one from emotional problems? Yes, it’s as simple as spending time with them!
How Dads impact their child’s emotional health
As per the research, positive parenting by fathers contributes to positive outcomes in children. This may seem simple, but there is a lot happening in your child’s mind that you must understand. When fathers bond with their kids every day, the child starts seeing him as a source of instrumental and emotional support to the mother. He is someone who provides direct care to him but also has a positive effect on the mothers’ well being. And babies love to see people around them happy, especially their dear mommy!
“There is evidence that fathers’ involvement can also alleviate the impact of factors such as maternal depression which are known to increase children’s risk of behavioural problems. Greater paternal involvement may also lead to a happy and cohesive family, and this may bring about better outcomes in children.”
Thus, it is important for the dads out there to not only be involved in childcare tasks like changing diapers and feeding but also take part in spending quality time with their babies. Tummy time. Playing with blocks together. Reading bedtime stories. Listening to their tales about playgroup friends. Helping them out with studies. Time is critical to developing a strong emotional bond, and all these activities contribute toward this. Moms, a strong emotional bond is the best protection your husband can extend to the kids for life. So, if you perceive that his role in parenting is lacking, or that he is unable to take time out for the kids, tell him this today!
It’s heartening to see research working together with parenting in giving our children a better life. These findings reinforce the fact that a father is a very important figure in the life of a child, and that moms aren’t solely responsible for the child’s emotional development. While bringing up kids, we must aim to have a balanced involvement by both parents in everything, starting from school to playtime to building new relationships and dealing with failure.
Quality time by both mom and dad is critical for our kids to have an emotionally secure future. We, as responsible parents, must do everything in our power to ensure this future for them.