There’s nothing as important to a child as their parents. From the cradle, the bond with mom is inevitable. But fathers must work a little bit harder during those first few months to solidify their importance. However, after endless diaper changes and cuddling, the child soon learns that the father is another person in their life on whom they can depend.
As the child grows and develops, their father takes on the role of strength and vigor. Most children grow up with the belief that their father is as strong and powerful as a superhero. When a kid falls and scrapes their knee, they run to mom for comfort, but they run to dad when they need someone to protect them.
The feelings of having a superhuman dad don’t go away as time goes on. Every little girl dreams about her father walking her down the aisle and giving her hand in marriage. She also knows that if anything should go wrong in this union that her dad will protect her.
Fathers Give Comfort Children–Just Like Mom!
There is a sense of comfort that comes from believing that your dad can conquer anything and save you at a moment’s notice. Consequently, it’s an essential part of developing a healthy relationship between the father and child. Men were meant to be strong warriors that protected their families and villages since the dawn of time.
A survey by Ripley’s Believe It or Not to see how children between the ages of 6-8 years old view their dads. Shockingly, more than half of the 1,000 kids stated that they believed their father had superhero powers. Some believe that their dads can read minds, or he has a secrete lair where he keeps his crime-fighting paraphernalia.
It’s apparent that children have superior visions regarding their fathers, but they never let their imagination become limited. Just as a child, watching cartoons believes that animals can talk, people can fly, and you can activate superhuman strength with one magical command. They take comfort in believing that their dad holds that same supernatural powers.
The Psychological Importance of a Relationship with Dad
Children can form bonds with many people. While mom may take the forefront during feeding and the close nurturing of infancy, dad quickly develops a place. The bonding that happens between a child and their father is important for their healthy psychological development.
Have you ever seen a woman that prefers to date older men? One of the first things that people say is that she has “daddy issues.” They really mean that she didn’t have that strong relationship that many daddies and daughters develop, and she is lacking. In return, she tries to fill that void by finding a man that can take the place of the relationship she longed for in her life.
Developmentally, both roles of the parents are essential. Since a child feels safe and secure, knowing that dad will take care of everything, it creates a space or void when they grow up without security feelings. The need for protection and safety is inevitable, so they will search for whatever methods possible to fill that hole.
How Role Dichotomy Has Changed
Times have certainly changed. In previous decades, women stayed home and took care of the children while dad “brought home the bacon.” The role of this dichotomy has changed over the last twenty years. The lines between the roles of mom and dad are blurred.
Females now hold full-time jobs and can be doctors, surgeons, congresswomen, and hold any career they choose. Men can also branch out into new areas such as nursing or preschool teachers. You see an increase in stay at home dads that allow mom to go to work while they do the child-rearing.
Lastly, both parents might work, and a daycare center is responsible for care during the week. With these new roles come changes in the development of some children. They may view their father as the nurturing one and their mom as their safety net, and these diverse views are becoming commonplace.
Society is finally giving mothers and fathers the freedom to choose their roles within the family unit. It’s making a tremendous shift in parenting formalities and the bonds children form with these respective positions.
Fathers and Their Hormonal Shifts During Pregnancy
Ironically, dads don’t carry the baby or experience any of the sensations that a pregnant mother does. Yet, many report that they do have cravings and feel different when their partner is expecting. Could a dad also feel hormonal changes in anticipation of a new baby?
Not only does the mother’s brain encounter seismic changes after the birth of their child, but it seems that dads are altered by hormones too. Albeit, the alterations occur in diverse ways. To confirm this theory, a 2012 Israeli study wanted to see how brains reacted when both mothers and fathers interacted with their children.
Parents both got to observe videotapes of interactions between them and their kids. They were hooked to electrodes to monitor brain activity as they watched the videos. The mothers showed an increase in their minds’ emotional centers, but the fathers increased cognitive function.
To dig even deeper into the switching of parenting roles, they used a same-sex couple to see how dissimilar their responses. The men both showed reactions that would be typical of a mom and dad. This proves that the brain is hardwired to spring into action for whatever the child needs, and a man can serve roles as both mother and father when necessary.
There have been numerous studies conducted on what hormonal responses a woman has after she gives birth. These responses help her to bond with her child. However, a father will also experience many of the same shifts, mainly increasing prolactin and oxytocin. When these hormones boost, it only makes it easier to bond with the child.
The Northwestern University Study
A study from Northwestern University proves that fathers do experience changes in their body too. Their testosterone levels drop to make them more nurturing. Experts theorize that this could be to keep fathers from wandering, and it keeps their interests engaged where they’re needed, at home.
Current investigations prove that the dad’s stress levels during conception are passed onto the unborn child. The amount of genetic information that is given by the parents to the child is uncanny. However, there is also evidence that you receive vital information from your grand or great-grandparents too.
Did you know that if your great-grandparent had a condition like asthma, you’re at an increased risk of developing this ailment? Genetics is a powerful thing, and your parents can pass both good and bad genes on to you.
What Is Dad’s Role Today?
The impact on a dad through the life of their child is substantial. It should never play second fiddle to that of the mother as both roles are equally important. When dad has a stable and healthy relationship with his children’s mother, then the chances of being involved in their life increase.
Additionally, these children who have both parents working and striving to make them well-rounded typically produce emotionally and psychologically stable kids. Do you remember the vintage cartoon of the Berenstain Bears?
They were a lovely family where both mom and dad support each other and the kids. What’s unique about this cartoon is that the dad always had to hold the mom up so that, in return, she could hold the children up. It was undoubtedly a traditional shift in parenting roles that weren’t apparent when this show aired.
However, in recent years the shift has become apparent, but both parents must equally support one another to raise a well-rounded child. The role of the father in the family unit is expanding. Men no longer go to work from 9-5 pm and come home to be waited on hand and foot by a homemaker wife.
Now, both parents work, and when their workday is complete, they share the home and children’s responsibility. You might see a dad carrying the diaper bag or carrying the child into a public restroom to change a diaper, and society is accommodating for these alterations. Many public restrooms now have diaper changing centers in the male bathrooms too.
Mom seems to get most of the attention when a child is born because she carries the baby inside her. The bond between the two of them is apparent. However, dad is just as important as a mom as his strength helps to make the child strong.
Today’s society embraces fathers who do the grocery shopping, take the kids to daycare, become stay at home parents, and make dinner. The role of dads is expanding, and it’s quite liberating for the men who don’t want to be viewed in the typical 1950s iconic male role.
As time goes on, society has realized that fathers can have any role in the child’s life they want. And we should praise them for stepping up and taking on more. It only creates children that are well-rounded when both parents work together for their good. Where would you be without your father?