Dads are Different!
Dads are not substitute Moms or babysitters!
Dads bring something special to the game!
Consider the consequences on kids when the dads are not present in their children’s lives as reported by the Fatherhood Initiative:
Compared to pregnant women without father support, pregnant women with father support experience a lower prevalence of pregnancy loss 22.2% compared to 48.1%.
Children without Dads are 4x more likely to live in poverty
Students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school.
Why is this true? Because men parent differently than women and their values and style balance the values and styles of women. Mothers tend to stress emotional nurturing and personal safety while fathers tend to stress autonomy and independence. Children develop with a complete set of physical, social-emotional, and learning skills with both Mom and Dad as their primary nurturers and first teachers.
From Parents as Teachers:
In general, these traits represent a healthy mother’s and father’s parenting styles:
- Fathers’ parenting style tends to be more spontaneous and physical, while mothers tend to follow established patterns of physical interaction.
- Fathers are more likely to promote a child’s intellectual and social development through physical play, while mothers are more likely to promote intellectual and social development through talking and teaching while caregiving.
- Fathers tend to teach through example, emphasizing lessons learned from experience, while mothers tend to teach with the focus on learning through a pattern of processing.
- Fathers tend to play by encouraging the child to higher levels of challenge, while mothers tend to play at the child’s level, letting the child direct the play, be in charge, and proceed at his own pace.
- Fathers tend to make use of their bodies when interacting with their children. They become a jungle gym, monkey bars, or rocking horse, giving piggy back rides, roughhousing, tickling, wrestling, and so on, following activation-exploration themes. Mothers tend to play in more conventional ways, employing traditional games, songs, and themes.
- Fathers tend to offer less immediate support in face of child’s frustration, thus promoting adaptive problem-solving skills. Mothers are more likely to intervene more quickly in face of their child’s frustration.
- Fathers tend to discipline with an interest in the societal bottom-line outcome. In other words, they focus on what their child needs to learn in order to be successful in the everyday world. Mothers tend to discipline with focus on the impact of their child’s behavior on emotional relationships.
The rough-and-tumble kind of play that fathers engage in with their young children helps them regulate their feelings and behavior. It teaches children how to deal with aggressive impulses and physical contact in socially acceptable ways. While mothers are more likely to form secure attachments by comforting their children when they are distressed, fathers are more likely to provide security in the context of the controlled excitement of play or discipline. This helps children learn where the boundaries of safety and risk-taking exist in the world—a very important skill that builds self-regulation and can prevent problems with aggression and violence later on. (Zero to three)
What Fathers Want to Know…
Isn’t this Mom’s role? She’s breast feeding. She’s the nurturer. Nope! Dads are nurturers too! Recent research has shown that Dads have a distinct increase of “nurturing” hormones during the last three months of a pregnancy and at the birth of their child. Dads can transfer these good hormones to the baby through skin to skin contact just after the birth. Infants can recognize Dad’s voice at birth.
From Zero to Three: If fathers have the capacity to nurture their children competently but differently from mothers, does this matter to the children? Apparently so, according to two decades of research. Eight-week-old infants can discriminate between their fathers and their mothers, and respond in a
differential way to their approach. Yogman (I981) compared videotapes of comfortably seated infants’ response to their mothers’ approach and their fathers’. In anticipation of their mothers’ picking them up, babies settled in, slowed their heart and respiratory rates, and partially closed their eyes. When they expected their father to hold them, babies hunched up their shoulders, widened their eyes, and accelerated their heart and respiratory rates.
But what do Dads really know about infants? They were not playing with dolls or babysitting younger siblings. No one thought to teach boys how to soothe a crying baby, change diapers or burb a baby! These things can be learned with the help of Mom and Grandma. The most important things don’t need teaching as much as just allowing yourself to be a loving and nurturing father.
Learning from other Dads is important too – check out Dad’s Blog on Infants
Dads from England have same experience as we do – Your Newborn – Dos and Don’ts for the First Few Weeks
Dads from California show us how they change diapers, burb babies, and play games with inf
ants – go to Videos on Dads Adventure
Baby Issues: Check out Infant and Baby issues including Safe Sleep, Tummy Time, Purple Crying on our Infant Page.
Check out Dude Dad’s take on Tummy Time
Ages and Stages
Infants grow into babies – babies grow into toddlers. Growth is not measured just by pounds and inches but by what your baby can do, say and feel. Because your baby is changing so fast and because the first five years of his life will set the course for all his life, it’s important to know what to expect, how to help his development and how to see any red flags. See our 0 to 5 Development Pages to help you understand your child’s Ages and Stages!
About 50% of babies in America are born to single women. Unmarried parents are xx% likely not to be living together. In any type of family co-parenting can be challenging and given these realities it can be really problematic. What’s the key to successful co-parenting? First and foremost is keeping the focus on the child. The one to one relationship between Mom and Dad is now a three way relationship with the child in the most vulnerable position.
From : When People Parent Together Let’s Talk About Coparenting
All parents are different, and children delight in the differences in how different caregivers hold, stimulate, play with, soothe, and engage with them. Further, good coparenting does not require that parents always see eye-to-eye; conflict is a natural part of coparenting, and having differences in
opinion is what promotes development. The important thing is how parents work together to negotiate and resolve their differences. Good coparenting requires that parents communicate regularly (daily whenever possible, and certainly at least weekly), about the ups and downs of parenting the child(ren). More importantly, it requires that each parent work hard to see the other’s point of view, and to understand what their partner is trying to accomplish in rearing the child.
Most parenting behavior comes from a good place: parents love their children and want what is best for them. Often, though, parents value different sets of skills. For example, one parent may want the child to be a good rule-follower, to learn to conform, and to be aware of the rights of others. The other parent may want most dearly for the child to be a free spirit, a questioner, and an individual who leaves no stone unturned in their quest for the meaning and promise of life. Good coparenting often requires compromises between parents so that they can promote these different types of traits.
A strong coparenting alliance is most likely to develop if each parent finds a way to value what the other parent does well. In fact, combining the different strengths and gifts of each parent and collaborating will truly benefit the child.
Work – Family Balance
Both the National Fatherhood Initiative’s National Father’s Survey and the Zero to Three’s Parent Survey identified the biggest obstacle fathers face in good parenting is creating a work/family balance.
Pew Research reported in 6 facts about American fathers: Work-family balance is a challenge for many working fathers. Pew Research Center surveys have found that, just like mothers, many of today’s fathers find it challenging to balance work and family life. Fully 52% of working dads say it is very or somewhat difficult to do so – a share slightly lower than the 60% of working mothers who say the same. And about three-in-ten working dads (29%) say they “always feel rushed,” as do 37% of working mothers.
There are a number of excellent national and local resources for information, help and continual support just for Dads.
Fathers Matter is an evidenced-based parenting education and support program designed specifically for Muskegon County fathers. Fathers can be single, married, custodial, or a non-custodial parent. The program promotes confident responsible parenting. For more information about Fathers Matter, visit their website or call 616-551-4747.
SEED – Specialty Establishment and Enforcement Docket – aims to help certain men and women who owe child support better meet their financial obligations to their children, increase parenting time for the non-custodial dad or mom and, at the same time, assist with access to community services and training opportunities.
Just 4 Guys – Muskegon Pregnancy Services – Are you a new father or a dad-to-be? Ever wish fatherhood came with an instruction manual? Do you wonder how other dads deal with the responsibilities and challenges of being a dad? Would you like a safe place to ask questions and learn about caring for your baby without being embarrassed or feeling like you’re being judged? You can meet with a male advocate who will help you answer all your questions and provide support in a safe, “dads only” environment. Call 231-726-2677.