Having been a young parent in the 20th Century, it is heartwarming to observe current young fathers interaction with their children. The new parenting styles have not only embraced the father’s role in childrearing but have enhanced children’s development and secured their promising future.
Every era brings its own awareness, knowledge, cultural beliefs, health notions and parental practices that are believed to better serve the interest of children. The advent of the technological era provided new and improved research tools that supported new studies about children’s physiological, neurological and psychological development. Concomitantly, cultural norms accepted the essential role of fathers in youngsters’ development and social practices changed to encourage men to become more active in their children’s lives.
Dr. Jean Yeung and associates discovered that, “Whereas fathers in intact two-parent families formerly spent about 30% to $45% as much time with their children as mothers did, they now spend 67% as mothers on weekdays and 87% as much time as mothers on weekends.” Dr. April Brayfield found that “the more husbands’ work hours differed from those of their wives, the more likely the husbands were to provide the childcare for their children.”
It is not only the time spent with the children that has changed, but also the nature of the care fathers provide for their youngsters. Dr. Michael Lamb divided the “Dimensions of father involvement” into three categories: Accessibility, a father’s presence and availability to the child, Engagement, direct contact, care giving and shared interactions with the child, and, Responsibility, such as selecting a pediatrician, making appointments, coordinating with babysitters, talking with teachers and monitoring the child’s whereabouts and activities.”
Studies by Paul Amato and Fernando Rivera confirmed, “Fathers’ emotional investment in, attachment to, and the provision of resources for their children are all associated with the well-being, cognitive development, and social competence of young children.” Dr. John Gorttman added that fathers’ involvement enhanced their children’s emotional regulation and control. Other studies confirm that fatherly attention reduces chances for delinquency and increases academic, athletic and career success.
Today’s young husbands are as likely as their wives to diaper, feed, and lull their baby to sleep. The interaction between young children and their fathers appears interchangeable with the one they have with their mothers, though at times, they may prefer the attention of a specific parent.
Spending time with young parents and their children is refreshing. Seeing the fluidity of interchange of tasks between parents and young children’s alternative access to both parents, is an emotionally rewarding experience, particularly since we know how much more enriched these children are compared to those of previous generations.
- Know that your contributions to your child, from infancy to adulthood are unique and irreplaceable.
- Be accessible, engaging and responsible for your child.
- Rejoice in knowing that your availability and interaction with your baby and later your child will enhance his/her physical, emotional, educational and psychological development toward a more successful life.