by Matt Gaudreau
Most fathers today are headed in a helpful direction of full parental involvement, and here are some great ways dads can be the dads they want to be. Society is changing for the better and it is becoming more acceptable for fathers to be the parent that stays home with the kids. They are being offered parental leave from work; take the kids all around town; and praise, discipline and commiserate with their children. Mothers are a vital and important part of the family, but dads are proving that even without constant guidance from Mom they can handle the same tasks and responsibilities when it comes to their kids.
1. Many fathers love spending a lot of time with their kids. Sure, parents (both fathers and mothers) need breaks, but overall family time comes first in many father’s lives. Being there for your kids from a young age instills in them a sense of confidence and love for you. When they get older, planning activities not only with the whole family but also just dad and kids is an excellent way to bond. Nothing is better after a long day of work or spending the day taking care of the house than seeing your excited children run up to greet you with a smile and an “I love you Daddy.”
2. If you have a daughter, they may ask you to play dolls, have tea parties, dress-up and paint their nails. For fathers, this can be a lot to take in at first, but you know what, it can actually be a really fun experience. A good dad is in tune with his feelings and comfortable with himself and trying on different roles. My daughter takes ballet classes and the first session involved parent participation. Not only did I attend all of the classes and dance around with my daughter, but there were many other fathers there doing the same thing. Boys and girls can also take part in the same activities (there is a boy in my daughter’s ballet class) and fathers need to embrace whatever it is their children like to do.
A good dad is in tune with his feelings and comfortable with himself and trying on different roles.
3. Fathers do a lot of chauffeuring kids around these days too, not just “soccer moms.” I have received odd looks and double-takes when I bring my daughter to school activities or ballet (and even weirder looks when I bring my infant son somewhere alone), but it is getting better and I see a lot of other fathers doing the same. An involved father is a strong, caring father and should be looked upon as such. When a dad brings his child to an activity, it should signal a healthy family life. No longer are fathers always the ones missing the recital or graduation ceremony because they had to work late (thanks, Hollywood). They are the ones who are bringing the kids there. This should be fostered, not looked at as odd.
4. Fathers are becoming better cooks, honing their cleaning skills and mastering routine as never before! Helping maintain an efficient family and home life has become an important part of a father’s life. No longer are fathers just doing the yard work or building things; they are dusting their kids’ rooms, scrubbing down the kitchen, doing laundry and cooking up spaghetti bolognese for the entire family. (My 3 year old randomly blurted out ‘spaghetti bolognese’ the other night, so I figured I would give her a shout-out here). If I am describing you, congratulations, you are part of the stereotype-busting machine! If I am describing your husband, well, congratulations, you have a good one!
5. Men and fathers benefit from being more in tune with their emotions. Society loves when you show love outwardly to your children as a father. Even shedding a tear or two is looked at as positive, not a sign of weakness. As a father, being able to show emotion will help you be more in tune with your kids (as kids are highly emotional) and connect with them on a completely different level.
Highly involved fathers are the wave of the present and the future. As more and more fathers learn these ways, the more we will see old stereotypes diminish. I believe fathers have an innate ability to be able to understand what it means to be a parent and how to be a good one.
Matt Gaudreau enjoys being a father and writing about it from Denver, Colorado.