Men’s Roles in the Care and Development of Children

June 19, 2020

It is much easier to become a father than to be one.

For some fathers a kindergarten talent show is far less important than a staff meeting at work, while for others is a good reason to put on a suit and pick up a camera. Why do fathers differ in their attitudes towards their kids? Why do some men see their role only in supporting their kids economically? What are the consequences of such upbringing? How to influence the situation and bring fathers and children together?

Any child needs to be loved, understood and brought up by both parents. Moms and dads do it differently – not only in the way they comply with their paternal responsibilities but also as they influence the development of the child’s personality. 

Mothers are mostly responsible for the kid’s emotional attachment, while fathers help them to be emotionally independent. It is the latters’ position on which the kid’s further successful socialization depends on: fathers embody the contact with the outside world, activities, responsibility, and sense of purpose. Not without reason young kids like to boast of their fathers, “My dad is the strongest,” “My dad can cross the sea,” “My dad has the fastest car.” They assign their dads powers or even superpowers and such perceptions help children feel protected and almost invulnerable.

But father’s presence alone does not guarantee the child’s holistic development. According to statistics, in average only 25% of fathers are actively involved in child rearing along with mothers. For the other 75% there is the term “invisible parent.” In most families, in kindergarten and school, child rearing remains strictly women’s business, i.e. a system has been created, in which mother’s role in upbringing has become determinant. There are a lot of reasons for that, but the point stands – men’s social disorientation has led to weakening civil, parental and spousal responsibilities and creating social and demographic issues. Many fathers stop participating in the education of their children and avoid their parental duties. As a result, kids either grow up in single-parent families, or face a weaker father, who’s unable to confront difficulties and shies away from reality (sometimes via alcohol, computer games, etc.). And we have kids who grow without a good male role model and misinterpret the father’s role in the family.

And so, dads need to understand that they do bear responsibility for raising children, thereby cultivating a loving parent in their hearts. They need to have skills of positive psychological and pedagogical influence, be persons of high moral standing, competent, persistent and democratic. The father has to understand that he’s a role model, a source of confidence and authority, a personification of self-discipline. He translates ideas to his child, helps them learn things made by human genius and labor, gives the understanding of law and order, goes on travels and adventures. Children need their dads at all stages of development – they crave for father’s love, leadership and mentorship. 

Dads just like moms have a positive impact on the development of such qualities as moderation, serenity, optimism, promptness, responsibility. Kids, in whose education dads play an active role grow up independent and emotionally stable individuals. They rarely get depressed when they are temporarily separated from their loved ones or while adapting to new surroundings.

Boys develop their full potentials when they have dads as their role models, friends, moral leaders and soulmates. Thus they adopt truly masculine traits: need and ability to protect, autonomous decision-making, etc.

And of course, dads need to forge friendly relations with daughters and foster their sense of self by articulating approval of their actions, talents and appearance. Everyday interaction with fathers helps girls understand male psychology, which in its turn will be useful in building on constructive relationships with men.

Each father needs to understand that the future of his children depends to a large extent on his active involvement in their lives.