Traditional parental roles are shifting and nowadays it’s not uncommon to find dads opting to stay home and look after kids. Women, on the other hand, are increasingly becoming primary breadwinners in their families.
What baffles me is that society still clings to myths and societal expressions of fatherhood that should have been chucked ages ago. The fact that some of these misconceptions are firmly anchored in gender-based stereotypes only makes it worse.
So today I decided to shed some light on 5 myths about fathers and fatherhood that we really should stop propagating. to summarize, these myths about dads are:
- Newborns don’t really need their dads
- Dads don’t bond with their kids like moms do
- Fathers don’t feel as much pressure as women
- Fathers are the disciplinarians in the family
- Fathers are dispensable
Okay, so your partner’s intense connection with the newborn, especially when breastfeeding, can often leave you feeling like the third wheel. But this doesn’t mean that your baby doesn’t need you.
Dads can bond with a newborn in other ways like holding, rocking or cooing to them, giving them baths and even helping to feed the baby if your partner expresses milk or if you’ve decided to supplement with formula. Find your own little ways to be part of your baby’s life from day one.
This myth is not only wrong but also harmful to dads who might have a few fears about their fatherhood roles as it is. In fact, it could keep them from even wanting to do their rightful duty as a father to care for his child.
There’s this tendency to assume that women naturally possess maternal instincts while men have to work hard at being good fathers. Take heart men! Research shows that men also undergo hormonal changes before and after their kids are born. There’s a noticeable drop in testosterone that’s possibly meant to make them more nurturing. So fathers worry not- nature is rooting for you.
Women are given grief for prioritizing work over family and this has received a lot of attention. Unfortunately, few people realize that men are under pressure for the opposite reason. Men with kids report feeling pressured to be the primary family providers.
Many dads would love to spend as much time as they could with their kids, but many of them often face stigma in the workplace. In fact, some of them are forced to face the fact that they could potentially face poor performance evaluations and promotions because of it.
“Just wait until your dad gets home!” We’ve all heard the cliché that fathers are more suited to the disciplinarian role than mothers. Maybe this has to do with the fact that men generally have a direct and firmer approach to discipline.
Fathers are NOT always the disciplinarians. Therefore, this myth is false. Kids often become most familiar with the discipline tactics of the parent who spends the most time with them. So it’s not uncommon for them to defy that parent. Family dynamics are different and both partners should feel capable of disciplining their kids when the need arises.
Of all the myths and misconceptions I’ve come across, this is perhaps the most harmful. A father’s role is an equally important role in their kids’ lives as mothers. Research shows that children who grow up with involved, attentive and supportive fathers tend to have better cognitive, social and language skills than those who don’t. They also have higher self-confidence and self-esteem levels and tend to be better at forming relationships with others.
So to all fathers out there- know that you have an important place in your families. Fathers matter and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!
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