the days when raising children was just a mother’s job. Today, both parents
shoulder equal responsibility in bringing up their children. Read on to find
out how fathers can be supportive of and help rear their kids.
The Paternal Instinct
Women often wonder whether it has been
carved in stone that child-rearing is the mother's job, while the father has
been designated as the breadwinner. For centuries, men and women have followed
this unwritten rule. However, this edict, if it does exist, certainly does not
hold true today. While women are supposed to have a natural maternal instinct
that is aroused automatically on the birth of a child, nobody talks about a
paternal instinct. Some men feel awkward around babies, frightened to even
touch these tiny, fragile creatures. They want to wait till the baby becomes a
'real person' before they step into the father role. It may be too late
though, because by then the mother has become an expert and can manage quite
well without the 'father.'
Men Can Be Parents Too
New fathers should remember that while fatherhood might begin at the
time of conception, it certainly does not end there. In the age of the nuclear
family, men cannot afford to take a backseat when it comes to rearing their
children. The joint family system, particularly in metropolises, is slowly
becoming a thing of the past. Thus, new mothers are being done out of a
valuable support system. In addition, young couples often require two incomes
to survive which means that the women go to work too. In such a situation, men
have no choice but to get into active parenting.
It is important that fathers have the
right attitude to parenting. Men should share
the load of bringing up children with their wives in a spirit of partnership.
Men are not doing their wives a favour when they help out with the children.
After all, both spouses have played an equal role in bringing the child into
the world, so it is only fair that they share the responsibility of rearing the
To their credit, men themselves have
more emancipated views on parenting today. They are not averse to changing
dirty diapers and burping drooling
babies. This is a sign that men respect the significance of being a parent.
They realise that bringing up a child is something that requires skill and
judgement and cannot be taken lightly. Sometimes the exclusion of the father
from parenting can be linked to the mother's attitude. If the new mother is
excessively possessive about her baby or believes that looking after the baby
is a woman's job, she may succeed in killing any enthusiasm her spouse may have
for fatherhood. It is imperative that both parents view parenting as a joint
venture. This will succeed in combating the development of sexist ideas in
How Can Fathers Help?
There are a hundred ways in which a man
can play an active role in child-rearing and help his wife in the process.
Besides breastfeeding, fathers can lend a hand in almost all other aspects of baby care. They can
bottle-feed the baby, change its diapers, bathe it, play with it and soothe its
tears. Fathers can also take turns with their wives to attend to babies that
wake up at night. This has a two-fold benefit as it gives the father an
opportunity to bond with the baby as well as giving the beleaguered mother a
break. Fathers can also help by taking on routine household chores like
shopping, cooking, laundry, making the beds, dusting the house, etc. This will
make for a more harmonious home life as it will give the mother a chance to
take a breather.
Fathers will soon realize
that parenting is a lifelong process. They may have made a reluctant foray into
fatherhood when they changed that first dirty diaper, but before they know it
they are telling bedtime stories, doing homework, playing cricket, attending
PTA meetings - It sometimes comes as a revelation to most men that parenthood
is a wonderful journey of discovery that they really do not want to miss out