Few people doubt the fundamental importance of mothers in childbearing, but what do fathers do? Much of what they contributes simply the result of being a second adult in the home. Bringing up children is demanding, stressful and exhausting. Two adults can support and make up for each other’s deficiencies and build on each other’s strengths.
????? Fathers also bring an array of unique qualities. Some are familiar: protector and role model. Teenage boys without fathers are notoriously prone to troubles. The pathway to adulthood for daughters is somewhat easier, but they must still learn from their fathers, in ways they cannot from their mothers, how to relate to men. They learn from fathers about heterosexual trust, intimacy and differences. They learn to appreciate their femininity from the one male whose most special in their lives. Most important, through loving and being loved by their fathers, they learn that they are love-worthy.
????? Current research gives much deeper–and more surprising insight into the father’s role in childbearing. One significantly overlooked dimension of father is play. From their children’s birth through adolescence, fathers tend to emphasize play more than care-taking. The? father’s style of play is likely to be both physically stimulating and exciting. With older children it involves more teamwork, requiring competitive testing of physical and mental skills. It frequently resembles a teaching relationship: come on, let me show you how. Mother plays more at the child’s level. They seem willing to let the child direct play.
?????? Kids, at least in the early years, seem to prefer to play with daddy . In one study of 2-year-olds who were given a choice , more than two thirds chose to play with their fathers.
?????? The way fathers play has effects on everything from the management of emotions to intelligence and academic achievement. It is particularly important in promoting self-control. According to one expert.” children who roughhouse with their fathers quickly learn that biting, kicking and other forms of physical violence are not acceptable.”? They learn when to “shut it down.”
At play and other realms, fathers tend to stress competition, challenge, initiatives, risk-taking and independence. Mothers, as caretakers, stress emotional security and personal safety. On the playground fathers often try to get the children to swing even higher, while mothers are cautious, worrying about an accident.
???? We know, too, that fathers’ involvement seemed to be linked to improved verbal and problem-solving skills and higher academic achievement. Several studies show that along with parental strictness, the amount of time fathers spend reading with them was a predictor of their daughters’ verbal ability.
???? For sons, the results have been equally striking. Studies uncovered a strong relationship between fathers’ involvement and the mathematical abilities of their sons other studies found a relationship between parental nurturing and boys’ verbal intelligence.