Father: A pillar of strength
Father figures can play many roles within the family system. Keep in mind that the term father does not solely apply to biological relationships, nor does it only apply to a husband and wife relationship. Same-sex couples, transgender men who are parents and single fathers can provide just as meaningful parent-child relationships as do families with a husband and wife. There is no one type of family where the child enjoys the healthiest father-child relationship.
What are the roles of fathers in families today?
Fathers today may be expected to parent and assist with household chores equally with their partners. In a study of married men and women who had just had their first child, results illustrated that a good partnership, as well as an effort to reduce their wife’s stress, led to overall decreased aggravation for both partners, even when their baby was fussy. Within the family, fathers can take on multiple roles.
Why having a father is important
A father figure can significantly influence the life and wellbeing of their child. In families where the father figure is present, the father serves as one of the first male role models and male relationships the child will encounter. Children are extremely sensitive and observant beings and internalize relational experiences. These early interactions with their father serve as a blueprint for what a relationship with a man looks like and impacts both the father-son relationship, and the father-daughter relationship. This means that unhealthy relationships with a father figure can significantly impact not only the child’s psychological wellbeing, but their unconscious relational choices as they become adults.
If a child has a healthy relationship with their father, they tend to have higher levels of self-esteem, confidence, and more stable relationships with men in general.
If a child has an unhealthy relationship with their father, they may experience more psychological distress and struggle with forming healthy relationships with men as they become adults.
Keep in mind that it is very difficult to alter the internalized relational blueprint that forms when children are quite young. While it is possible, it often takes high levels of insight, as well as significant psychotherapeutic intervention to shift these deep rooted, and often unconscious mental pathways.
Changing role of the modern day father
It has only been in the past several decades that the idea of the “involved father” has taken shape. Historically, men’s identities were heavily tied to their careers, and that still holds somewhat true today, with about 76% of men reporting that they feel financial pressure to provide for their families. More than ever, men are taking a more active role in parenting, 63% of men feel they don’t spend enough time with their children.
There is still the notion that more than half of Americans share that women are better caretakers when it comes to child rearing and only 1% cite that men are better caregivers than women. Even though men are more involved when it comes to parenting, there are certainly still some deep rooted biases that Americans view as true regarding men and women when it comes to parenting in a household with a husband, wife, and child.
What is the role of father and mother in a family?
Keep in mind that a family with a mother and father is not the only type of family where a father figure can be involved in healthy ways. Fathers and mothers nowadays tend to share the responsibility of child rearing. In terms of specific roles, these will vary greatly depending on each unique family’s needs. However, in healthy families, ideally both parents are flexible and are able to take on the same roles, while supporting each other as parents and partners.
What is the responsibility of father and mother?
Depending on the family unit, mothers and fathers may trade off in terms of responsibilities, or come up with their own balanced way of splitting the responsibilities. When it comes to parenting, ideally both the mother and father have healthy relationships with their child or children and are equally involved in child rearing.
Importance of father
The father figure plays a significant role in affecting the mental and physical health of their child or children. Regardless of how the father figure is connected to the child, the most important aspect of the parent-child relationship is the quality of it, and not whether the child and father are blood relatives.
(The author is a Retired Principal based at Malout Punjab)