By: Ryan Elnar
There is this common misconception that dads are not as hands-on as much as moms do when it comes to parenting. This might be true for older generations when the general perception was that dads care more about having fun with friends than spending time with their kids, that dads don’t cook well and are even unable to do household chores.
With all these stereotypes, it’s easy to think that the role of a father in a child’s life is not as important as that of a mother’s.
Don’t get me wrong. I suppose much of who I am today is because of how our dad raised us. Even though he didn’t speak about what is right and wrong, his actions made the distinction clear as a still river water.
I saw him as a disciplinarian when he threw my brother’s books outside, which according to him are useless because they were rarely used. He was also a figure of a good financier, as he often gave into almost everything we asked for during payday.
While these images of a father brought me to where I am today in life, I believe that a dad can still do so much more if we will consciously devote quality and quantity time with his kids. Here are some of the reasons why a dad bond is important to raise happy and healthy kids:
Kids can grow more confident. Raising kids is a teamwork so a dad’s time is of equal importance as a mom’s and having a balanced upbringing from both parents can make a child feel complete and confident in facing the world. Doing so protects them from things that are at times beyond our control like bullying, which usually happens outside our home.
It also goes without saying that there are certain outdoor activities that are best cherished with dads, such as learning to ride a bicycle and fixing it. This includes driving lessons when they grow up into their teenage years.
Bonding helps dads go beyond the boundaries of traditional discipline. Dads are often seen as the disciplinarian in the house. If it is not done in a constructive way, kids may see him as an authoritarian in the house, which is not good and may keep the child at a distant, emotionally as he grows older.
Some experts say that mindful discipline is the better approach, wherein parents are able to teach and nurture a child’s skills in a positive way. Bonding somehow keeps the balance between discipline and compassion.
It cultivates an open communication. Yes, kids can talk openly to their moms but there are some conversations that are best done with dads. Talks such as how to determine if a guy is serious or not with a daughter, or whether to join a fraternity or not with a son. These are teen problems that you might have problems talking about if you were not able to form a bond with them while they were still young.
Every night when you get home from work, spend a few minutes to ask them how their day was. You can ask them what problems they encountered in school, or even if they shared their snacks during recess time.
It helps you get to know your child more. Oftentimes, we should allow kids to choose activities during play time, as doing so will improve their confidence in decision-making but will also help us parents get to know our child better.
My son usually gets excited every time our activities involve cooking, regardless if it is just a ‘play-pretend’ or preparing an actual merienda (snack). Through this, I can somehow gauge that his passion is into cooking, this will then allow me to help him achieve expertise in this field as he grows up. Who knows, he could be one of the well-known chefs to hit our screens a few years from now.
Lastly, it’s important that we cherish the early years. Sometimes, we can only see how time flies when we look back at the old family photos and realize that we can never go back to such meaningful moments in our life.
Ryan Elnar is a proud Filipino daddy blogger. He started Dad and More to share the stories of his journey in raising a family. Ryan believes that beyond formal education, discipline and values are far more important heritage a parent can give to his children.