Friday, August 17, 2012

The Father Factor

  My husband works 12 hour shifts, 6-6.  This is an illustration of our house at 5:59pm and the second at 6pm.  You will note that DS1 and I are not pictured.  In case you didn't notice, 5:59 is chaotic and loud.

  I considered adding the food DS1 was throwing (but he doesn't have that kind of range) and his screams, but it would look as though DD 10 was throwing a fit about practicing piano... which wouldn't have been far off.

  I am in the kitchen making dinner, Mister was starfishing to my leg like it was a clam on a cliff, for the prior 59 minutes. So I put his adorable food throwing, back arching, vocal protesting self in his chair so I could pull dinner out of the oven without adding a trip to the burn unit to my busy night.

I have always valued having a wonderful father and known the important role they play in the lives of their children.  My dad was at every sporting event my siblings and I participated in.  If it was a long trip he would ride the bus with us.  He filled the role of dad to more than just me and my siblings.  He was there to support and help any of our teammates as well.  The night I qualified for my very first race ( I was 8 years old) I was so nervous that I couldn't sleep.  He sat next to my bed and waited till I fell asleep. 

Fast forward 11 years and I am rapidly falling in love with DH (he was a student at the time).  Knowing my plans and hopes for a large family where I am a stay at home mom I considered his qualities and determined he was going to be an excellent father.  Two short years later he becomes a father and he is super cute with DD10.  As she gets older and "more durable" his father of the year skills shine.  My kids love their daddy.  The first several months they tolerate him, but he lacks boobs and the ability to change midnight diapers in the dark, so they prefer me.  But by a year, it quickly changes and dad is the hero.

When DS6 was a year old DH got his current job and left for 5 weeks of training.  It was rough on us, but DS6 struggled more than the girls and I did.  DS6 needed man time.  His behavior was terrible and would escalate until I summoned my brother who is 16 years younger than me.  He would come over and fill the man time void with DS6.   His anger would subside and he would be much more pleasant for a few days and the cycle resumed... until his daddy came home. 

Fathers are not easily replaced, but positive male role models do help the situation.  DS1 has recently reached the age where Dada has become as cool as the boob and now prefers to spend as much time as possible with his dad.

My girls also love their Daddy.  They request that on his days off work that he do all the taxi driving.  He must make breakfast, tie their shoes, zip their coats, take them to school.  I still do their hair because DH was banned from touching their heads 6 years ago.

 Daddy is the better listener to their heartaches.  He is emotionally removed via gender and therefore more sympathetic than mom.
Hjölster Baby Hjolster Infant Holster Carrier

Endless studies show that Fathers DO matter, anyone that tells you differently are just trying to convince themselves that they didn't miss out by not having a dad.  

Some quick facts about Dads
*Girls that have a good relationship with their father are less likely to go looking elsewhere for love, ie: promiscuity at a young age.
*Boys that have a good relationship with their father are less likely to go looking elsewhere for belonging ie: gangs, drugs, etc.
*Both genders do better in school & in extra curricular activities.
*Boys grow up to be like their dads, Girls grow up to marry men like their dads.
*Girls that are raised by or live with a non-biologically related male reach puberty at a younger age.
*Boys that have a poor relationship with their father are more likely to live a homosexual lifestyle, a poor father/son relationship mystifies the male/male love relationship and the son seeks it from another male, which regardless of your feelings on homosexuality, is not the right reason for anyone to choose a partner.
*Being able to depend on your parent creates confidence and security at a young age that builds self-worth. See Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs levels 2 & 3.

My hope is that by marrying a man that shared the positive qualities of my dad, and improved on his weaknesses, that my children will grow up confident and strong.  This world is full of fear and danger, but with the skills that the Deputy and I are striving to teach them, they should be equipped to take it on and survive.  Father's make the key difference, mother's are often bogged down with meeting the day to day necessities and having a second parent there to step in is critical.  Do not buy into the idea that father's are not needed, you can survive without a dad, even thrive, but having one that loves you increases the odds that you will survive, thrive, and love doing so.

Further reading:
Family Facts
Fathers Matter "Now" More Than Ever
Paternal involvement with adolescents in intact families: The influence of fathers over the life course
Why Fathers Matter to Their Children's Literacy     
Fathers Matter

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