An Ode To the Modern Dad
Too often, we underemphasize the role of “Dad” when it comes to raising a family. Traditionally, Mothers are presumed to take on more responsibilities and have higher expectations than Fathers do, with regard to child-rearing. The role of the Father Figure has evolved over time, and today’s Fathers are stepping up in ways that other generations previously haven’t. While family dynamics are subjective for each couple, overall, Fathers are more present, more attentive, and more involved in the lives of their children than in previous years. With Father’s Day quickly approaching, LFCS wants to highlight the importance of Fathers and Father Figures to the health and stability of the modern family.
Unlike previous generations, many fathers today are equally involved in parenting of the children and upkeep of the household. This not only gives their children a healthy example of what a balanced relationship looks like, it also improves the connection between the husband and wife. In a study of married couples who just had their first child, there was an overall decrease in stress for both partners when the father took the time to contribute to the tasks of raising a newborn.* This equal involvement helps lighten the expectations of the mother while creating more bonding opportunities between the father and their baby.
During one’s early years, the Father serves as one of the most important role models for their kids. A child’s brain is extremely observant and sensitive to early relational experiences; making a child’s relationship with their father critical during this time. These early interactions between a baby and their father develops a standard for what relationships should look like moving forward. Healthy Father-Child relationships tend to build higher levels of self-esteem and confidence in the child, which leads to more stable relationships in adulthood.** Unhealthy Father-Child relationships create more distress, trauma, and anxiety, which can lead to trouble forming healthy relationships throughout a child’s life.
With research showing the importance of both parents being present and involved early in a child’s life, Fathers are redefining their traditional expectations. Fathers are not only being more involved, they are opening up to being emotionally available. A 2018 study conducted by BYU & Ball State of over 2,100 fathers across the nation found that the majority of men engaged more with their children than their fathers did and they viewed “exhibiting warmth to their child” as a characteristic of their personality. “Today’s dads spend more time, provide more care and are more loving to their kids than ever before,” says study co-author Kevin Shafer. “Most dads see themselves as playing an equally important role in helping their children as mothers do.”
Whether it’s Dad, Step-Dad, Grandpa or another title, the role of the Father Figure is becoming more and more important. Men may shy away from this responsibility or feel like they are not able to be the Father they envision for their child. Remember: progress, not perfection! Change is about moving forward and today’s fathers should be applauded for their development. Thank you to all the Father and Father Figures out there! LFCS is proud of you and everything you do for your family.