When a woman falls pregnant, their actions are instantly – and violently – dissected. Are you sure you should have soft cheese? Why are you exerting yourself at the gym? It’s not safe to stand so close to the microwave…
Motherhood is sacred. You carry the child. You give birth to the child. You breastfeed, teach and raise the child.
While attitudes are slowly changing when it comes to what is expected of each parent, the mother is still seen as the most important figure in a child’s life. Fathers are still seen by many as bit players, as handy extras, as some sort of second tier backup.
But this couldn’t be further from the truth.
Time spent with Dad can be some of the most valuable in a child’s life. Dads offer their children a male role model, as well as contributing an often very different parenting style. It’s been proven that fathers are more likely than mothers to engender a child with traits of resilience, competitiveness and independence. Where mothers can be inclined to see the outside world in relation to their child, dads tend to see their their child in relation to the world.
While neither style is particularly effective on its own, this mix of parenting plays a vital role in a child’s development.
Unfortunately, some Fathers don’t take their responsibility as seriously as others. And the statistics of the resulting effects on their kids are disturbing. A few consequences of being born to a fatherless home include:
- Four times as likely to grow up below the poverty line
- Higher levels of emotional and behavioural issues
- Significantly higher odds of incarceration
- A raised risk of teen pregnancy
- A reduced likelihood of completing high school
- An increased rate of child abuse (often from non-biological fathers)
- An increased likelihood of an unhealthy lifestyle (obesity, drug use)
And on top of all this, some children won’t even get a shot at life. Single mothers experience almost twice the infant mortality rate when compared to those with partners.
But more than just covering for the bad effects, being present and committed in fatherhood can result in huge positives for your children. A strong and supportive father will give their children the best shot at being an outlier on the other end of the scale; a healthy and happy high-achiever, with fantastic prospects in life.
The main reason that fatherhood should be so sacrosanct, however, is an entirely selfish one. There is nothing better than having a good relationship with those little people that you brought into the world. Watching them grow, develop, make mistakes, learn from those mistakes, form relationships, and ultimately become independent, is an entirely unique and fulfilling experience. It’s a father’s legacy; his contribution to the world. It’s the indelible mark that he’ll leave well after he’s left the stage.
It is what we’ve been put here to do. So let’s do it well.