Washington: More and more fathers are opting to be stay-at-home dads or work from home, while even more are the primary caregivers when mom travels for work or serves in the military.
“Unlike the Ward Cleavers of generations past who were primarily authoritarian figures, today’s dads are more involved in raising their children and, as a result, often have friendly relationships with their children,” said Heidi Sallee, assistant professor of pediatrics at Saint Louis University.
According to the professor, the father-child bond is vital. For instance, teenage girls with close bonds with their dads are less likely to indulge in risky behaviours like drug intake or sex.
“The father-child relationship is more than just being a role model, though. Role models can be people that we see from afar. Fathers need to be an active part of their children’s lives, helping their children learn to solve problems and be a responsible part of the family and society, and having fun with them,” Sallee said.
She advises fathers to be a part of the growing process right from day 1 – from the toddler stage through teen years. Teaching them discipline, making time for their games and talking to them – fathers should engage themselves with their children in all possible ways at all ages.
“No matter their age, children need their dad. Fathers teach their sons how to be men and show their daughters how they should expect to be treated by men,” Sallee said.
“The best advice I can offer to dads is to jump in and do it. The worst possible thing you can do is to be absent.”