Dad’s Are Important As Well – Why A Child’s Support Network Matters
This is a topic which has caught my attention recently. A lot of parenting advice, services, and products are primarily marketed towards women, but what about the men?
Why is it all about mum?
There is very rarely any argument that children need their mothers, it is probably one of the few things that the universe largely agrees with. However, why isn’t the same importance placed on the dad?
Although primarily the most important thing for a child is that they surrounded by several people who love and support them, and the gender of those people should not be the most important factor.
The bond between a mother and child is something which has been greatly studied down to the biological level. We understand that those early years are absolutely key especially in those first few months when the foundations of security and attachment are formed.
But, what does science say about dad? After all, it is widely accepted that the same hormone, oxytocin, which helps strengthen the bond between mum and baby is also present with dad.?
Children need love
The fact is there has been a lot of research into the bond between a father and child, in fact there has been research into the relationship between and child and all the important people that regularly feature in children’s lives.
The happiest and most well-balanced children are those that have a good support network around them, they are surrounded by many adults who love them, and that is the key term, adults. In a lot of cases that will be a primary female figure and a primary male figure who are then further supported by a wider network. However, this is not always possible for many reasons.
It does not mean that those children without both and mum and dad will be harmed in the long run. As, it is not the gender or the title of those adults that matter in the long run, but how safe and secure a child feels with their support network which is key.
The primary care giver
In most cases a child’s primary caregiver, the one who they feel the most secure with, will be a female figure, or the mother figure. This is because as a society most of the childcare falls to the mother figure. They are the ones who give birth, they are the ones who get maternity leave, they are the ones who typically run the whole house.
However, this is not always the case as there are hundreds of examples of brilliant fathers who for whatever reason have found themselves in the position of ‘primary caregiver’ and those children are fine, which shows that fathers can and do successfully raise children.
The influence of engaging with children
As a child I know I was very fortunate, I was surrounded by many people who loved me. As an adult now, I still remember the adults who engaged with me and the adults who did not. Needless to say, as an adult I have a better relationship with those adults who engaged with me as a child than those who did not.
This kind of backs up what research has discovered, that yes mothers are important but so is everyone else in a child’s life, including the father. Of course, in those cases where ANY adult in a child’s life can pose a huge risk then yes you do whatever you can to keep that child safe, regardless of who that adult is.
However, children gain different things from the many different people in their lives and I strongly feel that it is our duty as adults to try to encourage our children’s relationships with as many different people as we can, regardless of our personal feelings about that person.
What about adults we dislike
If I go back to my personal life, there are people in my son’s life who I personally do not like, I would be quite happy if I never saw them again. However, they play a significant part of my sons’ life and he enjoys their company, so I encourage the relationship. My problem with them is purely personal, I do not believe they pose a huge risk. So, as much as I may dislike it, I let them get on with it.
Yes, I have thought about banning my son from having anything to do with them, but I recognize that this would not be fair on my son, and ultimately, he is what matters. So, I bite my tongue and leave them to it. I am constantly monitoring the situation, but his relationships and my relationships are different. There are plenty of people out there that love people I hate and hate people I love.
My aim for my son is that I raise him to grow up to be a fully functional independent member of society, and that involves him forming his own relationships away from me.