Friday, June 19, 2015

What Fathers Learn From Other Fathers

If only there were a manual written on how to be a good father...

That's a statement that many men have uttered in their private moments. The truth is, very few men read manuals of any kind so the likelihood of them reading one for fathers is rather slim.

According to our biological make-up, men are problem solvers and women are nurturers. Together they make a good team in the rearing of children. That's in theory. In reality, men are grossly outnumbered by the resources that women have at their disposal in their desires and efforts to be good mothers. 

Pregnancy and the birthing process are not only symbolic of the exclusive gifts that empower and distinguish women, but also represent a rite of passage and anointment of mothers. Women with children have instant kinship; their motherhood grants them access to a fraternity in which they can cultivate skills and harvest a plethora of intellectual resources that allow them to become better mothers.

Men aren't so lucky. They talk more readily about sports and business than they do about the challenges, demands, and joys of being fathers. That too is biological; the hunter is always hunting or displaying his hunting knowledge. 

Because fathers lack the networking skills and networks that mothers have it's important that they possess basic self-efficacy when it comes to being good fathers (i.e., belief that they can be good fathers). In order to gain a sense of self-efficacy, a person can observe someone else doing a task successfully or acquire positive feedback about completing a task.

Mothers do this all the time. Fathers do not.

What fathers (including those who are new to fatherhood or soon will be) can learn from other fathers is how to best deal with work/life integration issues, participation in their children's school events and activities, and the impact of child rearing on their love lives.

The information and solutions may not be in a manual, but it  can be easily obtained if we emulate the mothers that we see who serve as unofficial parenting "consultants" to each other. If good fathers did the same, there would be more great dads.

Happy Father's Day!

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