The difference between men and women is a subject that will never be exhausted, but new research is shedding light on some of the important and beneficial differences in the ways mothers and fathers parent. With the best of intentions, mothers tend to dominate much of the parenting that takes place and often dad is not allowed To Be Dad.
Children greatly benefit from and need the difference ways women and men parent. The ability to form close, trusting bonds with both mothers and fathers early in life predict a child’s future friendships, social skills and romantic relationships. Parents serve as a secure base for exploration and risk-taking and provide a safe haven for a child in terms of distress. Recent studies indicate that many of the traits relating to risk-taking and exploration come more from dads than moms. Recent studies indicate that exploration and risk-taking are traits that are encouraged and learned when dads engage in, sometimes seemingly, random silly play with their children.
My take away from all the data is the idea that “optimal fatherhood may be the ability to maintain sensitivity and rapport during rambunctious play.
Happy Father’s Day to all Dads—whether it be your First Father’s Day or your 33rd Father’s Day.