Living an affective parenthood means to be involved in the breeding and caring of your children. Protecting, caring and educating is the challenge.
Becoming a father carries a series of challenges from the fear of not being good enough in front of such a responsibility, to being unable of economically provide for the new expenses or to wisely respond to each stage that will arrive with the newborn. Fears that will disappear as each obstacle is resolved and the link between father and child becomes each time more unbreakable.
“If a man gives himself the opportunity of pampering his child, playing with him, feeding him, waiting for him to sleep, changing his diapers, taking his gas out, without thinking on what others will say or demonstrating sensitiveness, will live a unique experience of protection and care”, explains Maria Teresa Gomez, Psychologist. A.
In some way, the deal is to recover the role of the father in the society and in the construction of the family and to break those stereotypes that until recently referred to fatherhood as an absent, authoritarian and of few words’ individual. “A father is as important as a mother, each of them has his/her place and they both contributed with whatever is needed to bring their child to life. Therefore, it is ideal for the father to get involved in his wife’s gestation process, talking about how she feels, what pains she has, what she is thinking about, going together to echographies, keeping a record of the changes … the societies of today are different and any couple should stop feeling fear to express themselves or just wait until others ask them about their situation”, explains the Psychologist Andres Felipe Gomez Lopera, a specialist on couple therapy.
Each father has therefore an empty book, and the exercise of writing his own version of his role, in accordance with an instruction manual he has by instinct, and from what he learned from his parents and which he feeds with new rules during his adulthood according to his experience.
Giving without fear
Being a good father, then, not only depends on his economic resources, it also depends on his aptitude, his linking to and his will of getting involved in a process that starts since the day he learns about his wife’s pregnancy. “It is necessary to be careful, because frequently the future mother lets her husband apart from this process, thinking he is not prepared or capable of doing certain tasks or, otherwise she is the one who engages him in this role. In addition, it is important to understand why a father acts in a certain way, in order not to judge him or frustrating him. For example, if a father is criticized for not being affective, the first thing is to ask yourself what he received from his own father and what affectivity means for him, in this way the expressions of affection are valuated and accepted without bias”, she adds.
To this end, a study made by the Universidad de la Sabana’s Family Institute, states that the last and traditional purpose of a father has always been to educate and form his children, evidencing that in the last century different strategies have been used to achieve such purpose, from aggressiveness and submission to tolerance, dialogue and love, these last ones currently very common practices.
It works leaving behind the cultural and social load, if any, in order to act in a more affective way within the great challenge of becoming a father. Breeding with love offers the child the devotion, the cares, the protection and the company he needs for growing up with a better wellbeing and provides him sufficient tools for confronting the world with courage.
Each one gives what one has
An investigation made by the Universidad de la Sabana’s Family Institute found that a marked intergenerational transmission exists in fatherhood from three lines. One line determines what the new father received from his own father and replicates it in his own experience, and does the same that they did with him on the subject of formation; another line is related to the father who questions himself and takes elements and aspects of what he considers is correct and, finally, the father who decides to break up with his past and assumes his own way of doing things.
Take into account
For Gomez Lopera the balance in the family triangle, constituted by the family hierarchy, the inclusion and the balance in giving and taking, is necessary for a true harmony to exist in a home. “It is fundamental to teach the children to respect the place each parent occupies, these are two different roles, and none of them substitutes the other. This is why when sentences such as “I am father and mother at the same time” or “I am better than you” appear, a lack of negotiation between the two members in a couple is evidenced, as well as their need of dialogue”.
Confront the doubts
- Know your child. Dialogue and observation are fundamental to learn what are the issues and hobbies of his preference. Invite your child to eat an ice-cream, to walk, to the movies, to play in the park. These are appointments that fasten ties and strengthen trust.
- Analyze yourself as a father. What are you lacking for being a better person? In the extent you identify what you are lacking for improving yourself, as well as for potentiating your greater strengths, you will be able to give your child the basis for his life and contributing with better things for him.
- Practicing fatherhood with security. Knowing what you are looking for and what you want from your child will help you to get closer to him and accompany him in making his decisions and constructing his project of future. Do not question him, guide him.
See also: Lulling is a language of love