If you are a parent, you know how difficult it can be to raise children and stay sane! On Father’s Day we pay tribute to all the wonderful fathers who are the loving anchors for their kids and spouses. This is your day to be proud of yourself and be pampered by your family!
If you think being a father is no big deal, think again! Listen to what Dr. Kyle Pruett says based on his research and that of other scientists:
Changing Role of Fathers
Further to Dr. Pruett’s snippets of wisdom, in the field of child development, there are numerous studies that show that parents have a strong influence on the development of their children through both genetics and behavior. As a parent, your influence extends to many areas of a child’s life. For example, the food they choose to eat, how active they choose to be, how they behave towards others, and how they manage stress.
When we look at the role of fathers in influencing children, traditionally fathers have held specific roles accepted by society. Do you remember who taught you how to ride a bike, or throw a baseball? Probably your father. Who taught you how to cook? Probably your mother. What about the generations before ours? The roles way back before the Industrial Revolution and Paleolithic era were indeed different.
In today’s world, the roles of fathers and mothers are becoming blurred. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2012 there were 214,000 fathers who reported that they stayed at home to raise the kids and take care of their families. The number of fathers at home is as high as 2 million according to a Pew Research Center survey, which included fathers who stayed at home because of other reasons such as illness or unemployment.
What is most interesting is that the number of men reporting that they want to stay at home with their kids is rising (Ref). The shift to home has also made more men responsible for preparing family meals, and helping kids with homework, shuttling kids to-and-from school, and extracurricular activities.
Fathers and Wellness
As a parent, ensuring your child’s wellbeing is a top priority. Regardless of whether you are a stay-at-home dad or not, how can you make a difference in your child’s fitness, nutrition and overall wellness?
Although the following is common sense, we offer these suggestions as reminders, and encourage you to share your thoughts with us in the comments section below. We want to know what you do!
Be a Model – Your kids notice what you do, not necessarily what you say. When ‘your talk matches your walk’, the reinforcement of the lesson is even greater. More specifically, show them you care about yours and their health.
- Take care of your own health by exercising consistently, eating well, and managing your stress.
- Help your kids make more nutritious food choices, teach them how to prepare healthy meals;
- Be active with your kids by taking them biking, walking, getting them involved in household chores that require movement, playing sports, etc.
- Be in control of your emotions when under stress or in dealing with conflict; show respectful behavior when playing sports.
Be a Supporter – Sometimes kids don’t like the same things parents like. For example, you might be a runner but your kids avoid it at all costs. Focus on helping them find their passion rather than pushing yours on them.
- Encourage kids to try different sports or activities; ask them about what they like to do best and why;
- Try out a sport or activity they like rather than having them try something you like;
- Find out what nutritious foods they prefer and get creative about integrating those into their meals and snacks; try some of the nutritious foods they like;
- Understand more about what causes anxiety for your kids and help work out ways to deal with it.
- Use appropriately the “when I was a kid, we didn’t….” speech! It may not always be the answer to their problem. Life is different for them so put yourself in their shoes before you tell them about your experience as a kid.
Be Present – More than anything, kids want to know that you care and love them. Your physical and emotional presence is critical.
- Listen as much as you can, even though sometimes their need to talk comes at the worst possible time!
- Attend as many of their special events like games, recitals, school plays as you can. Sharing experiences creates a stronger bond.
- Enjoy the moments with your kids when they still want you around. The memories will keep you sane, happy, and proud when you’re older and wished your kids were still in diapers, tugging on your leg for attention!
May your Father’s Day celebrations be happy and filled with love.