Although parenthood was never easy, it is certainly harder than it used to be in the 20th century. Times are evolving and so are the expectations society has from fathers. Today’s parents face more pressure on being a good father than what their parents did, and raising children have become more stressful than what it was a decade ago.
Changing gender roles have increased a father’s involvement
It is striking to see how gender roles change. Back in the 1970s, fathers were not seen as “active” parents, rather just the breadwinners. Their only job was to support the mother economically and make sure that there was no financial inadequacy in the household. Cut to today, fathers are more than just “second adults” in the family.
Involved fathers are valued and considered crucial for the development of the child. Involved fathers are known to bring positive benefits to the wellbeing of their children that no other person can bring.
They provide protection, emotional guidance and economic support. If viewed this way, fathers can be important role models in the formative years of their children’s growth. A father has a parenting style that is significantly distinct from that of a mother and that change is important in the healthy personality development of the child.
This shows how dramatically the role and pressures of being a good dad have changed over time. In today’s day and age, fathers are celebrated for being sensitive and vulnerable. Social media is changing our understanding of how fathers can shape their children’s lives from the start by challenging conservative ideas of masculinity and parenthood.
Differing parenting style of father and mother
Before we delve into the individual pressure of being a good father, let’s see what fathers do differently compared to mothers. Dads are known to love their children more fiercely. Dads are “rougher” and thus, are more likely to encourage risk-taking. They tend to stress rules, punctuality, justice, fair play, and duty in the discipline. In this way, they also teach children how to be objective and about the consequences of right and wrong. Fathers distill the spirit of healthy and safe competition, engendering independence, while mothers promote equity and create a sense of security.
Moms focus on sympathy and care and demonstrate the vitality of relationships. While dads tend to see their child in relation to the rest of the world, moms tend to see the rest of the world in relation to their child. Neither style of parenting is better than the other.
Thus, balance is required. Combined, they tend to balance each other out and equip the upcoming generation with a healthy well-rounded approach to life.
Pressures to be the perfect dad
Here are some of the pressures of being a good dad that all fathers must learn to combat:
- Enforcing discipline
In the traditional forms of fatherhood, dads were relegated to being strict disciplinarians. This has carried on over the years. While moms are expected to be kind and be in touch with the softer side, dads have to deal with punishments, consequences and setting the stakes. The pressures of being a good father and enforcing discipline go hand in hand. And, it’s important to remember that discipline is more than setting curfews or grounding your children.
It is about what they learn at home and how they carry themselves in public. Children watch their parents, imitate their behaviour, mimic actions and that’s how they learn discipline. Thus, it is crucial for fathers to be good role models. Fathers should treat their children and partner with respect, be gracious and encourage fairness. They should behave just the way they want their children to behave. This behaviour will give them a model to follow.
- Jobs and finances
The pressure to be the perfect dad isn’t easy and it can bring additional stresses. Managing finances is extremely difficult and any small mistake can haunt a family for the rest of their lives. Fatherhood and parenting become especially hard if the father is a working man. Not only do you have the pressure of being a good father, but you also have the stress of earning and providing your family with a comfortable life.
Expenses can seem never ending. And, nothing is more stressful than the financial burden of a family. This is why it’s important to plan and budget. Knowing what you are working towards is the first place to start. Make sure you sit down every two weeks and calculate your finances. Try to set apart an amount of money every month as future savings.
- Possibility of a strained marriage
Transitioning from a childless couple to full-time parents is a foundational shift. And, this can bring significant changes in the relationship. Marriages can easily become strained in feelings of neglect and conflicting parent styles. The pressure of being a good father is not entirely different from the pressure of being a good husband. It’s necessary to strike a balance between both and keep both parties happy. It’s not that difficult if done the right way. Dads should work on patience and set priorities.
Family is more important than friends. Thus, ditch the Sunday afternoon football game with your friends and take your wife out for lunch instead.
- Dealing with unpredictability
The pressure of being a good father means dealing with the stresses of unpredictability and having no control at times. Literally, anything can happen when you have kids. You can nurture and discipline your kids but you can’t control them. It’s impossible. At the end of the day, your children have a mind of their own and are their own masters. It will be stupid to live in constant fear of what your children might do or bring upon you.
Thus, it’s important to let go. Letting go doesn’t mean detachment, mind you. And while letting go can seem scary and hard, it’s nothing you can’t conquer. The pressure to be the perfect dad brings forth the pressure to let go. One can’t exist without the other.
- Dealing with siblings
Having a kid isn’t easy. Throw in two or more kids in the mix and it becomes a mess. But, having kids is a choice and you must deal with everything they bring your way. The pressure of being a good father trains you in the ability to manage sibling fights. When you see your kids fight, you will hate yourself and question everything you’ve taught them. But, remember that kids fight. It’s normal. It’s important to deal with siblings smartly.
If raised right, your kids will be an anchor for each other for the rest of their lives. Practice peace and patience with your kids. Teach them about responsibility and accountability. Tell them that their siblings are their best friends and no greater bond exists than the bond between two siblings. With this, you can ace the pressure of being a good dad.
We know raising kids can be hard and the pressure of being a good father can seem unbearable at times. But, with the right set of values and patience, your kids will grow up to be responsible adults. And, your hard work and sacrifices will definitely pay off.