“You can be a good father and stay home to raise your children. You can be a loving and still go out to work. Your family can be different and your kids will be o.k.” writes Dr. Kyle D. Pruett in his book ‘The Nurturing Father: Journey Toward the Complete Man.’
It is widely believed, especially in African traditions, that babysitting work belongs to females and some people pejoratively give a nickname of ‘Mr Mom’ to any man who involves much in children.
Dr. Kyle D. Pruett M.D., a Clinical Professor of Child Psychiatry at the Yale School of Medicine in the United States of America, says a nurturing father has a positive influence on a child’s development but men also benefit from nurturing children in return.
Dr Pruett says children are not selective about who, between mom and dad, should nurture them but they just prefer the one who spends more time with them without getting enough of them.
He cites some benefits that should make every man care for his children including babysitting them.
1. Child becomes more active
When a father nurtures a child in the first five years from the birth, a child develops more positive changes than if they were exclusively nurtured by the mother.
Research shows that during the first five years of a child’s life, fathers are often more influential than mothers in how the child learns to manage his or her body, face novel social circumstances and play. One study of 6-week-old babies, using videotapes of parents interacting with their infants, suggests that children are hard-wired at birth to respond differently to males and females.
“When approached by their mothers, babies tended to relax, coo, and modulate their breathing and cardiovascular responses—as if to sort of say, ’Ah, here’s Mom.’ Then when the father approached, the babies’ eyes tended to open, the shoulders would go up and the heart and respiratory systems were activated rather than calmed, as if to say, ’Here’s Dad, let’s party!’”
2. Child’s body gets stronger quickly
Research indicate that 9 out of 10 times that a mother picks up a child are similarly conducted. She plays with the child in the same way and at the same speed. This is different from how men hold babies because men do not have rules set in their mind about how to hold a child. Men can hold a child by child’s arms, legs or any other way and sometimes getting a child out of their comfort zones, making a child stronger and bolder so quickly.
Men also help children develop different talents at a younger age through playing with them different games because they do not use toys as much as women do in their interactions with children.
3. Child develops confidence earlier
Men train children on self esteem by subjecting them to tough tasks or sending them to frightening environments in order to test how children handle the situation. Though the father will be around to save the child if any danger emerges, children are trained to handle tough situations themselves, something that women rarely dare do to children. This makes children at two years old prefer to get out with their dads than moms.
Even from birth, children who have an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure, be confident to explore their surroundings, and, as they grow older, have better social connections with peers. These children also are less likely to get in trouble at home, school or in the neighbourhood.
4. Child develops love for both parents
Dr Pruett says that most children say they like mom over their father because they spent longer time with mom during their age of emotional and social development.
When a dad nurtures babies, they usually love him all their life and ask him, at their adolescence age, even questions that often go to moms. Those children are less prone to succumb to adolescence challenges.
5. Fathers get better life and last longer in jobs
Dr Pruett says the nurturing fathers get better life and do better at work because they learn patience from nurturing children, increasing their chances to retain the job longer.
6. Nurturing men improve family wealth
A man who does not care of his children is likely to wreck the family into poverty because he rarely thinks of what the family needs. However, a nurturing father strives to provide for his children and often creates peaceful environment in the family.
Despite the fact that fatherlessness remains one of the toughest domestic issues, Dr Pruett says the state of fatherhood is getting better.
The author of other two books, “Father need: Why Father Care Is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child,” and “Me, Myself and I: How Children Build Their Sense of Self,” says the combination of mom and dad’s child care is vital into child’s physical and intellectual development.