The Seven Keys of Being a Father
Is there a fathering instinct?
Celebrated child development expert Erik Erikson maintains that adults have a fierce desire to protect and nurture the next generation. This is the generative nature of parenting- to nurture and protect the next generation
We recognise this desire in women as the maternal instinct. Men's strong desire to look after the next generation is best recognised through their protective instincts. Man as hunter and gatherer has always had the survival of his family and community as a motivating force.
But the generative notion of fathering extends way beyond protection of children. Generative fathering means that men help the next generation not just to survive, but to thrive and grow. It is in the wellbeing of the next generation that traditionally men have left their mark.
This generative or instinctive notion of fathering has been lost in recent years as men have spent less time around their children. Fathers may be born to the task of raising children but they need to be around children so they can nudge fathering out them.
Too often fathers see themselves as playing a role, when the essence of fathering is actually embedded in their own psyche and linked to their child's development. According to Erikson there are seven tasks that a father carries out to ensure the well-being of the next generation. It is a brilliant framework that helps men move away from playing roles and gets them to focus on the needs of their children. The seven tasks of fathering, also known as fatherwork, are:
1. Ethical work: Men commit to acting in a child's best interests. Research shows that when men make a strong commitment to look after the well-being of their baby then they will sustain long-term involvement and support for their child. Ethical work is shown when men make decisions about work and careers with their children's best interests in mind.
2. Stewardship work: This aspect of fathering involves men providing for children and also helping them develop the resources and independence to look after themselves. In many ways this shows itself when dads take on a teaching role, which tend to do when they spend time with kids. Listen to a man when he interacts with his son and inevitably he will be showing him how to do something, even if it is how to kick a football.
3. Developmental work: This aspect of fathering refers to the notion of helping children deal with either sudden change, such as a death in the family, or normal developmental changes, such as moving into adolescence. Dads who do this work well support their children though difficulties and respond with understanding to changes in children's development.
4. Recreational work: This aspect refers to men's promotion of relaxation and learning for their children through play. This aspect of fathering tends to be a strong point for many dads, who are the kings of play. It is well-recognised that men play differently with children than mothers, which is fixed in the biological matrix. Men's domain is rough play, sometimes destructive play and often involves a challenge whether intellectual (e.g chess) or physical.
5. Spiritual work: This aspect of fathering involves men helping children develop values and a set of beliefs that will act as a compass as they move through adolescence and beyond. This involves counselling, teaching and advising. Many readers may remember their own fathers delivering stern lectures, which comes from this aspect of fathering. Good intentions, but poor delivery.
6. Relationship work: This aspect of fathering involves men helping children and young people form relationships and friendships. We do this by sharing our love and thoughts, by displaying empathy and understanding for a child and also by facilitating a child's relationships with others. In recent times men have stayed out of this area but it is a part of fatherwork.
7. Mentoring: We complete the cycle by ensuring that we support our own children in their own generative work. This involves giving help, support and ideas for our own children when they move into adulthood. In recent years men have fallen down badly in this area as too many men have shallow relationships with their own fathers.
This framework for fathering has depth and breadth. It works on an instinctive level, but many influences come to bear to prevent this instinct and intuition from informing our action. Often it is useful to ask yourself - "What does this situation with my child require of me?" If a child is having friendship issues at school then relationship work is needed. If a child is feeling stressed and needs to relax then it is time for recreational work. If a child gets worked up through play then it is important to do some stewardship work and ensure a child calms down and regains control before bed. If a child is changing schools then it time for some developmental work, to help him or her cope with change.
If you are a father (mothers can do the same thing), reflect on some of the interactions that you have with children, and determine in which area of fatherwork do they fit. You will find that there is an area for each situation. As you respond to children's needs think about the type of fatherwork you are doing. You will soon discover that you are involved in a variety of very important work. And it will change the way you think about fathering and provide a strong guide to how you should respond to children's future needs.
Michael Grose is a popular parenting educator and parent coach. He is the director of Parent Coaching Australia, the author of six books for parents and a popular presenter who speaks to audiences in Australian Singapore and the USA. For free courses and resources to help you raise happy kids and resilient teenagers visit http://www.parentingideas.com.au
Consistent Boundaries Makes Discipline Easier
Homes should be run by parents, not children. So many times, however, either the children are in charge or the parents are so eager to be liked, that whatever rules and standards are talked about, few are enforced, especially on a consistent basis.
Guilty of Not Following Her Heart
Karen, a single never-married thirty-year old attorney has a four-year old daughter, whom she just picked up from her parents' home after another all-day affair in court.Like every Thursday, Karen took her daughter, Anna, to McDonald's for dinner, which was a very special mother-daughter bonding time.
Does Your Child Need A Bedtime Routine? - Yes!
Do you struggle to get your child to bed at night? We sure did with our daughter. She would refuse to go to sleep in her bed and wanted to hang out with us until we were ready for bed and of course then she would want to sleep in Mama's and Daddy's bed.
We All Wish That Our Children Have Good Virtues, But... Are We Setting A Good Example Ourselves?
We all wish that our children should not smoke or drink, should not speak lies, should not steal, should not have a violent nature, etc..
The Symtoms Of Meningitis And Septicaemia
Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes around the brain and spinal cord. It is caused by either a virus or bacteria.
Games Of The Past Meet The Present
Recently, our family had the opportunity to care for sisters' children for a couple days, when she and her husband traveled to a bed and breakfast for some much need rest and relaxation. They don't have a chance to get away that often, so I was more than happy to help them out for this little getaway.
What Might Surprise You About Childhood Obesity
The formula is pretty straightforward: energy in/energy out. This is the term nutritionists use to describe the intended balance between calories consumed and calories burned.
Americas Public schools --- Deteriorating Like They Did In Ancient Rome
The citizens of the early Roman Republic enjoyed an education system similar to ancient Athens. It was voluntary and parents paid tutors or schools directly.
Meet The Twixters!
There is a new stage of development for parents to consider.The stages of development are roughly the following: children move from infancy, to early childhood and onwards to middle childhood.
Ease Bug Bites with Easy Herbs
Summertime means insect bites and stings. Ouch! Take a leaf from Susun S.
Naming Your Baby Is Part of The Challenge of Being a Parent
Baby names are as diverse as the people to whom they are given. Choosing the right name for your baby can be a very challenging yet fun exercise! This is my story.
Its OK to Say No
In the last 20 years we've all been introduced to a new style of parenting that is much more democratic than most of us experienced, growing up. Families are more child- centered than they were before, we no longer advocate spanking as an effective form of discipline, we often allow children to negotiate for privileges or things, and we're much more involved in our children's lives than most of our parents were in our lives.
Why Wont My Teens Clean Their Room?
Have you ever had this struggle with your teens? Did you get to the results that you were looking for? Did moving toward those results create an unexpected rift between you and your teen? Parents complain to me that when their teens won't do their chores and, as a result, they punish their teens, there is conflict and a damaged relationship. Parents say that they don't want their relationship with their teens to suffer.
Helpful Tips for the Adoptive Grandparent
Few things are more completely enjoyable than becoming a grandparent. Grandchildren are one of life's joys, whether they come by birth or via adoption.
How To Live With Your Teenagers Untidy Room
'Whose room is it anyway?'If you have a teenager, you're no doubt familiar with the warcry of independence:'It's my room and I should be allowed to do as I please.'You hear the aggrieved voice, but for the life of you, you can't see beyondthe unmade bedthe piles of discarded clothingthe litter of booksmagazinesscattered CD coverspizza boxesand soft drinks cans.
Parenting Your Teenager: How to End the Curfew Battle
Q. Things have been relatively calm and OK with our 16-year-old son so far.
Use Encouragement Instead of Criticism to Help Children Improve
Criticism is punitiveOur children judge themselves on the opinions we have of them. When we use harsh words, demeaning adjectives or a sarcastic tone of voice, we literally strip a child's core of self-confidence and make them less likely to try to please us.
Picky Eater Syndrome
'Picky Eater' is a label coined to describe the phenomenon that someone has discerning taste preferences different from their parents or others. These discerning taste preferences are dictated by their blood and body type.
Learning Responsibility is a Lifelong Process
Learning responsibility is an ever widening and lifelong process.As thinking, acting human beings we have the ability to choose our response to events, people and circumstances.
The Better Behavior Wheel - A New Kind of Calm in the Family
There's a new kind of fun and calm out there in the name of the Better Behavior Wheel, invented by Julie Butler and her family in central British Columbia. In an interesting twist on charts and discipline, this versatile wheel can be hung on a wall or toted with you in the car and on vacations.
|home | site map|