Fathers can be Presidents and Be Present Too! (Disclaimer: This is not meant to be a political article)
Father’s Day has Come and Gone But Fathers are Here To Stay…
A few months ago, most people were horrified as Ivanka Trump was harassed while traveling on an airplane with her children. Why was she harassed? Because she is Donald Trump’s daughter. What role did Donald Trump play in Ivanka Trump’s life that would deserve this kind of harassment? As far as we know, Donald Trump was and continues to be a doting father who holds his daughter, Ivanka and his other children in high esteem. They support him. He supports them. Regardless of party affiliation, we have to look at the role of fathers through a different lens. I will call it the lens of availability.
A father’s role in parenting is crucial to the child’s social and emotional development. There has been much research conducted in terms of the role of the mother primarily due to the extensive studies conducted in relation to attachment theory. A fathers role is equally if not more important according to researchers, Rohner and Veneziano (2001), who concluded that “overall, father love appears to be as heavily implicated as mother love in offspring’s psychological well-being and health as well as in an array of psychological and behavioral problems”.
How can fathers become more involved? According to Lamb et. al., (1987) fathers have three major roles and a host of minor roles. The three major roles are:
Engagement refers to the direct contact and shared interactions with his children. Availability focuses on how accessible and present the father is to his children. Lastly, responsibility relates to the fathers arrangement for the resources necessary to be available to his children.
In many cultures, the role of the father has remained the same. Western cultures, however, are seeing a shift in the level of involvement due to several factors including financial needs, more women in the workforce and single parenthood.
Becoming involved in your child’s life takes a level of commitment and some attitudinal change towards the traditional roles that many fathers remember from their own fathers. Fathers have to be more creative in order to remain involved in their child’s education, social life and guiding them to becoming responsible adults.
Lev Avos Parenting Institute was founded on the premise that fathers can and should take a more active role in the parenting process. Many fathers focus on why they cannot be involved or why they should remain passive. We have seen that fathers who are more active are generally individuals who are passionate and compassionate. They are passionate about their careers and they share their passion with their children. They are also compassionate in understanding the individual differences of each child and adapt accordingly. The results of combining passion with compassion are that children become well-rounded and well grounded. They know that they can turn to their father for guidance as much as they can turn towards their mother. They tend to do better socially, educationally and psychologically.
As Hillary Clinton said when asked to say something nice about Mr. Trump, she said that his kids were nice. Mr. Trump agreed. He continues to dote over his children. No father is perfect but if you are a father, no matter what position you hold–Be Engaged, Available and Responsible!
For more information about Lev Avos, please see www.levavos.org
Lamb, M.E. (1987). Introduction: The Emergent American Father. In M.E. Lamb (Ed.), The Father’s Role: Cross-cultural Perspectives (pp. 3-25). New York: Wiley.
Rohner, R.P., & Veneziano, R.A. (2001). The Importance of Father Love: History and Contemporary Evidence. Review of General Psychology, 5 (4), 382-405.