Tag: Why Paternity

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Here are some depressing statistics when it comes to fatherhood:

  • 46% of fathers think they spend too little time with their children.
  • Fathers spend an average of 50% less time with their children than the mother.(7 hours per week for the fathers – that is one hour per day… – compared to 14 hours per week for the mothers.)
  • Just 64% of fathers give themselves a rating as doing an excellent or very good job as a parent (for mothers that number is 73%.)

The numbers are taken from a study by Pew Research Center studying the attitudes of American parents.

As you might expect the study also shows that there is a correlation between how high of a grade the fathers give themselves as parents and how many hours they spend with their children. (The parents who think they spend the right amount of time with their children also rate themselves as being good parents.)

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Now here is the good news: The study found that fathers have nearly tripled their time with children since 1965.

And here is the bad news: that just means an increase of 4.5 hours per week over the last 50 years: from 2,5 hours per week (yes, I had to re-read that number a few times to see if I got that right..) to today 7 hours.

But, you might now say, fathers work more and can not be expected to both work hard and parent hard.

Well the study also showed that fathers spent 3 hours more per week than mothers on “leisure activities”, defines as “watching TV, playing games, socializing and exercising”(28 hours vs 25 hours).

Now here is a thought exercise for you:

If the fathers decided to reduce their “leisure activities” by 3 hours per week and trade the “watching, socializing and exercising”  for an additional three hours of “parenting” per week they would essentially increase their “time spent with their children” by almost 50%”.

And maybe, just maybe, that would push the fathers into feeling that they are now spending enough time with their children.

When the 46% of fathers are saying that they spend “too little time with their children” they are basically saying “I have prioritised my leisure activities over my father activities.”

“Leisure” literally means “free time”.

Perhaps the unhappy fathers should reduce the “free time” just a little and exchange it with some “be time” – as in “be a better father’.

Just saying.

Oh, and spending time with your child can be some of the most “free and leisure times” of your life. Like, in the picture above, hanging out on the beach with your daughter.

 

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There seems to be two fundamental meanings to the word (both when you look in the dictionary and when you do a search on Google.)
1) The first is that “fathering” means “bring into being, bring into the world, give life to”.

In essence it boils down to a man donating his sperm to help create a new life.

2) The second meaning of the world “fathering” is “to be the father of…” as in “treat with the protective care associated with a father.”.

In essence to be an active, and caring parent.

It is the same with the word “Paternity”.

The definition of the word “paternity” is: “(especially in legal contexts) the state of being someone’s father.”.

Now that can mean two totally different things.

1) Your genes where used to create a new human so you are the child’s father.

Google the term “paternity” and ads for paternity testing comes up…

(Again, the idea of donating a sperm.)

or

2) The idea of taking full responsibility as one of two parents in regards to fostering a child.

The idea of being a dad.

As a father you have to make up your mind about what the word “fathering” means to you.
Do you want to give life to a child, or do you want to give a life to a child?

That one letter “a” makes a huge difference in how you look at the concept of fathering a child.
The first view is that a father helps create a child, the other view is that a father is present to raise a child.
But to be present you need to be there.
It’s a decision – and a commitment – that you, as a father, have to make: to physically and mentally be there as much as you can and as much as the child needs it while your child is growing up.

Are you?

To help bring a child to this world is the easy part.
To help raise it is the rewarding part.

Be more than a sperm. Be a dad.

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A few years back Swedish youth magazine “Kamratposten”asked 6000 boys and girls between 8–14 years old who they rather talk to when they are sad. (Source – in Swedish.)

The result was quite sad – especially if you are a man.

40,9% of the children answered “My mother”.

25% answered “A friend”.

About 10% answered “Someone else”.

About 10% answered “No-one”.

Then – finally – came:

“My father” … (at 5,4%)

Ouch.

When a kid is sad she doesn’t want to talk to dad? That is sad. In so many ways.

It is especially sad when it comes to the boys.

If a son doesn’t feel that he can talk to his father when he is sad, angry or frustrated, then is he not missing out on the opportunity to learn from his closest male role model?

And, to be honest, what kind of male role model are fathers if our sons do not feel like that can come to us for advice when they need it the most?

The good news is, of course, that this could rather easily be fixed.

If fathers decided to spend a little bit more time with their kids, then they would create a tighter connection to the child.

And with a tighter connection there is a higher possibility that our kids will show their vulnerability and open up instead of closing down.

God knows that what the world needs is not more closed up males who want to keep their problems inside until they explode…

 

— This blog is founded on the belief that our children would benefit if  fathers took a bigger responsibility in raising their kids. If you agree, then please spread the word. —

(Picture: Luis Miguel Bugallo Sánchez, Creative Commons.)

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“Sure, staying home more with my kids would be awesome – but I have to work.”

That is what many fathers will tell you.

But is that really true?

In an amazing video (see below) made by IKEA children are asked to write a wish-list to The Three Kings (the Spanish equivalent to Santa Claus).

They all wish for things.

Then the kids are then asked to write a second letter to their parents wishing what they want from them.

Suddenly the kids are not asking for things anymore – they are asking for time.

“I wish you would spend more time with me. That we do more experiments at home.”

“I would like it if you would have dinner with us more often.”

“I want you to spend one whole day with me.”

They ask for time. Not Toys.

Now ask yourself: How much have you spent on toys, classes and other things for your child the last year?

How many hours did you have to work to make the money needed to buy those things?

Now, if you instead of working those hours had spent that time with your child what do you think would have made your children happier?

What would have made you happier?

 

And it is not about taking years off and stop working all together. I totally understand that I am in a fortunate position who can take months of unpaid leave to be with my kids. But how many fathers could not take a couple of weeks? A month?

Would a month make any difference, you ask?

I am utterly and 100% sure that extra month at home bonding with your child will make a much bigger difference to you, your child and your family than that one months salary – when all the plus and minuses are summed up together at the end of your life.

Do a budget and see how much you are spending on, say your car, your hobbies, your vacation, etc and then ask: “What if I did not spend all of that money , but instead worked a little bit less and spend that time with my kids.

Again – what would make you happier?

The joy of having kids is, arguably, the greatest joy there is. But that is, again arguably,  beaten by the joy that a child feels when it feels that her parents are spending time with her because they love doing it over anything else.

No, not every father in the world can afford to spend more time with his kids. But 99% of us can. And probably 100% of the dads reading this.

So do it. Your children will love you for it. And you will love it too. I can almost promise you that.

ps. I do not know if it is a coincidence, but in this video it is only the mothers talking. The dad’s are just sitting there silently, like they are too ashamed to even say the words out loud. But perhaps I am just over analysing 😉

 

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(Screen shot from the video.)

 

Watch the video here. It is well worth watching.

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