What a difference a DAD makes!
What an exciting time to become a DAD!
No longer relegated to bread-winner only role – Dads are now eagerly looking forward to getting home – so they can get their hands dirty – and see the excitement and joy as their infant holds up their arms to be cuddled and play with DAD.
Loving involved Dads bring such a different energy from the safe and nurturing one Mum has supplied during the day – but now it is excitement and FUN time. DAD the popular and exciting parent has returned and these days – he is happy to spend time getting to know his infant/child. And why wouldn’t he? The love and joy he is experiencing, the growing up and becoming a Man – are all things he would not trade for anything.
These days guys are more aware that there are challenges – and they are ready to face them – ready to STEP UP and become a GREAT DAD!
Because they know it’s worth it.
We – as Mums are so glad that this is how it is now. Dad as an equal parent – not only just as a helper to give MUM time to take that nap or shower, or pop out to get her hair done – but Mums now know what the research shows and how Dad provides essential learning skills for kids – that Mums just don’t provide.
Researchers can now show that Dad is creating a relationship with his baby – even before baby is born. Using Fetal Heart Rate Monitors – babies as early as 27 weeks gestation showed a raised Heart Beat when Dad spoke to them compared to Mums, and by as early as 4 hours of age – newborns are shown to recognise the voice of their DAD!
Mum and Dad each bring different qualities to their parenting – even from the early newborn stage. With all the love and attention a newborn baby needs 24/7 in order to meet those basic needs of LOVE SECURITY and SELF ESTEEM – it’s great that Dad can complement MUM – so she can recharge and come back refreshed to continue to give her baby that exquisite care she intends to give. A newborn baby needs so much love and time in order for essential areas of the brain to develop (called critical periods for development because if not developed during the first year of life – may never be developed with devastating effects on the child’s life). Thank Goodness there are TWO loving caring Parents there to provide this.
Is it that MAN has evolved to such a stage that he is now an essential element in child rearing?
Prolactin – the “nurturing hormone” responsible for Mums wanting to breastfeed and actually stimulate lactation – is now being measured in new DADS! Dr Arthur Brennan of Kingston University UK has found that a Dad’s prolactin levels rise by up to 20% after cuddling their baby for just 15 minutes! (So Mums make sure that Dad AND Baby are getting their special bonding time EVERY DAY)
We now also realise that we have been underestimating a Dad’s response to his newborn. Dad’s change hormonally – prolactin goes up (dad’s fathering instinct kicks in) and testosterone – that aggressive hormone that drives dad to action and preoccupation with his own needs) drops right down – and that Macho man melts as he holds his baby close – preferably skin to skin (which in turn raises the levels of the love hormone oxytocin).
Does a loving involved DAD insulate his child against bullying? “Rough and tumble” play – that Dads are so famous for – has been found to be an essential learning platform – where toddlers learn about limits – about going out of your comfort zone – of experiencing many emotions – from fear – to excitement – to fun and laughter. The child is learning how to interpret Dad’s facial expressions – so he/she can anticipate how to respond (an essential skill for getting on with other people that the child will need as they develop friendships outside the home).
Through his research – Psychologist Prof Charlie Lewis of University of Lancaster UK shows that toddlers not only learn through Dad’s play how to explore limits and take risks in unfamiliar situations (day care etc) but the way Dad’s speak to their infant – actually accelerates language development. Mums tend to use words they know the baby knows – whereas Dad says it as it is – often using wit and sarcasm – which introduce a whole new range of experiences for the infant/child, which in turn stimulate areas of the brain to develop.
Perhaps the most important reason for Dads to be involved in a loving way as early as possible – is that research shows that kids who have a Dad who is involved with their care in the early years – are more confident and better able to cope with going to school, are better able to focus on their tasks, and long term are twice as likely to achieve academically and less likely to display delinquent behaviour – than kids who do not have an involved Dad in their early years.
It appears that Dads prepare their child for the REAL world while Mums tend to want to protect their child from all the possible challenges. Together MUM and a loving involved DAD make the best team with the best possible outcome for their child!
Ros Vroom (RN Midwife) is launching her “BE A GREAT DAD ONLINE CHILDBIRTH Classes” on Fathers’ Day at www.dadstheword.com
Ros created the first video used in DAD only Childbirth Classes in Maternity Hospitals Australia (2005) – updated version called “Newborn Parenting for a New World” © Ros Vroom August 2013