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The role of fathers in raising children: it is a man's work, too
There are numerous cultural and other barriers preventing fathers from fully caring for mothers during the prenatal period, participating in the childbirth process, and providing care for their newborn children. However, with each new generation, fathers everywhere do more housework and participate more actively in caring for young children. More and more men understand the importance of a close
Without exception, fathers influence children from the very beginning of their children’s lives. The same applies to mothers. Their impact can be both positive and negative. For example, infants whose fathers are highly involved in their care develop rapidly, while children whose fathers are depressed or absent during the first year after the child’s birth can manifest behavioural and emotional problems. Research shows that the emotional state of the parents may also have a lasting impact.
Involving fathers in housework and caring for their children is also important for women’s empowerment as it is more difficult for mothers to participate in public life without this support. One of the main factors causing a lower employment among single mothers compared to that among mothers with intact families is not having a partner to share child care responsibilities. Boys who observe their fathers helping with household chores and child care are more likely to engage in these habits as adults. This «transfer of care from one generation to another» can be a key factor in transforming gender relations and eliminating gender inequality to ensure a wider range of opportunities for both boys and girls. If a mother and father work together as partners, the home can be a much happier place. «From the first moments of conception of life — both parents participate in it. The father defines the sex of the baby and the mother carries them under their hearts up to birth.
Fathers’ involvement in their children’s upbringing produces positive impacts not only on families, but also on fathers themselves. Fathers who report maintaining close ties with their children live longer lives, have fewer health problems, are less likely to abuse alcohol and use drugs, are more productive at work, and report being happier than fathers who do not have such good relationships with their children.
Evidence shows that a child’s development is about not only good healthcare and education but, primarily, it is about living in a family with a responsive, loving mother and father.