- Dads do not carry or give birth to the baby--a distinct disadvantage in connecting. The baby has heard the mother’s heartbeat for months. The mother has felt the kicks. A natural consequence, dad is an outsider for the most part until the child is born.
- Dads read about sports, finance, politics, outdoors, bar-be-cuing, etc.–not parenting. It’s true! It was even true for me. I blame myself, but I also blame the fact that few parenting books or articles are written with the father in mind. It’s a chicken or the egg problem. Would more parenting topics for dads be written if they would read them, or would they read more if they were written specifically for dads? I guess the response to my book may answer that.
- Dads are told they aren’t as good as moms are with their kids—and they believe it. Call a man a bad sport, or a poor leader, or a whiner and he will be p*ssed! Tell him he can’t parent without his wife’s direction or help, he may just shrug. Some mothers overrule fathers in parenting which should never happen. There must be compromise and agreement in parenting.
- Dads don’t talk to each other about being fathers. I watched the Today show the other day and Willie Geist had some of his friends on the air to talk about being dads. When the segment was over he said, paraphrasing, “it was interesting because we never talk about being dads to each other”. It’s true. It’s very rare for men to talk about being dads.
- Although changing a bit, dads are not at home with their kids as much as moms. There are more moms working and more stay-at-home-dads (SAHD) than ever before. But dads still are away from home much more than moms. Only 5-6% of families have SAHDs.
- Dads assume they are doing the right things as dads, and don’t look to improve. In general, men think providing and being around are all that’s necessary. Well, it’s a good start but there is so much more! It is a rare dad that will consciously look for ways to be a better father.
- Nature favors moms as caretakers. Women seem to have a sixth sense about parenting that most men don’t have. I think most everyone would agree. Of course, exceptions do exist.
- Society expects moms to take on the bigger parenting role. Historically, it has always been this way. It doesn’t have to be so, and it may not be that way for your situation, but I expect that expectation will remain for quite some time.
- Competition among men does not include being good fathers. Be it softball, arm-wrestling, checkers, or fantasy sports, men like to compete. When you compete, you try to get better. But men don’t compete as parents and there is no compulsion to get better other than your personal desire.
It would be unfair to label all men as the weaker parent. But when you see the issues in our society, such as poverty, crime, teen pregnancy and violence, that exist in broad areas of our country, especially in inner cities, know that a primary cause is ineffective families due to missing fathers.
Of the nine reasons fathers may trail mothers as parents, only #1 and #7 are not going to change. The rest can change and have been changing as of late, but the process has been slow. Somehow we need to encourage and mentor fathers or fathers-to-be in their responsibilities as parents, thereby interrupting the cycle of ineffective families. Nothing will change until the offspring of ineffective families get help, or find the energy/desire, to pull themselves out of their situation.
Of those men who are involved fathers, know that your different style is of great value to both your sons and daughters. Two parents means twice the love, twice the variety and twice the protection, at the very least! And as important, being an involved father brings a masculine view of the world to your children, a valuable complement to the feminine view brought by their mothers, allowing their insights and understanding of the world and to be balanced.
For any dad, my book, "The Power of Dadhood: Be the Father Your Child Needs" will help you, at a minimum, with reasons #2, #3, and #6.