A father who takes care of his baby does not “help”, he exercises his paternity

A father who takes care of his baby: who changes him, lulls him, feeds him, tells him a bedtime story, or kisses him on the forehead every day before going to sleep, that father is not “helping” mother, he is responsibly exercising the most wonderful role: fatherhood.

In Mexico we have a deeply rooted patriarchal culture and we still fall into the trap of believing that men “help” with housework. We keep hearing phrases like, “I help my wife with the children” over and over again. Even women themselves say, “My partner helps me bathe my baby”. Do you realize the mistake?

The importance of co-parenting

Grace González, parenting coach, psychologist, founder of the School for Parents and spokesperson for Nestlé, explains: “Shared parenting, as the name implies, is when both parents are responsible and in charge of caring for and raising their children”.

According to the expert, until very recently, the raising of children corresponded only to the mother. “Dad was in charge of working and supporting the family; mom stayed home to care for their children”.

“Now moms have also become a provider. They go out, work, run the house, look after the children, and dads are noticing all this work that their couples are doing by themselves, so they realize that they need to work as a team. So, more and more, men are becoming aware that they are not helping, they are there to exercise their paternity”.

We recommend: Energetic ties between parents and children: the invisible family legacy

The figure of the father is as relevant as that of the mother

Raising is synonymous with instructing, directing and educating. It is directing and perfecting the moral and intellectual faculties of a child, it is teaching civility and courtesy. It is to be present, love, care, and take responsibility for the children. In parenting, the figure of the mother is as important as that of the father.

They are both figures of support and security.  

According to the book The role of the father in the development of the child, children who feel that their physiological or affective needs are also covered by their father have more learning spaces, which translates into better cognitive development.

“They are children who are more confident, assertive, who manage their emotions better and have better social relationships.

Fathers promote in their children the ability to explore and take on challenges”, says Michael Lamb, professor of psychology of the social sciences, at the University of Cambridge, UK and author of the book.

Don’t miss: A harmonious relationship has positive impact on children

Dad also experiences changes

It has always been emphasized the fact that the brain of mothers undergoes changes with the arrival of babies thanks to the increase in oxytocin, known as the love hormone. However, changes happen in Dad too!

A study by the Gonda Brain Sciences Center, at Bar-llan University, revealed that when a man plays a primary role in caring for his children since they are newborns, he experiences the same neuronal change as a woman.

The level of oxytocin secreted by the father is as big as that of the mother, demonstrating that the father can establish an affective and emotional bond at the same level: “For children it is just as important that dad plays with them as it is that mom stays around them.

Forming bonds of attachment with your children, especially when they are young, will help your children grow up secure”, says Grace González.

You will like: Values that your children can learn in childhood

Mexico, still with very traditional beliefs

In our country the turn towards shared parenting is beginning to take place, but there is still a long way to go.

“Sadly in our country, because of its traditional beliefs, co-parenting is not something that is so strengthened. We are on a par with countries like Nigeria and Saudi Arabia. However, nowadays Mexican fathers are becoming more and more involved since their children are born: changing diapers, feeding the baby, waking up at dawn to take care of it”, adds the parenting expert.

And it is that the patriarchal culture in Mexico manifests itself in micromachisms, from the school teacher who only addresses the mother to discuss situations with the children, to the mother herself who does not allow the man to get involved:

“It is important that mothers also reflect on whether they are really giving the father the opportunity to accompany them during parenting. Maybe mother gives father directions all the time about what he has to do, or she allows him to do things and discover things at the same time as mom does”, adds González.

We recommend: Educate our children in generosity and altruism

The responsibilities of being a parent

Laura Evelia Torres Velázquez, professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico and author of the article Responsibilities in raising children, indicates that the responsibilities of fathers and mothers are the same.

  • Develop: Consider that you are forming a new person.
  • Love: Parents must satisfy this need in their children and also teach them to love, not in terms of feeling, but as action, so that they are able to give and receive it.
  • Discipline: According to age and lack of it. It is NOT hitting, mistreating, and venting the anger and rage of the father. Discipline is not about destroying a person, but about forming it.
  • Give security: Living in an environment of tranquility and peace will allow kids to feel safe, with good self-esteem, and healthy relationships in the future.
  • Be present: These days the threat to mothers and fathers is to be distant because of work, but this is compensated by quality time.
  • Give identity: It is vital for emotional and behavioral survival of each person to know who one is, what his origin is, and his role in society. Parents also help with this.
As you can see, the work is hard, but both of you can achieve your goal as parents, which is to guide your children.

“When you have a cake divided in two, it will be less what you have to eat. That is, if we have parenting tasks worked by both mom and dad, parenting will be much easier and it will not be leaning on only one person. You have to talk together as parents and make decisions.

Choose, for example, the school they will attend, what they can or cannot eat, allow them or not to go out.

There are some unimportant decisions, such as letting kids watch TV for 10 more minutes, that parents can make without consulting the other, but for important things, those that impact life, they must stop and discuss them between both parents”, explains González.

Translated by: Ligia M. Oliver Manrique de Lara

Spanish version: Here

Other theme: Children are inclusive by nature