Image: Youtube, Kyoot Kids
Each day this Men’s Health Week, we have been putting the spotlight on real issues facing men, today we want to have a look at fatherhood.
Unlike getting a drivers licence, there’s no test to become a dad, or mandatory on the job training. For the most part, blokes are left to get in touch with their natural instincts.
The results of the latest Aussie research are as would be expected. Fathers who spend more time caring for their children have the most satisfied relationships with them. Dads who also have healthy relationships with their parents and partners are also more likely to get along better with their kids.
Fathers with children under the age of 15 spend an average of 13 hours a week on child care duties, although that's much less than mothers who spend an average of 28 hours.
Sharing his thoughts on fatherhood, Mental Health Advocate Wayne Schwass says making an emotional connection with kids is just as important as giving time.
“Men have been discouraged or prevented or told that we shouldn’t show emotion, we shouldn’t be visibly upset, we shouldn’t cry, we shouldn’t be sensitive, vulnerable, caring, compassionate, empathetic and loving. Why I disagree with that is those emotions, those sensitive values we have as human beings when we’re young in particular are really important. They help us cope with stress, they help us deal with situations in a more productive and positive manner.”
Overall, fathers tend to be most satisfied with the relationship with their children when they are younger, before the youngest enters the teen years.
Schwass adds, he feels a sense of extra responsibility to nurture his son.
“I’ve got a responsibility to make sure that he grows up understanding that we talk and behave certain ways towards women. But I also have a responsibility to my son to make sure when he’s angry, he’s frustrated, he’s upset, he’s crying, he’s sad, he’s happy… that he grows up in a home environment where we acknowledge and celebrate all of those emotions”.
There is a perfect balance to be found though, not just in the amount of time spent with kids, but also how many kids you have to spend time with. Dads with more children have been found to spend much less time on tasks such as playing, helping with their personal care, coaching or taking them to school. Instead their time is taken up with more housework.
One piece of final advice though. You don't need a vacuum cleaner to make a pony tail.