Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) continues with APtly Said’s celebration of fathers through the theme of “Fathers are special.” Dads, we recognize and honor your involvement and presence in your children’s lives. Together, hand-in-hand we are mightier, nurturing children for a compassionate world.
Fathers are different than mothers — and that’s a good thing!
Generally speaking, fathers play a different role as the caregiver in the family: They are more playful and risk-oriented, whereas mothers are more nurturing and are more concerned with the safety and security of their child. The difference in parenting styles stems from different life experiences as well as distinct traits. Children greatly benefit from their father’s participating in their care — more prominent in recent decades — as they get to experience a more balanced view of the world and various ways to interact in the world.
But truly, each dad is as unique as his personality, and who would be more qualified to express how special they are, than their own children? To that end, we invited a diverse group of children to share with us their inspiring thoughts of what makes their dad special in their lives.
My favorite thing about my dad is…
Noemi, 9: “…that he plays with me.”
Liliana, 8: “…he is funny, loving, caring, and cool. He plays with me when I have no one to play with. Also, he got me ready for stuff like when grandpa died. When I need help, he will help me, like with math. Also, he supports our family.”
Oliver, 10: “…that he is nice.”
Emily, 9: “…that he loves me.”
Adam, 9: “…that he pushes me harder when I feel I will give up and now I can do things I never thought I would be able to do.”
Connor, 7: “…that he is silly and makes up funny jokes.”
Nathaniel, 11: “…his drawing skills.”
Ella, 8: “…when he turns me upside down and tickles me.”
Mia, 6: “…the way he makes us laugh and he tells funny jokes.”
Rachel, 11: “…that he loves me and he doesn’t grow a big beard.”
Ethan, 13: “…that he never gives up on things that he starts. He always makes sure to finish work in time to be with us. He never lets us down. Another part of him that I favor is the respect and kindness that he shows to everyone.”
Nathan, 5: “…that he fixes things.”
Ethan, 9: “…that he helps me with everything.”
Gabriel, 20: “…his artistic and compassionate view of reality.”
John, 10: “…he is fun.”
Julian, 18: “…his knowledge of painting and music and his willingness to share it with me.”
Alexia, 11: “…he loves music and so do I.”
Thomas, 9: “…that he is very nice and forgiving, in that he gives us second chances.”
Shelly, 12: “…that he buys me all those expensive art supplies that I need.”
Daniel, 10: “…he always makes time to play with me and he supports our family. Also, he provides everything for my mom, sister and me. He also loves soccer as much as I do.”
Andreas, 13: “…how forgiving and loving he is. He is just an overall unbelievably amazing father.”
Inspired to read more about fatherhood?
Editor’s note: The essence of Attachment Parenting is about forming and nurturing strong connections between parents and their children. This Father’s Day, Attachment Parenting International (API) is celebrating fathers with the theme, “Dads are special.” Dads, we recognize and appreciate the importance of your involvement in your children’s lives — when our children flourish, our society thrives.
Today, more than ever, fathers are taking an active role in all aspects of raising and nurturing their children. Children, families, and society benefit from fathers’ care-giving and parenting contributions.
The importance of early positive father involvement is highlighted in the article, “10 facts about father engagement,” by The Fatherhood Project. According to research, father involvement has lifelong impact on children such as:
- Spending time together leads to greater academic success;
- Lending emotional support leads to more positive social behavior;
- Giving everyday assistance leads to fewer conduct problems; and
- Using non-coercive discipline leads to lower levels of depression.
But well beyond research, children themselves feel and know the positive impact their daddy’s involvement makes in their lives. As such, we invited a diverse group of children to share with us their inspiring thoughts about what they admire most about their dad.
I admire my dad because…
Oliver, 10: “…he is lovable.”
Connor, 7: “…he is very smart with electronics and fiber optics.”
Rachel, 11: “…that he hard-working at things, like building the brick sidewalk.”
Adam, 9: “…he is an amazing contractor and he builds everything for me. One day I hope to be just like him.”
Ella, 8: “…he is a really good fisher.”
Daniel, 10: “…he is funny, fair, and kind to my family, and he is a very hard worker so we get the things we need.”
Emily, 9: “…he can build chicken houses.”
Alexia, 11: “…he is always caring and respectful.”
Sofia, 6: “…he works hard and loves us so much.”
Noemi, 9: “…he is good at soccer.”
Nathaniel, 11: “…he is creative and has passed that onto me.”
Ethan, 13: “…he never lets us down. He always has enough energy to cheer us up and make us food when we’re hungry. I think that my dad really has confidence in his children including me. He’s a really lovable guy, always cracking jokes and playing around. I understand that there could be some hard times in life, but we must live to the fullest. That’s what he teaches me.”
Julian, 18: “…he has a very subtle, yet profound, appreciation for art.”
Shelly, 12: “…even though it may not be easy for him, he still works and takes care of his family every day.”
Andreas, 13: “…he is so hard working and determined, it inspires me through my daily life.”
Ethan, 9: “…he teaches me how to do stuff, and he always helps me.”
Liliana, 8: “…he is always kind to us, and he makes money for all of us. He shows us the right things to do, and he makes sure we’re safe and we’re happy.”
Thomas, 9: “…he teaches me many things that helped me greatly through my life.”
John, 10: “…he takes great care of me!”
Nathan, 5: “…he learns stuff.”
Gabriel, 20: “…he has a very good set of morals.”
Inspired to read more about fatherhood?
She didn’t remember actually nursing, though, and when I told her that’s how I used to feed her, she had a lot of questions like, “Was the food on the floor?” I explained what nursing was, and she smiled and asked sweetly, “Can we do that now?”
While we couldn’t nurse, I did set the pillow on my lap and let her climb up on it. She lay there smiling up at me and started twirling my hair, her favorite relaxing activity.
I hear a lot of moms who are starting to wean worrying that they’ll be sad once they’re done nursing, or that they’ll miss this time for connection.
My daughter and I have found many other ways of bonding as she’s grown older. There are more “I love yous” and kisses from her and more time for playing her favorite activities one-on-one. We still lie together often and bedshare part of the night. While these activities aren’t quite replacements for nursing, they are wonderful ways that we can keep a strong attachment.
After she laid on the nursing pillow on my lap, we were able to play together for about 30 minutes while her brothers were playing on their own. She created a game for us where she’d pretend that it was nighttime and we would pretend to sleep, sharing a pillow and cuddling under the same blanket.
It’s nice for us to reminisce about the time we nursed and to remember that it was one of the ways that our attachment developed in her earliest years, but we’re still enjoying other opportunities for connection now. And I know that even when she’s older and these games are over, there will be other things to replace them, such as times where we can talk about her day at school or other one-on-one activities we can do together.
Inspired to read more about breastfeeding?
Editor’s note: Parent support makes a world of difference — when we strengthen families, we nurture and fulfill our children’s need for trust, respect, and affection, and ultimately provide a lifelong foundation for healthy, enduring relationships. Sharing our parenting experiences — the difficult, trying, joyous, and happy ones — with other like-minded parents can help us feel understood and supported. Attachment Parenting International (API) is dedicated to supporting families in realizing the most important job there is –raising compassionate kids who will shape the future of our world. Click here to find an API Support Group near you.
It was our usual afternoon trip to the library before picking up my oldest son from school. We typically go once a week and bring a large, reusable bag to fill with books — only on that day, I took a smaller bag, which I thought was a really minor change. But when my almost 4-year-old son realized that I’d done something that, in his mind, was completely different from what we always do, he wanted me to go home to get usual bag.
I could tell he was sad and close to tears, but he was trying to manage his emotions and to stay calm as I empathized with him and explained that it wasn’t possible to rectify the situation. After a couple minutes, he started to get sadder and louder.
Still, I managed to stay calm. It felt like a real success for me — completely keeping my cool even in a public setting, responding to him with empathy, staying connected, and not punishing or lecturing him for his emotions. Since we were in a library, I wanted to get out of there quickly so we didn’t disturb people. Unfortunately, trying to make that happen was quite a challenge for me as a mom. My younger daughter was with us and was happily selecting books from the shelf. I had to make the choice of checking out her books while my toddler cried and fought, or just leaving without them, which might upset her as well.
There were several other people around who seemed were watching me, including a few moms who were talking nearby, a mother with a young child playing calmly, a librarian, and an older man. As I struggled to the door with a baby in one arm and a crying toddler in the other, I didn’t worry if they were judging me. I knew I was handling the situation the best I could, and I was proud of that, but I did get upset that no one was able to offer me any help.
I felt that I could barely manage to open the door and get the kids to the car on my own, but somehow, I did. In the car, despite feeling pleased with my patience and ability to remain calm, I felt an overwhelming sense of loneliness. I realized just how alone I had been in that challenging situation, and I couldn’t help but cry.
Afterwards, I reached out to the other parents in my API Support Group about my experience. The amount of support and love I got from the other parents was amazing. Many praised my ability to stay calm in a stressful situation. Several pointed out that strangers are often unsure of how to help or unsure whether help is even wanted. Some shared that they had similar experiences and could relate. And one person also said that she wished she’d been there to help, to hold the door or to put her arm around me for support.
She told me, “You are not alone anymore,” which is something I wish all parents could hear when they’re struggling in moments like this.