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?
Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) hopes you have enjoyed APtly Said’s celebration of fathers this week. This final post wraps up this series on “Fathers’ Inspiring Reflections,” June 19-21. We value and honor you, Dads, for all your love, dedication, and involvement in your children’s lives — you inspire us!
Naturally, most parents think their child is beautiful, and even with a little mushed face and purple foot, I felt the same. I was especially proud of the fact that while my son laid under a heating lamp in the hospital, he looked more developed than the other babies.
I called the first year of parenthood the most rewarding “punishment” I ever went through. Not that I would have changed it for the world, but I believe most parents would understand what I mean.
Strangely enough, nature has a way of making us endure some form of amnesia. After two years and 10 months, I found myself being a glutton for “punishment” again. Sure, why not? I hardly remembered the endless sleepless nights from my previous go-around. Then again, my memories since first becoming a parent are a patchwork of fragments, mostly focused on the glee of being a parent.
I don’t know exactly when it happened, but suddenly I learned a new fear I will never lose till I am gone — in that moment, I knew I would always wish for the best and fear the worst for this individual indefinitely.
My mind raced with questions…
I was overjoyed to be a Daddy. I cried at the sight of him. But I wondered How do you immediately love someone or something that you have no history with? and Should I feel guilty that here was this new creature that I loved, yet didn’t really communicate with beyond its needs? I wondered who he would be.
At the same time, I found myself watching every breath while he slept and I would peer into the crib if it seemed too silent. I was beyond gentle as if this new entity was in fact an ancient artifact as fragile as parchment.
Could I be a good Daddy?
Two months after his birth, I was making some sounds and he looked at me and smiled. In that moment of connection, my heart melted. But this did not stop my internal thoughts, nor my imagination thinking of hypotheticals. I wanted to be an affectionate Daddy, but was there such thing as too much affection? Should Mommy be more affectionate than Daddy? I decided to throw caution to the wind, as I felt that my child should grow up knowing he was deeply loved through action and not just words of affection.
There are parents who try to essentially have their children be what they did not become or be just like them. I believe that is confining. More and more, I find the true gift we can give our children growing up as a parent is to allow them to discover their own path and support their positive choices.
I’ve learned that I am not perfect and that I will make mistakes, but I am patient. I’m willing to learn as I go, as much as I hope my teaching sinks in. I know teaching isn’t just preaching, but that setting an example and following through with my word carries more impact. The greatest gifts I can give my 2 boys are love, guidance, affection, and my attentive time. The gift has been given both ways as I’ve gained a greater happiness with myself.
Despite all the trials or tribulations we endure, being a parent can be so fulfilling. The first step is accepting ourselves and loving ourselves as the imperfect individuals we are — share that with your children. In this way, we will not seek the material things in life to find happiness, as we already have it in our hearts.
Being a parent has made me so happy and whole. I have become more forgiving, more accepting, more insightful, and above all, more loving. In all of the things I’ve done and accomplished, my family is my greatest creation and treasure — it is the one I am most proud of.
Editor’s note: Attachment Parenting International (API) continues with APtly Said’s celebration of fathers through the theme of “Fathers’ Inspiring Reflections,” June 19-21. We value and honor you, Dads, for all your love, dedication, and involvement in your children’s lives — you inspire us!
Considering that I am 33 years old, being a father for 3 years means that I have much more non-father time of life experience. However, I can tell with certainty that these last 3 years have been the most transformative years of my life.
When my first son arrived to this world, I didn’t know much about fatherhood — just like most other fresh fathers. Fatherhood invited me to become aware of my own sensitivity — and I said yes to it. I jumped into this giant pool of uncertainties called fatherhood, and while I was swimming there, I got in touch with my own sensitivity.
I was observing my child’s needs and feelings, and I started responding to them — which allowed me to build a loving bond with my son. In the meantime, I was learning so much about myself and my own feelings. I stopped hiding them and started exploring them, listening to myself and getting to explore and know a whole new person.
It didn’t stop there!
I realized this transformation was also affecting my relationships with other people, mainly because I was finally seeing their feelings as well. I have grown to understand what empathy is and that completely changed how I relate to my partner, friends, family, and everybody around me.
A couple years later, my second son was born — just to remind me that love isn’t something you split, but something that gets multiplied. It’s a reminder that one of the things I love the most about being a father is how such small and young beings can teach you the most valuable lessons about life.
So, if you ask me what being a father means to me, I would say it’s jumping into a life experience that will transform you for the better — into a more sensible human being.
Thiago Queiroz, father of 2 boys and an API Leader for API Rio in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, offers his support for parents with his YouTube videos about Attachment Parenting, including positive discipline, Nonviolent Communication, and fatherhood.
In this video, Thiago discusses temper tantrums and how parents help their children deal with strong emotions.
Photo Credit: FreeImages.com/Adrian,Canada
Editor’s note: Welcome to Attachment Parenting International‘s celebration of fathers! For this Father’s Day, APtly Said Assistant Editor Effie Morchi has put together a moving series of essays with the theme of “Fathers’ Inspiring Reflections” for June 19-21. We value and honor you, Dads, for all your love, dedication, and involvement in your children’s lives — you inspire us!
I come from a story, as we all do. Some of it is real, some imagined or interpreted, and part of it remains a mystery as well. Never did I imagine in examining my own story that I would so deeply relish the experience of being a dad.
My son Dylan was born 14 months ago, and though certainly there have been times that are challenging — including many sleepless nights — his presence in my life is the best thing ever to happen to me.
Why is this so?
In part, it is the depth of love I feel for him, whether he is acting cute, sleeping, or in need of a diaper change. The love is there and the same regardless, an infinite expression of the life force of love pouring through me. And a human heart cannot help but be changed when the love pouring through it is that grand. That love has softened me and made me more compassionate to others, including myself.
Beyond this new infinite wave of love, there is more to the profound and positive change of being a dad. I also feel more of a sense of purpose. As a writer, healer and artist, I have always been driven and tend to thrive on meeting goals, deadlines, seeing an accomplishment come into full bloom.
But this is a different kind of purpose, a through line of presence that flows through me having nothing to do with a goal, and simply wanting a wonderful future for my child, hoping his dreams come to fruition — whether or not mine ever do.
Most importantly perhaps is a new definition of responsibility. I now feel responsible for the welfare of another human, which is quite daunting, yet also very fulfilling. I notice how it impacts him when I am in a challenged mood, as well as when I am happy and joyful.
This has heightened my own consciousness of taking responsibility for how my emotional state impacts others. I have always done that on some level, since as an energy healer, that is part of my life’s work. Yet, now even the smallest nuances of emotion are highlighted in my consciousness. I do my best to embrace all of who I am, and also be aware how my own emotional energy impacts my son.
I would never trade being a dad for anything.
The greatest gift of life that I have known so far is being a parent. And the amazing thing is that had anyone asked me before my son’s birth how I would feel about being a dad, I never would have imagined it would be this wonderful, including the challenges. It has made me a new human, one that is more aware, more alive — even when exhausted — and more open-hearted to the experiences of others.
I never noticed strollers and little ones that much before. Now, it is the first thing I notice when outside the home, as I am a member of this new and amazing club called father!
Photo Credit (2nd photo): FreeImages.com/Vivek Chugh