• Melissa Kartini

5 Myths of Fatherhood That You Shouldn't Believe

Updated: Jun 27, 2018

Times have changed. Fathers of today are much more involved than they used to be decades ago, and yet we still have myths that surround the subject of fatherhood.

That much is expected, because despite the rapid modernisation our society has experienced, old traditions and values continue to persist. As it is a month that celebrates anything and everything to do with the awesomeness that are fathers, let's delve into this subject for a bit.

Fathers don't feel pressure at all

We're all fairly familiar with that one common frustration that women experience; the pain of having to choose between family and their career. Because no matter how much we've advanced over the years, this is something we cannot deny. When women choose to start a family, their career will usually suffer a setback in terms of pay and hiring potential.

What about men, though? Certainly, this particular female woe doesn't translate to fathers, but there are other ways that they are affected once parenthood sets in.

Studies show that even when flexible work schedules and other family-friendly arrangements are made available to men, those who make use of these arrangements are not viewed positively. Men who do so tend to receive lower wages, poorer job performance evaluations and fewer promotions than those who do not. So yes, men do get penalised, just in a different way.

Only the expectant mother's feelings matter

It is easy to think that only the expectant mother's feelings matter when her body undergoes amazing changes in just nine months, and then some. There will always be concerns about her physical and mental health, and honestly speaking, yes, these are important.

That being said, that doesn't mean the father's feelings don't matter as well.

How will our relationship change? Will I be able to juggle both my career and my role as a father? Will there be medical complications? These are among the many worries that plague the minds of fathers-to-be, but they are often stowed away, for fear of burdening their expecting partners. But really, there is no need to fear this. If anything, sharing these concerns would only strengthen their bond with their wives, as most women crave this sort of interaction.

Children don't need their fathers

When children are babies, it is easy for fathers to feel left out. This is because infants spend the majority of their time either sleeping or feeding, and when they're feeding, they're usually with their mother, especially if she's breastfeeding.

It is no wonder that some fathers might question their importance in the task of child-rearing, but to fathers-to-be and new fathers out there, rest assured that you are.

You can bond with your child after they've finished feeding by holding, rocking and cooing at them. Or if your baby is fine with it, you can supplement or replace breastfeeding with formula feeding. Do anything you can to help lighten your wife's work around the house. This way, you'd be able to indirectly help your baby by allowing your wife to have more energy for them.

Mothers know best

The way a mother interacts with her child will be different from the way the father does. However, different isn't necessarily a bad thing, so mothers should refrain from criticizing their partners for doing things differently. Unless of course, that "different" thing is actually harmful to the child!

Both parents are different individuals with different strengths and weaknesses. It is in this way that they'd be able to make different contributions to child-rearing. Perhaps the father is a more patient person than his partner is, and therefore can serve as a role model in this area, or vice versa. Perhaps the mother places great importance in her studies, and can therefore inspire their child to do the same through sheer example.

The possibilities are endless.

Fathers don't make a difference at home

This myth is wrong on so many levels, it is difficult to find a place to even begin. Studies have found that the importance of fathers is so significant that households with involved fathers have children with higher IQs and EQs, and are generally more well-adjusted.

Humans learn through modelling behaviours. Daughters who have a positive relationship with their fathers will have a more positive view on men, and this positivity can carry on to their relationships with men i.e. daughters may seek partners who bear the desirable traits that their fathers have.

Sons, on the other hand, are more likely to emulate their father's behaviour. If their father is a kind, loving person, they themselves will likely turn out to be kind, loving individuals as well. If their father exhibits disrespectful behaviour towards women, then they might take on that negative trait. In short, fathers do matter; to say that they don't is grievously short-sighted.

Written by Crunch's Melissa Kartini

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