Over the centuries, the role of fathers has evolved. During the industrial revolution, fathers were more detached, spending long hours working in factories, whilst mothers took on the role of primary socialiser and educator of children. Men tended to show their love and devotion from a distance, choosing to leave the child rearing to their wives.
Today things have changed dramatically with many Dads being celebrated for being sensitive, caring and more hands-on. Research has shown that the amount of time fathers are now spending teaching, helping and playing with their children, has trebled. This has transformed our understanding of how fathers shape their children’s lives from the start, challenging conventional ideas of parenthood and gender.
Fathers who involve themselves in physical activity with their children, play a key role in influencing them to learn self-control, face challenges, regulate emotions and take manageable risks. However, to be a great Dad, you need to also indulge in a little self-care and look after your own mental health. This allows you to be more responsive to your child’s needs, and engage more readily in play and learning activities.
If you are a Dad and struggling a little bit, it is advisable to seek help from a medical professional. Or, if you just want to talk to someone who understands, you can call one of the following organisations.
In Australia, phone MensLine on 1300 78 99 78 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36.
In New Zealand, contact Healthline on 0800 611 116 or Man Alive on 0800 826 367.