Give dad his due on Father’s Day

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Sabrina Almeida

It’s no secret that Father’s Day gets much less attention than the one dedicated to mothers. So, if you haven’t bought a gift for dad  or made a reservation at his favourite restaurant yet, you’re probably not the only one. The truth is that it just doesn’t carry the same amount of emotional weight as Mother’s Day. This explains the handful of commercial reminders which seem to be just going through the motions… and the smaller spend when compared to the lavish appreciation shown to moms.

One reason could be that marketing is most often geared towards women. That’s why Mother’s Day extends to grandmothers, godmothers, aunts, etc. Traditionally men are not perceived as being sentimental and favourably disposed towards receiving gifts. I recall my boys’ karate instructor saying he’d rather have time to himself than be bothered by all the fuss.

Perhaps dads are victims of gender stereotyping or simply avoiding the lousy gifts. After all, how many shirts, ties, slippers, socks and tools can you collect? Let’s face it, we put far less thought into how we celebrate dad believing that he wouldn’t care either way! That could be the reason why he’s put off.

But the good news is that trend is changing and it’s about time that it does. With the expectation that fathers should be more involved in the family and home, comes our responsibility to acknowledge their contribution.

Fathers are as important to children as mothers. New research challenges conventional notions of them merely performing an economic role of being providers. Psychologists are unanimous in their belief that the father-child relationship is critical to kids’ development as well as how they relate to others. Positive and nurturing relationships have resulted in fewer emotional and social problems in the later years. This is irrespective of whether the father lives at home with the child or not. Several studies also show a link between a delinquent and criminal behaviour and an absentee or uncaring father. A lady friend of African origin agrees. She believes that the frequent run-ins youth from her community have with the law is on account of a lack of positive male role models, and involvement by fathers.

Both sons and daughters are said to benefit from a close bond with dad. While boys develop a positive gender identity with a healthy awareness of their emotions and feelings, girls too enjoy better mental health and confidence.

Paternity leave recognizes this importance both in a child’s and father’s life as well as the growing involvement of men with their families. Like moms, dads too need to fully come to terms with and adjust to the changes in their lives with the birth of a child. When given a chance, men too have the ability to care. The time off encourages this bonding, caring and responsibility.

Having said that, many men feel the same pressure and stress of maintaining a balance between work and family life as women do. Sadly, we’re just not used to seeing it this way.

Celebrating dad (and not just this Sunday) is a way to acknowledge his contribution as well as change misguided stereotypical notions. In addition to appreciating his efforts, it helps children realize the important role he plays in their lives.

Let’s not take Father’s Day for granted and remember to say a special thank you to all the wonderful dads! -CINEWS

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