Dr. Greene’s Answer
Fathers are truly an integral part of a baby’s life. They’re not just there to help out when mom needs a rest. Fathers can become true partners in a family, not only caring for the little ones but also making parenting decisions with the mother to make the best decisions.
I’ve learned that being a great father is a steady process. New fathers don’t just wake up with the insight to be perfect parents. They learn and grow as their children grow, and if they share their vulnerabilities and strengths alike with their children, fathers are giving their children an incalculable treasure.
When I talk to children about what they want from their fathers, I hear three things over and over. First, kids say simply, “I wish he was here more.” Kids just want their dads around, whether it’s playing, working, studying – whatever – they just want dad as a part of their lives. Secondly, kids want their dads to listen, to understand. Dads who learn how to listen can really connect with their children. Finally, kids want their dads to speak to them, not at them. I tell fathers to open up to their children, to let them know what dad’s really thinking.
Last reviewed: July 05, 2009