In the context of Malaysia, we are familiar with terms like parenting, mothering.
Yes, by definition it simply means the process or journey of raising a child and supporting the development of a child physically, emotionally, socially and even intellectually.
However, when one is attending a parenting talk, the reason behind is usually related to a child’s education on how to get my child to perform better academically, or a child’s discipline issues such as ways to deal with my kid’s tantrums, communicate effectively with my teenage child, or the most popular topic recently – is my child addicted to the internet/gaming, too much screen time especially during the COVID19 pandemic.
And previously with the ‘old’ normal, 80 per cent of the attendees of these parenting talks were women and children. It actually almost makes us think that parenting is actually mothering! Or should the biggest misconception on parenting is that this is a mother’s job.
Fathering? A rather unfamiliar word to many. What is fathering?
There was a survey conducted to the public in Singapore 2009 on ‘The Role of a Father’ and the results are as follow:
- Breadwinner (46%)
- Emotional support for children (36%)
- Handling Kids on a daily basis (3%)
- Protect, nurture children and know their friends (1%)
Well, I guess even a father himself thought that by providing to the family is already a job done as a father. I must say that being a good father is not easy because there is so much more.
Read: My Father Will Always Be My Hero
Dad is destiny!
Dad is destiny. More than virtually any other factor, a biological father’s presence in the family will determine a child’s success & happiness. – U.S. News & World Report, February 27, 1995, pg. 39
According to the review of Australian Evidence of the Impact of Fathering by Dr Stacey Waters and Dr Leanna Lester, some of the findings of this report are:
- Father’s self-efficacy and warmth in parenting are the most powerful predictors of children’s improved health, academic, social and emotional outcomes;
- Children who have a father or father figure who live with them throughout their life have better learning outcomes, general health, emotional wellbeing and fewer problem behaviours;
- While mothers have a significant influence on their child’s health, academic, social and emotional outcomes, after accounting for this, fathers have a unique and diverse role in improving outcomes for their child;
- A father’s influence on their child’s outcomes becomes most prominent when children reach school age;
- Fathers who consistently parent well over time have children who perform better academically, socially, emotionally and enjoy better health and development.
Therefore, a father’s impact on a child’s development is simply HUGE!
However, research has shown that there is a direct correlation between the absence of fathers in families with juvenile delinquency.
Father absence affects about 27 million children in America, and it is spreading. It is linked to higher rates of poverty, failure in school, teen pregnancy, substance abuse, violent crime, depression, and ultimately a loss of hope.
Be a better Dad!
We go to school for academic purposes. We acquire skills to get a job. We even have marriage counselling courses now to prepare couples entering marriage life. But we never had anything to help us to become a better dad.
I am not undermining the role and the contribution of a mother. Mothers and fathers are not interchangeable, nor are they replaceable.
Fathers need to be aware that their support and involvement is unique and effective fathering has a profound impact on children’s lives.
More and more research has shown that effective fathering and a father’s warmth has a unique influence on a child’s health, social, emotional and academic outcomes.
As children, when we are celebrating Father’s Day in the month of June, let’s celebrate and appreciate the uniqueness of fathers and their blessings to our families, communities and nations.
This might interest you: How to Teach Your Kids Skills That Will Be Forever Useful
As a father, this is my encouragement to fathers: There is no perfect father, but we can always be better. Let’s commit to being a better dad today!
We believe a committed father will make his family thrive.
Strong families build a strong community,
Strong communities build a strong nation.
The key starts with a father who wants to be a better dad.
Joshua Hong is the chairman of Better Dads Malaysia, a non-profit organisation that is designed to initiate, lead and coordinate national movement for fathers in Malaysia. During his free time, he enjoys outdoor activities with his children. To connect with him, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.