When I first heard of the term ‘hands-on dad’, I thought: Wait, what? Is that a thing? Shouldn’t dads be hands-on?
A year or two ago, I read a historical single dad novel.
And I was surprised when the author wrote that the said hero was known to come into his daughter’s nursery and read bedtime stories to her every night.
That act shocked both the nanny and the general public who knew about this act because it was unheard of for a dad to enter his child’s nursery, let alone if that child is a girl.
But of course, that particular topic is a discussion for another day.
When I grew up, I realized that not many dads are hands-on; not enough dads are involved.
Have you heard of the statement “married, single mother?”
Believe it or not, that’s the story of a lot of married mothers.
I read a Twitter thread, and this man was arguing that it is better to be an inconsistent dad than not be in the picture.
Of course, it sparked discussions about men treating parenting like a part-time job and that their inconsistency is building emotional and psychological issues in their children.
But it made me sad to think that many people still believe that fatherhood is a walk in the park.
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Who is a Hands-On Dad?
A hands-on dad is a dad that is actively involved in his child’s life.
Keyword being: actively.
He invests his time, energy and effort in multiple areas of his child’s life.
Till today, so many people still believe that once a dad financially helps his child, he’s a good dad.
I am always baffled at this because first, this is the 21st century, and there are a lot of working mothers.
Secondly, haven’t you seen children from wealthy families who have daddy issues?
There are many people whose dads paid their school fees, and yet the only memory they have of their dad is him watching football in the sitting room.
Not even a single memory of him telling stories or coming to see them in school or one of those involved dad stories.
That is not a hands-on dad.
An involved dad knows his child’s birthday, reads bedtime stories, goes on father-child outings, doesn’t forget graduation and open days, etc.
He teaches his child how to ride a bicycle and change a bad tyre, and for dads who know how to cook, he leads his child how to cook.
He knows his child’s friends and favourite colours.
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Why You Should Be A Hands-On Dad
Because of biology and society, men and women are different.
This means that their perspectives are different, and a healthy balance of their views is necessary for the growth and development of a child.
I don’t want to go into the 2-parent versus 1-parent home argument.
However, if it is a 2-parent household, both adults must be good representations of what it means to be a healthy man and woman and healthily relate with the opposite sex.
There are a lot of benefits of being a hands-on dad.
These benefits are noticed on both the dad and the child.
1. It’s the Most Rewarding Job:
Being a good parent is the most rewarding job.
When Adam Levine stepped back from his career and decided to spend more time at home, many people were shocked. Many called him a simp.
However, he said that he realized his children are growing without him and that he’s missing out on a lot of their childhood, and so he wants to spend more time with his family because they’re the most important thing to him.
Spending actual time with your children and getting to know them as individuals is the most rewarding job in the universe.
Children are gifts, and it’s your duty as a parent to nurture and take care of them.
2. Children Feel More Secure and Loved:
Listen, I believe that a child brought up in a 1-parent home where the love is unquestionable is better than a child brought up in a 2-parent home where the love is questionable.
It is not enough for a child to feel the love from only his mother when his father is living in the same house.
When a child knows without a doubt that both his parents love him because his parents have taken time to show him how much they love him, he will perform better than a child who is unsure of his parents love for him.
A child that feels secure and loved will grow to be a confident adult.
3. Good Role Models:
A male child will learn to be a man from his father.
A female child will also know what it means to be a good man from what her father has shown her.
According to research, subconsciously, boys grows to emulate their fathers while girls look for their fathers in every man.
A hands-on dad teaches his daughter what to expect from her partners.
He teaches his children how to relate to the opposite sex healthily.
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How to Be a Hands-On Dad
There is no right way to parent.
There’s no ‘how’.
All you need to do is to be willing to learn along with your children.
However, here is a list of things you should and shouldn’t do.
1. Don’t Think That Financial Presence is enough:
Here’s the hard truth: financial support isn’t enough.
The emotional, mental and psychological health of your child is still your responsibility.
2. Always Help Out:
There are a lot of women who also think that child-care is their sole responsibility.
As a dad, you should refuse that notion.
These women think that way because that is how they grew up.
However, you should consistently enforce ‘daddy time’ with your children.
Do things like changing their diapers, waking up at night to feed them (if they’re bottle-fed), bathe them, etc.
3. Spend time with your children:
A friend of mine told me that after years of his dad being unnecessarily strict on him and his siblings, now that they are older, his dad is trying to forge a relationship with them now that they are older.
Another friend said nothing could make her ‘gist’ with her father because there’s nothing to talk about.
There are many stories like this. But, unfortunately, they are one too many.
The punchline is that there will come a time when it becomes a little too late to build a relationship with your children.
Start now to spend time with your children.
When your children see that you’re trying, they’ll meet you halfway.
Other things you can do include:
- Take them shopping
- Get to know their friends
- Spend time with your children by doing what they love doing with them
- Go on father-child dates with each child
- Be emotionally supportive of them
- Tell them that you love them as often as possible
- Start bonding with them from the moment they are born. It’s not too late, though, if you didn’t start on time.
- Visit them at school and just be generally supportive of their ambitions.
Children are more observant than we give them credit for.
They know when you’re not a full-time parent.
Though I wrote this article from a 2-parent home perspective, these points still work in divorced homes.
The only exception is that you even have to be more diligent in making it work because you may not be living with your children.
Hands-on dads are the best, and their children usually have a more balanced and fulfilled life.
Being a hands-on dad means being a true partner, whether divorced or married.
Being absent, whether physically or emotionally, makes children feel unloved and uncatered for.
So, are you a hands-on dad? And if you’re married, is your wife a single mother?
Remember that motherhood is a journey made easy when we have the right people in our corner. 🧡
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