Penguin Dads… I am sure you have heard of them, but do you have one at your home? Well, I do…
If you’ve watched wildlife documentaries about penguins, or even the award-winning animation film ‘Happy Feet’, you’ll need no introduction to Penguin Dads. However, let me help some of us in understanding what exactly this phrase “penguin dad” means, and then you decide if you have them.
Penguins are one of the animal species, which consider upbringing of infants or kids as a father’s core responsibility.
Every year, the females leave the colony, swimming into the cold, deep ocean in search of fish. Before they go, they lay their eggs and after the females do it, her nutritional reserves become depleted and she must return to feed in the ocean for two months. They bid goodbye to the eggs leaving them to hatch in the care of the fathers, who stay behind to raise the chicks. As the dark and gloomy Antarctic winter sets in, thousands of male penguins huddle together for warmth, tucking their precious eggs between their feet to incubate them. So devoted are these dads that they live on nothing but ice for more than three months, barely moving until their eggs hatch. They bring up their fluffy chicks until the mothers return home from the ocean with fish. And even after the moms are back, Penguin Dads don’t stop being extraordinary parents. They continue to play a big role in bringing up the chicks and readying them for adulthood.
Penguin Dads develop strong bonds with their children. They are immersed in their children’s lives and are deeply involved in aspects such as study, play, and learning.
I have such a wonderful man at my home; who my kids call DAD- he is a real “Penguin Dad”.
He has supported me right from my mood swings during PMS to breastfeed my daughter, from helping me in practicing for interviews till making decisions and presentations. He is a nurturer!
My mother was a working woman; I have grown up seen my dad helping her with most of the big and small things, I always wanted the same from my life partner, and I am blessed to have one.
When the child is born he is close to both the parents. Motherhood and the emotions might have come naturally to you as a mother, however, fathers hesitate initially. It’s you who has to trust their capabilities. They love the child equally, they want to be involved, and you have to give them a fair chance. It’s good for the baby as well, as it will enrich your bond as a couple.
My husband was not an involved parent either; he would not prefer to stay awake if the baby is cranky or never even tried to bath the baby. But, as we moved ahead in our journey of parenting we both realized that it needs a strong partnership to raise a child, and I am glad that he was ready to experiment, and take up more role in the household. Now he is doing everything from packing bags to completing school projects and assignments, and I am glad as I can see the positive behavioral and academic changes in my elder one.
We project fathers as a disciplinarian only, but that’s not true and it is also necessary for a balanced emotional growth of the baby. Fathers have the capability to do authoritative parenting, which means they can love and at the same time can draw clear boundaries and expectations, which leads to better emotional, academic, social, and behavioral outcomes for children.
So, how can a hands-on dad enrich the lives of everyone in the family? Here are a few researches:
Developmental psychologists say that the involvement of both parents in a child’s upbringing has strong positive influences on holistic growth and development.
Research has shown that children who grow up with an involved father are more likely to be emotionally secure and confident and have better social connections. So, fathers who bottle-feed their infants or help mother’s breastfeed, who brush a toddler’s teeth, or help them wash their hands, and who give babies a bath or tell them stories, are playing a vital role in building bonds with their children, besides taking the stress off the mothers. This is my most loved point “besides taking the stress off the mothers”.
It hardly matters if you are a first-time mom, a new mom, a mom of a toddler, or a teenager motherhood can be demanding and stressful, unless you have a strong support system at place and who can be your biggest strength, but your life partner.
Children with actively involved fathers are: 43% more likely to earn A’s in school, and 33% less likely to repeat a grade than those without engaged dads.
So, if you have one such dad at your home then encourage them, involve them, and if you don’t, then speak to your partner and make them understand the importance of being a hands-on dad…
This will only make the family more close-knit and happier!